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Early in March I was able to spend four nights on Barnes Brinkcraft new 4 berth cruiser, Brinks Serenade. While she incorporates some very modern technology, from the batteries, charging system and 'fly by wire' throttle and controls, she actually is a very classic and elegant boat. Powered by a 50HP Nanni engine with hydraulic drive she is not a Hybrid Cruiser, and has no generator, but despite this has a full electric galley and as I found out using the electric oven or boiling a kettle of water does not need the engine to be run. Even if you need to, the underwater exhaust system and well insulated engine bay keep any outside noise to the minimum. Brinks Serenade Boat Review:
White Champagne is a large boat ideal for a group of friends or two families whose priority is space. At 45ft long the boat might be the same length as Broadsman, Commodore etc but because has a higher air draft and narrower side decks appears to be much larger inside. Whether you are talking about the shower, outside space, or saloon you never feel cramped and there are drawers and cupboards everywhere to store away a crews belongings. Sure this class of boat (Acapulco, Challenger and Pink Champagne are all the same type) are more known for large groups of men on stag do cruises, this label I feel is wrongly associated with them and upon take over the boat was spotlessly clean. Our request for extra items for the galley and bedding was dealt with in a friendly manner and 'nothing is too much trouble' way. While I had hired the boat it was for my mums birthday celebrations and we wanted somewhere people new to the broads would find comfortable and spacious at a keen price as ever Richardson's proved the most efficient and keenly priced. The boat features 240v power, a microwave, a decent four speaker stereo system, DVD player and TV. For chilly evenings and mornings the boat is equipped with two separate heaters - these did need some attention, and one was replaced credit again goes to the service provided by the engineer and in all fairness I doubt the heater system had been used to date because of the fact we are only just coming out of the more mild weather. I was also pleased to see the batteries, though only 3 for 12v and Inverter were strong and had no issues throughout the weekend. All berths were very comfortable, the shower was very nice and the water system is served through a pressurised accumulator tank so the pump need not run as often and flow is more akin to your home than pumped water. They may get a fair amount of abuse these boats, but we could not fault the on board items from good guilty knives, cutlery and glassware to a non-stick saucepan and larger than usual kettle. My only complaint is not about the boat but Richardson's switch to 'plastic' pillows. While these may easy to care for, keep hygienically clean and so on, they offer no support when you sleep and have an annoying crackle as you move them. Herbert Woods use these too but one does not have these in hotels and I would suggest if a nice pillow means a good nights sleep to you, you might wish to consider bringing your own. A very practical, good boat at a fair price backed up with good service - what more can you ask for.
A new series of Captain’s Blogs are on the way, but to begin we start with the video tour and review of Brinks Belmore TC hired from Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham. Based on a Princess 30 she certainly has a striking look – a lovely outside space being a sedan style boat which is also very safe being completely enclosed and with a locking stern door. You need to be careful with bridges because of the high air draft this boat has – the plaque says 8ft 10” and the freeboards are high but that is a result of the fact she was designed for sea not river use predominantly. Three berths that can be left made up is a bonus in a boat of this size, a good thermostatically controlled heater and large hot water tank make things comfy in the evenings the heads are very compact particularly the shower tray but the ‘set and forget’ thermostatically control shower is a boon so no more guessing how much cold to add to the hot water to get the right temperature. Not the newest of boats but being kept well both externally and internally with improves over time being made with new flooring, worktops and now bow thrusters too. Here is the video review: