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neilp1962

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  1. I'm so very sorry to hear this sad news Alan, no words will ease the pain for you and your family, but as sure as tides happy memories will one day overtake it. Stay strong mate, we're all thinking of you.
  2. Lymekiln Dyke from Neatishead August 2018
  3. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Yes I would hire one again, but it's a close run thing with centre steering boats. I was going to do a list of pros and cons but now's as good a time as any. Pros Extremely good view from top helm, really noticeable on lower Bure towards Great Yarmouth. Also I could stand up there and see for absolutely miles. Brilliant rear bathroom with full size (ish) shower. Lots of headroom everywhere except when sitting at lower helm and front bedroom and bathroom. Very maneuverable even without using bow thrusters. Comfy everywhere including beds and main seating, but why do they make the U shape settee with curved corners? you can't sit with your feet up along the sofa seat to watch TV with your back against the backrest because it's curved. Very bright interior with large windows and roof lights. Easy to switch between helm positions, you just need to be in neutral at both positions, then power on the one you want to use, both steering wheels are connected so steering one also turns the other. Very smart looking boat, felt like I'd paid for something extra. Upstairs position great for breakfast/drinks, if there is no stern seat take camping chairs/table. I bought a padded folding beach mat which was ideal for Bev to relax on next to me and this boat is perfect for that (see picture, amazon £18 or so) Cons Small kitchen worktop space. A bit gloomy in front bedroom with low ceiling and very small windows. A bit of a faff on leaving through rear door as it's two small ones which both need to be open to get through. Very steep inner stairs to top helm. Front Bathroom is small and tight on headroom. Lower helm has a high seat to see out the window, which means at 5'10" my head touched the ceiling. No opening side window to stick your head out, couldn't see behind. Overall I really enjoyed it, only the weather caused us stress which is daft because it was glorious but the dog wouldn't leave me and it was too hot for him. I'm sure you'll love this style of boat, I did.
  4. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Yes the BA was one of the numbers pre-programmed into my phone which I gave them. As I turned into The Bure a BA launch turned into the dyke heading that way, it seemed to have purpose rather than just cruising around so hopefully they were dealt with properly. I still can't believe it, the broads needs new visitors and the boat yards need money so new boaters have to be encouraged, but boy this self-entitled, self-centred ignorant beast of a woman boiled my blood. It was the need for feeding her face instead of recognising what she'd done that irked the most. I still love the broads though, thankfully people like that are few and far between.
  5. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    It's Thursday, the skies look like rain and the boat goes back tomorrow. I've woken up on a boat though so I'm smiling. Today we're having another slowish day, we'll set off when we're ready, no rush, and we'll head for Ranworth to see if a miracle has a space available for lunch at the Maltsters. It hasn't started raining yet as we cast off, so I'm upstairs with Boris as we revisit the dyke back towards Barton Broad, another thoroughly enjoyable little trip through this perfect little part of Norfolk, but rain is coming soon so I'm prepared with an umbrella and a raincoat. I don't like the downstairs helm, it's not cramped at all but it feels that way to me, I think because upstairs is so open, so I'm up here regardless of the weather. The Ant is once more traveled at leisure, the rain starts and anyone that way might have seen the sight of me holding the umbrella over the dog while I get wet. I'm staying up here though, I paid for a dual-steer boat and I'm getting my money's worth. Bev is downstairs warm and dry, reading something and drinking tea. Occasionally I catch her looking up at me with a puzzled expression, I've got used to that in the 26 years we've been together. We follow a small sailie all the way down to the Thurne, her sail tied to the mast (there's bound to be a sailing term for that) and under power, the high-pitched thrum of it's little engine quite a contrast against the gruffer 'hubble bubble' of Fair Commodore's exhaust. We reach the bridge and it's a hive of activity from sailie as they lower the mast and prepare to go through, my windscreen etc has been lowered along the way, lots of time to do it and it's very easy to do even for one person. At the Thurne we part company, sailie turns left and I go right towards the holy grail of Ranworth Staithe. The rain has eased, almost stopped but it's only a