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I think Seamaster is on at the same time as the forum?

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Enough! This is a massive fuss that does nobody any good.

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Personally I will be glad when it rains and cools this weather down and then tempers and moods may be a little brighter.      It is such a huge shame that members are leaving because they feel their opinions are not of the many.       I wish all that those that have left would return and make this forum all the more richer for it.

 

By the way talking of meetings - hows the Gazebo and Tug of War fund coming on?

 

:6973434b8b31cd5effed88c7cbb2f1149d4af7_t::6973434b8b31cd5effed88c7cbb2f1149d4af7_t:

 

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I have attended most of these shows I Star Premiere and I assume myself have been critiqued I certainly have lost any sleep over it. If there is somebody I don't much like I will probably get through the weekend without speaking to them. Before those I don't speak to take umbridge it will take me all weekend to walk the length of the quay. Some people keep Vodka so it takes me even longer.So persevered insults or real get over it .

I have never met you I don't think unless it was the first time you attended, and of course I could be a culprit. I had rather hoped to have a looksee at  BG but way over the other side not much chance I regret to say, still enjoy your weekend I know I will. Oh and bye the bye no offence is intended by anything I have written in this post.

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On 04/04/2018 at 12:05, socrates said:

"Everything is stacked against you, but for some reason some silly chaps seem to be driven to it......"

Sir Christopher Cockerell wrote these words when describing the process of inventing the hovercraft. Such words can equally be said about restoring a wooden boat they certainly apply in our case. With another few days until we are down working on BG with our (no longer) mysterious friend of hatch fame- Ricardo. 

In the meantime, I thought I would follow Aristotle's example, by providing some history of Ripplecraft boats and Broadland Grebe (for those who like such things). I know there are several members of this forum who know far more about the history of the Broads than I do, so please feel free to correct and contribute as and when. I would be more than glad to receive any information ad pictures. For the sake of brevity, and me having to do other things, I will write this in several parts.

Ripplecraft was a company set up by Christopher Cockerell in 1950, at Oulton Broad. Cockerell was working for the electronics company Marconi, where he and his team had designed and built the R1155 and T115 radio transmitters and receivers as used by RAF Bomber Command. My late father flew in the Wellington and Lancaster with Bomber and Coastal Command as a radio operator/navigator, so I was aware of the importance of Cockerell's inventions for direction finding. I was also familiar with the concept of radio and direction finding from my previous life in the Royal Navy working with radar and associated equipment. Of course, Cockerell's most well-known invention was the hovercraft, there is one on the top of the memorial at Somerleyton. 

Initially building caravans,the first Ripplecraft boats designed by Cockerell came out of the yard at Oulton Broad in 1951. I have been told that Cockerell also purchased boats from E W Jackson and this is how the names of the later boats came about. These sailing boats, which he rented out were: Widgeon, Sheldrake, Heron and Tern. He then started designing 24 foot motor cruisers which were built through the years 1952-56. Again, from what I have been told, they were named Widgeon (2), Pintail, Mallard, Goldeneye and Shelduck. According to a Blakes brochure of 1955, these boats were fitted with Ford 10hp petrol engines. However, someone told me they had Morris 8hp engines. Someone may be able to shed some light on these boats as to whether there are any still around. I have copies of pictures of these boats but not sure if I can post them here due to copyright (advice needed, please). 

In 1953, Ripplecaft relocated to Somerleyton, where the company took over the staithe of the old brickworks (1880-1939). At this point I am somewhat confused. According to one source there were huts there from World War 2, another source claims that Cockerell purchased the ex-Army sheds and moved them to Somerleyton. Whatever the story, the sheds are still there and BG is in one of them. 

Once the work on the small boats had been completed, work began on larger cruisers. These cruisers were to be state of the art for their day, described as: "Streamlined luxury, fully lined, all weather boats." At 32' 6", with 6 berths, they were designed to go under every bridge on the Broads (subject to tides), and were fitted with a fully sliding roof. They were powered by the Lister Freedom marine diesel engine. Between 1956 and 1966, 10 of these boats were constructed to Cockerell's  innovative streamlined design. It was the lines of the boat that appealed to me, when I first saw the Ripplecraft it reminded me of the shape of the Sir Nigel Gresley's A4 Pacific locomotive which I have much admired since a child. (Yes, I am a locomotive enthusiast, not to be confused with a train spotter)

