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 Photo: Susie Spivey


Autumn Cruise Web 19Photo: Ian Stewart 

Cruise Leader's Report by Colin Little


This year’s cruise commenced on Friday evening with 16 members meeting at The Lion pub at Thurne for dinner. Early arrivals mid-afternoon were in the form of cruise leaders Frankie and Colin Little in Sandpiper, Carolyn and Jimmy James in Moon Daisy and Sally and Richard Culling in Picus. 


There was early drama! The forecast strong westerly wind materialised during the afternoon and the predictable cluster of enormous hire cruisers duly descended on Thurne dyke, with similarly predictable chaos ensuing as successive boats became uncontrollable in the strong cross-wind and finished up across the dyke. Cue Richard C to his first and second rescues of the afternoon in fending off and redirecting recalcitrants and generally offering constructive advice to hirers.


Not long afterwards a man on a hire cruiser heretofore proceeding gently up towards the pump house fell off its stern, hitting his head badly on either the stern of the cruiser or the quay-heading, or both. Cue Culling, on his way back to Picus from dealing with an earlier cruiser ‘incident’, to help heave the struggling casualty from the dyke and administer first aid to a casualty who was in some trouble, shocked, slightly concussed and going on hypothermic. Well done Richard!


Earlier dramas notwithstanding (casualty taken to the pub to await the care of the summoned paramedics) a thoroughly sociable evening was enjoyed by 16 members over dinner as the promised storm, as forecast, passed through overnight and Sandpiper received a thorough external and internal soaking requiring her crew to sleep in plastic bags!


Saturday however dawned with bright sunshine and gentle breeze as the first of the expected participating crews, Sandpiper, Lily, Moon Daisy, Nutcracker and Pinkers assembled for the start of the planned cruise to Barton broad and the embryo fleet set off at 1100 bound for the Ant and our planned overnight mooring kindly provided by our good friends the Norfolk Punt Club in the form of their Barton broad club pontoons.


The passage to Barton via Ludham Bridge was very busy with hire boats but relatively uneventful for most, and the early arrivals met up with Liz and Colin Chettleburgh, who had the NPC pontoons fired up and ready to receive boarders, on Bewitched, following which the full fleet of ‘Cruiseristas’ gradually assembled with the arrival of the remaining booked in boats. They included Suzie and John in their launch Swallowtail (aka The Gin Palace) complete with a superb prepared treasure hunt for distribution and completion around the broad during the afternoon.


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 Photo: Jimmy James


Late afternoon saw the completion of what was a fairly taxing treasure hunt, tea and cake beautifully prepared by the skipper, the grand opening of The Gin Palace Bar and the treasure hunt prize giving wonderfully presented in gin by Suzie and John. 


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 Photo: Liz Chettleburgh


Drone photo-coverage of the event was ably controlled by Ian Stewart in Kobweb. Autumn Cruise Web 18

 Photo: Ian Stewart 


Of particular and undoubtedly amusing note was the tie-breaking limerick competition required to determine the tied third placed crews, based on verse prepared at sea. Modesty prevents me revealing the winning limerick, which involved a young woman from Barton and Dolly Parton, but the overall result of the hunt was 1st. Moon Daisy with Carolyn and Jimmy, who had engaged their secret squirrel, Lesley, nicked from Lily whose skipper we are informed simply ‘does not do treasure hunts’. 2nd were Julie, Paul and Mark in Pinkers, 3rd were Frankie and Colin in Sandpiper (on tie-break with Bewitched).


Saturday evening was enjoyed with a BBQ around tables provided by NPC, with nattering going into the small hours and apparently from the racket much quaffing of Chateau Vino Collapso.


Sunday came forth with sunshine and a gentle soldier’s wind, courtesy of the cruise leader, for the sail down river by the fleet which was disturbed for Sandpiper, who acting as tail gunner, was able to rescue Moon Daisy whose engine that had been intermittently troublesome previously, decided to stop at How Hill. MD was duly taken in tow to Ludham Bridge and was thus able to sail home to Womack.


Not being downtrodden by dogs, horses, relations or suchlike Lily, Pinkers, Nutcracker and Sandpiper finished their part in the cruise with lunch rafted up on South Walsham broad in warm sunshine, a fitting end to a most enjoyable weekend in excellent and stimulating company, thank you all fellow Cruiseristas for taking part in what will be remembered as a most enjoyable cruise in company!


Special thanks are due to the commodore and members of the Norfolk Punt Club for their kindness in allowing us to use their facilities, including their gas BBQ and Loos, Liz and Colin Chettleburgh for pre-starting the pontoons and cakes and Suzie and John for their superb treasure hunt with points and prizes.


Cruisristas taking part were:


Sandpiper, Lily, Nutcracker, Bewitched, Picus, Pinkers, Moon Daisy, Rosie, Ragdoll, Kobweb, Sun Glory, Glider and Swallowtail


Missing links were:


Pippinjack (Shielding)

Moss Ross (Self-isolating)

Dove (Man-flu)

Evergreen (Weather-bound)



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 Photo: Frankie Little


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 Photo: Frankie Little

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 Photo: Liz Chettleburgh


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 Photo: Jimmy James


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 Photo: Jimmy James


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 Photo: Sally Jones



Autumn Cruise Web 10Photo: Sally Jones


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 Photo: Ian Stewart 


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 Photo: Ian Stewart 


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Autumn Cruise Web 16Photo: Ian Stewart


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Photo: Ian Stewart