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Vaughan last won the day on April 3

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  1. Free diving, actually. I have often used bottles but I am not SCUBA qualified. You are only going down deep enough to bang your head on the prop, anyway!
  2. If God had meant us to build Fibreglass boats, he would have made Fibreglass trees.
  3. I think you have made one of the most important points about it. The yard is already employing its own staff, so damage repairs only cost the materials, in real terms. And boat repairs in GRP are almost all labour hours with few materials. Notice that Richardsons are always glad to offer to do repairs to a private boat which has been involved in a bump with one of theirs. In addition, there is not much loss of hire as, except perhaps in August, they can always place the next customers on another of their boats. In my case, if I lost hire on a boat, the customers would be put on another boat in another yard, by Blakes, and the hire money would transfer with them. So I had to be well insured. As I said, a business decision.
  4. They spent an awful lot of money rebuilding those boats and it was a rebuild. They were stripped right out to the bare hull inside. One of them was even exhibited at the Paris Boat Show! I am afraid I couldn't see the economics of it.
  5. The Queen of the Broads. A menace to all who came near her. The suction from her wash, on the upper Bure, was incredible.
  6. The King of Hearts, on Hickling. She would go under Potter bridge, too! No date on this one, but they must have been two boats together.
  7. Watching the Yare Navigation Race?
  8. I was also referring to the insurance of hire boats, in other words a business insurance. For instance Bobby Richardson, before he sold the yard to Rank, only ever insured his boats third party. With that many boats, he reckoned he could happily lose one, or even two, every year and it would still cost less than the insurance premium if he insured them all risks. What they do now of course, I don't know! In my case I only had a few boats, so my business needed better cover. I was even insured for loss of hire by mechanical failure. You can do this, but you have to pay for it. It came in very handy for me on a couple of occasions, when hirers overheated engines and blew them up!
  9. The boat that got sunk was rather a one-off design that you may not have seen before and certainly not on the Broads. We had some old centre cockpit Alpha 44s (or is it 42?) that were not letting all that well and needed refreshing. So a whole new cabin top mould was laid on top of the original boat. This did away with the sliding canopy and folding windscreen but gave it a long, spacious, high sundeck with dual steering. It made a very good boat for the French rivers, where we are not too worried about height. It also dropped the waterline aft by nearly two inches, which actually made them easier to steer! The mould was made by Langford Jillings at Alphacraft and designed by John Moxham, who I believe designed the original boat. The moulds were then sent by truck to France where the fitting out was done by Arthur Garret and myself, at St Gilles. We had to do a bit of interior work in the old wheelhouse and around the window surrounds inside but otherwise, we hardly needed to touch the original interior, other than a lot of new varnish and new curtains and Lino. Luckily I did my usual gas test on the boat before she first went out on hire, as I couldn't get any pressure on the gauge. I soon discovered that I had walked about 45 screws into the gas pipe, all along the corner of the aft cabin top! In my defence, it had been hidden up behind the head-lining, so I didn't know it was there. Another good reason why gas pipes in a boat should ideally be visible. We ended up fitting out 5 of them and they have been very popular. The moulds arrived either with the blue sides in the gel-coat, or in plain white. Opinion was always divided as to which looked better. I am not at all sure that all the expense and time, on an old boat, made them commercially viable in hiring terms but that was not my problem. They asked me to do it, so I did it!
  10. I suppose that depends on your insurance policy. There are several versions available for hire boats. It depends how much risk you are prepared to take and/or how much premium you are prepared to pay. Insurance is a "risk" business.
  11. As this is a time for sharing some stories, I thought you might like to see what your damage waiver gets spent on! This was one of the more awkward salvage jobs I have been involved in, and there have been a few! This was on the river Charente, near Cognac, towards the end of the season and the river was swollen owing to heavy rain up in the Dordogne. The high water had covered an island in the middle of the stream, which used to have small trees on it but these had recently been cut down. Despite the danger warning buoys, one of which you can see right beside the boat in the photo, they carried on across the island and two of the tree stumps went straight through the bottom of the boat. We went down there with two other hire boats, a lot of gear and three motor pumps, hired from a local plant hire firm. Olivier, seen here, was the base manager at Jarnac, so the boat was his baby! Luckily Jaques, the manager at Douelle, on the river Lot, had been a diver in the French Navy : But he only had one set of bottles, so he and I were down there buddy breathing off the same regulator, while we sawed the stumps off from under the hull. We then bolted and screwed a couple of plywood patches over the holes, using my old hand drill and my Yankee pump screwdriver, both of which work perfectly underwater! Then we started to pump, which was not easy as all the side windows and the aft well were under water. I had already been down that side holding my breath and plugging all the vent and drain holes I could find in the hull, as even the galley sink was under water by then. I was in the aft well, up to my chest and sitting on a pillow, so as to push it up against a big vent grill in the side moulding. After a lot of pumping, nothing was happening, until I noticed that the water in the boat seemed to be moving about. There seemed to be a flow, coming out of the door to one of the cabins. So under we went again and sure enough, there was a third tree stump through the bottom on the other side of the boat! This wasn't easy, as the boat was leaning over on it and we couldn't get access from the inside in the cabin. So we just had to dig around the stump, saw it off and leave it in the boat. We pushed a lot of pillows around it and as she began to come up level we shoved them gradually further into the hole. Pumping out had to be done very carefully, as with all that water inside she could very easily capsize over the other way, and we would have to start all over again! One person standing on the deck in the wrong place, is all it takes. By the time we had got her level and stable, the river had started to go down, so we had to pull her off the island with Tirfor jacks, from the bank. Getting her home to Jarnac meant I had to push her from behind with another boat, as the lock gates were too narrow to enter alongside. The pushing boat was a bathtub type so I could see out of the side windows but nothing at all in front. Luckily Jaques and I had started on some wine by then and we were able to have a shower on the boat when we were in the lock, so that cheered us up no end! We had the pumps running flat out all the way home and hauled her out straight away on the gantry. This is one of the patches that we put on underwater. And this is the hole on the other side, that we couldn't reach to patch! The boat was written off by the insurance but the wreck was bought by the local policeman, who fitted her out again inside, for his own use. I am not sure I would have taken on a project like that as there was not a lot left worth having, in there! At least it happened in fresh water, I suppose. If it had been brackish water, like on Breydon, that would have really done for it!
  12. On Skype, they all look just like goldfish in a bowl, to me.
  13. A bit like this, perhaps, at the Pleasure Boat at Hickling? Yes, they could get under Potter bridge in those days. The boat in front is the Queen of Hearts. Photo taken by her hirers, on 26th May, 1953.
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