Log of "FAIRWAY" - 7-14 April

Captain George Russell
Mate Raymond Hubbard

Thursday April 7th

Set sail from Wroxham 4.00 for a trial trip with a man from the boat yard. Bumped dinghy once. Returned to land crew and pick a temporary crew. Sailed down river and were the first of the fleet to enter Wroxham Broad. Waited about for A.R. to appear but as he did not we went on but the wind dropped and we moored to fix the flag. Soon Thomas Young came hot-foot to tell us that A.R. had decided on a mooring further back and together we towed the boat back.

When we arrived at the moorings for the night every one had nearly finished stowing sails etc. but when all was ready for the night we cooked an excellent supper of pressed beef, tomato soup, bread and paste after instruction in the use of a primus by Mrs. R. In the middle of our supper A.R. came to see us while he was waiting for his mate's whistle to blow!

He and Mrs. R. were rather late as they had been helping the Arnold Forsters stow. When we had washed up and cleaned out the cabin, we went for a short row towards Horning, came rowed round the fleet and returned to Fairway, Raymond to make out lists of the food and menus, myself to write the log and unravell [sic] the flag halyards. We were in bed by 10.0.

WIND: N.W. Very light and died completely away at 6.45.
1 1/2 miles.

Friday April 8th

We woke up at about 5.00 and as we could not go to sleep again read till 6.00 when I went out and made tea on the primus. I hoisted the pennant which I had only just remembered late the night before, feeling very superior to the Arnold-Forsters who had left theirs up all night. We had breakfast of fried eggs and bacon at 7.15 and started beautifying the boat by washing the topsides and decks. A.R. gave me the pulley to run the "Jolly Roger" halyards and our pirate flag was hoisted for the first time. The whole fleet except the Ransomes took in a reef and we set sail soon after 10.00. All went well until the jib being too large for the reefed mainsail prevented the boat's head coming round. We rammed the bank twice so Raymond got out to use the dinghy in case we went aground but fortunately we did not. Tacking down Horning Reach we experimented and decided to let the jib fly before coming about. This was most successful. We easily outsailed the Arnold-Forsters who were not using their jib. We moored in front of the Swan at Horning and were greeted by A.R. in "bosun Walker" manner and Mrs. R. with a choc bar. We lowered sails and went and had a ginger pop with the others. Later I filled the water-cans and sent a card off to Jobo. While rowing after a recalcitrant oar who should I see but Pills. She came and looked over our boat and very much approved. We started off for the rendez-vous at the Ant Mouth at 3.00 and arrived at 4.15 after a thrilling sail, including a melee at the start and a hard wind coming over the marshes.

We beat the Whippet and arrived first and prepared for the night after a tea with the Arnold Forsters. R. read while I went for a quick half an hour walk, discovering a very old building which looked as if it had been a Norman chapel but which was now serving as a barn. Just as I returned to the boat it began raining and we quickly covered up the well and cooked the supper of pressed beef, tomato soup, lettuce and chocolate biscuits. When we had washed up I rowed up to Horning Hall dyke and back to get warm, then wrote the log and retired to bed at 10.00.

WIND: N.W. Stronger than day before and did not drop till 8.30. Slight rain 7.45-8.15. One reef.
7 miles

Saturday April 9th

We passed a very comfortable night, having mastered the art of making the beds and did not wake up till 8.00. Breakfast at 8.30 and we waited about while plans were in the air. In the end we decided that the girls, the Ransomes and us should go to Potter to investigate: the young Youngs should try and get up to Ludham Bridge and the elder Youngs and Arnold-Forsters should spend the day at their moorings.

