Sunday, 9 June 2013

Wells-next-the-Sea Drascombe Association Rally, 7-9 June, 2013

Luggers Piper and Snowgoose in Holkham Bay
Finally, I made it to a Wells-next-the-Sea rally, previous efforts being defeated by a blown turbo about 7 years ago, followed by several years of clashes with other rallies. It was well worth the wait!

Wells-next-the-Sea, approaching from the North Sea
Sailing at Wells is governed by tidal windows which are comparatively brief.  There were two sailing opportunities on Saturday - early morning and evening.  Admiral's orders were to be ready to set sail at 06.05 on Saturday morning.  Oddly enough, this was just about the only time the sun shone!
A trio of coasters at 05:15, Saturday morning, ready for the forthcoming fleet action.
So, at 06:05 on 8 June, we set sail.  The original aim had been to make a two-tide trip to Burnham Overy, drying out over lunchtime and then sailing back in the early evening.  North-easterly winds put paid to that idea.  Instead, having motored out of Wells harbour, we had the most marvellous time reaching one way and another in Holkham Bay.  The log demonstrates a determined effort to colour in this area over the three sails (Saturday morning, evening and Sunday morning).  Google Earth's weirwolf-like image of the extensive sandbank, known as "Bob Hall's Sand," framing this shoreline shows why, despite the north-easterly wind, the bay remains fairly sheltered.  Waves were increasingly pronounced the further north west we ventured.
Google Earth image of sailing track.  The town of Wells-next-the-Sea is at the left hand foot of the image, and we were based at the pontoon next to the quay here.  The image shows the relatively new construction of the outer harbour, which is for vessels servicing various shoal wind farms springing up in the North Sea.  This has made necessary the dredging of a new channel from the outer harbour - controversial since it has made the leisure sailing area in Holkham Bay less accessible for some.  The channel from the outer harbour south to the town has also been redirected since my older chart had been published.  Fortunately, I've downloaded the new 2013 version onto my Imray ipad app - expensive but (I keep trying to convince myself) absolutely necessary!
Saturday morning (white track: 10.9nm), Saturday evening (red track: 6.1nm), Sunday morning (green track: 6.4nm); total 23.4nm: season's total 177.6nm.

Winds were a consistent north easterly F4, and the bay provided plenty of waves for fun without being overwhelming for Drascombes - in fact, perfect Drascombing weather (excepting the lack of sunshine!).  During the course of three sails, I managed to take various snaps, together with some video footage.
Various Drascombes in Holkham Bay
Lugger What-knot 
Longboat Cruiser Alouette

Lugger Jimbo heeling
Lugger Jimbo and crew!
Various Drascombe shots
Blue hulled lugger - Tamarisk
Lugger Snowgoose with majestic, dual batten-roached main and mizzen sails
Lugger Piper
Longboat cruiser Alouette
Lugger What-knot
Coaster Liberty Jane
Lugger Piper chasing Scaffie Honeysuckle Rose
Coaster Gabriel Oak
And, finally, a picture of Daisy II, kindly sent by the skipper of Jimbo.
Coaster Daisy II, (picture kindly provided by Yann, skipper of Jimbo)
Later on Saturday, I walked over to see what it all looks like at low tide...
Holkham Bay at low tide
Complimentary moorings on the pontoons were kindly provided by the harbour master at Wells.
Pontoon moorings at Wells, with the town quay beyond

What's in a name?
On Saturday evening, following a second sail, we were treated to a picnic barbecue on the beach near the bay, an area cunningly known as 'Big Gap Dunes'.
Approaching the barbecue
Barbecue at Big Gap Dunes

Beached Drascombes!
(as another contributor noted) the patent Drascombe Galley (photo courtesy of Richard and Carol Clammer)
After a third sail on Sunday morning, it was sadly time to be on our way!
Drascombe departures from the public slip, Wells-next-the-Sea.  I bided my time with this one - this is a steep slip, particularly at the top and with little room for manoeuvre, leading as it does onto a narrow road.  There is a driveway opposite which could come in handy as an escape road!   All boats were safely recovered; I still managed to shave a couple of thousand miles from the front tyres when pulling Daisy II and trailer onto the level road.
The other feature of this trip was the successful debut of the new mizzen boom!
New mizzen boom debut
Postscript (added 24th June 2013)
Since writing this post, copious quantities of other photos have come to light, gathered together in this dropbox file.
In particular, several pictures of Daisy II in action.  So few photos come to light, it is always good to share; so, here goes:
launching at Wells public slipway

Sailing in Holkham Bay


sizzling 'summer'  barbecue...


  1. The blue hulled boat no name(?) is Tamarisk

    1. Many thanks! I'll change it. I tried to find out as many names as I could but missed some.