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  1. Day One: Day One Captain's Blog Having got a slightly later train than usual, I arrived in Wroxham on what had been the hottest day of the year so far. There was not a cloud in the sky and I walked from the station to the Broads Information Centre and got myself the official time table that the Broads Authority produce for £1.00 - it comes in a rather garish neon orange this year. Then off to Barnes Brinkcraft where I suspected because almost all their fleet would be being prepared for going out today and tomorrow my boat would not yet be ready, and so it was the case. I left my luggage in reception and went off to Roy's DIY centre to pick up some micro fibre cloths and the usual £1.99 windscreen wiper (which came in very handy as is often the case with hire boats). Then up to Norfolk Marine to look at everything from fridge's, toilets and helm seats mentally making notes and seeing how things looked in reality compared to images one sees online and yet remaining puzzled at the cost of such items. Leaving there, it was off to the pub for a pint - Green King IPA and it went down very nicely, but then the real shopping had to be done and using my phone found a very nice Jewellers where I had a new watch battery put in which had failed on me just this morning (£6.50 fitted). I then had a call from the boatyard to say the boat was ready, so time to get the provisions in the supermarket part of Roy's and then carry an alarming amount of bags back to the boatyard. The welcome was warm, the hand over efficient but it certainly was busy with a mixture of first timers and returning customers - there was a real sense of anticipation in the air. I put the hilled items in the fridge and left everything else down below and was off once again on a new adventure aboard yet another design of boat. The first thing that struck me was it was a boat which was not powered by an engine with a gearbox and propeller shaft but the increasingly popular (with boatyards) engine driving a hydraulic drive. Not only did one had the sound of the engine just behind the helm, you also had the unmistakable whine of the hydraulic pump and motor - it also required a fair few more RPM to achieve the speed limits than the boat I had hired just a couple of weeks earlier and which was the same size - Brinks Jazz - I thought then it may guzzle fuel, little did I know just how much over the week it would use (116 litres actually). My destination was to be the quite dyke that leads off the River Thurne to Womack Water - since I was later than I usually am in getting away from the boatyard I worried moorings may well be in short supply, and consiering how much of Barnes Brinkcraft's fleet was booked felt sure it would be 'silly busy' out on the rivers. It was busy, but not silly. Sure there were the day boats - they seemed to be everywhere between Wroxham and Horning, but as for private and hire boats things did not seem as bad, and indeed upon passing various moorings was pleased to see them free - the likes of St. Benet's as an example had ample space to moor yet last year in May they were all taken at this time of day. First days are not the most relaxed at least as far as I am concerned it is about getting to your preferred place to moor, then unpacking and putting all the bits away so the interior is smart and not cluttered. I got to Womack Dyke and annoyingly the mooring (a wild one) on the left bank was taken, with the wind blowing me to the left I turned about and came back one nearer the mouth of the dyke where there is a handy single post one can tie up to. I could take my time mooring and any mistakes made would be out of sight - as it happened it went very well, but the getting off the boat was tricky and I knew I would need to remove the table in aft cockpit area to aid getting out of the boat at future mooring's where I may not be blessed with calm water and a light breeze. I got to work packing things away and found the first thing - very few places to put things, just two shallow drawers one almost full height hanging space and that was that - apart from the galley and its arrangement of cupboards. Making the bed also was interesting, since the same is about 6 inches above the floor level and Barnes Brinkcraft had supplied me with 8 pillows and 2 duvets and 2 bed sheets. Fortunately I found another space behind the seating where I could put the extra bedding. Once everything was put away I was pleased with spacious interior space and the outside seating would seat 6 in comfort. I sat as the sun set drinking a cool beer knowing tomorrow would be a very different day, it was forecast to be cool and rain - so I decided on a bit of a plan leaving the mooring the next morning at around 6:30am and heading for Beccles in one hit without stopping - crazy to some, but right up my street and with that in mind t was time for an early night.
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