Pushing the boat out…

A week later than the rest of the country because of tide times but Blakeney Sailing Club and CRAB hit the target with free sailing and rowing to all who wanted to have a go. Saturday was a near-perfect Summer’s day and both our boats introduced new-comers to rowing a St Ayles skiff in the sun.

Sunday reverted to East Coast grey with a sharp Northerly! This was not enough to deter a brave gang of visitors and locals keen to push the boat out and get a taste of being on the water. Ranging in age from those old enough to know better, through fit and healthy West Country Mark and Jo (see below) and a three-generation family whose youngest member pulled hard enough to snap a thole pin!

Saturday, gathering at Head Office (Anta’s car):…


Sunday, pulling the first boat out:…


And just to prove it:…


Thanks to our resident signwriter/maker, Steve Soanes for the photos.

Very happy to welcome Marc Peters and Jo, both experienced gig and galley rowers from Dartmouth where the BOMS Blades Rowers are nearing completion of their first St Ayles skiff build. Looking forward to seeing them on the water at the Skiffie worlds in Strangford at the end of July. We have been following their progress on Facebook and Mark has posted a very kind thank you there if you have a look.

Richard, Barry, Rosemary and Robin, Jenny, Victoria and Roland took turns ensuring everyone had a good row while a frozen Victoria E made a note of contact details – Andrea rushed back home to make us all life-reviving flasks of hot coffee while Barrie took charge of at least three dogs! Great to see Katy (plus andther dog) and Andy (who we egged on to cox) and their daughter Jess who rowed.

Thanks to all who helped on both days and, of course, Anta for masterminding it.



Just when you need it…

Alan has a salutary tale for us all…a slight twist on the usual “it only works when you wear it” theme.

Safety Alert – CRAB gets its life jackets serviced annually, do you?

One of our members, using his own lifejacket (not one of the club’s ones), encountered a problem that he felt ought to be brought to our attention:

He managed, accidentally, to pull the inflate cord on his lifejacket when he was getting Hoi Larntan out of the water, and the jacket failed to inflate fully .

Gas was clearly leaking from around the trigger mechanism, and it didn’t inflate enough even to allow easy access to the mouth top-up pipe.

The jacket is a Seago classic 180N, 18 months old and apparently in good order.  He had not had it serviced, but had checked it visually, ensured the CO2 cylinder was firmly screwed in, and had manually inflated it to ensure there were no leaks in the jacket itself.

Closer examination, the following morning, revealed that the nut holding the trigger mechanism to the jacket was less tight than it could be – though it still needed a spanner to move it.   He disassembled it, checked the two O-rings that seal it, lubricated with silicone grease and reassembled.  He then tested with one of the cylinders that were condemned but returned to us when CRAB’s jackets were serviced – it worked perfectly.

The moral of the story is ‘get them serviced’ and hope the service would pick up this sort of thing!

Your committee will be discussing this at their next meeting.

To the Watch House…

A brisk Easterly kicking up a few small waves in the Pit but warm sunshine in the shelter. So we set out to have coffee and bask in the sun by the old Watch House on the North side of the harbour.

Friendly encouragement from the cox:


What’s this – casual one-handed rowing in the number three seat…?


Mission accomplished…


For those of a certain age, the facilities (sporting a fine 1970s Avocado loo) make this an appealing destination…please leave the flushing-bucket under the drainpipe when you leave – to fill up again from rainwater!


Just time for a short row up the Cley Channel before getting back to beat the tide…Blakeney Church on the sky-line above Bluejacket’s rudder:


Photos courtesy Rosemary and Tom.


Wet, wet, wet…nearly!

Adrian, Catherine and Robin joined by sculler Jonathan enjoyed a four-handed row on Saturday evening, returning to the Carnser to find what a 9.3 tide means (authorised rowers, note the height is given on the booking calendar). Whilst Catherine escaped through ankle-deep water in her Nissan Note, Adrian, Jonathan and Robin watched as the tide rose and decided to await the ebb from the safety of the White Horse from where the three cars could be seen just above the waterline in the distance. Fortunately the water rose only 3 inches up the tyres.

Words and photos from Robin – thanks.



This girl can…push the boat out!

In conjunction with Blakeney Sailing Club, Saturday and Sunday 28/29 May will see our St. Ayles skiffs available for you to come and have a row. This is part of two initiatives from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Sport England to give anyone a chance to try sailing, rowing and other watersports – and, in particular, to encourage girls and women to get more involved with active sports.


If you are 18 years and over and would like to try rowing in one of the CRAB skiffs, do come along, join in the fun and help Push The Boat Out.  To row on Saturday you will need to be at the slipway by the dinghy park at ten o’clock (till twelve o’clock) and on Sunday at eleven o’clock (till one o’clock – because of tides).   Experienced and trained rowers will be there to support and help you get the most out of the day.

For safety sake, CRAB asks that you are able to swim 50 meters and that your doctor would not advise you against rowing.  Then all you need to do is turn up wearing appropriate clothes for the weather on the day (your feet/footwear will get wet), perhaps some cycling gloves would be a good idea.  Don’t forget to bring your sense of humour!

It would help CRAB plan if you contact, in advance:  antahardcastle@icloud.com.

Refreshments will be available.

For full details of everything going on at CRAB this year, and how you can get involved, visit http://groupspaces.com/CRABlakeney/

For the full brochure and further details of sailing please see the Blakeney Sailing Club website: http://www.blakeneysailing.co.uk

or contact:   blakeneysailingclub@gmail.com



Heat late in the day…

When the tide goes out at Blakeney and the boats are put away, CRAB doesn’t stop there. After a beautiful warm, sunny day, the sultry evening drew 25 or more hot-shot rowers on the route inland for a great curry (not too hot, just deliciously flavoured) and evening at Catherine and Stephen’s farm.

After admiring the electric Tesla car and the workings of the digester, generating power for the rest of the farm by converting waste into electricity, much mardling ensued.

The flowers, to thank Catherine for her hospitality and the curry, clearly made an impact – not only on Catherine. Several wives looked meaningfully at their husbands wondering when was the last time they had been given a bunch of flowers like that!

Surprised or what…?


The ideal way to fill in time waiting for the tide to return.

A big thank you to Stephen and Catherine.