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Given the change in policy re solo/single parent hiring that Richardsons have made, it seems a good time to discuss which operators still allow solo hires (assuming experienced hirer) . The ones I'm aware of are:

Freedom Boating

Barnes Brinkcraft

Silverline

Martham Boats

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  I hope that Sean has managed to sort himself out another boat.

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One to add based on good feedback on the other thread : Bridgecraft. 

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Well I thought I'd add my experience on arrival at Richardsons yesterday as it was both positive and negative. I am solo, having hired Crown Gem from them for a week every year since 2000 on my own. They accepted that I had been honest in my booking and hadn't fudged it with a second name or even putting me in twice. They also accepted that whilst the need for 2 was always in their T&C's they had always told me in the past to ignore this, so I would have had no warning. Wouldn't let me have the boat of course, just a full refund. That's the negative.

What they did do, to my surprise, was spend nearly an hour ringing round looking for alternatives for me and found me Brinks Peace from  Wroxham. They didn't have to do that but in so doing they reduced my stress somewhat and moved me from a lost customer to one who will consider them again for any non-solo cruises in the future. We spend too much time grumbling in general I think so felt this worthy of a mention.

Brinks were excellent too, I arrived there at 2pm and despite them not expecting Peace to be going out it was serviced, cleaned, loaded and I pulled out at 3.15. Will def use them for future solos. And as an added bonus because it was a last minute booking from their viewpoint I got the week for the short- break price too!

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Glad you got sorted,think it's either down to Richardson's policy or insurance. Anyway have a week,and welcome to the forum. 

Ian

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Interesting tale Nigel. I'm very surprised your booking wasn't cancelled long ago as mine was but fair play to Richardsons for sorting it out. Their position on the whole solo thing is still very bizarre in my mind and the way they cancelled my booking after I'd been loyal so long still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I have two bookings with Barnes for next year. I'd be interested to know how you get on with Peace as I looked at it myself but I was a bit put off by the helm position which looks a long way forward and therefore too cossetted by the screens for my taste. 

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Hi Simon, yes they couldn't explain what went wrong so perhaps that's why they went the extra mile. Maybe the solo thing is why they are dropping all the Crown Gems too as that bed was never really a double for normal sized people!

Peace is OK and far better than the alternative of going home with no holiday! Was good in the rubbish weather yesterday too. But yes I agree in today's sunnier conditions not enough of the cockpit slides back- it feels more like being in a car with a sun roof than a convertible. So given the choice I will try and go for an aft cockpit again in future, can you recommend any from Barnes?

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4 hours ago, NigelB said:

Hi Simon, yes they couldn't explain what went wrong so perhaps that's why they went the extra mile. Maybe the solo thing is why they are dropping all the Crown Gems too as that bed was never really a double for normal sized people!

Peace is OK and far better than the alternative of going home with no holiday! Was good in the rubbish weather yesterday too. But yes I agree in today's sunnier conditions not enough of the cockpit slides back- it feels more like being in a car with a sun roof than a convertible. So given the choice I will try and go for an aft cockpit again in future, can you recommend any from Barnes?

I'm not a Barnes expert as although I'm with them next year its the first time in a very long time. Aft cockpit-wise they have Brinks Aries and Brinks Sonata. Aries is the same size and layout as Crown Gem and Sonata is the more recent sports cruiser type. 

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Freedom Boats have Sweet Freedom which is excellent boat for solo use.

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18 hours ago, Maxwellian said:

Freedom Boats have Sweet Freedom which is excellent boat for solo use.

Good shout. They also have the larger Lady of Freedom which I hired solo earlier this year. 

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Yes, we have a 27ft Aft Cockpit (Sweet Freedom) and a 31ft Alpha Aft cockpit (Lady of Freedom) both of which are good  solo. 

We will offer solos additional and longer ropes for mooring also. 

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1 hour ago, FreedomBoatingHols said:

Yes, we have a 27ft Aft Cockpit (Sweet Freedom) and a 31ft Alpha Aft cockpit (Lady of Freedom) both of which are good  solo. 

We will offer solos additional and longer ropes for mooring also. 

That's an excellent idea with the mooring ropes, as a lot of hire boats have ropes which are far too short, owning our own boat and often Single handing I lead the bow rope back to the Stern so I can step off with both ropes so yes a good length required.

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11 minutes ago, eddybear said:

That's an excellent idea with the mooring ropes, as a lot of hire boats have ropes which are far too short, owning our own boat and often Single handing I lead the bow rope back to the Stern so I can step off with both ropes so yes a good length required.

Should be standard on all hire boats. I cannot understand why it should be exclusive to solo hire.

Wussername.

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On Lightning we have a cleat half way down each side. When coming in to moor we have a shorter than normal rope fastened to it.

Normal procedure is to pull alongside and my wife steps off with the short rope and wraps it round a post tightly to hold the boat while I go and pick up the bow rope, temporarily tie that and then do the same with the stern rope and then both springs.

Chris then unties the centre rope while I adjust all the others.

Lightning is 43ft and we are both in our 70s and not too steady on our feet, but this system has worked well for us.

Roy

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Some of those days boats from Oulton Broad arrive at Beccles at low tide with three foot of knotted apology attached to their cleats which won't even reach the mooring post let alone actually secure the boat!

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10 hours ago, eddybear said:

That's an excellent idea with the mooring ropes, as a lot of hire boats have ropes which are far too short, owning our own boat and often Single handing I lead the bow rope back to the Stern so I can step off with both ropes so yes a good length required.

That’s exactly how I do it too, always ask for a second bow rope so I have one trailing down each side. 

Barnes were happy to supply the second rope but I was surprised when mooring for first time that both bow ropes only went part way down the boat, whilst the sterns were much longer? I just swapped them around and all was fine!

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