During my somewhat limited research, I have discovered that there are various accounts of when Broadland  Grebe was built. There is a degree of confusion about the names of the boats linked to the registration numbers. Thus, we are unable to categorically say the exact date of the building and completion of BG, it is either 1958 or 1960, depending on who you ask and where the information comes from. I have been informed that there was some sort of re-naming of boats for "tax purposes". Two boats were transferred to other yards on the Broads, Broadland Curlew being sold to Maidencraft of Thorpe and Broadland Falcon became Broadland Kingfisher when she moved to Jenners of Thorpe. Broadland Kingfisher was later re-named Gay Brigand, but returned to Ripplecraft to be named Broadland Heron. Perhaps someone else knows the story? 

The information we have obtained comes from a variety of sources, we met a chap called Dave at Potter who has a Ripplecraft, Broadland Swift, which is currently undergoing restoration. He seemed to be an authority on the boats, as did another chap, also called Dave, who restores wooden boats and has a collection of Blakes brochures from the time. I love reading the description of the boats which have "stainless steel sinks", "full size gas oven", and "ice box". In 1969, at  £14.7s (per person) high season, the cost of hiring these boats was not cheap, given the average wage was around £30 per week. 

Another Ripplecraft is Broadland Lapwing, which has been fully restored. Lapwing, at 35' 6", is longer than the rest of the class and the last to be built at Somerleyton. I will say nothing more about Lapwing because Ricardo will know much more. By 1970, no wooden boats were being built at Somerleyton but there was a boat by the name of Dabchick which was converted from Broadland Teal. Dabchick appears in Blake's brochure of 1971, but I know very little else about her. Ripplecraft introduced fibreglass cruisers in 1970, these were Bermuda 35's named Tahiti and a Caribbean class named Barracuda, both these boats were transferred to France in 1977. By 1977, Ripplecraft had also acquired 15 boats from the Fowler's fleet which had been based at Oulton Broad. 

Of course I could be wrong here, any help would be much appreciated. As far as I am aware the only survivors are: Broadland Lapwing, based at Belaugh and fully restored, Broadland Kestrel, based at Oulton Broad but not usable, Broadland Swift, based at Potter and undergoing restoration, and Broadland Grebe. According to the rumour mill, there are a couple on the Thames or the Medway. An unconfirmed source informed me that Broadland Falcon was sold for £16000 around 2006, and is now being use as a livaboard on the Thames or Medway. 

Although the history of BG may not be as long as many of the other boats on the Broads, I do think it is a unique piece of Broads history given the design and the links to Sir Christopher Cockerell. I have some photographs of BG and other Ripplecrafts, but will not post them as I do not hold the copyright to them. As I said, the information here is from a variety of sources, most of which can't be fully verified. I therefore am unable to accept full responsibility for the accuracy. Should any member have any other information, Ii will be most grateful. A visit to the Museum of the Broads left us somewhat bereft, when we were told they had not heard of Ripplecraft. I am now putting together some information for them to display. 

Braodland Grebe left the hire fleet in or around 1985, she had two previous custodians before us. I know nothing of her first owner, but know her previous owners. 

Amazing to come across this, so pleased to hear about the restoration. My grandparents probably sold you the boat. Which they owned 20 plus years. Many of us spent our youth and very many happy days aboard. Believe it or not it was once in beautiful condition, my grandparents treasured this boat, until old age hit them, with their whole family living 2 hours away. I’m actually currently looking for old photos of the boat for my gallery wall & came across this. You got yourself an amazing piece of history there :) Libbie

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Following several conversations with people who have clearly read the restoration thread, I have decided to dip the old toes into the waters of the forum. Firstly, it is with sadness that I found out the previous custodian of Broadland Grebe "crost the bar" a few weeks ago. Some of you who attended the old Wooden Boat Association meetings at Beccles may well remember him, it was where we first saw Broadland Grebe and became friends with her owners, little did we know that we would eventually become the custodians of her. It was an honour and privilege that we were asked to conduct a memorial ceremony to celebrate the life of a man who loved the Broads and his boat.  I will provide a restoration update in the next few days. 

The toast is to all our absent friends......... 

The photo is of Broadland Grebe at Geldeston in the Autumn mist. 

