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Bittern From Whispering Reeds


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I hired this boat with my daughter for 4 hours in October 2016. I just wanted to record my thoughts on the boat. 

The boat is a 2-4 berth forward drive with an unusual hire format,  being available for half days and full days as a day cruiser (for up to 8 people)  or as a holiday cruiser for 2-4 for any number of nights starting on any day.  Fuel and damage waiver is included in the hire charge.

Dimensions are approximately 25 foot by 9 foot 6 and the forward saloon is spacious taking in to account the boat's modest size.  There is a large sofa which could seat a day party easily,  although 8 people might be a push. The helmsman's seat is positioned a long way forward and cosseted by the windscreen and side screens which isn't to everyone's taste,  especially in good weather. 

The relatively large saloon contrasts greatly with the rear double cabin which is very cramped,  even for a boat of this size.  About half the length of the bed is concealed under the rear deck and the floor space is so limited I imagine dressing could be quite a challenge. 

A key benefit is the handling.  I've hired boats of similar dimensions in the past but this handled as if it was a basic day boat being so light and responsive.  Manoeuvring by hand,  for example turning on the ropes was similarly easy. At the time of hire the throttle lever needed adjustment as it failed to stay in position.  Whispering Reeds staff explained this was a deliberate strategy to discourage speeding, a flawed strategy in my view. 

Overall we had a really enjoyable afternoon as our hire enabled us to see the beautiful area above Potter Bridge, so difficult to pass nowadays. I would definitely hire again. 

Photos to follow. 

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Yes I should have mentioned the easy stern access which is shown quite well in the first photo above.  Access to the bow rope for mooring is less straight forward as there's no front door and its a tight squeeze to move around the windscreen.  We didn't test the cooking facilities other than the kettle but they seemed pretty standard for a boat of thus type. 

I didnt mention the condition of the interior.  I'd say it was tidy but just starting to show its age given the boat I believe is around 12 years old.  Barnes Brinkcraft have Moorhen and Brink of Peace of similar age and design and these have smarter interiors in my view (at a higher price). 

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Hi Chameleon,  yes I've no doubt the rear cabin is fine in reality -  it was just a shock when I first saw how small it was. 

One further point -  although Bittern passes easily under Potter Bridge some of the time there are no guarantees.  There's no way we could have done so on the day we hired.  The same was true the previous time I booked the boat which was for a 3 night break back in 2010. On that occasion Whispering Reeds gave me a no quibble full refund a few hours before boarding and I ended up with a Richardsons boat instead. 

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Freedom has always offered boats on an Any Day to Any Day and has also always offered our cabin cruisers for day hire too. 

In a 25ft boat, (as in most) there has to be a compromise in what you can get in and where it goes. It is inevitable that areas become dual purpose and that living accommodation is not going to be palatial.

Being able to explore the river above Potter has to be the draw here and I am surprised that Whispering Reeds would give a refund for the water level being too high - it's not as if it's that high because a member of staff forgot to turn the tap off. Hats off to them. 




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