respite, not a reprieve but I enjoy it while it lasts. Of course the staithe is full, I can see that through the binoculars as we enter Malthouse broad so we decide to stop for a couple of minutes at the island before heading to our final overnight mooring at Salhouse Broad. I'm not too disappointed, we have so much food still aboard so we'll not starve, and the weather means we'd not be sitting outside the pub anyway which is always our preference. We moored, then something terrible happened. A dayboat with several people onboard was moored side-on on the island, they, us and only one other boat were there with lots of space between us, when one of the very long bathtub types came hurtling backwards, and I'm not exaggerating when I say at top speed, straight into the dayboat. The crash was sickening, I still shake when I think of it, the little dayboat flexed inwards, compressed by the shear force then jumped upwards almost onto land, then fell sidewards back into the water before thankfully righting itself. The bathtub boat then roared off forwards, with a man at the rear door who was supposed to be giving directions screaming at the driver to stop. For a long time, at least ten minutes this out of control boat circled round at top speed, the female driver yelling that they were coming back whenever they passed us but she had no idea whatsoever how to get this boat to shore, her partner was not helping because he was in shock and just shouting at her. The people from the dayboat were now ashore and apart from being shocked and one little boy with a bust lip said they were ok. I was desperately trying to give instructions, mainly to cut the power and eventually they were able to approach us straight on, at low speed so I was able to pull the boat around side-on, the dayboat hirer then helped me pull the boat around so she was stern-on and tied. This woman was horrible, sorry but she was. Her reaction when she got off the boat was to merely jest that she was doing ok up until then, and then ask if they can walk to the pub from here. Do you realise what you've just done? You have very nearly killed several people and you want a nice lunch do you? I had a long discussion with the dayboat hirer, gave him all the phone numbers and details of what to do and how to report this, I offered to make the calls for him there and then but he wanted to do it himself. He was angry but calm, grateful for the advice but he wanted to deal with these people himself and to be honest, they had a better chance with him as I wanted to throw them in the river. I gave him my details as a witness, and reluctantly left him to it, he was making the calls as I left. The dayboat was remarkably in ok shape, at least visibly, I have no idea how it was still afloat. One last bit of advice to her to 'get back to the boatyard and hand the keys in' from me and we left for Salhouse. I get that people want to come onto the river and that a lot have no experience, that's fine and describes me a few a years ago but this was something else. She was at the front going hell bent backwards whilst staring forwards, he was at the back 40 odd feet away, where the noisy engine is, trying to give instructions that she couldn't hear, she had no clue how to slow the boat, even when getting directions from me to head straight for me slowly she would go full throttle forwards, my urgent signals to slow resulted in full throttle backwards and it was like a yo-yo with her appearing at the front door not even at the controls shouting cheerfully that it's not as easy as it looks. The last thing was as I left she was pointing across the broad towards the pub, wondering how to get there, totally oblivious to the carnage she'd caused, the devastation she'd nearly wreaked on a family. Badly shaken I set off for Salhouse and to be honest, I wanted to be off the river today, I really had just seen something horrific that could have ended so very badly. We moored at Salhouse along near the water point, money was paid even before I'd tied the ropes and we went for a walk in the rain. We walked along the path through the woods, turned right at the road and headed towards the tea shop in the village. It took half an hour because Boris decided he needed to sniff every single blade of grass and when we got there I poked my head through the door but it was lovely, very.....I don't now, lacey, chintzy, elegant, and I couldn't bring myself to take a wet smelly dog in there so we went back to the boat. The afternoon was spent quietly, the weather didn't break until twilight so our last day was a bit of a washout, I would still rather be there than on a boiling beach though, I hate that. I made our chicken and sweetcorn soup, I hate to brag but this is seriously good and it filled and warmed us. The telly worked so we watched something or other, I wasn't really paying attention, I was still shook-up and actually very angry. An early night, we have to be back in Wroxham by 9 tomorrow morning, it's someone else's turn on this boat.
