Now you see them – now you don’t


It is the end of the sailing season on the Norfolk Broads – apart from a few hearty souls who brave the frost and the snow in order to bob about in their boats through the winter months.

For most of us October is a month when the boats come out of the water and reside in dry sheds so that one has a chance to clean, repair and polish them for the next year.


Last week I was privileged to watch boats belonging to Hunter’s Yard at Ludham being taken out of the water and moved into the large sheds for the winter.


It’s quite a complex operation requiring team work skill, a knowledge of how levers work and quite a lot of human muscle.


Two things struck me – the first was the quiet way in which each boat was hauled out of the water. No shouting – just clear concise instructions given mainly by one person. Maybe they thought a visitor was listening, but there wasn’t the grunting, cursing and general bad language that accompanies the way in which amateurs lift relatively small craft out of the water.


The other was the way in which each boat was perfectly balanced on its keel, One man with usually one hand steadied the boat as it was turned in the shed and moved to its position.



A gentle wash down

A slick operation and on the whole impressive. There was also an element of speed. One minute the boat was in the water – the next it was being tucked away in its own space ready for the winter overhaul. A mooring space which at the beginning of the morning had been choked with boats was rapidly emptying.

You have to be there promptly to watch this operation.

Hence my title – Now you see them – now you don’t.