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Showing content with the highest reputation on 22/03/18 in all areas

  1. 8 points
    Hi, I am regular hirer with Brooms and a hire boat anorak, just to confirm the fleet size was 20 at the end of 2017, as far as I aware they are adding atleast one boat for 2018 called the Chairman's Boat which appears to be an even more luxurious Explorer class boat. Not sure where the EDP get the figure of 24 from although they could be buying or building more which would seem odd in the current circumstances. The class numbers are as follows: 2 Boleros built 2014/5 2 Cadets built 2012/3 4 Skipper built 2015/6/7 1 Commodore built 2014 9 Captains built 2013-2017 Explorer 2 built not sure cc 2016 I think-Strangely these were built for hire on the Thames however I believe they couldn't reach an agreement with the marina at Windsor so they ended up staying on the Broads. I have a promo leaflet somewhere confirming this. I don't know how they all fit however the Explorers are moored in a different dyke and I have seen some out of the water plus they have 2/3 start days. Plus the Chairman Boat which I believe was indeed originally built for the Chairman. Neil
  2. 6 points
    All three of these companies have their own mould tools and build their own designs. Since the loss of Alpha, this has been the only real option as the availability of shells for fitout was mostly limited to Alpha in the end. In recent times though, Richardsons have invested massively in new designs which are exclusive to them. Barnes bought the Aquafibre Diamond tooling and made their own modifications to it which became Serenade and more recently, Barnes also bought all the old Aquafibre tooling too. NBD has its own tools and will also fit out other mouldings and Herbert Woods has been busy with the smaller cruisers which became their Starlight fleet. Ferry Marina has a number of it's own, exclusive designs too. It's only the small yards (like myself) that have no real tooling to make exclusive cruiser designs (though I have our Pod open day boat.
  3. 5 points
    Sad sad day IMHO. Just shows how vulture capitalists can run down a perfectly good name and destroy a business - this story still has further to run of course with the development eventually of what was a flourishing business and site into more profit for those squeezing the pips! I see Brundall village foresaw this and have attempted to forestall that with their village plan - sadly it will just prove to be no more than a little thorn in the side which can always be dealt with by bunging more money into the problem. I just wonder, eventually, whether they can build on the site without even one property available for affordable housing!!!
  4. 5 points
    I build even smaller Models
  5. 5 points
    Whilst other yards might be doing well I rather suspect that the owners don't actually want to make a profit thus they can justify closing the yard to the planners. Exactly what happened at Pegasus, Oulton Broad.
  6. 4 points
    Tonight the first of three parts on BBC2.A documentary on Big Cat sanctuary in Kent.One of the stars could be Maya Black Jaguar abandoned by her mum.Giles Clark has been on before hand rearing Tigers.If like me you like cats of all sizes it's a must watch .
  7. 4 points
    There's a report in the EDP - http://www.edp24.co.uk/business/broom-boats-brundall-norfolk-broads-to-stop-building-boats-1-5445395 that states up to 20 jobs although some could move to the leisure division which I assume is the hire boats. It also says they have 24 hire boats which sounds a lot? With Oyster re-opening lets hope there will be a few jobs available where previous workers have moved on. EDP doesn't seem very good on facts though, they state Oyster and other boat builders in the UK have been struggling. Oyster had a full order book, they closed for other reasons. Princess and Sunseeker have very strong order books, you would struggle to get a build slot at any for at least a year. Fairline are doing very well and even smaller builders like Cockwells are expanding. So it's not all bad in the marine industry.
  8. 4 points
    Why expect anything else from the people who bought it? They had grand plans to build a new factory - now it is to profit from that land being turned into housing. My suspicion is also that they have been only been building up their hire fleet to keep them occupied as they may not have had other orders to keep the guys busy - a hire fleet that small is not sustainable so I wonder what plans they have for the yard as a whole? Am I just being cynical awaiting the planned development of the site for other uses. Sounds like a well thought out plan from the outset - you never want to think that but I cannot see any real investment having been made. Does it actually say in so many words they are going to expand their hire fleet? Is "developing" the same word? Lets wait before we all get too excited especially as we all know hire fleets alone. are not necessarily the way to making lots of money However there are probably some people who will really benefit by trousering a wedge I guess, and its not the workers!! I would really really like to think otherwise and I hope I am wrong but like others, I have been very suspicious of this whole operation from Day 1 !!! Somebody prove me wrong please!!!!
  9. 3 points
    https://youtu.be/nLC0eGWv3oM just seen this video, it's NOT a sinkhole like the title says , but all the water has gone, it's just a good job that a barge was'nt there at that spot at the time, not seen anything like it before . lori
  10. 3 points
    Where is all this speculation coming from that they want to build on the site? They owned a site on the edge of the village which they wanted to build a modern boat building facility on. Things took a downturn and this is the site that is being sold for development. The riverside site is still required if the want to concentrate on repair, maintenance, etc.
