Log of FAIRWAYX - 15-22 April

Captain George Russell
1st Mate. Josephine Russell
2nd Mate. Christopher Frederick

Saturday April 15th

We arrived by train at Wroxham at 11.40 and made our way to Jack Fowlers aided and abetted by little "Arfur". Having shopped we waited about for about one and a half hours for the Ransomes since we could not get out till they had gone. We set sail at 4.40 under double reefed main and jib, all went well until we came opposite Wroxham Broad and then with the wind dead ahead we ran into the bank twice. However after many imprecations by the skipper and hard pushing by the 2nd Mate we managed to tear ourselves away from Mother Nature's embrace with half a tree stuck to the gaff. We sailed on to our usual mooring and after one attempt landed. We [were] just leaning back and saying "here we are" when a stentorian roar from the Barnacle Bill ordered us to lower our jib immediately. That done we stowed and were preparing supper by 6.45. Supper Tomato soup, chicken sandwiches, fruit, bread and jam. Having washed up in a leisurely style we went to bed at left blank. In spite of the effort of a murderous fire opened on us by our erstwhile allies, the gallant skipper paced the deck and at 8.5 the minor revolution was in hand.

WIND: S.W. Strong and very gusty
Miles: 1 1/2

Sunday April 16th

We woke at 7.0 and the Skipper made tea for a very bleary eyed crew, we were the first to get our breakfast over and after a consultation we were the first to leave for Horning under double reefed main and jib. All went very quickly until coming up to the bank at Horning we came an awful bang, luckily it was a soft one and Christopher in the bows was not thrown off. It immediately started to rain and when we had lowered sail and helped the Reynolds in, we went to shop. The mate was left in the boat as she had trodden on her toothpaste and was vainly trying to get the paste back into the tube again. We bought some beer at the pub and papers and went back to the boat for a scrappy lunch. The Ransomes passed us and did not stop. We were soon on our way again and had an uneventful reach down to Ant Mouth, we turned down Fleet Dyke to try to get to South Walsham but in a very narrow bit with the wind dead ahead. A wherry was moored and we could not get passed. I tried to row in the dinghy but there was too much wind and I was nearly cut in two for my pains as Josephine could not see me. We went back through Fleet Dyke and just as we were getting to the mouth we were hit by a bad squall. We would have to jybe to go on down the Bure but I did not dare do it and wore ship. We soon passed James who had stopped to reef again. We jybed twice and wore ship once before coming to the Thurne and the gusts were very hard. We were quite often by the lee and it was a most anxious half hour. We raced up the Thurne, lowered jib, scandalised mainsail and came in quite quickly to the mouth of Thurne Dyke where the Commodore was waiting for us. When we had lowered sail we warped in to the dyke and went back to help the Youngs and Reynolds. We repaired to the Lion for a cold supper with the Reynolds and a talk with a man who had run into the bank just above us. In bed by 10.30, quite tired.

Wind N.W.W. Fresh hard squalls.
10 3/4 miles.

Monday April 17th

his day was a complete washout as it was blowing a gale and we stayed at our moorings. The time was passed by a complete clean up, a boat race, a shipwreck or two, lots of darts and beer, a walk to Potter Heigham, another shipwreck, more darts, more beer, and food and wireless at the Lion, bed at 10.30 and a nasty cold rainy hurricany and thoroughly unpleasant night.

Wind N. 90 mile an hour

Tuesday April 18th

The wind from the day before had still not abated so we postponed sailing till after lunch. We passed the morning playing darts in the pub and a general clean up. Set sail 1.0 and sailed down the Thurne first after we got into the Bure we met a whole of boats all going the same way and the circus began. James' and our boat dealt with five of them so effectively that they were forced to tie up at the side. One of them rammed us and was so forcibly pushed off by the mate that they promptly went into the bank. The Youngs then passed us when we were exhausted after our efforts and went on to Ant Mouth. We tied up for tea with the Ransomes and watched the Reynolds shaking out their reefs 2 miles away. Then we all lowered masts and towed the boats up the Ant. We went through the bridge without stopping. We tied up above the bridge and thoroughly enjoyed fresh water being layed [sic] on. The mate made an unsuccessful attempt at supper and then went and raced also unsuccessfully. Thus heartened we went to bed in deadly fear of rats which were too much of a match for even the tough kitten we met.

Wind N. dropping. fine evening.
Miles: 4 1/4

Wednesday April 19th

This was a day of much toil and very light winds. We were dead set on getting up to Barton; so after having collected the letters and endeavoured to buy white hats we started off in grand style quanting and towing the boat by the dinghy. After about 1 1/2 miles we found we could sail and did so only having to use the quant for a very short distance below Irstead. We caught up the Reynolds who had stopped for lunch and a halte [sic] in Irstead Shoals. We stopped for a bit of lunch and then went on and were the first to navigate the perilous narrows. The Youngs tied up at the north end and we went on in an endeavour to get to Stalham. We failed by half a mile as the wind was dropping and we wanted to get below the bridge before the night. The wind died and we had to quant back to the broad, where the Ransomes kindly provided a bottle of grog to slake our thirst. We had a little difficulty going through Irstead but after that we had a running fight with the Youngs. We dropped J. at the Mill and she rowed to Ludham while we tacked more easily and shot the bridge without stopping and without Josephine. The crew was by now becoming very efficient. We sailed serenely on to the mouth of the Ant where we did a snappy arrival. Having been very abstemious the whole day we had a colossal supper of asparagus soup, irish stew, plum pudding, fruit and beer. Very merrily we went to bed early after watching the eclipse of the sun. It had been a perfect day - very hot, only marred by the lack of wind.

