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SWAN 72 – Report
03/05/2022 By Web Developer

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SWAN 72 – Report

 

The first challenge was getting to Norfolk!  The M25 nearly won but eventually we reached the sanctuary of the 1st Hoveton and Wroxham Sea Scout HQ, where crews could finally assemble in person and a hot meal was enjoyed by all.  After a night on the floor and breakfast, crews headed to ‘Roys’ to complete the food shop for the week.

Following lunch at the Scout HQ, crews made their way to boatyards, stowed kit and provisions and prepared to sail.  Our fifteen boats were divided into 4 squadrons of 3 or 4 boats; most of which were at Hunter’s Yard on Womack Water.

Without providing a step-by-step itinerary it would be worth noting both the ‘highs’ and ‘challenges’ from the week:

First of all, we were blessed by fantastic weather – not always a given in April.  The promised rain and mid-week strong winds did not materialise.  The frosty mornings were magical, if you were up early enough and there were more than one or two brave souls donning shorts!

 

Magical Early Morning

Fleet Dyke

 

The first day challenge is to ensure everyone gets on the helm.  It is no mean task to persuade a first time SWAN member to take charge of a 4/5 tonne gaff rig keelboat.  All duly accomplished and so everything was set up for the week.

 

Moored at

Fleet Dyke

Saturday’s mooring was at Fleet Dyke; the entrance dyke to South Walsham Broad.  It was after our first night on board that we had one of those special misty mornings where the light, mist and scenery combine to paint a perfect Norfolk picture; assuming you were up early enough to see it!

The next two days were spent up and down the River Ant with a lively session on Barton Broad on Monday.  This resulted in a couple ‘ducks’ including the rescue of one skipper who fell in attempting to release his main sheet that was wrapped around a channel marker post.

 

Navigating Ludham Bridge

on The River Ant

Whilst it may not have featured too highly on some people’s list of priorities, a shower at our mooring at Barton Turf was certainly welcome, if not needed!

 

Breakfast at

Salhouse Broad


The sail up towards Wroxham was challenging, as the number of both trees either side of the river and other craft increased.  This combined with an intermittent and generally decreasing wind, ensured slow progress.  An early mooring on Salhouse Broad was welcomed; especially so in light of the very early start that day.

 

 

Early starts are often necessary in order to take full advantage of both tides and clearance under bridges.  This is particularly so at Potter Heigham.  Anyone who has been under the old bridge at ‘Potter’ will vouch for the fact, that for most yachts, there is precious little clearance even at low tide.

 

 

Going through ‘Potter’ opens up a beautiful area of The Broads.  It gives access to Horsey Mere and to Hickling Broad.  We spent time on Horsey including a break for lunch where we moored alongside other boats in the fleet.  One boat, a Hustler, went on an adventure: quanting up the narrow Waxham New Cut as far as Brograve Drainage Mill.  All was going well despite the low draught of the boat with 13+ people on board, until one of their two quant poles was left behind by an overzealous quanter.

Friday saw an early finish in order to prepare the boats for handover the next morning and there followed a final fish and chip supper in Ludham Village Hall.  This is where general raucous behaviour masquerades as award and certificate presentations and singing.  There are various awards for those young people excelling at their level and the infamous ‘Duck’ Trophy (see reference to Barton Broad above) and the Quanter’s Fever Trophy.  Rumour has it that some previous winners have needed to have a quant pole cut from their hands refusing to let go, even with a strong wind blowing. Each squadron writes their own song and presents it to one and all.  The songs usually pay reference to the many incidents that happen during the week that are often unseen by other boats.

 

Galley Boy

Certificate Presentation

On reflection there were not many lows despite the early starts and very tired young people on the way home.  We know that all our Winchester young people had a thoroughly good time – don’t just take my word ask them!  They are looking forward to next year and keen to develop on the next step of the SWAN training scheme: Senior Galley Boys/Girls.  They were a credit both to their Groups/Units and to Winchester Scout District; I am immensely proud of what they have all achieved.

My aim is to include more young people from Winchester on SWAN 73.  There is the challenge to you all!

SWAN 73 31st March - 8th April 2023

Greetings from The SWAN 72 Winchester Contingent (+ Quant Pole)

Remus Sawyerr

SWAN & Winchester ASU

 

 

Winchester District Scouts

 

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