  11. 3 points
    We have seen this time and again and many have been surprised that while the planning department might question some new quay heading or a change of use for a former public phone box, when it comes to new stylish housing they seem more keen to listen and allow. The problem is it is a one time cash pot to grab, and perhaps this sort of behavior is what makes me feel sour. Without knowing the real details at Broom, a cynic may wonder if they really were not making money and loosing it with parts of the business propped up by other areas. Or was it simply that those who own the company were not making enough money and in order to make more will try whatever it takes and if that too fails to swell their coffers sell up and take the cash pot with the value of the sight etc Haines has a very different approach and it is working; not only do they have a good base of customers who value a more conservative 'hushed' style of design and fit, but they have also been able to start working alongside other businesses and providing them with boats. Take the Haines built boats from Ferry Marina. Where I wonder was Broom with their very popular Broom 29 from the 1990's which is in popular demand still with many on hire. They updated this model a lot and I think it works, but I think they should have branched out and got some of these sold to the likes of Herbert Woods, Richardson's etc for classy brand new two berth boats but with that broom brand adding some appeal. They seem to have not been reactive enough either with their designs or they future outlook. This of course is just the ramblings of myself, but I can't help but think if push came to shove and one day the whole show was put up for sale some old boy out there who had a soft spot for Brooms would come and start the place up and rescue the name all over again. Of course Broom has long since not been the 'real' Broom of the past for years, but there are a lot of loyal Broom devotees out there and it is amazing to see how many of these old ladies from the 1970's still attract so much care and attention from their owners, something you seem not to see so often in other marques.
  12. 3 points
    Q: What's the best way to make a small fortune building boats? A: Start with a large fortune. Seriously, boats are large, expensive, luxury items that people don't actually need. As such (and as I've discovered), building, servicing, or maintaining them is an industry that's very sensitive to how affluent people feel, and how they think the economy is doing or will be doing in the short to mid term. Personally, as much as I enjoy working with boats, being a self-employed professional in this business is no longer viable. I'm moving into education, 'cos the chances of people stopping reproducing are close to zero (not to mention that if I do have to change area, it might as well be into something that's useful and rewarding).
  13. 3 points
    Well I’m going to still hire as long as they trade... such shame as I’m a big broom fan... Feel sorry for the guys whose gonna loose there jobs at brooms.... Hopefully They can restructure and start to build great boats again in the near future.... I’m not gonna have the negative thought of this is bye bye from Brooms... As long as there’s hire customers like myself who hire annually and who keep coming back year after year they will have a hire business....
  14. 3 points
  15. 2 points
    That's kind of what I meant...
  16. 2 points
    Just thought I'd bump this although I believe one of the shares is sold. We've just returned from our first ever time on RB and I thought I'd just run through our thought processes before buying the share. First of all a bit of background. I had spent quite a bit of time on the broads but Debs had a grand total of one night spent on a boat about 15 years ago. I was looking around at the boat shares available and had come across the RB website and was impressed. I booked a hire boat for a week in October 2017 to see if Debs liked the idea. Away we went, Debs, Les (father in law) me and 2 Jack Russels. The boat we hired had only one cabin so Les was on a bunk made up in the saloon and the first morning Debs said "Next time we need two cabins so we don't disturb Les when we get up", we both get up quite early, so that was the first 'buying signal' We had a great time and came home with another, bigger, boat booked for May 2018. Time to put my plan into action. We talked about how we could save money by buying into a syndicate and came up with a wishlist: Dog friendly at least two cabins not fixed weeks And guess what, RB ticked all the boxes so off we went to meet Alan and Tan in Brundall to look over the boat. That was the second week of November 2017. By Christmas we had bought the share. Since then we have bought someone elses week that they couldn't use this month which led on from Alan and Tan's week which meant we could do the training with them and then another allocation was offered on the group which actually joins onto our own allocation so we have taken that. We now have two more fortnights to come in May and September. Have we saved any money? Hell no but we will end up with 5 weeks on the broads this year for probably about the same as we would have spent for 2 maybe 3 weeks, and on a nicer boat I am under strict instructions from swmbo not to dive in if anyone else offers spare weeks this year though it does look like a long time between 22nd May and 25th September
  17. 2 points
  18. 2 points
    Being realistic if I worked for Brooms and I knew that my job was drying up then I would look to jump ship ASAP, especially if an especially attractive job came my way! I certainly wouldn't have any loyalty towards Brooms, number one has to take priority. For their customer's sakes I hope that they can honour their orders before their good staff move on.
  19. 1 point
    Good news the new webcam for Norwich Falcons is up and running with much improved visuals but unfortunately it wont open on our NBN website link. To open you need to go to the old link,click onto the link for their home page and then click onto the Norwich webcam link. Perhaps Alan can replace the old link on our webpage to the new one for 2018 Boycee
  20. 1 point
    Here's the Brooms press release from yesterday. Via BOC. Press Release 21 March 2018 Broom Restructuring for the Future Broom has announced plans to restructure its operations into a leading leisure operator on the Southern Norfolk Broads. Over recent years the market to build and sell boats has changed significantly, reflecting low customer demand, overseas competition and rising costs. Against this backdrop, the shareholders have continued to invest, with the company becoming one of the best fleet hire operators on the Broads. This has led to a strategic decision to focus on the growing leisure part of their operations and to discontinue boat building. This will sadly involve the loss of some jobs. Broom, which employs some of the finest craftspeople along with a heritage stretching back to 1898, remains committed to developing its excellent marina , hire fleet and service operation situated immediately adjacent to the Brundall station, a home to many private boats and its hire fleet, along with workshops performing maintenance and repairs.