  6. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Wednesday the 8th and today we're going to have a slow meander up the Ant, see if we can nab an over-night mooring at Neatishead as we've never managed that before. Compared to some of the long days cruising we've done this week it's quite a gentle day ahead with a couple of lengthy stops en-route to get Boris off the boat. He's growing into it and coping better now but ashore is definitely his preference, he likes nothing more than sniffing around new places. We were promised a mighty storm last night, something to clear the air and cool the blood but it never came, just a few spots through the night and today is nice again, if cooling a bit. We were in no hurry today, we walked up into Ludham and I called in the butchers for some raw best mince for the Dog (I know I know, it was Bev's idea and he's on holiday too) and while I was in there I might as well get some of those pork pies and a couple of scotch eggs. I also popped into the general store and was hugely impressed with their deli-counter, shame I couldn't buy anything from it as we only had two more nights and we weren't short of supplies but I now know for next time. What I did need was ingredients for chicken & sweetcorn soup, like you get in a Chinese restaurant, I recently learned how to make this from a youtube video and it was to be our last meal on the boat tomorrow night. The staithe was fairly empty when we returned to the boat, everyone off to do their thing, go their own way towards whatever adventure today would bring. Chores finished we set off at about 9.30 ish, and we took a little detour around the Island. This was truly bitter-sweet for us, actually very emotional because this spot two years ago is where we finally accepted that our last dog, Alfie was so poorly that we would have to take him home. We'll never forget you boy. Next stop was St Benets, it was quite a challenging mooring because the current was strong but we managed it, the boat was soon secured and we were off for a good walk to burn a few calories off. The wind had picked up a bit which was welcome, fresh, it was nice here. A good while was spent wandering around, no livestock in view so Boris could wander off the lead although he's still insecure so he never goes far from us. Lots of pictures taken, lots of memories, lots of smiles. Boris always seems to attract a lot of attention, he's a big rough looking fella but soft as clarts, not an ounce of aggression in him. It always pleases us when he gets a fuss because we know a little about his background from the people at the Dogs Trust and believe me, hugs were in short supply. He's a very happy dog today though, absolutely bouncing. Next stop How Hill, before we left I prepared the boat for the bridge because it would be busy once we got there, yep it's busy as hell. I thought about stopping for a cuppa in the tea shop, but to be honest the madness of Ludham Bridge needed to be left behind so I kept going. I don't need to tell you what a nice river the Ant is to cruise on, but I will. It's delightful, twisty as I like it, not too busy once the bridge is but a memory and the weather today is a bit cooler so even Boris is enjoying the view. There is plenty of room at How Hill moorings, and we set off up the hill to the tea room. Let me tell you about the cake they do in the tea room....Bev had Victoria Sponge and I had lemon Drizzle Cake, big slices of soft moist loveliness washed down with good strong tea. Go there if you haven't been, you wont regret it. Sated we had a walk around the impressive grounds, the secret garden is beautiful and so well laid out but to be honest, we found it pretty easily so it wasn't all that secret. I know I know, I'm joking but it reminds me of the Top Secret War Bunker in Liverpool, a tourist attraction that's advertised all the way from the M62. A nosey through the windows of Hathor the Wherry, but it's shut so back to the boat for the last leg of the day. The houses through here are magnificent, but I wonder how much people like me looking in annoys them. Slowly through this part respecting their property and the river opens up into Barton Broad which has lots of sailboats, an organised event. We're turning left today, and care has to be taken to allow the wind dependent boats to do their thing, it's nice to see so many boats with young people, children who obviously have done this for ages as they are brilliant. They're also nice and polite as they without exception thanked me with a wave if I'd given way for them. Limekiln Dyke was passaged as slowly as I could manage, just enough speed to allow me to steer, it was magical. Would there be a space for us? Gay's Staithe had a couple of spaces as we passed but yes, the end mooring (last on left as you face the river from the road) was free so I turned and moored. Happy days, lets go for a pint at the White Horse and book a table for tonight. We booked for 6.30 as we like to eat early, and went for a walk with Boris, we actually walked miles across fields and down lanes and we were a bit short of time when we got back to the boat, only time for a quick wash and change before our reservation. The excellent reputation the White Horse enjoys is earned and deserved. A lovely meal with a couple of pints of Spitfire lager, everyone here tries their hardest to make sure you're enjoying it, thanks for a lovely meal. We don't stay late, we're back at the boat by 8.30 and I take up residence on the seat at the end of the moorings by the ladder. Bev is catching up on TV as this is the first time it's had a decent signal, and I have a bottle of Malbec, the company of a devoted dog and a view up the dyke that will stay with me for a long time. I watched a kingfisher, or more accurately a blue flash of colour streaking backwards and forwards across the dyke, when suddenly a sailboat approached, it's reflection in the still water quite breath-taking. Oh my goodness, this place is heaven. I managed to get a picture which I posted on facebook at the time, I hope no-one minds me including it again here, it's the Norfolk Broads to me, the epitomy of serenity. I sat for ages into darkness, the wine gone replaced with Balvenie 12 year old malt. I'd brought Boris's bed out and he was asleep on it next to me, I couldn't see a thing, perfect blackness. Time to reflect on a week almost gone, the highs without lows, the peace, the company of my wife who I still can't believe agreed to marry me, my dog who is changing from a nervy shell of a dog into a confident and loving companion, I'm so at ease, so relaxed, when......HISSSSSSSSS........ bloody swan, Me and Boris just nearly had a dicky fit. Time for bed, the weather's changing.
