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Not A Holiday But My First Real Long Weekend Aboard


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thought I would share my first real long weekend aboard Giddy Kipper. I took ownership of her the day before starting a week long hire on Sunlit Horizon on the 25 Aug, ( I know, bad planning but it was take the holiday or lose the money ), so didnt have much time on my boat except for 2 very frantic nights after the holiday kitter her out with all the stuff needed on a boat as she had literally nothing aboard. She had been in the FM workshops having a bowthruster fitted as well as a set of solar panels, money well spent and FM did a brilliant job.

Arrived at my mooring after a four hour drive on tuesday night only to find the boat not there. Apparently the yard had forgot to return her, so after a frantic 45 mins trying to find her, she was tuched away behind the boatshed / workshop.  Now heres the awkward bit, was on crutches due to a mildly sprained ankle. Acess to the boat stern on - easy, but she was moored alongside and anyone who knows these boats will know that there are a bit difficult to get on from the side. After about 40 mins trying to get on board and lots of naughty language, managed to get on and get the electrics and gas switched on. after a long rest and a cuppa retired for the night and had a good nights sleep. Up early the next morning when the yard staff started to arrive ( I am not a morning person ) found Graham the chief engineer and he arranged for her to be put back on her moorings whilst I drove the car round. I had spent the weeks in between visits drawing up a to do list and list of bits required to do it all, my postman hated me as it was mostly mail order............... On a bright and sunny wednesday morning made a start. Now the to do list read like war and peace so it was a case of where to start, so to condense what was done - bunk lights fitted, led strip lights in galley areas fitted, more 12v outlet sockets fitted and a few other bits aside, first batch of friends arrive mid afternoon.


Had been trying to get them on the phone but I could not get a signal for love nor money on either of my mobiles ( virgin and EE ) nor on my laptop dongle ( three ) no, nothing. As I run a business it was somewhat embarrasing not to be in touch so I had to go get a vodaphone pay as you go phone. This was a wise move as the signal is actually very strong at horning ( thank you to the chippy man for that advice ) and everywhere I went subsequently, it proved to be a good signal - well chuffed. Why the other networks did not connect I really dont know, it was fine last time I was down with 2 - 3 signal bars on virgin ?

Anyway, I digress, my friend are here and he is a very skilled carpenter and joiner so we looked at ways of altering the access doors to the bridge, which are ridiculously narrow - some 19 inches - and I am emphaticaly not !!  Came up with a plan to replace the alumiium doors with new mahogany ones and reframe and rehinge the lot hopefully giving about a further 3 inches clearance, will see how it works once the new doors are manufactured and hung.  By tgis time it was getting on and my second batch of friends arrived, so we decided to go to the swann inn for a meal, got there a fraction before nine only to be told by a surly waitress we were too late and could not eat. The horning chinese was shut for some reason so we ended up at macdonalds in Wroxham. Back on board afterward for another good nights kip.

Wednesday dawns lovely and bright so it was decided to have a leisurely bacon butty breakfast then go off on a river trip as one half of my friends had never been on the broads at all. Just run out of time here so more to follow later.....



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part 2.


As it was such a lovely day, decided to go up to wroxhm and back to the moorings, didnt overnight out as my first batch of friends had an early departure next day. Oh the joys of a bowthruster, on my mooring I have about a 38 foot clearance ahead of me and a 42 foot boat, usually this entails a lot of slow delicate manouvering to get the head round to port and up the cutting, with a bowthruster easy peasy, must take a lot of hammer off the gearbox and clutches. The thruster is a 75 kgf vetus one and is fantastic. Because of space constraints it is set a bit further back than usual so took a bit of getting used to as it tends to swing the stern and has a different turning moment than that of a thruster  mounted right forward, but a joy to use and very powerful. Because she is twin helm, I opted for the radio remote control and that thing is a godsend, can be used from anywhere, even ashore which comes in very handy.

a slow run up to wroxham via the 2 broads, moored at Barnes yard and they all went shopping to discover the delights of the bazzar known as roys, leaving me to get on with a few bits n bobs of work on my laptop. Had to move berths and do some very tight manouvering again but was easy with the BT and impressed the barnes staff no end....lol.

Watched a hire boat deciding that it was going to tackle the bridge without a pilot, then wised up at the last minute, executing an impressive high power turn and just missing , well about everything really, gave them a friendly wave as they came past - it was worth it for the entertainment!

After lots of cups of tea, set off back to horning via small broad - one of my favourites, shame it is only open for some of the year as I think it is lovely there. There were only 2 other boats on it and my friends were very overawed by the beauty of it all.

got back to horning about sixish and decided to go to the Sutton staithe hotel for a meal as we didnt get one from the swan the night before. Have to say, it is probably the third or fourth time we have been there and it was superb, food fantastic, service very friendly and the beer I am told - sublime. I highly recommend this eatery and give it a good nine out of ten. Back to the boat for another good nights kip ( I am usually an insomniac at home ) . My first friends got away early as planned the next day

and we decided to spend the day working on some more jobs such as fitting inverters, alterations to the 24v system wich my boat mysteriously has and a few other bits n pieces. We let go about 5pm and took a nice leisurely cruise up to walsham broad, another fav place of mine. Along the way we were looking for NBN burgees but only saw one moored along the abbey moorings, so gave them a wave, I think it was cats paws. Lovely peaceful night spent mudweighted on walsham broad, a bit of fishing and some nice hornish pasties from the deli in Horning along with mash, carrots and peas - yummy !!

A beautiful morning dawns the next day and it was a pleasure to wake up in the surroundings we were in - gives you that feelgood factor. On the subject of a sunny morning - solar panels - they really are the poodles privates. The panels were pumping about 5 amps into the domestic batteries, so well happy with them and recommend them to anyone.

we spent a very lazy morning and early afternoon just fishing and watching the world go by, watching hire boats charging up the broad looking to be at the pub moorings early, only to realise they had the wrong broad.....lol indeed. Reluctantly we started up, weighed mudweight and had a pleasant trip back to horning and ferry marina. Was amazed by what speed the day hire boats can do, dont the yards tell them there is a speed limit????

Back at FM my neighbour had returned so had to do some slick manouvering to get back on the berth but it all went without incident. Sadly 7pm came around all too quickly and it was time to drive home because of that dirty W word - oh to be able to retire.  Hoping to get down again around the 15th - do some more jobs from the to do list,  and perhaps have a trip up to barton and sutton staithe.   Happy cruising all nd I hope I havent bored you to death.





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Thanks Jean,


yes I am very lucky indeed, since I lost my wife they have been fabulous and stood by me through thick and thin. I like to think that I am giving them something back by taking them on these trips and it works both ways as it also provides me with a crew as my boat is not easy to handle solo when mooring etc.

Hoping to be back down again around the 13th Oct as I should have a bit of a lull at work by then.

bye for now


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