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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:
Day One: Watch day one of the Captain's Blog: As many readers of this will be aware on 8h March I sadly lost my Dad after his long battle with Cancer. Just a week prior to this I had been talking to him about my trip to the Broads I had planned on board the all new Brinks Serenade boat – I showed him the photos and he was very interested – indeed at that stage doctors were making arrangements for his discharge from Hospital and he was muting that if he felt up to it he would love to come. Now a week after his passing I was travelling up to the Broads with very mixed emotions – I had talked to friends and family prior to coming as was it the right thing to be doing? They all asked what did I want to do and I should do this and not worry about what others may think about me doing it. I am so pleased I took that advice. You see I would never have known about the Broads had it not been for my Dad, it began as a baby being taken away in a static caravan ‘Mr Turner’s’ at Hickling, and this may well be the Mr Turner who worked at Herbert Woods in his past and is mentioned in the book that I’ve read about the history of Herbert Woods. Be that as it may, he also owed a lovely wooden day boat and I remember to this day as I grew to be a small boy its blue vinyl seats and the bubbling water from the stern as we would use it to head to Potter Heigham for shopping and days out over Hickling Broad. Now, I was alone and arrived at Barnes Brinkcraft – they really have more boats than boatyard having recently taken over Royalls – engineers and cleaners alike all ramping up for the main season, and there gleaming on the river front moorings was Serenade. Most holiday makers when they take over a boat are eager to get away and begin their holiday, however an hour after Phil their chief engineer came on the boat to show me around we are still talking about boats generally, hirers, and systems and to me this sort of learning and understanding is great. Phil decided he better actually pop off and do some actual work and left me with their new boat. I popped off to Roys to get some supplies for the week. Once back on the boat it was time to depart – I headed towards the bridge, did a turn then cruised back past the boatyard and began my adventure. I had no idea where to head to for the evening, it was now late in the afternoon but as I cruised along thought turned to my Dad, the sudden and sad events and the many many things that I would have to be dealing with in the next several days, but with a phone and a laptop it proved possible to liaise with funeral directors, the church and so on but at the same time be away and in a quiet and calm environment. I reflected on the past – how it all began as I began filming the Captain’s Blog that would cover my travels. You see over the years I have been doing this there is a sense of community with the loyal followers who enjoy the content I make and kindly comment on it or come and see me when I am on the rivers so to speak to these people through the portal of a camera helped my mind deal with the turbulent emotions I had. I never plan my trips – what I might film or how, these are after all simply a diary in video form of what I have done and where I have gone but the story behind it that you are reading now adds the depth and what the camera does not capture. So deep talking out the way, my mind turned to the boat – she was quiet – very quiet underway, response too and I liked the powerful bow thruster, the comfortable raised double helm seat and the fact this was not a new design but a classic that had been brought right up to date with bonded windows all of which had a lovely deep tint to them (and many of which also opened) the duel canopies now slide open at the push of a button, and the stern now re-moulded and lowered to make getting on and off at stern moorings a real breeze. A comfortable and inviting space to live. Before long I was approaching the Swan Pub and thoughts turned to Christmas when Shiela and I ate here when we were on Broad Ambition, and as I came around the turn there was a space at the Staithe – a rare opportunity and one that I was not going to pass up time to moor 30ft of boat alone – something I have not done for a good while now as I usually have Shiela aka ‘Bow Lady’ to assist. But despite coming in with the ebb tide the ample power from Serenade’s engine and bow thruster had me along side in a jiffy and I was tied up and in the peaceful surroundings of Horning. I decided there and then that the Swan would be a good place to eat tonight – and treated myself later to a Steak – it was very well prepared, the side of seasonal veg was just cooked right. Not the cheapest of meals but I do live the surrounds in the pub and now I was able to get 4G O2 phone reception at the table – amazing as I sent photos to a jealous Shiela who was travelling home in London. I wonder, where shall I go tomorrow...