While helping the girls to get away, I fell in and was helped(?) by Mr Ransome and Raymond see illustration. (There is no illustration embedded in the text of the log. I don't know if I somehow missed it when I did the original scans in 1998 but I don't think so - Dave Thewlis.) I changed quickly and set about hoisting the sail when the second tragedy occurred - my glasses being knocked o.b. That dished all hopes of trying Potter Heigham that day so I went to the farm to take my clothes to be dried and hunted about for a piece of netting to make into a drag net. We found a suitable piece and commenced operations from the side of the boat, but wanting to try further out, I hopped into the dinghy but found there was only one oar in it so after a frantic struggle I borrowed one of the Arnold Forsters oars and chucked out the mudweight. This immediately sank right in and I was moored with a huge motor cruiser roaring up the river straight at me. However, after much gesticulating they missed me by inches. Then after being rescued by Raymond I jumped from the dinghy into the river! This was too much so we abandoned operations and had a sketchy lunch after which I took my wet clothes off to the farm to be dried and went off to Ludham to telephone to Mummy and buy some more food. I got on to Mummy and arranged a meeting place and dashed back to the quay where the Youngs had waited to give me a lift back. We had tea and went back to the Bridge where Mummy had arrived with log and Kipper bringing glasses, vests, pants and a spare pair of trousers. I went back via the farm to see if my clothes were dry and we saw a little owl and a hawk hovering near the boat. Supper and bed at 10.15.

WIND Northerly and fluky. Rain

Sunday April 10th

We got over breakfast as quickly as possible and hoisted sail for the Thurne. I had collected my trousers etc. from the farm so I was able to return the mate's. We were the last under weigh except for the Ransomes and we came a terrible bump on the concrete, luckily on the steel end to our stern. We had a fine and uneventful sail to Thurne Mouth where we overtook the Arnold-Forsters. Then the fun began as the Horsey floods were pouring out of the Thurne and with the wind dead agin us we could not make any headway though much to our chagrin the Ransomes sailed right through us and arrived in the Kings Head's dyke first. Titty and Tacky had gone on towards Potter and the Youngs had gone exploring in South Walsham. The whole fleet (minus Titty and Tacky) then foregathered at the Lion and spent the ten minutes before closing time very profitably and played on the penny in the slot machines which they had there. Then after lunch we sat sail for Potter and had a terrible time tacking up a very congested and strong flowing river. We rowed some of the way and did a little peculiar sailing through the bungalows of Potter. When we got to the bridge we found that the young Youngs had gone through already so Tacky and I went to investigate and decided to go through. We lowered the mast and successfully negotiated the bridge and tied up the other side. It was after eight o'clock so we decided to try the pub but found that they had struck, so rather than let the T's also cook supper we had a communal one. We washed up with their aid and went to bed very tired after a long day.

WIND Northerly and fresh, though it died after at about 6.00
Miles 5 3/4.

Monday April 11th

We woke up at 7.30 and immediately set to to try and get under way quickly; we had just finished breakfast and were washing up when the Ransomes came up through the bridge and we remembered our promises of the night before, too late. Mr Ransome and Raymond went into Potter to shop while I recruited the aid of James to lower the mast and retrieve the pulley which I had very stupidly sent up to the top the night before when I had missed it while fumbling with the ropes in the dark. At about 11.0 the Ransomes set sail closely followed by the Arnold-Forsters and us and we had a slow tack up past the Potter Heigham bungalows and then had a grand sail to Kendal Dyke, turning into which we managed to overtake the Arnold-Forsters. Just after the entrance Mrs A-F was put ashore to go back to Horning to look after Vanda. We then tried to tack up through Kendal Dyke but the water running out from Horsey and the wind which was straight ahead of us defeated us and the mate once more did his rowing stunt. When we had actually got out of the dyke we started one of the best sails of the week, in close company with the elder Youngs and Roger we swept along. However we soon left them behind as we were lucky enough to get a good puff which sent us right out into Hickling Broad while they were still becalmed in White Slea. We sailed across Hickling in fine style when we kept near the posts but thinking we would score a mental point if we only tacked once we went right out towards the shore. The bottom came up to meet us and just as we went about again we stuck by the tiller. However, out came the quant and we continued on our way to the "pleasure boat" trying to look as unconcerned as possible. We were met by Mr. Ransome who had been using his arms like windmills to try and stop us on our carefree tack. By the time we had helped the rest of the fleet to moor it was 2.00 and after a visit to the pub we had a picnic lunch with Walls ices. As soon as we could we set sail again with the fleet "line ahead" right across Hickling with another wonderful sail. As we were leaving the Broad a camouflaged bomber came swooping down over us very close and low. We tore back down Kendal Dyke where we had rather a nasty jam luckily without misfortune. We sailed down to Potter with the old Youngs and negotiated the bridge successfully. After tying up below the bridge I dashed off to buy some methylated and postcards and we sailed down the Thurne just passing Titty and Taqui about half a mile from the Lion's Dyke where we moored for the night. While we were preparing supper the order was given to cheer[?] the fleet and very fine it was. The two small visitors had supper with the Youngs. I went to the telephone at 7.45 but could not get on to Wroxham post office so I consoled myself by sending a long post card to Jobo. So ended a perfect day with brilliant sunshine, a beam wind wherever we went and a marvellous sunset. It froze this night and then there was a heavy dew. The only fly in the ointment was the fact that I was rather badly caught by the sun. This was also the case with the crew and the Ransomes.

