Of ships and shoes and sealing wax…

Our tireless travellers Rosemary and Robin called in to Perth, Western Australia to cadge an outing with the snappily-named Warrnambool St Ayles Skiff Community Rowing Club – as one does.

The weather was unforgiving so a gentle row up the Merri River was in order. Even got the photo to prove it:


Meanwhile back in North Norfolk UK a strange event. While calmly rowing back across Barton Broad in pleasant sunshine a large object like a telegraph pole suddenly leapt up out the water right in front of Bluejacket. The cox’s re-actions were woefully inadequate and a nasty crunching noise was heard. Luckily this was not Tom’s ribs cracking as he was flung backwards on to bow’s legs! It was the sound of one of our beautiful oars giving in to a superior force.

Without wishing to name names, the photo of a well known kitchen and dog (below) may be a clue as to the identity of the above-mentioned cox! Repairs under way:



As a reminder of our foray into the realms of competitive racing at the Skiffie Worlds on Strangford Lough near Belfast in the Summer, a few survivors gathered for a light supper…


Or, maybe, that should be a dark supper?



The antidote…

Trump, Brexit, Ed Balls leaves Strictly and Norwich come second in their game on Saturday!!

Fear not, we have the answer to gloom and doom: row at sunny Barton!

Alan tells the tale of Saturday’s row:

“The enthusiasm of Alan, Amy, Barry, Catherine and Diana outweighed the small drops of rain while launching at 10 o’clock today

We all took turns as cox, stroke, seat 3, seat 2 and bow.  After the initial rusty start and some practice dipping the oars in time with stroke, the team started pulling together.  We enjoyed gliding through the recovery stage of the row cycle!  Eventually when we found our rhythm we even enjoyed the drive part and were hitting the catch point together.

Picnic at How Hill gave opportunity to take team photos and exchange stories.  Best story has to go to Catherine’s turning up to a dinner party with a newborn pig in tow!

It has to be said that the row back with Catherine and Diana taking it in turns as cox and stroke got the best out of the team.

Amy spotted the Kingfisher, which does appear in the photograph but it has just taken to flight!”

That which has to be done…


With the paper-work sorted, heading out across the Broad with a patch of blue sky.


Relaxing and serene.


Errrr? No comment:


No prizes, but can you spot the kingfisher?


Tidying up afterwards:


Again I have to admit – No comment!!


If you haven’t tried rowing at Barton, well….!


P.S. Thanks to all who came to turn the boat on Saturday – first coat of varnish on.

All in a day’s work…

A good team turned up to help lift Hoi Larntan on to the building frame and then turn her over. Before I had time to say “Put the kettle on…” five pairs of hands were feverishly working away with sandpaper.

Someone had to tidy up…always pays to get a man who can handle machinery!



Brief stop for a cup of Andrea’s delicious tea (and a biscuit) then on with the undercoat…


Thanks to all who helped today.

If we are going to make it to the Carrow Cup we shall need to turn her over again next Saturday (26th), so more help please. I know one or two are away, but please come at 14:00 if you can, just to help turn. After that it’s varnishing and touching up the blue and yellow.


A little birdie tells me our friends at Wells are ready to fit the stems to their now fully- planked hull. Good news!

What it’s all about…

An enjoyable the row on the River Ant today.  We shot under the A149 at Wayford Bridge where we moored up for coffee and cake.  The photos go some way towards sharing the fun.  There was much conversation in the boat so I suppose we could have gone faster but there is more to rowing than speed!
As well as the good company in the boat we enjoyed the attentions of geese, swans, several marsh harriers, long horned cattle and Tom, as cox, enjoyed the day’s only siting of a Kingfisher.  We saw no other boats out unless you count the two, each with an endlessly patient fisherman!
Views along the way…
The coffee stop…
The way home…Yes, it has rained a bit lately.
Time to pack up…
Thanks to Alan for story and photos.

Start of the Winter season…

Bluejacket made her way to Barton Turf. As we set off, the water was glassy smooth, the air chilly but with little wind.

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The row across the Broad was steady and pleasant. We turned up the river towards How Hill in company with a fine little electric-powered launch whose occupants greeted us, having seen us at the Norfolk Punt Club platform a year or two back, sampling the the renowned tea and cakes.

We had already been overtaken by our Cockle-sailing colleague from Morston in his beautifully home-built Finnish skiff. Here seen leaving us after a coffee break at How Hill, his rear(forward??)-view mirrors well in evidence.

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We took a little longer over coffee – discussing the merits of adding toe-straps to our footrests! Yes, well…no comment.

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A good thing we had dressed for the Arctic as the row back across Barton Broad was into the teeth of a freshening and bitterly chilly Northerly breeze – initially in the sun, but three quarters of the away across, we were blessed by a sharp rain shower! Needless to say it stopped as we hauled the boat out having, by then, already soaked us.

Yes the Winter season is well under way.


Thanks to Alan for the photos.



On Saturday 12 November we are starting the process of cleaning, sanding and re-painting Hoi Larntan in Barrie’s barn at Bayfield Brecks. We shall be needing six pairs of hands initially please – working on her the right way up, so no need to turn her over at this stage. If you can come – anytime from 10:00 to 16:00 – even if only for an hour or so – please do. We have a target of sprucing her up and making her shiny for the Carrow Cup event in Norwich on 10 December – so a tight schedule.

The paint job we plan for Hoi Larntan is to repeat what we currently have – but more ambitious schemes have been seen on the Scottish Coastal Rowing web-site:

“Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will witness a double St Ayles skiff launch on 26 October. The building of these St Ayles skiffs has been an outreach project involving young people from five local schools and run by Caroline Barrie-Smith, Community Participation & Learning Officer.

The young people will take part in coastal rowing experiences with Portsmouth Sail Training Trust (PSTT) and London based charity Oarsome Chance who have helped fund the project.”



Maybe next year, perhaps…!?

Time to move…

With daylight hours reducing, the chances of catching the tide at Blakeney get more remote now, so one boat emigrates to Barton Turf for the winter months.

We can be more relaxed and choose our time to row, confident there will be fairly smooth water in abundance.

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Can’t always guarantee the sunshine – but we can hope.


The plan is to collect one boat from the Carnser on 1st November and the first row is booked for Saturday 5th on Barton Broad (see our Calendar page) and available every day thereafter, morning and afternoon.

It’s always worth putting your name on the calendar, even if you are the first one – others usually follow. You may get an outing as lovely as in the picture above.

The other boat is due to stay at Blakeney, for the time being, ready to row as usual – watch this space for further developments.