‘Clytie’ runs aground in the River Ore, 1923

'Clytie' on the River Ore
‘Clytie’ on the River Ore

‘Clytie’, a 30′ gaff cutter, was built at Woodbridge on the River Deben, Suffolk in 1922 and has been owned by the same family for nearly 100 years. She is still kept on the River Deben, and spends the winter at The Woodbridge Boatyard, formerly Eversons of Woodbridge, where she was built.

Jo Masters, her current owner, provides this extract from the 1923 log describing how her great grandparents, Clifford and Daisy Paterson, ran aground on the River Ore during a squall. Built only the year before, maybe this accounts for why the Patersons ran aground so much in only their second season aboard ‘Clytie’.

Aug 29th We awoke to a welcome quiet, without the usual sound of a furious Wind. After breakfast we set sail and at the beginning of the flood we sailed up the very winding channel to Iken. The wind soon assumed its accustomed vigour and very bad weather set in. The scenery was charming and though we stuck on the mud twice we eventually reached Iken and, after lunch, we landed on the hard near the church in a gale of wind and a deluge of rain. With the permission of the Rector’s sister we went into a wonderful mushroom field adjoining the rectory and filled a basket, 2 tam o’shanters and a hat with mushrooms.

They returned to ‘Clytie’ for supper.

We started off on our return journey but had barely started before we were caught in a furious squall, the rain blotting out the landscape and sweeping across the river in such a deluge as to make it almost impossible to see anything. We were in the most tortuous part of the channel and in consequence of overlooking a beacon, ran on the mud. There was nothing to be done than to take off the sails, lay the anchor in the channel and turn in.

Shall be rising again at about 3 o’clock to get the boat off. Wind still furious and there is every prospect of a very dirty night. We are getting tired of gales, but in spite of weather and mishaps, the day has been a most pleasurable one, and we certainly hope to re-visit Iken some time or other.

Aug 30th Turned in early last night and after some fitful sleep rose at 2 o’clock to survey the situation. A furious gale was raging and heavy clouds racing across the sky. We struggled forward to the bows, hanging on to rails, stays or anything handy to keep us from being blown overboard. The river was very rough and cold spray was constantly sheeting over the boat. We had thrown out a kedge as well as the anchor and all pulled on the anchor chain in hopes of getting the boat into the channel but all our efforts were in vain and after 2 hours of work we gave up the vain attempt.

4.30 am Prospects look very gloomy – the jib is badly torn, the boat is dragging further on to the mud and there seems no hope of getting to Orford to-morrow and no possibility of telegraphing to Waldringfield. A truly appalling night. Are going to turn in again for an hour or two, and hope that the gale may moderate.

8.30 am rose again feeling weary and unrefreshed. Had breakfast and after chores, Clifford and I crawled forward to see what could be done to repair the jib. The day was brilliantly fine but the gale continued in full force and we had to wear oilskins on account of the spray sheeting over the boat. The jib proved to be a several hour’s job and we sacrificed a tea cloth to make a patch over the worst part. Had only 5 needles on board and broke 4 of them but the 5th held out alright. Graham cooked dinner  – fried chops and boiled potatoes – sponge and stewed plum pudding. Finished the jib about 3 o’clock, wind still furious but as the boat was afloat we decided to hoist sail and hope for the best. Had a heavy job getting in the anchor but at last got going and raced down the tortuous channel at full tide. Found it difficult to pick up the beacons but our luck was in and we got down to Aldeburgh in safety.

Aug 31st Had an exhilarating and very cold bathe and as the wind was unfavourable for going to sea we sailed to Iken, and now alas! Just above Iken church, we are once more aground on the mud with no hope of getting off before 5.30 am to-morrow and even that is doubtful.

Sept 1st As the early morning tide was lower than the preceding one, it was obviously impossible to get off, so we had a hasty early breakfast and rowed ashore after 7 o’clock.

They spent time ashore.

When the tide rose sufficiently we returned to the ‘Clytie’ to dig a channel in the mud with oars, Mr. Prentice assisting with his feet. At high tide we tried to get her off but only succeeded in moving her about 6 feet. Turned in early, having hired a man to come and dig as soon as the tide permitted in the morning.

Sept 2nd Mr Rumsey arrived at 9am and finished his digging by 11.30. Had late breakfast and executed various repairs to ropes etc, and generally amused ourselves till 5pm when Rumsey came on board and Clytie came away to the channel fairly easily. The wind was light and we sailed down to Aldboro. Where we landed Rumsey.