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Delighted to see you back and thank you informing the forum of the sad news

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Broadland Grebe went into the shed for annual maintenance and continued restoration in November 2018. As usual the defect list had expanded during the course of the season. The main priority was to replace two soft planks which we knew about and check the hull from bow to stern. It was judged that it was also time for some creature comforts in the form of a power shower and a heater. Given that our tea and coffee was tasting like it was made in a diesel submarine, it was perhaps  prudent to replace the water system. I know there are a few others who may have had a brew in one of HM'S  O class submarines, for those who never had the pleasure - think of Compo's wellie boots and the inside of an Italian bin lorry. Yes, it was that bad. The water pipes were original to the boat and had started to decompose sometime around the time the Berlin Wall came down. The other tasks were to add a starter battery, some new sockets, nav lights and make a start on restring the centre cabin. 

Much ink has been spilled on discussions about heaters on this forum, by the time we came out the water, I had read and listened to as many opinions as there are grains of sand on Southport Beach (well it seemed like it). Just when I thought I had decided what to go for, someone else would kindly give me their opinion on which heater and how it was to be installed. In the end we went for an Eberspacher D4 with a wet system and a matrix in each cabin including the bathroom. A nice bit of kit which did not come cheap. The day we fitted it was probably the coldest day of the winter, so fitting was delayed until the permafrost departed from Somerleyton. We opted for the narrow boat kit and used easy to assemble flexi domestic pipework purchased by a plumber friend of mine. We also fitted a 55 L calorifier in the engine compartment. The domestic water system rubber pipework was replaced with modern blue and red plastic hose throughout the boat. The old system was gravity fed which meant water pressure would drop off as the tank drained and refilled by the struggling pump. It was not the best system in the world but was of its time (circa 1960). A new domestic pump and accumulator was fitted to provide a far more effective flow of water to hot and cold taps and the shower. 

Meanwhile 23 feet of planking was put n the hull port side fwd by Mark at Somerleyton boatyard. A splendid job it was too. However, we discovered another rotten plank which we decided to leave until 2019. It seems that someone had been squeezing all sorts of propriety filled into a gap just under the galley and a whole variety of sins resulted. Deep joy, a constant drip of water which kept the bilge pump busy (more of that later). 

Whilst avoiding discussion on the virtues of night cruising, nav lights were judged to be important enough to invest in. These were appropriately fitted to the screen and stern of the boat. Another item to blast Grebe into the 21st century was the fitting of USB sockets - whatever Sir Christopher would have made of our mobile telephones, laptop and security camera which are powered by these new sockets? We also fitted a new battery which gave us 3 domestics and 1 starter. Up to this point, we only had 3 batteries in total. 

The usual paint, varnish and anti-foul was done and Broadland Grebe returned to the water on time. 

The pictures show the engine bay with the new calorifier (yes, I know it is one of those French engines!). The hole and new planks port side fwd. Nav lights fitted to screen. New heater unit fitted under seats in main cabin.Some internal stripping has been started - this was all delightful brown garden furniture paint. 

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I will freely admit I worship the water that these boats float on! To have three (at least) on the Broads looking so splendid is grand. Highly impressed with the work you are doing and, even if it is french, a new engine always looks the dogs! Like your nav lights, can I ask where you found those please?

 

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5 hours ago, VetChugger said:

I will freely admit I worship the water that these boats float on! To have three (at least) on the Broads looking so splendid is grand. Highly impressed with the work you are doing and, even if it is french, a new engine always looks the dogs! Like your nav lights, can I ask where you found those please?

 

Thanks for your kind words, I know what you mean about these boats as we were attracted to the shape and history of them. There are indeed three Ripplecrafts on the water - the others being Lapwing (which is a few feet longer and moored at Thurne) and Swift (which is currently at Potter). It is most interesting seeing the other Ripplecrafts and how they have been/are being restored, each one has been done differently and in a different way. We have done our best to retain the original layout and "hidden" modern features. Lapwing is beautifully restored and very modern inside with bespoke design features throughout, Swift is similar with a completely reconfigured interior. The new engine was a necessity because the Lister died and it was not economic to revive it. Have to admit that we are very happy with the Nanni, despite what the purists might say. The new nav lights were purchased from Brian Ward, very reasonable and fitted with LED bulbs. 

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On 08/11/2019 at 16:36, socrates said:

The pictures show the engine bay with the new calorifier (yes, I know it is one of those French engines!).