  7. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    I went through approx 2 hrs 15 mins before the advertised LSW of 13.33 on the 7th. It wasn't so much the power, this boat looks fast but it isn't and my revs which would propel me at 6mph at slack water had me doing 3-4mph past the bridges, I've punched a faster tide through Reedham bridge before to be honest. I wonder if the rate of flow varies throughout the high to low tide transition, not linear like a 9 inch drop in water height per hour every hour, maybe once turned the water level gently drops then towards LW it drops faster. I don't know, that was the question in my other post about this subject. Certainly I've only ever entered Yarmouth early twice before, both times 2-3 hours early once from the north (I didn't know any better) and once now from the south. Both times the water state was the same, not very gentle flow exactly but nothing to concern me, I'd say 2mph water speed at most.
  8. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    It's Tuesday 7th and we have to make our way back North, I'm going to try something daring. A few weeks ago I asked a question on these here boards about passing through Yarmouth outside of the ideal passage time of Low Slack water. I got a lot of replies (genuinely, thank you very much) telling me that the ideal time was LSW for many good reasons, all valid, true and to be fair already fully understood but it was the question....'yeah but what if I go early' that I wanted answers to. Surely not everyone waits for LSW, and taking bridge heights as being researched and adequate, will it be impossible or just not ideal, water speed (current) was my concern in a low-powered hire boat. I'd considered this option for both south and north passages but decided against heading south early because as everybody quite rightly pointed out I'd be going through Yarmouth with (a potentially strong) tide, so steerage might be an issue. Going north however meant going against the current, so steering would be fine, bridge height would be fine, it's just the power (thrust) Vs current (resistance) and what that ratio would be. At the end of the day I've been through here at what was advertised as LSW and the flow was so great that I almost stopped moving, the boat managed and so did I so at worst I was going to use some extra fuel. I'll head that way, stop at Berney Arms for a think and make a final decision. As quietly as I could manage I prepared for departure, and left the basin at tickover speed at 7.30 am. The next 2 hours were the best part of the holiday for me. It was yet another beautiful day in the making, already warm and sunny, no wind, the world was waking up (at least this part of it was) and no-one else was around. The boats along short dyke were passed with barely a ripple, I was 2-3 mph just enough to maintain a heading and once clear and into the Yare I was able to increase speed to what I was allowed to do and I felt like it was just me in the world. Beauchamp Arms, Langley Dyke (mental note to moor there one day), Cantley (what do they use Sulphuric Acid for when they make sugar?) Hardley Cross all passed before boats started appearing on the river. The chain ferry again reached it's destination as I approached so no avoiding action was needed, and soon I was approaching Berney Arms windmill. This was Boris's pit stop before the crossing to the North, so we took our time, walked for about 45 minutes to tire him out (no chance) and then I stood up top with binoculars to see what's what on Breydon water. There were quite a few boats, hire and private