One of Hollowells characters. Only 84 yrs old. Nearly 90% blind. Over the lockdown winter cycled over 3,000 miles. A regular sailor both here at Hollowell and on the Norfolk Broads.
Hollowell Sailing Club celebrates our senior sailors….
As we start sailing in 2021 which has already been an extreme year for us all, we are starting to see some senior sailors appear again for another season on the water.
There cannot be many clubs that have some over 80’s sailors actively participating in the sailing program and I would like to share with you some observations that I made this time last year after seeing one of these sailors over in Norfolk on his other sailing boat.
This sailors is pushing over the mid to late 80’s! and has several boats registered at Hollowell including a Wayfater, Solo, Splash I think, and has been seen testing out a mirror 10 dinghy that he has been rebuilding over the winter.
After only learning to sail in his later years and realising how much he loves the sport he has said many times how he is so pleased that he did start sailing when he did and regrets not sailing earlier in life. What we also know is how this gentleman has a passion for improvement. There is little on his boats that has not been modified or adapted to suit his sailing needs as a single handed skipper.
Another extraordinary side of his sailing that many will not be aware of is his passion for sailing on the Norfolk Broads. He has been sailing a Jeanneau Sunfast 20 this is a trailer sailor weighing in at 750kg, 6.1m long with a lifting keel. This boat has been adapted to his needs in many ways over the years including the removal of the mast 8M and 12M2 main sail, replaced with a wayfarer mast 6.78M, weighing in at about 1/3 of the weight of the original mast and a sail that is about 9M2… Why? - the Norfolk broads sailing involves lowering the mast and shooting bridges and this new rig has made this really possible for this mid 80’s senior single handed sailing. Adopting techniques that he has been picking up over the years from many boats seen on the broads the bridge shooting can be conducted alone!
After stopping driving some years ago the journey to the broads involves riding his bike to the train station and taking it with him to get to the boat the other end. I hear that the bike battery has been adapted to his needs also to increase the range and performance but that was a story he has had with others!
The sailing performance on the broad’s cruiser has also been maintained with his own main sail design criteria being passed to sail makers for a specific full headed main to be produced. Due to the high reed beds, bushes and houses this sail design maximises the sailing potential of the boat on the broads.
Tides are most interesting on the broads and it was explained to me how Allan plans and crosses Braydon water form his northern broads location around Thurne to the southern broads. He plans the tide to arrive in Great Yarmouth just before the planned incoming tide and he bumps the mud taking on some lunch or having a brew until the back of the boat swings around as the incoming tide starts to flow. After pulling away from the bank he sails in circles and when the wind is in the right place to assist, the mast is raised and off he goes….
These adaptions and experiences were recalled and demonstrated to me as we stood by the boat in Thurne Dyke having a Cider that was collected from the pub in his tankard with a plastic bag over the top secured with a rubber band. As an aside explained how he does not like marmalade from the shop so he makes his own with far less sugar!
I would like to celebrate this sailor and his achievements and hope that this inspires others in their sailing, Congratulations Allan Winters….
By Ian Brett April 2021