WIND: Northerly. Brilliant Sunshine. Fresh
Miles: 13 1/8

Tuesday April 12th

Our early rising was gradually improving and we got up at 7.30. After breakfast Raymond went off to telephone Wroxham post office to send the letters to Horning. When he returned, it had been decided that the A-Fs should go straight to Horning to see Mrs A-F and Vanda. At 10.45 we set sail and were safely out of the dyke after a tactical battle with a very unintelligent Hullabaloo. We streamed down to Acle where after a few anxious moments we were safely moored alongside the Youngs on the Northern bank. While I was going down to the bridge I saw some "Perfect Lady's" approaching at a cracking pace, first they lowered mainsail and then mast and jib. Meanwhile we had all been jumping up and down on the bank thinking they had forgotten to account for the current and were going to smash into the bridge. However they all got through safely though the forestay of one of them did get caught in the jib. Soon after we saw a Whippet shoot the bridge upstream and as our hair was already on end we could not bear to stay longer and set off on a grand tack up the wide river. We came upon the elder Youngs, the Ransomes and Titty and Taqui having lunch under the lee of a windmill, we stopped and carried out a deep laid plot to photograph the admiral's response to the mate's whistle from the galley. No photograph found with the log - Dave Thewlis We hurried on because we wanted to get up river before returning to the Ant. We found the going harder as the river narrowed but once we reached the Thurne Mouth it was easier. Just by St Benet's we were passed by a large yacht but we had the satisfaction of passing them in Horning when they were becalmed the next day. We sailed on past the Ant and into the trees below Horning. As we came up to Ranworth Dyke we decided that as there was little or no wind we would try Ranworth and saw some wonderful birds including a pair of grebes and a heron which we passed by only six yards away. I never realized what a lovely colour their heads are. All went well till we tried to tack out of the broad and before you could say "knife" we were aground and at first our efforts only pushed us further on. Then Raymond got into the dinghy and rowed while I quanted with all my might. At last we succeeded in getting her to the dyke and I rowed her the 200 yards to the river where we hoisted sail and sailed down without adventure to the Ant. The only excitement was when we lost the dinghy and had to go back to pick it up. We swooped down on it as it was drifting onto the bank. We came in rather late but stowed and I rowed Mrs Ransome up to Ludham Bridge where she advised John in his shopping after he had slipped up over some veal. We filled up with water and rowed back only just behind the Youngs. When we returned the Whippet post had arrived and I received three letters, each marked by the Whippet post mark. We then received an invitation to supper with the Ransomes which we accepted with alacrity. We stowed and returned below to rest till Mrs. Ransome's whistle blew. We had an excellent supper of plum pudding, cold tongue, tomatoes and hot potatoes. The Rum came out of its retirement for medicinal purposes only and was used to light the pudding. We did not get to bed till eleven o'clock.