I hope you have nothing against the Japanese, as it is actually a Kubota engine.

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2 hours ago, Vaughan said:

I hope you have nothing against the Japanese, as it is actually a Kubota engine.

A joint French and Japanese venture, I believe. I have nothing against anyone and that includes you. 

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I apologise if I seem over sensitive but it is surprising how what may have been a throw-away remark can hurt not only people but the reputation of an excellent manufacturer.

Perhaps it is because the resurrection of this thread has shown me that one of our most liked and admired members - Springsong - now has his posts shown as "guest". I don't know what it was that prompted him to leave of course but he takes away with him a vast experience in classic boat restoration as well a fount of knowledge on the history of boating on the Broads, which he has so often shared with us. His departure is a sad loss to the forum and I wish him well.

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Ah well there by hangs a tale of a complete lack of computer skills  and  a

war with passwords , but you should know I am not that easy to side line

Vaughan, but thank you for the glowing epitaph.

 

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yes getting Barry re-united with his name was a bit of a struggle, re-uniting all the posts was a bit past even our skills.

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13 minutes ago, grendel said:

yes getting Barry re-united with his name was a bit of a struggle, re-uniting all the posts was a bit past even our skills.

Nothing whatsoever to do with me or anything I have I have posted. Sometimes posting on here is like walking on the proverbial eggshells, hence my long absence from posting anything. Thanks for the clarification.

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sorry - yes threads wander all over the place, but usually return back to their original topic, my apologies for hijacking your thread

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Back on track. 

 

Seeing our ride and joy being loaded on a vintage trolly and pushed down the slipway into the water is a scene of mixed emotions. There is always that nervous moment when she slips gracefully into the murky water of the dyke and I wonder how much water she will take on board. As usual a large quantity of the Broads had to be pumped out and for the next 24 hours the new planks began to take up and reduce the intervals of the bilge pump (more about this later) running. 

Now the fun began. I had investigated various ways of ensuring the new water system was cleaned before use. In the end I opted for a good dose of Milton fluid and left the tanks full for 24 hours. The next day I ran the taps to ensure the system was flushed through and filled up again before adding some more Milton fluid. The increase in water pressure resulted in leaking tap washers, but this was soon solved by replacing all the old tap washers. We had never had water pressure like this on the boat and it was a certain novelty to be able to fill a sink without having to wait for the header tank to refill after half a sink of water The shower was amazing, it was a like a pressure washer. 

We then set about filling a commission the heating system. This went well, with a mixture of anti-freeze and water added to the system. The front cabin, rear cabin and heads became positively tropical in a short space of time. However, the matrix in the centre cabin blows cold air. The lack of hot air in the front cabin remains a problem to be sorted, this is despite venting the pipes leading into the matrix- any ideas? I am thinking the matrix is too high as it is above the level of the heater unit and there is possibly a big air lock somewhere. 

A good internal clean of the boat and the usual sorting took place before we met up with friends for a cruise. For the first time in a couple of years, we ventured north. Due to the new planks, Broadland Grebe was still taking up which meant a slow crossing of Breydon with our good friends on the Corsican acting as escort. We spent a week on the northern rivers visiting places we had not been since we hired boats. We met a number of people, but no members of the Forum. It was interesting to glimpse our sister boat, Lapwing at Thurne and meet the owner of the boatyard which restored her. Broadland Grebe made easy work of a fairly choppy Breydon on an early morning return trip South and a another enjoyable few days with friends in our usual haunts.  

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27 minutes ago, grendel said:

looking stunning

Thanks Grendel, if you look closely at the bow, you can see where we had just been "bumped" by a hire boat. No major damage but it was a bit annoying having a "ding" on her for the rest of the season. Such is life.

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She is such a beautiful shape. Absolutely stunning boat 

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Restoration thread with piccys .................." pure boat porn " .....................oh welcome back Neil :default_biggrin:

 

Finny 

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Could morning Socrates, could I ask what is the air draft of your beautiful boat ?

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Re; the heating. I have a "wet" system on my boat, driving blower matrixes (matrices?) as yours. I ensured there was a header tank to supply the system higher than everything else. Doesn't need to be big, I used a radiator expansion tank from a car breakers. The return of the circulation is fed to the bottom of this tank, ensuring any air in the system is then returned to the header tank by the normal circulation. I'm sure your problem is, as you say, an air lock, nothing more.

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