  21. 1 point
    I think a frigate may be Robins next purchase . Colin
  22. 1 point
    Hi Lori, This is regarded as a canal breach, they usually happen on canals with an embankment, they can breach on the side of the canal or on the bed at the bottom, I have seen various old pictures that show breaches with someone stood on the bottom with tehir heds just seen above the hole. When a potential breach is being monitored thay may close the section and install stop planks, in the situation of the canal in question they will install stop planks at locks or at the narrows or bridges to isolate the breached section. Quite a few years ago there was an incident on the Chesterfield Canal where someone managed to pull out a plug out of the bed of the canal. I was servicing a machine in a local canal side pub at the time and saw the empty canal. https://www.worksopguardian.co.uk/news/memories-of-pulling-the-plug-on-canal-1-624620 Regards Alan
  23. 1 point
    The Riverside site of Brooms includes a small number of companies who rent, lease or own properties on the site such as Custom Craft and the chap that does the window repairs etc. I know of a few people that have already set up their own businesses after leaving Broom's over the last year, maybe it could be said that they saw the writing on the wall. With the 90 plus trains going past every day and the fact that they have to blow their whistles/horns on leaving Brundall station as a warning for the unmanned crossing for access to Bells Marina it is doubtful that housing is a good option for the site. I would also assume that there will be another warning when the Brundall unmanned crossing comes into effect? Regards Alan
  24. 1 point
    Brooms have made great play of the fact that the buyers are just not there. Strange then that the builders of other quality brands seem to be finding life a little easier! I think for example that Haines seem to be managing quite well. More to the point, my suspicions are that the current owners were never interested in the business of boat builders and there are plenty of signs that they have systematically dismantled it bit by bit until there is nothing there except the ultimate prize - the location. As PW would say, another Pegasus Yachts....!!!
  25. 1 point
    Sadly I think the definition of affordable housing is anything but affodable. Take shared ownership which is classed as affordable housing. Half of a lot of a money is still a lot of a money and a mortgage deposit is often unobtainable for those that need affordable housing. What happened to social housing?
  26. 1 point
    If you are building boats that are not value for money, not the 'in style, etc. They won't sell. This is where Brooms are, they have been struggling to sell boats for several years. Also the people with the sort of money to buy a Broom are the ones who have been financially squeezed in the last few years, existing Broom owners are sticking with what they have.
  27. 1 point
    Pretty normal practise in big business, making the most of an established name. Virgin only own 10% of Virgin East Coast presumably as they thought it would sell more journeys than if it was called Stagecoach East Coast - who own the other 90%. This partnership has failed; they are handing back the franchise three years early potentially costing Stagecoach about 20% of their market value. Mind you this hasn't stopped the government giving the same partnership an extension to their West Coast franchise.
  28. 1 point
    But surely Brooms ceased to be Brooms when Martin Boom sold up? Branding just for marketing purposes!
  29. 1 point
    Unfortunately only available if you are a Facebook user, which I'm not!
  30. 1 point
    Haines use some 'old' Broom moulds, some generic Aquafibre moulds, some of their own design (the Haines 400) and some from others (Alphacraft in the past, and now Ferry Marina for the Haines 26). When Aquafibre went under, Haines acquired the moulds they needed and the production Broom stuff went to Brundall. I think it is generally considered that the Haines fitout is better these days, I've heard it referred to as "like Broom used to be".
  31. 1 point
    Our Seamaster 30 is nearly forty years old and has the original gate valve fitted. It is open when we use the boat and closed when we leave and is not stiff to operate. The good thing about gate valves is that unlike ball valves there is no water entrapment when the valve is closed. I have seen a ball valve removed from a boat that sank in the severe winter of 2010 where the water entrapped in the ball froze and fractured. I know that the valve was only changed six months before and I will admit that it looked a bit cheap and nasty but I won't be changing mine any time soon.
  32. 1 point
    the marelon are only technically plastic, they are carbon fibre reinforced nylon- this is probably tougher than the hull it is attached to.
  33. 1 point
    I have a "down" on gate valves because a few years ago, I managed to drill a hole in one of my central heating pipes. I needed to shut the water feed off quickly but when I tried to close the gate valve that controls this, it was seized solid in the open position. It was a Sunday afternoon so I had no option but to call a very expensive emergency plumber. This was annoying enough in a domestic situation but you don't need to philosophise too deeply to see how this might be more than inconvenient when on the water. The cost of replacing gate valves with ball valves is negligible, if you wait until the boat has to come out of the water for another reason.
  34. 1 point
    Yeah, this seems to be what is happening at Broom. Haines can't build enough boats at the moment, so the market is there. Seems odd when it's such a major brand as Broom, but I guess taking on the business requires skill whereas putting houses on it does not.
  35. 1 point
    Land Rovers never Die they just get rebuilt / recycled into other landrovers...
  36. 1 point
  37. 1 point
    I agree. Let me be clear about this, if you are unsure about your own boat on these sort of things do not on any account follow me to the chandlers and go away with a lighter wallet. Get some friendly knowledgable advice as to your own situation and proceed from there. I need to change one of the sea cocks because it is not able to turn and close, since I am doing that I will have the others doing. Some of the hose clamps have seen better days in places too. I have sent an email off to Ludham Bridge Boatyard and will see what their diary is like for some of this work to be done, as it would be nice to have her in fine fettle ready for the May meet.
  38. 1 point
    I have a six foot hook over ladder that is stored outside whenever onboard and two throwing lines. You never know when you will need them.
  39. 1 point
    When we had our boat surveyed, we were advised to change the wheel type (gate valve) sea cocks for ball valve ones, on the grounds that the gate valves are supposed to be more likely to sieze up.
  40. 1 point
    And that could be the problem, if the workforce are cut and resources scaled back as they wind production down, standards may drop despite good builders. The difference between being employed and directed from on high or being self-employed and maintaining your own reputation. Personally I would never buy from the start or end of any production run.
