Day 2 of our annual sailing weekend over and despite all the warnings about high winds and 30 odd mph gusts, it has not been too calamitous as we all decided to reef down the sails to the maximum. This is ok until the boats enter into a tree lined area when we catch no wind and end up being unable to move or steer. No-one yet has qualified for the Bowsprit Trophy, awarded to the skipper whose boat causes or sustains the most damage. Were the trophy awarded for the best display of incompetence or most embarrassing moment it would be a different matter.
It would be a split decision between Rick's boat getting stuck in an apple tree on the river Bure, necessitating taking the sails down to extract themselves and our boat floundering around in the middle of Ranworth Broad whist we were unable to work out why the sails wouldn't go up.
On that latter occasion, had Rick not spotted that we had let our scissors (folding mahogany supports to support the lowered boom, mast etc) fall into the water we might still be looking for them now and would have automatically won the trophy on account of having lost the damage deposit.
Yesterday, our transit beneath the fabled Potter Heigham bridge was less than dignified. Wind and tide was against us as we lowered the masts and set off paddling towards the two parallel bridges, the single span modern one and the arched ancient one. I was in the first of the three boats. On reaching the first bridge the wind was so strong that it blew us backwards and we had to gather our strength and try again. By the time we reached the narrow arch of the second bridge the tide was ripping through against us and we barely made it. I thought my arms were going to drop off.
So then we returned on foot to collect boat no 2 with an enlarged crew of four paddlers and one steerer and made a rather better fist of it. By the time we got to boat no3 we were getting severely knackered so resorted to having six paddlers and one steerer. Despite all the extra power the added weight in the boat didn't help and we still managed to struggle, but we made it somehow. Anyone watching, and there were a few, must have thought what a ragbag crew we were.
Should be some miracle we survive without any damage to the boats the Trophy will have yet another rollover year.