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About expilot

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  1. expilot


    Democracy is such a misunderstood concept. For thirty plus year we have owned a holiday home on the Broads. If you want to hear about disenfranchised groups, you ought to talk to the hundreds of people who, like us, are unable to vote in local elections. I may want to seek my parish councillor's support and/or my district councillor's support, but can only do so knowing that I have absolutely no say over who represents me in the area in which I spend thousands of pounds a year.
  2. expilot


    The boat in question is moored in a privately owned boat dock. The boat dock is owned by the same person who owns the Foster 30. Had the boat belonged to anyone else, it would, I believe, have needed to be registered and tolled. Broadland Swift, my own boat, is moored in our own wet-shed at Potter and similarly hasn't been tolled for several years. On the rare occasion I have had to bring her on to the river, I have stumped up for a visitor toll. At the moment we have another boat moored on our river frontage. Because it is on the frontage as opposed to inside one of the wet-sheds, she, too, has to be registered and tolled.
  3. Cheers Coolcat. I joined the members' club months before I bought my 75. I used the brilliant 75 owners site to educate myself about what to look for and what to avoid. Like you I use the same name, Expilot, on all forums to which I contribute.
  4. And this from another 'smart man.' (Thank you, Paul) . It took me many months to find my modern classic, a Rover 75 Connoisseur SE. I had a wish list of extras and went to see some absolute shockers. I bought my Connie from a man in a private car park in Willesden! I know. That's not how you're supposed to buy second-hand cars, but at £1,750 for a car with genuine 60,000 miles on the clock, the BMW bomb-proof diesel engine and gearbox, more bells and whistles than you can shake a fist at, what was there to loose? It had to be the twin headlight version and, ideally, 2002. The only missing extra was cruise control. I'd had a very clever cruise control on my Honda Prelude and would have liked the same on the Connie, but it wasn't to be. In three years I have put another 40,000 miles on the old lady. I absolutely adore the comfort, the multi-position leather seats, the quiet and the ease of driving her. I have just fitted four new tyres to the old girl to quieten the already quiet road noise. All I can hear now is the air-leaking door seal to my right shoulder! In 17 years' use, she had her first MOT advisory last month. What is there not to like? That said, I am easily pleased. My sole transport for fifty years prior to my first car bought at the age of fifty, was always short of a couple of wheels - an all-weather biker and proud to be. If the 75 sees me out, I'll be tickled pink.
  5. expilot

