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Captain

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  1. Sunshine is a very tidy Opal 28, I had a look over her when Richard acquired her back in October 18. According to Facebook he has now added a bow thruster making her very easy to handle. I agree with Broads 1 that the wide front door way and forward cockpit are stand out features over the equivalent Alpha design all be slightly less accommodation. The layout however feels slightly more spacious than Broom Bolero and the toilet and shower are along the side of the boat rather than across. I am not sure whether she will still have it on hire however she did have a reversing camera too. All in all for her spec she is one of the best value Opal 28 on the Broads I am tempted particularly with the bow thruster however the one downside is the settee in the saloon which is a lovely piece of furniture however doesn't extend therefore she is really suited to a couple with a child. Neil
  2. It appears you had a lovely time, we had Reflection 1 twice under Swan ownership she is great boat, cosy warm and from experience the best fitted of her type by a country mile including an airing cupboard. I am bit of an anorak and review website bookings and can say that the ex Swan boats are almost all fully booked from March to the end October already and are by far some of the most popular boats on the Broads beating several of the newish fly bridge types. Richardson's definitely made a good decision buying these boats. Neil
  3. Richardson's have I believe 5 A/F 38 of this design in total. 2 Major Gems, 2 Ibiza's and 1Broadland Mercury however only 2 are Woods built the rest are former Super/Superb Gems of which 10 were built cc 1975. Certainly an enduring and popular design which started back in 71/2 with the Dawning light class and still looks good nearly 50 years on. It was more less replaced by the 42 in 1976 which was built on mass featuring on the Thames, Loch Lomond and across France. I believe Richardson's Supreme Gems were the first built in 76 (Beaver fleet had some at the same time) of which three stalwarts remain on hire renamed Superior Gem after the sister class of which 2 remain. Indeed Richardson's had until recently a large fleet of 42's including Thames and possibly French examples and Loch Lomond craft. Between 1981 and 1991 various modified 42s appeared many to slightly different variations such as Glistening Light (originally Flash of light) and the mainly Thames boats Rickos have 2/3 (Corsica) and Hamptons built 2 Majestic and Imperial Safari (Pacific Imperial) in 1987 and 1991. The Brinks Symphony class was probably the last 42 built in 1991 which briefly morphed into the huge 48ft Brinks Emporer class. Sorry I do carried away when I start to think about these things. Neil
  4. Hi Apollo, Nice boat by the way, I am sure someone will be along with a photo/brochure pictures of your boat shortly. I believe it still has its original reg and operated at Richardson's after its time at Woods. Having a perusal of the Broads database and from memory suggest s Woods built around 13 of these new aquafibre design s back in 1971-3. Turnoars photo appears to be one of 6 Dawning Lights and Rapid Streams F200-5. I have a feeling these ended up in France and or the Thames at Woods subsidiary yards (Ladbrokes). 4 Gleaming lights appear to follow in 1972/3 F866-9 and finally 3 Hearts cruisers. Richardson's still have 1 of the Gleaming lights as a Major Gem and a former Hearts boat as Mercury. Good luck in getting the photos Neil
  5. I concur, Bittern is a great little boat for a couple or a small group for a day. I have hired here 2/3 times for short breaks. Visited Catfield for the first time in her. Whispering Reed's is a good family operated yard and Bittern needs 6ft or less for Potter and is very good value especially compared with Woods day cruisers which are restricted to the other side of the Bridge. I hired Janet 3 from Martham boats last year which I can also recommend, most of Martham s fleet need 6ft or less for Potter. Bittern is a little cosy and Martham boats are relatively basic however you have to accept a little compromise to see this beautiful area Neil
  6. As a side issue I believe it was Bert Bushnell of Maidenhead who pioneered the pump out boat toilet using aeroplane toilets as a template Neil
