Sponsor Hoi Larntan in The Great River Race

The Great River Race Saturday 7th September 2013

We are going to race 21 miles down the River Thames from the Docklands to Ham Common in our newly built St Ayles Skiff.   This is a traditional wooden boat built by the community and powered by 4 oars and laughter.  Our boat, the Hoi Lantarn, was launched at the end of May and since then we have been tirelessly training by rowing from Blakeney out to visit the seals at Blakeney Point on the beautiful North Norfolk Coast. Last weekend found us being prised out of our beds very early on a Sunday morning and rowing the 8 miles or so back home from Wells.    We have also taken part in the inaugural St Ayles Skiff World Championships in Ullapool, where we finished a very creditable 16.  None of us are professional rowers (some have only rowed a couple of times before the boat was launched) but we like a challenge, and that is why we want to row  London’s river marathon and raise lots of money for Prostate Cancer UK.

Many people are happy to donate when asked by Family or Friends

Andy M sent this email to his contacts:-

Two years ago I grew a moustache in the “Movember” event (http://uk.movember.com/) to raise money for Prostate Cancer – partly because of friends who had suffered and partly because it was a neglected area in Mens’ Health.  Little did I know that two months later a random blood test would reveal that I had incurable cancer of the prostate – what a bummer!

My anti-hormone treatment means that I am unable to grow a moustache and other treatments make me tired.  Luckily I was able to take part in the construction of Hoi Larntan – a St Ayles Skiff which is a type of 4-man coastal rowing boat (see the story here https://crablakeney.wordpress.com/).

We are sending a crew to the Great River Race in London on 7TH September 2013 (http://www.greatriverrace.co.uk/) to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK and also towards a new boat as the sport is proving very popular.

I would ask you to consider this carefully and to think of donating any amount no matter how small – every bit really does help.  See http://www.justgiving.com/HoiLantarn 

Thank you for reading this.

Within 24 hours donations amounting to £570 had been generously given and continue to pour in.

Please take a short while to publicise this appeal by copying and sending to all your contacts.

Another new experience…

Sunday saw us rowing Hoi Larntan in front of the crowds gathered on the quay at Wells as we took part in the Wells Harbour Commissioners Harbour Day (their 350th anniversary!).

Barrie and Andrea not only provided the ‘gazebo’ tent but stayed all day to man the stand – many thanks. 

It was a great opportunity to parade the skiff in front of so many new people and the chance to talk to a wide cross-section who were very taken with the concept.




We had at least eight outings with many who had not rowed before. 8 and 5 year old ‘passengers’ with their parents and as a finale the ladies of Wells who really showed their ability to adapt to new skills.



A very successful day, lovely weather and our thanks to Wells Harbour Commissioners.

Maybe we have sown a few more seeds?

Ullapool comes to Blakeney….

….well, Topher Dawson and his wife Jan did. Firstly a punishing cycle ride through the mountainous North Norfolk countryside to Nelson’s birthplace, then an exhilarating row in Hoi Larntan to sample the delights of rowing in the Pit.




For those, who may not know, Topher was one of the driving forces behind building the first St Ayles skiffs and ‘Ulla’ in particular. He then spearheaded the organisation at Ullapool that culminated in the wonderfully successful World Skiffie Championships that we competed in and enjoyed so much back in July.  

His trip to Norfolk was mainly to take part in the English sail and oar Raid, but the opportunity of seeing Hoi Larntan in her native setting was added to his schedule. 


Fresh water:

By way of a complete contrast, Hoi Larntan was invited to join the Norfolk Skiff Club (a.k.a. Adrian Hodge) and fellow ‘members’, for an outing on the Broads.

Launching at Cox’s Marina, Barton Turf, we joined Adrian’s lovely Edwardian (1903?) Thames skiff ‘Cherub’, Andy and Katy Marczewski brought along the coracle Andy built, Philip Waring launched his recently completed and beautifully finished Annapolis sculling wherry. Lynne Hodge, Peter and Sarah Cranness, Robin Forrest and Ian were joined by James to make up the required crews.

A perfect day of bright sunshine, but with a breeze freshening to Force 5, made for a challenging row across Barton Broad. Half way, by the Norfolk Punt club’s floating clubhouse, we were intercepted by the jovial, bearded figure of The Reverend Neville Khambatta – who, by coincidence and among his many other energetic activities was finalising his preparations as organiser of the English Raid that Topher and friends were about to embark on. Incestuous, the world of rowing!







We stuck our noses into tiny little staithes with near overgrown entrances and rowed round the edges of the Broad before stopping for a  picnic lunch and a chance to stretch legs. Suitably refreshed, Andy coxed us back to the middle of the Broad where in traditional style we were treated to the Norfolk Punt Club’s renowned hospitality of tea and cakes. A gentle row – for once with the wind behind us – Katy coxing and Andy rowing, and suddenly it was all over. A great day showing how adaptable Hoi Larntan is, and we may have sown seeds of a St Ayles skiff for the Broads too.


Epic row from Wells-Next-The-Sea to Blakeney

07:30 on a sparkling, sunny morning we gathered at the Wells Sailing Club slipway to launch. Apart from Hoi Larntan, Jonathan, Adrian T and Victoria brought their single sculls with Mike in Adrian’s launch as safety boat.

Richard Cracknell and other Wells SC members kindly assisted us in between preparing their beautiful International 12 square metre Sharpies for racing.

The last of the flood tide swept Antonia, Ian, Adrian H, Mark at stroke and Elaine as cox in the skiff, rapidly to the East and into the channels behind the marshes. Stark but stunning scenery – even if a little short on depth of water in places.


The scullers led us through the footbridge and we rounded another bend to burst out into a broad expanse of open water to the West of Stiffkey. Not quite as dark as the photo suggests but the waves were real – especially for the racing sculls with next to no freeboard!



Countless seals came to check we really were daft enough to be doing what we were doing, coming close up to the boats to get a good look.

Barrie and Andrea appeared in the RIB with the good news that they had coffee and vital sustenance aboard. Juliet and Pooh circled in the crab-boat keeping an eye on proceedings too.

After a little judicious seamanship we all reached the safety of the Old Lifeboat Station on the South shore of Blakeney Spit and treated ourselves to the aforementioned coffee and chocolate vittals.



After meeting up with the entourage of Green family we all steadily made our way across to the Cut and Blakeney slipway. Adrian emptied more water out of his scull than is normally recommended for comfortable flotation, but he made it.

Despite the length of row and slightly sore rears, we were all so elated with our passage – it seemed to have gone so quickly.  Definitely one to be repeated next year.