  41. 1 point
    Lady Linda at present only has a step fender on a length of 16mm rope which allows its use off any of the cleats on each side. Plans for a stearn ladder with fold down section of 2 rungs under the water are in hand. Having had a family holiday at Centre Parcs with son and grandson mainly in the pool I realised just how unfit/old I have become. I seem to sink quite well with just my trunks on, as to how I would cope in full winter wear I don't know but my ability to swim half a mile has long gone. Having in the past been involved in training scuba divers, part of the training involved diver recovery while in full kit. With the right method this was fairly simple but try again with an unconscious subject with a fully inflated lifejacket the procedure becomes far more complicated if not near impossible for just one rescuer. If you ever get the chance, try climbing out of a swimming pool while wearing an inflated lifejacket. Some pools that have lifesaving sessions may let you try this. On a second note, how many hire boats have ladders? Colin edit to add that maybe this should be another thread.
  42. 1 point
  43. 1 point
    Well that was a surprise! I had a pretty restless night sleep and come the morning but get up and go was no longer evident, blurry eyed in my bed I checked my phone - BBC News, Facebook, Emails as usual and not much to report. Got up, made a coffee and thought I might give the Broker a call in a bit. I then got side tracked trying to find the right size battery with the correct terminal layout for the RIB. I managed to find one usually used in mobility scooters for a good price and then an email arrived from the Broker - I could collect the boat and the paperwork was ready for collection in the office. Blimey! Rush to get ready but wait how long would it take to get to St. Olaves from Brundall and back via river. A quick question on the NBN Facebook Group and answers were soon to be had. I could do this, so it was off to the Marina office to confirm where I could bring the boat and then a cab to St. Olaves. I don't want to appear rude, and I have only dealt with three Brokers previously when I was making enquires about Traders and of course the Broker who I went through to purchase Independence. I had a good idea of the processes and what I should be doing and be expected of me, but conversely what I expected from the Broker. Well I arrived at the office and went in "Hello" I said in a cheery manner, and the look I got was not a very warm one. I explained that I was here following their email to collect the boat, very little was said an A4 envelope was handed over to me and then the keys - and I am not making this up they were dropped into my hand in a rather abrupt way. I had no thanks, or congratulations on the purchase and a hand shake and was told I could make my way to the pontoon and I was about t go I suddenly remembered the pontoon have code locks - what as the code I asked? They wrote it down and other than being told to check for tube heaters left in the engine bay that was that. Now okay, I am just a buyer but it was through me that they will have made a nice bit of commission on the sale - maybe I want to have things done to her, improvements, service work etc they cater for such things so I would have thought they may want to have built on the new owner (me) having been introduced to the boat through their brokerage to undertake such works perhaps? But no, it was as if I had popped into The Carphone Warehouse and bought a new phone, you'd never believe we have just completed a transaction worth nearly £30,000. Down at the boat all was well - until my memory card ran out of space on my camera so over to using my phone. Onboard, engine cover up and check oil and coolant and weed filter etc all was good. Start engine to warm it up and fired up first try - water was coming freely out of the exhaust so we were getting set for departure. I opened up rear of the canopy and secured it in the rolled up position and undid the sides so later on when I came to more at Brundall I coudld easily get out and tie her up - next up was get used to the DC distribution board and turn on what I need and turn off what I did not some of the breakers are a bit stiff and the layout and style is of its time so a new distribution panel could be in the offing. Things set, lines let go we were off. Out the Marina, turn right and down the New Cut. I then got a live broadcast going over on the NBN Facebook Group and somehow managed to make the New Cut interesting and talk all the way to Reedham. I was also pleased to note at high tide (and I know they have been higher than usual) between 7.5ft and 8.5ft of depth under the boat - I could get Independence down here should I need to then. Today was a bit breezy, nothing too bad but goodness she handles like a pig. Being so lightweight and especially so at the bow, any wind gust catches it and so you really need to be on the ball with little corrections to keep her in a straight line. Larger, heavier boats are better in such conditions. Turn left at the end and there was Reedham Swing Bridge - closed. I had no idea what my air draft was, and with the canopy up I decided to give it a go anyway - we got through with about a foot to spare. I have a fuel gauge it was telling me it had some, but not a great deal so I stopped off at Sanderson Marine and John came out and I gave them £50.00 - and that almsot filled the tank. What a difference to Independence eh? I could get used to this economical small boating lark. Back underway I was right into an ebbing tide, after Cantley I was having to do 2,000RPM to maintain the speed limit. This was interesting as overground I was doing 6MPH but the paddle wheel 'through the water speed' was only 4.5MPH. Being a small, narrow boat she does make a larger bow wave, but she has a more gentle rise to the Transom so the stern wave was not too bad. With 42HP under the floor she managed the ebbing tide well. Also with the wind now on the bow and the going against the current her handling was improved markedly Very little corrections to course was needed. Now you might thing that the power she has for her size and weight would make her a 'sporty' boat - but no, at 2,100RPM the prop suffers a lot of cavitation - vibrations through seat become very noticeable and although you have several more RPM in the bank she will already have reached her maximum hull speed so its just masses of vibration, lots of wash and no more speed. I recon a 28HP or 35HP would be far better but heyho it is what it is. She has 2,300 odd hours (since 1992) the problem is being alight boat 1,200RPM and you are heading up to 5MPH in still water. She has spent all her life pootling along, very little load on her engine and at those speeds she struggles to reach 70c coolant temp. Today,s journey agaisnt the tide did her some good and she happily sat at 83c with decent oil pressure and no smoke. I will have a full engine service, coolant flush and then