  7. The Richardson's Thames saga is even more complicated than suggested above. Back in the 70's and early 80's the Thames operation was Bushnell's of Maidenhead which was bought from the Olympic rower Bert Bushnell by Rank. Many of the Bushnell's fleet were latterly built at Stalham including the former Princess and one of the Distant Horizon's. When Rank sold Richardson's back it appears the Richardson family inherited the Bushnell's fleet if not the yard? Back in the mid 80's a large chunk of the Stalham fleet operated out of Maidenhead before they eventually returned to Stalham and the yard closed. Then the Saga began again when Richardson's bought Maidboats three yards, Thames Ditton and Wallingford being the original Maid yards, Benson Pleasurecraft a more recent acquisition by the previous owner s (who were the former owners?). Whilst Thames Ditton and Wallingford eventually closed up, Benson became Benson cruiser station and Swancraft, as far as I know Le Boat operates out of the yard however doesn't own it, the boats are run by Swancraft on behalf of Le Boat. Neil
  8. Webntweb, You could right be there, I had read somewhere that Ripplecraft had bought some Fowlers boats, I am sure somebody can confirm. Thanks Neil
  9. I agree they were probably the first flybridges certainly ahead of there time, I wonder if these were Ripplecraft designs perhaps created by Sir Christopher Cockerel? Neil
  10. DavidH, More great brochure pictures, in answer to the smallest boat question although my parents hired Petit Barsac from Bondons in 1963/4 my Dad always told me that the smallest boat was Peter Pan (an aft cockpit) at 17ft and the largest was Enchantress (60ft?), I believe they both get a mention in the Broadland Memories website. With regard to Water Gypsy I do believe you could steer from the front and back and its dates from cc 1953, the Ripplecraft dual steer appears more like a 60's built boat although I maybe wrong. Neil
  11. Hi I love to see the old brochures and what amazes me is that in spite of being an anorak boat spotter since the 70's I am still seeing boats and yards that I never knew existed weird designs that can only have been around for a matter of seasons. I never know Highcraft had a base at Stokesby and whilst I knew there used to several yards at Thorpe I have never heard of Reliance Boat Co. or Alex Underwood Cruisers or indeed Treasure Craft at Brundall. What's strange is that some of these yards didn't even appear in the What to do on the Norfolk Broads guides of the 70s which supposedly listed all the yards, presumably they were short lived operations. It does explain why there were 120 yards on the Broads in the 70s when Blakes and Hoseasons only listed about 100. Neil
  12. Hi, As far as I can remember the Falcon's (about 8 built) from Easticks cc 1975 and the Diamond Anchors (3 built)from Anchor Craft Acle built in 77-79 (K/L reg) only ever operated through Blakes. The Blue Gems (4)and Pastel Blue Gems (2) from 1974/5 (H reg) from Richardsons operated under Blakes and Hoseasons although I believe they ended up finishing their hirefleet days at Hearts Cruisers possibly as Heartbeat class. I also remember a couple briefly operating from the old Alan Johnson yard when it was an independent operation possibly former Diamond Anchors and a few were on hire from the Thames (under Hoseasons) including some of the Richardsons examples
  13. Hi, Waveney River Centre do build boats and as far as I can see none of the Ferry fleet is moving to WRC ? Tranquil Emblem the newest boat in the Ferry fleet was built/fitted out at WRC not at Ferry as confirmed by a You Tube video on the subject, Tranquil Emblem 2 which was mentioned on the website has now disappeared therefore its likely that this one if built stayed at WRC for the new hire fleet, as far as I can tell the fleet appears to all new 2018/9. I note one of the descriptions mentions 27ft suggesting the smaller low level bridge friendly mould may also appear (also used as day cruiser in the current WRC/Ferry fleet) although the pictures don't reflect this. Neil
  14. Hi, The Alpha 32 centre cockpit first appeared in 1982, the 34/35 in 1984, I am not sure when they stopped building however the last hire one joined Barnes in 1999. The new Alphas are quite rare and as far as I know didn't appear until 2011/12 so unlikely to be on the second hand market, I believe only 6 on hire (Swan Renown, Brinks Quartetx4 and Amber Emblem). Neil
  15. Hi, The former Porter & Haylett water hose is still in use although it's now on a timer, £1 a go I believe. Neil
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