moving both north and south across Breydon, it was 10.30 am, mid-way between high and low water and I decided I was going to leave now to save hours and hours giving me best chance of somewhere nice to moor for the night. I could have a look at what the Bure was doing once I got through the lift bridge and turn back if necessary. The Yare was emptying, progress was a dizzying 8 mph, and I had company with similar minded folk so I didn't feel at risk, and as it happened it was absolutely fine. As we passed under the lift bridge the siren went off, Bev jumped in fright and demanded to know what I'd done wrong but soon the bridge started to lift. I couldn't see anything following me that warranted this, nor was anything in view towards the sea as I turned into the Bure, so I wondered why it was interrupting the morning traffic. Never mind, other things to think about. Passage under the bridges and up the Bure was only slightly hindered by the outgoing tide, I would say I needed an extra 300-400 rpm to maintain the indicated speed on the label but I held off and headed upstream at 3-4 mph until things eased off a couple of miles upstream of Yarmouth. We stopped at Stokesby to walk Boris, and also visit the terrific village shop. We bought ice creams and sat on the green, enjoying a summer's day on our holidays. Oh yes, if only it didn't have to end. Having departed at 1.30 pm we approached Acle bridge and what's this? a space outside the Bridge Inn that's what... the first one as we approach. But it's still early, I don't want to moor for the night yet but there's a flipping space outside the Bridge Inn! Nah, I'm going to try my luck at Womack Staithe, if I stop now I'll just spend the day in the pub and have a hangover tomorrow. As we passed a boat heading south spotted the space and you could see by their faces they thought they'd struck gold, I think they had. Onwards towards the Thurne and Womack Water, I hoped for the staithe, 2nd choice was the side-on moorings, 3rd choice was Thurne Dyke and the Lion, 4th was Herbert Woods boatyard. We'd find a place somewhere, keep your options open that's my motto. Actually we got in at the staithe, stern on in a tight-packed bunch of boats 5th one along from the shop, a good spot if a little cramped. Nice people either side of us we compared notes on places to go, things to do etc. We set up the camping chairs on the green and opened a bottle of wine, just chillin' until dinner at the Kings Arms. This is a nice spot to just sit and watch people doing their thing on their holiday. Children playing, adults burning stuff on barbecues, a triumphant cheer as a fish is caught. The little shop is another Tardis, loads of stuff to buy and I bought water, milk, bread and some cheese because although I still had loads of cheese left, I didn't have any of that kind of cheese. We ate in the Kings Arms, it was ok but I was a little disappointed. Firstly the tables were very sticky, you couldn't rest your arms on them as if they'd been wiped with a dirty cloth. Then my Louisiana Burger from the specials board arrived as a plain old burger, literally just a burger with a bit of lettuce and tomato in a bun. It was a few quid more than the burger on the main menu so I was going to ask what made it the 'Louisiana' kind of burger but my wife hates confrontation so I ate it and we left. It was ok as burgers go, but you know when you just fancy a bit of Louisiana on your burger and you don't get it..... Back to the boat, I've got absolutely loads of cheese to try and get through, including the new bit I've hidden at the back of the fridge.
