Last weekend I had a glorious, quintessentially Norfolk experience, of going sailing on the Broads for an entirely wind powered weekend.
I’m a sucker for beautiful things, so the almost the best part was that we were on two beautiful 1930’s wooden cabin yachts.
We were the most elegant people on the Broads that weekend. And the slowest, as there was hardly any wind, but that just made it more relaxing as we whispered along at well below walking pace. The people who know how to sail in our party (I was more of a passenger/landlubber) exclaimed how much better they sail in light winds than modern yachts. Apparently not having an engine, only a pole to punt if the wind fails, really concentrates the mind.
It is fabulously silent, all we could hear was the whispering reeds along the riverbank and occasional shouts of “ready about” and “helm to lee” and other nautical jargon. (I wasn’t quite prepared for quite the level of special language, which makes it very difficult for the non sailor to help out. What can you do with an instruction to scandalise the forepeak?)
The cushioned benches in the tiny cabin were actually very comfortable to sleep on, and as the boat only had an oil lamp rather than electric lights, it was pretty muchhome from the pub and straight to bed. I woke up early, dying for a wee, to this.
If you don’t know any sailing geeks, Hunters do a skippered two-hour sail, so you can have a go with someone who knows what they’re doing. Have a look at the Hunters website here, and check the weather. It’s an idyllic ride in sunshine but would be miserable on a cold wet weekend.
Hunter’s Yard, Horsefen Road, Ludham, Norfolk NR29 5QG, United Kingdom
Telephone/Fax: +44 (0)1 692 678 263. The season runs March to October.