    River Bure

    If that bridge is, technically, in Potter "Falgate" on the North side, then, technically, the South side is in Bastwick, a civil parish only relatively recently joined with Repps to become Repps With Bastwick. Incidentally, the civil parish is enormous and stretches right over to Hickling - way beyond the village centre. I would be interested to be referred to the map from which TheQ derives his information. I am blowed if I can find such a location on any of my maps.
  6. What an interesting concept. Made me chuckle and brought back a veritable medley of memories. At the height of the season I would put through 'that bridge' one hundred plus cruisers per day - hire and private - and often received the comment, "You must be paid per boat. You almost run from boat to boat!" Crews were surprised to learn that I was paid £2.00 something an hour whether I put one boat through or one hundred. In fact, of course, if the tides were so high as to limit the numbers, the job became much, much more difficult. Trying to explain about air pressure, wind direction off the coast of Scotland, neaps, springs, unexpected or forecast heavy rainfall to someone who just wanted desperately to get through 'that bridge' was, well, to put it quite bluntly, simply too difficult sometimes. Punters were often told a porky. The mains water pipe that crosses the river at Wroxham has burst - hence the high water. Now that's an idea that most people can get their heads around and to watch the lightbulb moment on their faces when told such fake news was as much pleasurable as it was a relief. The downside was that, having now understood the situation, the same punters then shouted the 'news' to every boat coming up the Thurne hoping to get through 'that bridge'. I have little doubt that even canoeists were treated to the bad news. To answer the question, no, there has never been a quota. Although every boat turned away had no effect on my wages, the impact on my income was dramatic. I always earned more in tips than I did from a subsistence level pay packet. It cost me dear to turn a boat away. I was never tipped for delivering disappointment. And, yes, part of the job was the decision as to the certainty, or otherwise, of getting a boat back. And, yes, I always advised the day and time slot. And, yes, there were always people who had worked it out for themselves - wrongly more often than not. To Willow I would explain that 'centre cockpit' boats ranged, then, from needing 6' 4" to 7' 2" and all stops between at one inch intervals. Someone who had just been told that they couldn't get through on 'Royal Crusader' (centre cockpit AF needing 6' 9") but then watch me take forty-five foot long Connoisseurs (centre cockpit needing 6' 6" - at a push) through one after another, of course they would pop back into the office for an explanation. I even had many a telephone conversation with boatyard owners and managers complaining that I had refused to put their hirers through. My answer was always the same (after a brief explanation of facts as they apply at Potter Bridge) if they, as the boat's manager or owner was instructing me to put their boat through then, against my better judgement, I would take it through. No-one ever took me up on the offer! Whilst many hirers chose their centre cockpit boat because of the sliding canopy, few hirers would appreciate a boat without the sliding canopy for the remainder of the holiday. Boatyard owners were even less keen. And to Willow again, I have to say, the pilot has to make a call at the point at which he is asked to make the decision. It is his decision alone, but that decision can be reversed provided developing conditions permit it - or the weather forecast changes throughout the day. I cannot with any certainty remember what height Countess of Light needed, but, if she was a 42' Alpha centre cockpit then she would have needed either 6' 10", or 7' 0". Nothing would have been going through that day if the gauge had been reading 5' 4" not even the Martham boats. I suspect, because you were eventually told that you could get through, that you went through right on the point of low tide which had gone lower than predicted, which is why you were told to get back at the same time the following day.
  7. Ah, so that was the missing bit of my training.
  8. "We have no data to know if the bridge at Potter has itself sunk and if it has by how much. In the 1970s there were steel braces and wooden dams over the two smaller archers - this was to try and stop the bridge 'spreading' outwards. I have no idea if this worked and that is why the bracing was removed, or if it did not and was just done to try and stop it." We do, indeed, have the data. Such data is collected regularly by Norfolk County Council Highways' Bridge Inspection team. Potter Bridge has not sunk since measurements were first recorded. The bridge was inspected again last month. I can vouch, too, for the fact that the recent spate of exceptionally low tides was just as evident above Potter Bridge as below it. The EA's Repps gauge almost certainly bottomed out as did the gauge in the Pilot's Office at Potter.
  9. You get a better idea of how many were built by looking at Craig's brilliant list: http://www.broads.org.uk/src/boatlist.php?style=Gem3
  10. The Falcons went under Potter Bridge, but needed a smidge over 7' 0" there and back. My memory is not good, but I believe one needed 7' 2" because it sat vey high at the front. None had that add-on at the rear. Again from memory, the front windows are split in the middle by a very wide section of grp which made lining the boats up on the bridge much more difficult. The Hamptons pass Potter Bridge at anything from 6' 5" . to 6' 7"
  11. We are relatively local to Thurne and, this evening, paid our first visit to the refurbished Lion at Thurne. The pub/restaurant has been tastefully refurbished. Those who know the White Horse at Neatishead with recognise much of the detailing. Friendly welcome, friendly service - if a little confused sometimes. Food OK, BUT what was immensely impressive was the way the young staff handled a complaint about the food. Both dishes were removed from the table without fuss, substitute meals brought to the table only minutes later and all done in a totally gracious manner. It goes without saying that neither meal had been added to the bill. We will return - and often - not because of the food especially, but because good service deserves to be recognised. This was a young, inexperienced staff who handled what could have been an uncomfortable situation to the sort of standard I would have expected from the very best fine dining establishment. Top marks to the Lion at Thurne. Very impressed.
  12. Broads 01, may I suggest you give the PHB pilots a call on 01692 670460. They will advise on the air draft of each boat.
  13. Mark, ('Britain's best Elvis')was our next door neighbour! His property flooded frequently before he bought it. Rather than lift the bungalow, false floor was placed over false floor, over false floor.... I lifted his bungalow, Octagon Lodge, as he renamed it, but had to replace all floors, bearers and joists because they were all as tender as a boiled owl. His boat was called Speckled Hen.
  14. My two-penn'orth in answering MM's questions: When were those flood alleviation works done? Thurne's riverbanks were commenced in 2011 Was the reduced height at Potter Heigham sudden or gradual? I started piloting in 1989 with reliably low bridge clearances 6'8" to 7.0" at Low Water during the Summer season. Easters were notoriously unreliable because the full moon around which the Easter date is set did not increase the tidal range but reduced significantly the bridge clearance heights at each successive Low Water. When I left, ten years later, the water levels had increased noticeably and have increased gradually ever since. Is there a definite correlation of the bridge clearance reduction to both or either event? 'Definite correlation'? No. Who was responsible (Which Government Dept.) for having the flood alleviation work done? The Environment Agency formed an engineering, construction and consultancy consortium - Broadland Environmental Services Limited - comprising Bam Nuttall and the Halcrow Group. In the late 90s and early 2000s We would regularly have the pilot take Royall Ambassador under. What clearance did that boat need? Royall Ambassador is/was an Alpha 42 and all Alpha 42s were put through the bridge at between 6'10" and 7'0" depending on the final resting position of the cockpit sliding canopy when fully open. I believe, from memory, there was a height difference between even the Royall Ambassadors. And finally (for now) How often have the chalets up river of the bridge been flooded in the last 18 years? The incidence of bungalows flooding is identical above the bridge as below it. I know of only one bungalow that has flooded in the past eighteen years. It has flooded regularly since 1989. I have personally lifted more than thirty of the two hundred riverside bungalows to prevent the possibility of them being flooded. Others have also been lifted. In 1993 our bungalow plot, on the Hickling bank (above the bridge), flooded to a depth of about three inches. It hasn't totally flooded since then. In the thirty years we have owned the bungalow, the majority of bungalow owners have since raised the capping to their piled quay-headings by about four to six inches. Our bungalow has never flooded. The river water remains either in the river or, occasionally, over the garden's lawns. When BESL, Broadland Environmental Services Limited, were planning the floodbank strengthening works, we bungalow owners (as consultees via the offices of the River Thurne Tenants Association) were promised that the floodbank behind our properties would not be raised any higher than existing at the time the works began. Over-topping locations would be preserved. The banks have not been raised. The previously existing over-topping points were preserved. New ones have since formed behind certain bungalows as the reinforced (widened) banks have settled under their own increased weight. Sometimes we simply have to admit that what happens is simply counter-intuitive. If science were common sense we'd all have science degrees.
  15. I started my piloting career at PHB in 1988 and continued until 1999. In all those years I didn't once see 7' 10" at LW (It would have been 7 feet 10 inches at LW if it were 7' 6" at High). We considered ourselves very lucky to see 7' 3" - and then only very rarely - at LW. In those days, about two thirds of the hire fleet would get through the bridge at average LW. We would put anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 boats through per Easter to October season. I doubt if this year, the total will be more than 1,000 - and many of those will be day/picnic boats. I don't know if it is my imagination, but I sense that, since the limited dredging on the Bure, the tidal flow has increased, but the tidal range remains at 4" daily rise and fall. The idea of dredging beneath the bridge to increase air draft was very much tongue in cheek. Apart from anything else, the arch has a solid horizontal base not that far beneath he water surface.
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