administer a dose of ZX1 which has proved beneficial to Broad Ambition. I arrived in Brundall at 3:45pm and headed down the dyke passed the old hire yards such as Willow Cruisers, Fen Craft etc and kept on going all the way to the end almost - it was a tight and interesting trip and if Independence ever had to come down here to get to NYA's lift it would be a close run thing if there would be enough with in places for her, but on the Sheerline she slipped through no issue. Found a nice berth and slipped her in. I had the heater run for a couple of hours, it works reasonably - very small vents one in cockpit one in saloon just a little 2Kw unit. I recon fine for chilly days but not going to cut the mustard for icy cold nights. The mooring has no shore power and with the engine off the hater note changed, then did a weird thing and I was shocked to see the DC voltage was at 10v - I got the engine on again turned the heater off and shut off all DC loads before I shut down - I will be amazed if she starts again but new batteries are going to be the first thing to get. So although this is really for my Mum and Simon to enjoy, she is a really nice cute little boat and I am sure they will enjoy her I think perhaps we should have waited to get something just a tiny bit bigger -27ft to 30ft maybe 10Ft beam. Simply because I think this is a great little runabout, weekender but you'd not want to spend a week onboard there is very little space to swing a cat, not much in the way of storage and I think we may well we outgrow here, the good news is these boats are popular, do not cost much to moor, insure and run and go everywhere on the Broads, so they will always a have a market. I like the fact I can pop down and use her from time to time as well, but if I go doing something crazy like get another boat in a year don't fall off your chair just yet. I have a list of items already, upgrade all sea cocks - they are not the usual style, but a hand screw to close type affair, much like a stop cock. Update the brass weed filter to a clear Vetus style one, fit an auto greaser for the shaft gland, replace the steering wheel with something not trying to be out of a sports car, replace all lighting with LED, get some nicer carpet for the forward v-berth and dinette area and maybe have something (Holly & Teak) for the galley area where you may spill things and be easy to clean up. Full compound, wax and polish, the new batteries as I said previously, an Inverter, and some new upholstery to bring her out of the 90's and she will have made the 'Rascal grade'. Lots to do then, places to go, things to film - more as it happens...
  44. 1 point
    Monday 05th Feb Even with the high walls around the Marina and the water level low at 0400 we could tell it was blowing a hooley. Robin, the Master of Indy has made his decision and would meet us at GYA. No problem we had our secret weapon onboard who has participated in tall ships sea going stuff so no issues with being light on crew numbers. Preparations for sea were done in the normal manner. Paper charts, electronic wizardry, almanac, vhf checks, nav lights, radar, etc. Bring Indy’s two main engines up to warm, generator on, shore power disconnected, secure internally for sea. The crew were well versed in securing for sea. Check the wx forecast, Yep as we had expected, force 8 predominantly from the East with a sea state of rough with a short swell – Just fine and dandy. I took mysen off for a five minute spell in a quiet area before we slipped Indy’s lines. I always tend to do this, check the wind strength / direction, tidal flow if any, other hazards be that pontoons / craft / buoys etc and get it in my head how best to carry out the evolution. In this case it was to turn Indy about in restricted waters within the marina, proceed out of the channel into Dover Harbour, then deal with getting out to sea proper. It was obviously still dark, cold and not inviting but we had made our decision to go. Crew were briefed in the normal fashion, that being safety and MOB procedures. This was done every morning before sailing, especially if new crew members had joined. Then it was onto ropes / fenders and the need to communicate loud and clear with me on the helm, that would have been better if the upper helm had been in operation but we would deal with it as it was. We slipped Indy’s lines then brought turned her on her main engines (No need for ***** buttons), the deck crew busily stowing ropes / fenders. Exiting the channel into Dover harbour was a lot less stressful than the night before but I was still somewhat apprehensive due to the wind in close quarters and bearing in mind this was only my third time on the helm. A call to Port control, we had to wait for a ferry to come in, then we were clear to proceed out of the East exit and commence our journey proper. Howard on the Plot then asked me ‘Did you shut your port light’? - Chuffin eck – NO! We were clear of the breakwater, Indy was already tentatively starting to feel the swell. Brian onto the helm, me go forward to shut the port light – Tooooooo late, about 2 x gallons of water was in the recesses by the window and the flat storage cupboards. Ten minutes later all secured and mopped up. What a schoolboy error, I was that busy organising everything / everyone else I omitted to organise mysen – Humble apologies all round. Auto pilot engaged, sea state increasing by the yard. Bring rpm’s up to about 2000, 14kts SOG-ish (We had a long way to go.) check radar / AIS for contacts, up to flying bridge, use MK1 eyeball for contacts etc. It took about 1 x nautical mile for the Auto pilot to start displaying weird information, about a ¼ NM later and it was getting worse than weird, I took the decision to disengage it before it packed up altogether and leave us with the possibility we would not be able to regain manual control. Shortly afterwards it died completely. Brian was on the helm at the time just monitoring so of course he got the blame for breaking it!. We would just have to commence watchkeeping on the helm, 30mins about would do it, following a course on the magnetic compass. About the same time that we lost the auto pilot we also lost our blue water sailor, swift exit aft to the aft heads where ‘Huey and Ralph’ were summoned and that was him done for, for the rest of the journey. The green ginger or whatever it was he swore by was now being sworn at and consigned to the old wives tale bin. The sea state was just as bad as the evening before. That in itself was not an issue as I knew both Indy and the crew could manage this. What was an issue was that we were only too aware that the sea state was forecast to increase, especially as we sailed through the Thames Estuary area as we would be well away from land. We also knew that although at present the swell was hitting Indy on her Stbd bow, we would soon have to alter course to port putting the increasing swell on her Stbd side. I would have to keep a close eye on those wing fuel tanks and balance