Monday, August 10, 2009

Hickling Broad Regatta 2009

It all started out as an idea over drinks. I had dragged some fellow dads along to see a film, only to find that the cinema showing the film was, well, not actually showing the film.
Having popped into a pub to discuss my inability to select a cinema the conversation turned to boats. It was suggested that a sailing trip might be a bit of a laugh.

With a bit of time, knowledge and the go ahead from Frau Random Doubt I set about organising a summer jaunt. I called my favourite boatyard and made enquiries, knowing that a date isn't a date until we've all got a) our wives permission and b) the date cut in stone.

Hickling holds an 'alternative' regatta every year in August. It's an occasion to meet and be merry, you certainly don't have to race which was handy as that might require effort and skill. We were happy just to get there, and with such light airs that was an achievement on it's own.
August 8th, 2009. Hunters Boatyard, Ludham, Norfolk. Buff Tip is ready to go. Four of us, Myself and Will (sailors) and Jamie and Sim (non sailors) were about to spend the weekend sailing, drifting and drinking and eating bad food.

Arty shot of Buff Tip's main.
One of my favourite aspects of the weekend was the enthusiasm of the 'non sailors' for getting stuck in, having a go and (pardon the bloody awful pun) learning the ropes. Both Jamie (above) and Sim did really well in some difficult (hardly any wind) circumstances.
It didn't take a pair of binoculars to see that Buff Tip was in a spot of bother.
Woodcut strutting her stuff on Hickling Broad.
The outward leg was tough, very little wind and lots of tacking up narrow rivers. I normally object to such things as mobile phones when sailing but it was nice to be able to text the race committee and let them know of our progress. It was also nice to receive their sarcastic responses.
A view of Hickling from Buff Tip.
A spot of civilised sailing. We swopped boats halfway through the outward leg but forgot to swop facilities. I was thus left gasping for my celebratory pint upon finally reaching Hickling Broad. Woodcut had all 6 bottle openers on board! We had to engage them in order to ask very nicely for a bottle opener so that the CO could have his customary pint.
Our gorgeous moooring at the top of Hickling. Woodcut on the left, Buff Tip on the right.
We had left Ludham at 10am. The plan had been to arrive at Hickling just after lunch. We finally moored up at about 5.30pm
The Hickling Broad regatta (NOT to be confused with the Hickling Broad Sailing Club regatta) was a delightfully laid back bohemian affair. An open b.y.o barbeque, a selection of benches, bunting and a tent.  Most of all a friendly, mildly disorganised approach to sailing and life and fun. A small spot for free spirits in the middle of a world of turmoil.
The view from the barbeque. If you look very closely you can see my barbeque speciality, banana bacon. I asked the gathered few what the 'rules' were for the barbeque. "Oh just bung it on, come back in half an hour". About an hour later the same man strolled over to us and pointed out that it might be worth checking out the barbeque as our food was clearly cooked and people were getting quite enthusiastic about the banana bacon.

I loved the old Land Rover with ketchup and stuff for people to share, I also loved the fact that there was a tinny little radio in the middle of the lawn gently playing Radio 3. 
Your host, Will with Woodcut's extensive bar.
Sundown at the prize table.
The weather on both days had been outstanding with only one slight problem, little or no wind. A sailing weekend needs a bit of a puff.
Dawn. Still no wind. (Then again there never is at dawn)
Sunday morning can mean only one of two things, Church Parade or black pudding!

We chose the black pudding option.

Sim gets stuck in.
I don't like to brag but I can throw together a bloody good brecky when needs must. The others laughed at the teapot when they saw it on Saturday. By god they were grateful on Sunday morning. Endless gallons of tea!
The regatta committee got the flag up a few minutes before the sailing club, thus 'claiming' the broad for the day.
Before we left on our homeward leg we were presented with medals. I love medals! 
Ross (regatta organiser) presents Will with his 'longest distance travelled to visit regatta but not actually enter a race' medal.
Woodcut on her way.
Jamie and Sim getting us through Potter bridge.
Heads down.
Geek shot of rigging on Buff Tip.
Yours truly  wearing that shirt. I had forgotten that the day before, Norwich had been destroyed 7-1 on the opening day of the season. even in the slightly rarefied atmosphere of the Broads I was happily heckled by a few well intentioned types.

All in all a truly delightful weekend, the weather could only have been bettered with a bit more wind, we spent most of our time sailing and the rest enjoying the company of some of life's better souls, boats and humans.


tillerman said...


Anonymous said...

Fab Alex, captures it beautifully. Love the pics of Sim and Will!

Mondale said...

Thanks Tillerman, 'superb' rightly sums up one the most enjoyable sailing weekends of my life.
(and only 18 months after I'd promised to get 'back on the water')

Crooky said...

Thanks for the beer! Great to see you,though there was no need to worry about the lack of racing insurance. Atmospheric photos. PS Slipstream won a cup (at last!!)

Greg and Kris said...

Excellent recap of an edge-of-the-seat outing. In the case, the back edge of the seat seems to have seen the most action.

Smilicus said...

I like the style of racing or lack there of and just taking the in the social scene.

Good Post...keep it up

Kimberlad said...


Anonymous said...

Well done chaps, saw you all there and getting in the spirit of the weekend. A medal shoulf of been awarded to yourselves for the best stocked beer cellar on a half decker.

Tony Bennett said...

Great blog, hope to see you at next weekend's HVR then!