Wind. Light mist N.W.
Miles: 10 1/2

Thursday April 20th

We rather overslept but hurried things on as we had quite a long way to go. We had a hearty breakfast and prepared sandwiches and boiled eggs to eat on the way. We set sail at 9.40 and made a happy getaway following close on the heels of the Ransomes. The two mates took over while I tidied the foredeck, hoisted the jib, cleaned teeth and washed the decks down. We were running down the Bure and close hauled most of the way up the Thurne. We brought up on H. Wood's side and carried on straight through the bridge. We hoisted sail again and while Christopher and I went to the P.O., J. did the shopping and bought the longed for white hats. Continuing on our way to Kendal Dyke the last of all we quaffed ice cream and beer, as it was very hot and we had walked about 1 1/2 miles very fast to the P.O. We passed the Youngs in Kendal Dyke and renewed our running fight. Tacking into White Slea we met the Reynolds who had stopped for lunch and to dry Vicky's clothes. We went on into Hickling and overtook some awful Hullabaloos in a Westward and an outboard motor. They made a thorough nuisance of themselves but we managed to keep up with them right across Hickling. At the Pleasure Boat we found that poor Mrs. Ransome had been hit in the eye by a rond anchor. We bought up the shop... and soon set off again for Potter after a pleasant run across Hickling and reach down Candle we had to tack down to Potter. We had caught up the Youngs and having exchanged a broadside passed them and just kept ahead till Potter. We got through the bridge quite successfully and had a colossal tea ashore at 6.10 kindly provided by the Reynolds. Thus fortified we started a long quant but not before we had seen Thomas fall in amid great celebration. We ghosted the last mile under sail only to arrive and find the dyke full. We anchored outside in a stretch of mud and after a very scratch supper went to bed.

Wind. W. Light
Miles: 16

Friday April 21st

We got up at 7.45 and did everything at a colossal speed, so much so that we were ready to sail and moored to the windward bank while the Youngs were still washing up. We set sail successfully and hung about till the Youngs were nearly ready. We then set off at 10.10 with a run down to Thurne mouth; from there we had a close reach and then a tack and we quickly reached Ant Mouth. From here on the trees blanketed us a bit and progress was slower. We were passed by "Privateer" at Horning Ferry and then turned back to see what was wrong with the Ransomes. When we saw that they only wanted us to stop at Horning we went on and moored opposite the Town Quay: we helped all the others in and then the Mates went shopping.

The Youngs very nearly rammed us as they went off and we were soon after them, catching them when they ran aground in Horning Reach. We passed a Fairway, three Whippets and the big green boat and were the first of the fleet to enter Wroxham Broad. The Mates sailed her about the Broad for half an hour and when we were tired of sailing and were making for the Wroxham exit when we saw the Ransomes and Youngs come in at the other end. We sailed to meet them, took photographs and went on up the river and then the bloody battle began. We layed [sic] alongside, soaked the other pirates, were soaked ourselves, but captured their mop, which was duly hoisted to the mast head. Meanwhile both the boats had rammed the bank but we managed to outstrip them by using beef on the quant. The wind became negligible and we quanted up to the yard where we tied up next to a very smart boat. We had a big supper cum tea and after washing up J. stayed in the boat while Christopher and I went to play darts with the Ransomes. However since the pubs were full of sozzlers we went back to our boat and crammed in the 10 remaining pirates for a final talk and Black Magic chocolates provided by the Ransomes.

We went to bed at 10.30 having done most of our packing and cleaned up, having sworn however to leave the boat in handing over condition.

Wind. N.W. Moderate to light
Miles: 11 3/4

Saturday April 22nd

Rising at 7.30 we had an early breakfast, washed up, finished packing and then washed out the cabins, cooking locker, food lockers and cockpit. With a beautiful glow of conscience we called in Arfur and made our way to the station stopping only at Roy's to give back the unused and empties. So ended yet another very pleasant week - 2 very squally days and 4 perfect ones. We could not possibly grumble, everything went like clockwork. The crew was almost unbelievable [sic] efficient when kept up to the mark. They even impressed the Ransomes. The standard of washing was high considering the average of the whole fleet, while as pirates we could take on the best even trouncing the battle scarred Falcon. I am sure Araminta and her colleagues will long remember the 2nd mates Herculean heave while the first mate was an admirable curator of the cockpit in spite of occasional howls of "which way are we going?!"


TOTAL MILEAGE: 55 in 4 1/2 sailing days

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

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