The Ovington Navy

The Ovington Navy consists of several boats located on the River Orwell and on the Broads. These boats are not new and can be seen to be part of Britain's maritime heritage! Details are still awaited for the Broads fleet, so here are some details of of the seagoing section. So far some 7 Parish members have been to sea! An equivalent number have also been on the broads.

There is an open offer for anyone to have a day sailing.


Woodlark is a Falmouth Pilot 6 Tonner, built in 1963, part finished and kept in a barn until 1989. This is a wooden boat with larch planking fastened to oak frames. A 1.7 ton cast iron keel provides stability. That means it can't fall over! More modern parts include an aluminium mast and  a Volvo diesel. It is not always like this! 50 year old British Anzani Pilot outboard motor on the only boat believed to have been built in Ovington. The dinghy has since been replaced with a fibreglass one and a newer Seagull motor of about1978 vintage.

Woodlark has participated in several races and in 2011 went up the Thames to London and back with stopovers at Queenborough.

However, 2012 was spend fitting a new deck ( canvas laid on marine plywood) and renewing some 250 pieces of wood. In wooden boats there is no such thing as a little rot!

In 2014, a cruise was undertaken to Chichester Harbour via Ramsgate, Eastbourne, Brighton and Itchenor. No major incidents took place and navigation was by IPad. However, a chart plotter had been acquired and this was linked to the very ancient GPS to give a simple backup. IPads do not like heat! This trip was well assisted by Rear Admiral Dolphin of the Saham Navy.

The Ovington Navy has close links with the Saham Navy.


The Norfolk Broads

The Norfolk Broads Navy consists of two vintage yachts, a more modern motor yacht and several dinghies. This division has many race wins to its credit.


Pippa was built by Press of Belaugh for a Mr Holmes as a present for his wife, and was launched in the spring of 1928.

She has been in private ownership ever since and at one time was owned by the Right Rev Aubury Aitken, Bishop of Kings Lynn. She came in our ownership in the late summer of 1976 when it was brought back from Doncaster. We had it in partnership with Robin Richardson who has a boat yard at Potter Heigham.

The boat needed a lot of work (mainly done by Robin and assisted by me) and was ready to sail in time for the 2nd Yare Navigation Race in September 1977. By this time our daughter Nicola was born and she came on the race aged 2 months.

Over the years we have raced and cruised on every part of the Broads and still continue to do so, though we sleep on it less frequently. Our family and many friends have raced with us over the years and it is particularly pleasing to have our grandsons now wanting to sail with us. 

We got sole ownership of the boat in 1993 and since that time have changed the rig twice, most recently in 2015 when a broken wooden mast made us have a rethink. We now have a carbon fibre mast and gaff, and a high gunter sail plan instead of the topsail rig. This has made the boat much easier to sail and does not seem to have affected the performance too much.

Geoff Angel