them accordingly as best as I could. Sea state yesterday was around 8ft or the tops of the waves the same height as Indy’s bow / foc’sle. We were already at that, this meant reducing rpm’s to match the sea state, which was the last thing I wanted to do with regards to our eta at GYA but it had to be done, no use pushing her too hard or making life overly difficult for the crew The sea state picked up as we progressed, now it was getting proper rough. Again I had to reduce rpms and try to balance the speed to the sea state, this of course is not laid down in any marine manual of sailing, it is more a seat of the pants thing. We duly altered course as we rounded the Eastern end of Kent with the sea on the Stbd side. The wave height was now topping higher that the saloon roof, if the rollers had been spread out it would have been easy but they were short and sharp. We were now experiencing solid green water on both wastes as well as the foc’sle. There is one opening window on the Stbd side and it was leaking when a particularly large rogue wave caught us. The sea water was landing straight onto a 240v socket that was conveniently sited to receive it. Our Wizard cured that one using paper towelling and gaffa tape but the damage was done, we lost 240v throughout every system onboard. Great, no microwave or kettle for the foreseeable then. I ventured down into the engine room again to investigate but nothing seemed untoward, the generator was running quite happily, gauges all showing within parameters but no 240v was being delivered to the main switchboard. The switchboard itself was showing everything was in order. I would have to get Howard down here in t engine room, this was his speciality Work on the helm became just that, hard work. The only bonus of being on the helm was that one was sat down, hanging onto the wheel so you at least would not fall over or get thrown around the saloon. The rest of us just had to hang on as best as we could. We dare not go any slower as we needed the helm to respond smartly when dealing with rogue larger goffers. I made numerous trips to check on Doug, update him and reassure him that all was to the good. I of course considered bailing out and seeking a safe haven, they were many to choose from but this would have made life awfully difficult for the crew to get home that evening, not to mention Robin getting to us. Besides, Indy was coping with it and I knew that once we got up to around Sizewell that the sea state was forecast to calm down to a moderate as per yesterday. We pressed on. Brian our resident Crabfat was starting to succumb to the conditions, mentally his was as strong as ever but eventually the violent motion got the better of him and off he went at the rush. Great - I’m thinking, that puts us down to three operational crew. Then the Wizard made an announcement. The way he pronounced it certainly lightened the mood. Unexpected, out of the blue in a sort of surprised voice and more of a revelation to himself rather than to the rest of us - ‘I’m feeling seasick’! and off he went too. Never, I thought, just me and Bro’ left standing, this was going to be somewhat taxing. I had my own responsibilities to attend to and so did Bro’ this was going to be a very busy trip for the rest of the day with just the two of us. How wrong was I? Both Brian and Pete, although visiting the heads as and when required, both squared their shoulders and carried on regardless – Much respect to them both for managing that, that takes grit, determination and immense mental strength. On one memorable occasion, Pete shot aft to the heads. On his return he explained that Doug was cuddling the porcelain telephone and Pete was snookered. So to the galley sink he did dance, tap on, Stbd digit used as a macerator on the plug hole and he managed just fine – Clever lad! The Williams Rib was making groaning noises, this necessitated me visiting the flying bridge via the aft monsoon deck to keep checking the straps and doing my look out thing at the same time. Bro’s visit into the engine room nearly finished him off. He reappeared in the saloon hanging on to the overhead rails not speaking but taking long slow deep breaths. After he had composed himself, he said just two more minutes in the engine room and he would have been yakking in the bilge! (I could have slept down there!) He could not see anything wrong, so I shut down the generator. Talking of sleeping, Brian actually did fall asleep for five minutes stood up leaning on the back of the helms seat! That’s the thing with being in these sea conditions in a boat of Indy’s size, the amount of physical effort just to stay upright, move location or do a set of rounds etc is immense, it really takes it out of you physically. It was during one set of engine room rounds (This was one of my regular duties) I noticed water on top of the s/steel escape ladder rungs, just how the hell had water got there then? Doing the taste test I was surprised to discover it was salt water to. Now I was really perplexed as to the source. Until another huge goffer rocked Indy over onto her port side, salt water spray was finding its way past the baffles on the port side and into the engine room. Good - panic over then. On we pounded, our latest eta was 1730, we got word from Robin that the latest the bridges would lift was 1615. Not a prayer of making that in these conditions. Right then Team Indy - let’s give it a go shall we? Can we make Robins deadline of 1600 at Haven Bridge? This was no jolly trip, we were delivering Robins pride and joy, he had set us a target, Indy was capable, were we? I was damn well going to give it a go. We had nowt to loose and could always admit defeat and slow down again. I nudged Indy’s throttles up a gnats knacker sack, waited for five minutes then gave her some more in very small steps. My thinking being that if I did it in insignificant increments, then Neptune wouldn’t notice. I mostly got away with it too. Had to throttle back now and again, but the sea state eventually did abate slightly, by Sizewell I had them donks singing at 2’500rpm and we were flying sometimes making 18kts SOG, through the water probably more. I could have opened them up even more by Southwell but 3000rpm is flat out, that puts maximum strain on the donks, g/boxes and gulps fuel and would have been pushing her to the limit, besides the sea state was still far to sever for any more. After a few miles I calculated our new ETA, Bro did the same with the electronic wizardry and were in sync, our new ETA was now 1600 at the bridges, we would make it! At this news we felt like we were already there! Bri and Wizard had found their sea legs again, Doug was still living and breathing down aft so all was to the good. We passed a commercial small ship about 500 tons or so, she was on a potential collision course with us, we were the stand on vessel, Rules of the Road applied, she altered course in plenty of time, no drama and we passed safely. I remarked to the lads, just look at