WIND: NNW. Fresh and steady till the evening when it slackened. Very sunny.
Miles: 12

Wednesday April 13th

We arose at our usual time and had rather an amusing but windy time getting away. The Smarties started first but lost their mainsheet o.b. to the accompaniment of yells of laughter from the Young parents. Then Titty and Tacky went off without mishap. Then Mr. Ransome nearly fell into the river in the excitement of getting the Arnold Forsters off. Then the Ransomes got off after a false start and much puffing of the longshore loafers. Then we started and just managed to come round in time missing the bank by a foot. We left the Youngs to put in a reef. We would have been glad of one for the first mile towards Horning but afterwards we were blanketed by the trees and were very thankful that we were carrying full sail. We sailed past the entrance to Ranworth Dyke looking hard to starboard out of shame for yesterday's experience. We had the wind nearly dead ahead coming up to Horning Ferry where a wherry was loading reeds. We managed to pass a Lulworth becalmed. We sailed on past the black sheep till we caught sight of Titty and Taqui involved with our large enemy of the day before. Further on we saw another pirate at grips with five large boats so we entered the fray sneaking up under the big boat's stern when she was in irons and approaching Horning in Titty and Taqui's wake. We were very nearly rammed by a beastly wherry yacht just below the Swan and we docked successfully once at the Swan in under Barnacle Bill's eagle eye. We made another sortie for shopping and bought another map for Raymond and postcards for Jobo. On our return Raymond made friends with the most amazing goose I have ever seen while I helped an old man with a beaver to moor. We then settled down to a quiet lunch and snooze, never realizing that Roger had fallen in without his jacket and had been rescued fully clothed by Titty. Famous last words "I could not help it but where is my choc bar?". The two swimmers were dosed with Rum and peace and Roger's jacket were restored. A race between the Whippets was got up and with Mrs Ransome the starter I was appointed official photographer. When they had gone we started off after a little manoeuvring and all went well till we had coming out of Horning Reach. There we met the A-F's becalmed and then started a drifting match till with a lucky puff we caught up the Whippets and sailed through them trying not to interfere with their race. We hurried on past our old moorings where the Ransomes were already ensconced, to try and have a look at the racing. We inquired from a motor boat and were told that it was nearly over. So we breezed into Wroxham Broad and followed the boats round the course. It was grand sailing and we were soon joined by Titty and Tacky and both the Youngs boats. Soon we were the only boats left and in an effort to hoist all our flags two went o.b. to be retrieved by two very small boys in a sailing dinghy then as we jybed the hook on the gaff jumped off and the whole sail was pulled up against the mast, being held in place only by the signal halyards. We tore out of Wroxham Broad as slowly as possible in a good wind expecting the gaff to fall at any moment. However we moored successfully and with the aid of John righted the pulleys. I rowed back to the mooring rather sadly after the wonderful sail we had had on the Broad. We slowed down quickly and had a huge tea with the Youngs. Then to solve the food problem the Arnold Forsters and we shared a hotpot which I cooked having chucked in all the provisions we had left and went to bed almost the minute we had washed up at 9.30.

WIND: NW generally but from all directions passing by Horning. Squally in afternoon.

We spent the night between some hymn singing girls to starboard and yelling schoolboys to port.

Thursday April 14th

We got up at 5.00 but by the time we had washed and had started cooking breakfast the Ransomes were under weigh. When we discovered this we abandoned an elaborate breakfast and set sail munching cake. We were off by 7.15. We were stuck in the entrance to Wroxham Broad but some school boys very kindly came and pushed us off and we sailed away across Wroxham Broad having some difficulty at finding the exit at the Wroxham end. We tacked and tacked and quanted and quanted till we came in sight of Wroxham and in the excitement of crying "Land, Land" and smacking our parched lips we were nearly rammed by a convoy of hullabaloos towed by a motor launch. We docked after a frantic scrabble to lower the sails and hauled in without bumping. We then set to to clean up and pack and when I had washed her down for the last time we turned our eyes landwards and drove home via Norwich where we dropped Raymond, in the Arnold-Forsters car. So ended a marvellous cruise but it was not all, for that night at 11.00 the hardworking but timber- (and primus) shivering mate developed the plague. So the whole expedition was plunged into quarantine.


This transcript is ©2008 by Jill Goulder. The original log is ©2008 by The Estate of Josephine Russell.

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