  9. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Is it Monday already? I've waited 10 months for this holiday, every day I've thought about where we'll go and what it will be like, I've pictured myself at the helm dazzling my fellow boaters with my skills and seamanship, I could tell you the state of tide and height at bridges wherever we plan to be and suddenly we're nearly half way to giving the boat back Today we're continuing upstream to visit Whitlingham Country Park, a walk around the Great Broad will run some energy from the dog and a lunch at the cafe will revive me afterwards. Usual walk/breakfast/boat stuff etc done and we slip the lines at 8.30 am (ooh get me and my boating talk), turn around so we're pointing the right way and off we go. Another thoroughly pleasant trip down a wide picturesque river, no boats in view and the sun is up and cracking the flags, that's a north-east expression we use on the one day every two years ago that the sun is warm enough to heat the pavement. I love the way you get time to think when you're helming a boat. The lack of interruptions, distractions, other people demanding your time, the things that matter to you come to the fore in your mind and you can focus, but in a calm relaxed way. Strange, I wonder if they'll let me swap my company Volvo for a boat. We pass Bramerton Common and the Waters Edge, both are quite full with boats who have presumably stayed over-night, both look like very nice places to do just that so mental note taken. I've heard the Waters Edge isn't very dog friendly though so I'll check that out before the next holiday, it's fine if it's not but I'd hate to plan a mooring there and have to sit outside in the rain. I didn't bother lowering the windscreen for Postwick Viaduct, and after a while the moorings at Whitlingham came into view with only a couple of boats there so lots of space. It's my first time here and it's really nice. The walk around the lake takes an hour and a bit, walking through a wooded pathway with glimpses of the river on your left with little beaches where Boris was able to cool off with a dip. You could see a change in Boris as he sniffed and explored, picking up his pee-mails as Bev calls it, this is more like his type of holiday. The cafe in the barn was a nice place to have some lunch, it did seem strange having a cornish pasty in Norfolk but I wasn't complaining. We sat outside and like almost everywhere we stopped to eat, we were plagued by wasps, it's a really bad year for them. It was nice getting off the boat for a couple of hours but it's time to go, we're heading for Rockland Dyke and that pint waiting in the pump for me at The New Inn wont drink itself. We're hoping there is space in the basin, but if not Short Dyke will do, we'll be walking Boris down there anyway so it doesn't matter either way. Still hoping though. The trip there was again lovely, it's hard coming up with new ways to say how wonderful it is cruising down a river on a nice day, so I'll just keep saying it's lovely if that's ok. Going back the way you came doesn't detract at all from the trip, it's a different view spotting things you missed earlier, different boats to look at, pubs now filling up with lunchtime trade, new people to wave at and share a smug grin with. Even Boris has settled down and seems to be enjoying himself. We take a detour through Bargate, it's busy with boats on mudweights. I think that one of my favorite things on a boat is the narrow winding stuff, like The Chet or Limekiln Dyke and I think it''s the need for caution, skill and boat control that appeals, a feeling of competency. The short trip through Bargate is a bit like this, I liked doing it a lot, it's one of my memories now. I thought about stopping at Coldham Hall for a pint but I really wanted to get the best chance of a place at Rockland, so on we go, next time maybe. Turning into Fleet Dyke and across the broad there are no other boats, down the dyke and hurrah, at least three moorings left. Come on Bev, race you to the pub. Bloody wasps! I still enjoyed the pint though, it didn't touch the sides on the way down. We needed drinking water again so we set off for the shop, good grief that mile seemed like a lot further in the heat, I thought we'd never get there. It's like the Tardis that shop, small on the outside and massive on the inside, they sell everything you'd ever want to buy (except Doner kebabs) and the very nice lady behind the counter and I had a nice chat about the obvious true love David Hasselhoff's new child-bride has for him. We'd taken our comfy camping chairs with us for just this sort of afternoon. We sat at the rear of the boat for a couple of hours, in the shade enjoying a couple of cans of cider, just sitting, passing a sunny day together. Boris slept, cooled by the breeze and there wasn't anywhere I'd rather be. The friendliness of people with a common interest was evident, as always, and we chatted with people, strangers no more. Boats and dogs, there's not really going to be nowt to talk about is there, plus Bev would chat to a tree if it would stand still long enough. We planned to eat in the pub that night but to be honest we were exhausted for some reason, probably the heat, so it was a picky tea with what we had and lights out by 9.30 ready for an early start in the morning.
  10. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Hi Simon The stern-on moorings were rammed solid, mainly with small sailies, all there to celebrate a 70th (80th maybe) birthday and they had a marquee. The two side-on moorings were me (obviously) and the other was reserved for Lady of Freedom. The little side cut behind me was occupied until just before the picture so although it looks like my own personal pub space (I wish) I was lucky to get a mooring because I didn't book it until a week before. The beer garden was full as well when we arrived, so I was a bit nervous about making a hash of it, but fortunately it went ok.