how she is getting tossed around, are they bonkers coming out in these wx conditions in a ship of that size? The looks I received from the crew in the saloon said it all! We arrived at Town House Quay at 1555-ish. Doug generously assisted us with the upper deck gear, he still looked fragile but was determined to assist. Alongside, Robin stepped onboard, Indy’s master was back where he belonged. We had made it! Job done. Mission accomplished Sir. And that was as far as we went that day due to circumstances beyond our control as reported previously in this thread. Personally I ached everywhere and was physically shattered, even my earlobes hurt! Myself and Bro got set to, to fathom out that 240v issue. There was a 45amp breaker that had tripped due to the ingress of salt water on the socket. What should have happened was just the ring main in the saloon tripped, but nope the 45amp breaker was taken out. Thing with that was, there was no tally or information of there being a 45amp breaker onboard anywhere. It was only Bro’s technical eye that decoded the wiring diagram that discovered it on paper. Finding it was a Sherlock moment, but find it I did and all was restored to the good. Robin now knows where it is located for future reference. I can safely predict that Independence will never again go to sea in anything like those conditions at all ever. And if she does, I can also safely predict that I for one will not be onboard either! Was I worried for Indy herself? No - We had done sea trials, knew what she was capable of, never got to her limit, nor did I want to push her to her limit either, that would have been reckless, not to mention life threatening. The crew limits, well they managed just fine. Robin made a very brave decision which turned to out be 100% correct and he has my admiration for cajones big enough to make that decision. Doug learnt a lot about himself (And green ginger too). Brian – Said he would never do it again but what a determined sterling effort, especially for a Crabfat, huge respect to him. Wizard – apart from muttering this was the worst sea conditions he had ever been in on a vessel of this size and that if he had been on his sea boat he would have cast a spell or failing that called the RNLI ! You need to remember he is a genuine Wizard after all, we would expect no less from the likes of him. Bro’ – Howard – when his mindset is on the job, then all those years of looking after nuclear reactors / generating plant etc onboard Polaris / Trident submarines in sometimes very taxing conditions, meant he was never going to be beaten by this delivery trip. That memorable sea trip from the Thames to Lowestoft onboard ‘B.A’ was in my eyes far more dangerous that this one on Indy. Indy is a Cat A built to withstand these conditions, ‘B.A’ most certainly is not. Me? – ‘Just another day at the office’ Griff
  45. 1 point
    Hi we are a couple from Yorkshire and we have being coming to the broads for about five years only are first hire boat was from B/B think it was Sonarta 2 then we hired Captain from brooms and was hooked was going to hire skipper from brooms this year but another couple wants to come with us (there first time) so we are having commodore it can sleep 6 but it looks just like the captain love the broads
  46. 1 point
    And that is it. Boat clean, toilets pumped out and diesel full. The fuel Dock was a challenge having to moor with the wind but we managed Only 7 weeks to go
  47. 1 point
    Robin came up for a word, could we alter our destination to Dover and get out of this sea state? Well yes, we could but there would be implications, a short term gain would mean longer term pain. I knew that the next day’s forecast was due to be worse than the present one today with a forecast sea state in Dover / Thames of moderate to rough, added to that it would make the last leg longer to travel. On the plus side we would avoid arriving at Ramsgate at low water, in the dark with a gale blowing. Then there was Robin himself to consider who really did need some respite from this scenario. Dover it would be then. Howard altered the navplan to suit, I was into the charts and the almanac. Now heading for Dover meant we could alter course further to Stbd to ease our passage with regards to the swell direction, then coming round to Port for a straight run into the West entrance. It made both transits longer but a tad more comfortable. The almanac stated that a pilot boat would guide us to our destination, this was a welcome nugget. It was now dark, rain and still that swell to deal with. Vhf call to the HM at Dover Marina confirming they had room for us, then a vhf call to Dover Port control. We didn’t have to wait and we could come straight in and to call again when ½ mile from the breakwaters. We were somewhat relieved to enter the west entrance, the sea state abated to a more comfortable level but still not safe for the deck crew to do their thing. Getting into Dover harbour was fairly straightforward, finding the narrow entrance to Dover Marina however was a tad more challenging. With Local knowledge it would have been a breeze. To us though it was most confusing, the light pollution was not good. I could see red / green lights but there was a huge wall between us and them, the charts and radar was telling us where we were and where the mouth was but could the naked eye see it? Sort of but not confidently at all. By now the deck crew had got the ropes / fenders ready in all respects. Robin was now with us and offering his eyes too, decision made, we proceeded - straight to a huge sea wall on the ships head! Nope - ‘Round again class leader’ then the vhf burst into life, it was Port Control. ‘Are you ok and do you need assistance’? To which I replied ‘Yes we are fine and your assistance would be appreciated’ (Just where was this ere pilot boat to guide us then?) With vhf assistance (The port control using their radar of course) we once again were faced with a narrow entrance to what looked like a dead end but was assured we should proceed, I was now helming one handed with my other hand hovering over the engine controls ready to go astern, dry mouth, port and Stbd lookouts telling brain this was not correct, but vhf assuring us it was, deck crew offering verbal advice, there was certainly plenty of information flowing - Voila! we could see at last! It became oh so apparent where the actual channel was, this was better. I helmed Indy in mainly using just her engines, we could now see our intended berth opposite the lifeboat but there was a yellow marker buoy in the channel slightly over to Stbd, no mention of it on the chart or almanac, no mention from the Dover marina HM either who could now see us apparently, so I took Indy to port of it which seemed the most obvious course which was the correct one as it turned out. Doug was there to take our ropes, then we were alongside and secured at last. What a day. We popped over to visit the HM, paid our dues etc. Back onboard Nigel and Pete were a welcome site. Shortly afterwards the lot of us trooped off to Wetherspoons for our dinner. It was over dinner that Robin declared that he may not be sailing with us in the morning but would make a decision in the morning. We discussed options, the wx forecast, crew numbers etc. Indy would sail in the morning come what may with the wx forecast in hand. The crew numbers would however be subject to confirmation. Back onboard, get tomorrow’s charts and electronic navplans ready. No dvd this evening, by around 2300 latest it was lights out, we would have to be up at 0400 for an early start and a very long day to have any outside chance of making the bridge lifts at Great Yarmouth Griff
