“All hands on deck!”….. or at least it looked like it with a good turn out to witness the return of the Admiral following his recent refit and period in drydock. Equipped with the latest high-tech armour plating, he was keen to put it to the test. As soon as three bells of the morning watch struck, it was time for the fleet to depart.
“Anchors Aweigh! Hoist the mainsail” and the thirteen strong fleet set out to navigate the tricky waterway through town bound towards Weel Bridge. A “sedantry” pace was the order of the day, but with the wind astern, it was more leisurely than sedantry as the flotilla headed east to Whitecross roundabout.
Monsignor John experienced some technical difficulties with his seat post slipping at this point and had to “heave to” in order to effect adjustments. While captain Pugwash remained with him, the rest of the fleet continued onwards. With repairs complete, it was time to rig full sail and set off in hot pursuit of the flotilla.
Pugwash in his summer “clipper ship” set a strong pace as the “lantern rouge” made a valiant effort to return to the main fleet. Passing through Leven and Brandesburton, the wind turned more to the port beam, but undeterred, we maintained full sail until regrouping at North Frodingham. It was with some relief when we sighted the main group on the horizon and a chance to “reef” the sails.
By this time, the fleet had grown to fifteen with the addition of Dave and Jenny. Captain Greybeard in his vintage galleon and retro sails, set off early along with three other vessels. After phoning ahead with the provisions requisition, it was time for the rest of the fleet to continue to the destination port at Bell Mills cafe. The “order of the day” seemed to be “thrown overboard” as Mark and the vice admiral took to the front to set a blistering pace with the rest hanging on behind.
Along the way, we caught up with Greybeard who’d suffered a breach in the hull and had careened his vessel to effect repairs. The main fleet continued onwards under full sail leaving the smaller flotilla to render assistance.
On arrival at the cafe, the fleet berthed outside in the sunshine. With the advantage of preordering, the provisions were ready quickly. Greybeard’s temporary repair managed to get him to the cafe but further “caulking”, provided by the Admiral, was required to seal the tear in the hull. While these repairs were ongoing, further provisions appeared in the form of a bacon roll🥓🍟. Chris could not believe his luck when nobody else laid claim.
Soon it was time to leave the warmth of the suntrap. Jim, recently returned from his “navigational skills” training with British Airways, decided to enhance the mood with a sea shanty. 🎶”Heave away, haul away we’re bound for South Australia”🎶……. eh…. Don’t you mean South Dalton?
A more leisurely pace ensued as the flotilla sailed on a starboard tack through Skerne and Cranswick. The fleet then turned into Burnbutts Lane on a close tack. Unfortunately the turn was missed by Monsignor John who completed the voyage along the main channel. At the top of Bracken hill the flotilla had stopped to wait his arrival while Chainsaw Dave retraced our tracks in search, only to return with no sign of the missing vessel.
The return journey saw the fleet passing through South Dalton and Etton. The size of the fleet diminished bit by bit as each vessel proceeded to their home port. Despite the few mishaps, everyone enjoyed a superb spring day and look forward to the next outing.