  11. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Day 3 was Sunday 5th, it was going to be a hot one again and we had a long day planned ending at a booked side-on mooring at Surlingham Ferry Inn. Simon I told you I like long cruises . A leisurely start as we couldn't get onto our night mooring until after 5pm, so we wandered into Beccles to find a shop that would sell us some provisions, mainly water as the heat had us using those 500ml bottles like they were going out of fashion. We breakfasted on croissants again sitting up top, I then checked the engine and tried cleaning the boat but that white gelcoat is very hard to clean with river water and an old mop so it still looked a bit mucky, then set off at 10 am towards our first Boris break at Somerleyton. That stretch between Beccles and WRC really is delightful, clear water initially, a tree-lined river offering wonderful views and camera opportunities, not much traffic although a bit busier than the way down and this is exactly the scene I've played over and over in my head since booking the boat last October. Lots of fishermen along the way, but no animosity just a friendly wave given and received. I knew I was approaching WRC as the day boats became more common, but no issues or dramas, just people sharing space on the river in their own way. Waveney River Centre was busy as we passed, I sort of like it here and I've moored over-night before but it just seems so......crowded. Even the excellent shop has become holiday accommodation with the shop relocating to the old pub and consequently becoming smaller and less well stocked. Boris doesn't like the heat, he wont go downstairs unless I do and I don't like the lower steering position so we've soaked a towel and he's wearing it to keep cool. We're stopping soon so he can have a break from the sun, I remember a nice path through the woods at Somerleyton where he can have a run. Fair Commodore used to have just a flat upper surface with bench seating for the helm plus a couple more, but they've added a seat at the stern which increases the boat height considerably. You can remove the back cushion and the metal frame swings back horizontal for bridges and the airdraft therefore changes depending on how you've got the boat prepared. With everything up you've got a height above water of (I might be an inch or two out here as I'm going from memory) 8 feet 11 inches, the high point being the top of the rear seat. If you fold the backrest down the side panels become the high point at 8 feet 3 inches, fold them and the windscreen down and the steering wheel needs 7 feet 10 or you're hitting the bridge with it. We approached Somerleyton bridge and the gauge said 9 feet, just to be safe I not only lowered the seat but also the sides and windscreen, I went through with loads of room, I could hardly reach the bridge sitting down. Better safe than sorry though and this boat doesn't belong to me so taking no chances. A good rest from the river with some lunch and a walk for the dog and we're on the move again, next stop Hardley Cross moorings again for the benefit of Boris the totally spoiled pooch. I'm trying to keep the cruising hops down to 2-3 hours maximum because he's not really settling if he's on the boat too long, I think it's the noise as well as the heat. I thought about Reedham for the next stop but I don't really want to go to the pub, the nice tea shop has closed and it's further from the moorings to suitable dog walks. An uneventful but pleasant meander up the Waveney, new cut and onto the Yare followed and I deliberately went through Reedham at snail's pace because I've previously been on the receiving end of the megaphone of doom from the ever-watchful moorings keeper, Bev was mortified so 3mph and a cheery wave seemed appropriate. I approached the chain ferry with caution and interest because of the recent incident where a boat became entangled on the chains, but my approach coincided with the ferry docking and so no problems or worries to report. Hardley Cross came and a stretch of legs, varying in number was enjoyed followed by a cup of tea 'upstairs' watching the birds doing bird stuff. I'm chilled like a polar bear in a freezer. The last leg today was a couple of hours pleasant cruising up to our evening mooring at Surlingham Ferry Inn. It's a nice stretch of river, wide and tree-lined and although there were lots of other boats, it was nice waving and smiling at strangers who are enjoying the same thing I am. A Wherry passed us going downstream (I think it was called 'Norfolk' or 'Yarmouth'), magnificent, stalling as the wind dropped but they got her going again promptly. No boat envy at all (sic) as we passed Brundall and the battle cruisers of the fleet and soon The Ferry Inn came into view on our port side (see how I'm a proper sailor now). About turn into the tide and a half decent mooring in front of a garden full of people enjoying some outside entertainment ( a musician, not me) although there was a heck of a drop from the boat to the quay. Someone kindly came to the rescue and took the bow rope from Bev, securing it while I took care of the stern rope. I took some time securing the boat as clearly the water would drop so it needed thinking about and we then had time for showers, dog walk and into the pub for our 7pm reservation. This is a great pub, the quantity of people here tells you how good it is and it was a bit of a queue to order food, but I think everyone wanted to eat at 7pm so it was busy. They dealt with it admirably and soon the food was served fresh and hot. Another walk along the river before bed, a check of the ropes and a sleep full of dreams. Why would anyone do anything other than this?