  48. 1 point
    Day 4 - still, still learning to moor The proceeded similarly early. Morning found us on the Hadiscoe New Cut as uninspiring piece of waterway as any I’ve seen. It was saved a bit by the oyster catchers on the marker posts which allowed me get a very close look at them. Reedham was in sight no sooner than you start along straight channel however it seemed never to draw any closer. We were due a water stop and Reedham seemed like the only place – I had a vague notion of reaching Norwich that day so wanted to get going early. As we approached Reedham I was pleased see a mooring spot on the BA moorings having checked the times of the tides I was confident I was approaching from the right direction… confidence misplaced…… as I pulled alongside the bank, the back end was already kicking back out into the stream. As it turns out I was looking at the wrong dates. Next time I resolved to look at the water not the charts. We managed to spin around and somehow with luck more than judgment got into a mooring space at the pub. I was then treated to a wigging from the BA mooring man who had a brief rant about tides and “a*se ends going out” I meekly apologized and resolved to add another reason to the list of why boaters seem to dislike the BA A stance I have sometimes felt unfair as a local government worker reading forum posts. I dare say he sees many a clown in a hire boat and I was just 1 of many for the season. I did feel he looked reasonably harassed so early in the morning. Milk purchased and water topped up we pressed on. ElTel and Hamez were keen to do some helming so again I found myself just watching the world go by, Reedham Ferry was in operation so there was a bit of a slowdown as she crossed. Every time I looked up Cantley Sugar Factory seemed to be on a different side in a different direction. I was trying to keep up with the meanders on the map. After what seemed like an age we were passing the plant – it was far bigger and uglier than I’d supposed and It’s amazing to find something like that in a *coughs* “national park”. The Yare meandered on and reeds gave way to pasture and more trees, the abundance of wildlife was still vast and I would say compared to the northern rivers the south takes the cake for bird spotting. At one stage a marsh harrier was being harried by a buzzard which I thought unfair as the buzzard had the weight advantage, then as if only to compound my sorrow for the harrier the buzzard compelled it drop a small dark lump which the buzzard caught in mid air and made off with. An indignity for the harrier and the dead creature. Brundall passed in a blur of spectacular and expensive boats ownership of which were wild day dreams. Somewhat more affordable were the Broom hire fleet some of their boats look great and they are a bit cheaper per week than Richardson’s top notch boats. As we approached Norwich the landscape took on a more urban feel there was more activity on the banks tyre swings and children’s camps could been seen as could riders on bikes in Whitlingham Country Park. Norwich it’s self is imposing enough for big city, however this was my 1st time by water – obviously the lowest way in terms of height. As with most cities in the UK the east side of town housed the industry so the prevailing winds carried unpleasantness away from the city and smarter neighborhoods grew up away from the smoke and smells. That being said there is a distinctive air of gentrification in the area. The new blocks of flats in red brick to imitate old architecture (not Norwich architecture by my guess) were impressive they had some more character than some of the blocks I’ve seen go up near where I live and work. I dare say it won’t be long before most of the warehousing and factories on that side of town will all be smart flats with the country park and the broads on one side and chic urban ciy life on the other I predict that the area wll be Norwich’s sought-after area and flavor of the month. I hope that it’s locals that buy them, and not wealthy investors. We coughed up and paid for a short stay at the yacht station – this was my 2nd time Norwich and everyone else’s 1st. We made a bee line for the cathedral I’d not had a chance to have a look at the peregrines on my last visit as id forgotten my binos and we missed the guys in the gazebo. This time however we were rewarded. The pair was on the tower and the baby was on the screen. Big thumbs up to the guys running the stand they were friendly and knowledgeable and we all had a good long natter. A tour of the market and charity shops complete Mum had supplied herself amply with knickknacks. We were soon back onboard and underway our evenings destination to be Bramerton Common the weather had held and the afternoon into evening was glorious. We moored up outside the Waters Edge id wanted to see this place after one of Russell Thompson’s videos recommended it. I was not disappointed. As arrived there had been a reserved mooring sign chalked out but it been poked behind a post and I didn’t notice it until we’d tied up. A couple having a drink and from a boat next to us seemed less than enthusiastic about us stopping “it was probably reserved” as Meat-Soph was reliably informed and they had pre-booked their mooring. Undaunted I enquired whether we could stop the night and book a table. This was to be the “nice” holiday night out of the week. We were encouraged to stay by the numerous attentive and friendly staff so we booked a table for dinner. Apparently it was the last available booking I was naturally skeptical that it was just line but I can say for a Thursday night the place was packed by 7pm. The meal was exquisite if expensive, 2 course each plus a round of drinks came to 155 quid. This was not an unheard of price but a 1st for me on the broads in a waterside establishment. That being said the place did have the whole package, location and sunset alone were enough to tip the balance well in its favor. A few pints in the warm evening and a few games of cards saw the evening out and we retired.
  49. 1 point
  50. 1 point
    I've looked it up again and the website says it was the base for spigot mortar. The website is ludhamarchive.org.uk, there's a page on WW2 remains under the 'interesting stuff' section.
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