EXCELSIOR CRUISE IN COMPANY GOES SOCIAL TO BEAT WEATHER
The wettest, windiest weather failed to worry about 40 boaters who turned out for the Cruise in Company to celebrate the Excelsior Trust's 25th Anniversary.
The 3-7 September 2008 cruise, planned to be by motor boats escorting "Excelsior" herself down the East Coast from Lowestoft to Harwich and Ipswich, foundered in the face of monsoon-like force 7s and 8s - but if things were wet at sea, socially life for the boaters was a huge success.
Excelsior trustee Paul Thomas had masterminded three previous Cruises in Company with fellow trustee Jamie Campbell as crew for "Anglia Afloat". When sailor and "Excelsior" volunteer Janet Jury proposed the trust should run one, the pattern was set. Fourteen boats were entered, including sponsors craft from Broom Boats and Norfolk Yacht Agency.
They were due to cruise south from Lowestoft, alongside the old trawler for part of the trip but on the eve of departure day, forecasts suggested it was going to be rough, tough and potentially dangerous for the motor boats. Even wizened Scots skipper Bill Ewen admitted the mighty 100 tons of oak, "Excelsior" might notice the weather. Paul Thomas suggested a significant shortening of course to tackle Southwold but entries were sceptical even of that eight mile trip and so the itinerary was totally re-worked - to take in the Norfolk Broads, dropping off "Excelsior" at Yarmouth’s Maritime Festical which had invited her attendance!
The decision was right - and everyone enjoyed four nights of social entertainment, voted the tops on the last night when awards were given out for notable moments, amusing, dramatic, wet and wild.
The Cruise centred on the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club on days one and two from where "Excelsior" sails frequently on her voyages with various charitable groups.
The trustees of "Excelsior" and the organisers of the cruise give their greatest thanks to sponsors Broom Boats, Burton Waters and Norfolk Yacht Agency, also wideangles.tv for their kind contributions, sponsorship of parties and entertainment. A big thank you goes to David Cusworth of Clipper Ventures plc for his visit and entertaining talk and film.
Thank you also to "Anglia Afloat" and its editor John Lawson for promoting the event - watch out for its multi-page special on the Cruise, out 1st November.
They also thank you - the entrants and you are now supporters who will receive our future news and we hope you enjoy your memberships for this year - and continue! Also thanks to the Reedham Ferry, Duke’s Head and Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club and their staffs for help and service.
Finally we are sorry to have missed Shotley, Ipswich Haven and Southwold venues and particularly meeting the Picton Castle and Des Pawson, Ipswich Maritime Trust chairman. We hope we may meet up one day, weather permitting.
FOR A FULL REPORT AND MORE PICTURES - see the November 2008 issue of "Anglia Afloat".