  12. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    I like to do both North and South rivers, largely because I like quite long cruises each day rather than sitting at a mooring, it's the only chance I have of being a captain . Not teaching me granny how to suck eggs, but tides through Yarmouth are the main restriction on movement between the two and as everyone knows the ideal passage time gets later as any particular week progresses. Going early in my holiday gets me the most options for my mooring once I've crossed Breydon, if that makes sense. I could hire from a boatyard in the south but I'd still just head north and return to home grounds later in the week so it just comes down to boat choice.
  13. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    I think you'd have to have hired from Horizon Craft to recognise inside the basin, or visited Pedros like me, this one makes it clear, I'm moored behind the fuel pump hidden by the shed
  14. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    1st one is right at the back of Faircraft Loynes before we set off, rest are at Acle Bridge where Pedros/Broads Boating Company is, on the old Horizon Craft site.
  15. neilp1962

    Fair Commodore 1 - My First Dual-steer Hire

    Saturday 4th August and because I'm on holiday I wake early, 6 o clock or so. Bev asks what time it is? "we have to get going, it'll be dark soon" says I. We have a long day ahead of us, we're going all the way to Beccles where we have another mooring booked at the Yacht Station. I want to stop at Waveney River Centre for lunch as well as fitting in a pit stop for Boris at Berney Arms Windmill. Breakfast is warm croissants eaten up top, engine checks are done, Boris is walked, his presents to us disposed of in the bin and we're off with the tide by 8 down towards the sea (don't worry, I have no plans to see it). It's pleasant going and we pass Stokesby and Stracey Arms gently meandering along in no rush, gradually getting my busy head into broads mode. We hit Yarmouth pretty much on time, the so called 'boring bit' down the lower Bure seemed more interesting because as hoped I could see a very long way from up top. Boy was it hot, I'm not known for having a lush covering of hair and to be honest, my baldy bonce was taking a solar beating. Time to break out the cap I'd bought at Tesco in Norwich, hats aren't my thing but needs must and all that. I set up an umbrella for Boris to try and keep him cool, he refused to be sensible and go downstairs into some shade. Breydon Water is easy going, we're at slack water, a bit after maybe and 1800 rpm gives us 7mph on the GPS speedo. Even though we're going down the Waveney we turn right and moor as planned at the windmill to give Boris a break. We would have stopped at the moorings past Goodchilds but I'd read on here they're out of action so didn't risk it, I've never liked the look of the pub moorings there, they look vicious and I have a personal need to hand back this boat I've borrowed in the same excellent condition I received it. We have a nice walk around, Boris appreciates it and we stay a little while to let the tide properly turn and take us onward towards the pub at WRC. The river was quiet, we hardly saw a boat all the way to Beccles. I think picking up the boat on Friday got us a head start and the throng is a day behind us. Passing under bridges was fine even on a high boat as we were an hour or so after low water all the way down, we removed the highest point, the rear backrest just in case so we were 7'11" with plenty of room. Interestingly Somerleyton bridge opened as we approached, I was surprised having seen the problems recently and it was a very hot day. It wasn't opening for us though, a big tall thing was coming the other way. We arrived at WRC and moored side-on just inside the entrance and enjoyed a very nice lunch and a pint. The wasps were torture, I've never seen so many even inside where we retreated and I heard that the next day a lady had to be taken to hospital from here having been stung. We'd used our stores of bottled water already so called in the shop for more, then set off into new territory for us. We've never been past the WRC before, I loved this part of the trip particularly since the river was almost empty of traffic, very serene. Beccles soon enough came into view and I turned into the station and moored in quite a tight space on the left just as you enter. The harbour master had kept me a place down near his office but I was happy where I was and as it happened, there was a gathering of boats over that side with a marquee and so it wouldn't have been quite so quiet setting the chairs up on the grass later on. We walked over the marshes then up into the town, settling down for supper sitting upstairs listening to the music from the marquee over the way. A lovely night in a lovely place on a lovely boat with a bottle of lovely single malt. Lovely. We're having a sleep in tomorrow morning, then another long day cruising.
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