Jump to content
  • Announcements

    Welcome! New around here? Take a look at the New Members' Guide for some pointers.

    Not a member yet? Sign up here and you can soon be chatting away with friends old and new..

    Check out our Handy Information section if you're after something quickly!

  • If you would like to support the forum, please consider visiting the forum shop, where you can purchase such items as NBN Burgees, Window Stickers, or even a custom Limited Edition Wooden Throttle Control Knob

    Forum Shop

Recommended Posts

Day One:

 

For some months now I have been having a growing number of subscribers on You Tube lamenting the 'good old' Captain's Blog's.  It is all well and good owning boats and charting your adventures and life with them, but what about the hire boats they have said? The reviews and general blogging the day as it happens seems to be missed so it is time to come back for the first such trip this season.

While Shiela and I were away in Whitby for a holiday away from all things boating,  I began to look at the boatyards websites to see if there was any deals to be had since I can be taken away only for so long these days from the pull of the water and boats. With the fact Shiela would be with me, it opened up the possibility of yards previously out of bounds to solo helms like myself (and of course Richardson's have stopped allowing that too now) so we were looking for something a little different and first looked at Faircraft Loynes and Horning Ferry Marina - but the prices were pretty steep, Zircon Emblem, though very nice and new was over a £1,000.00 just for a 3 night break!  I was told to go for something not too fancy, but comfortable. It could not be a 'bath tub' and needed a decent sized shower.

I got looking at Herbert Woods and before long, just two days before we would be arriving in Norfolk the boat was duly booked - Western Light was the chosen craft. Now I have always wanted to go on one of these 'classic' boats formally of Connoisseur Cruisers yet never have had the chance previously so this would make an ideal opportunity. It was £527.00 all in and so having come back from Yorkshire on Thursday evening we had a rapid turn around in London before heading to Norwich the following day.  We arrived early and headed to Morrisons via B&M (think Lathams on an industrial scale) both of which were not much of a walk from the station and used this time to buy a bunch of shopping and other items and duly looked at the end of it as if we were spending a fortnight afloat with a 6 man crew. Taxi duly ordered it was off to Potter Heigham and away from the temptation of more shopping!

We arrived at Herbert Woods and the reception team were very helpful and pleasant to deal with and said the boat was ready for taking over and was on A Section. We were handed a folder and our paper work and headed off to A Section to board the boat prior to finding our man to do the formal take over. We  could not locate the boat anywhere though! I then left Shiela with the shopping, suitcases and Herbert Woods own trolley full of things to find someone to help show us to the boat - but here we ran into the first bit of red tape. You see I could not get shown to the boat unless I had the paperwork and got my life jackets, and the paper work was with  Shiela. Back I walked to where she was waiting and she and I complete with all out stuff then made our way to the 'hut' where one collects life jackets from.  However, the fact we now had caused some congestion with our suitcases, shopping  and trolley with the cleaning carts and staff meant the first rule was over ridden by another chap who said he would just take us to the boat.  We headed to down towards the car park and to another section - over on the side of the yard where the boats are up for sale.  Since some of the way was gravel, it was not possible to pull the suitcases through this, so another trolley was found and the suitcases loaded into this before we carried on. By this point I was feeling like I was causing such a  circus in the place.

We got on the boat and began to unpack the shopping, dropped the suitcases in the cabin and then we both went off to the hut back at A Section to collect the life jackets and there, another chap said he would come over and do the hand over.  He used to work at Brooms, and was keen to hear about Independence and being a Trader 535 Sunliner. How did she handle and what engines she had and so on. I thought we might get let off with an easy hand over but no, first we had no mop, then we had a missing fender, and a port head rope. With these sorted out (just taken off boats to the left and right of us) it was time to go through the boats systems - the basic stuff. How to turn the water pump on and off, gas taps etc. What I did find a real shame was a gentleman with clearly a great deal of experience in boating having to 'go by the company policy' and tell us things that he and I knew were frankly nonsense. Examples we were told were: You could not run the heater for more than 2 hours, and if you wished to you must run your engine for 20 minutes for each additional hour's use. (Now people who moan about hire boaters running engines this could be where it is coming from).  That once the voltage gauge showed 14v our batteries were fully charged, that if we hit any other boat or were hit by someone else,  we should not worry and not admit anything and just take a note of the reg number and call the office who would sort it all out for us. You get the idea.

Once this was complete, and a checklist of items was gone over and I countersigned I guessed it would be out and away on our travels,  but no back to the company policy -  we were not allowed to take the boat out of the berth alone. This I was told was in case we hit another boat in the Marina which seemed funny, as if once out on the main river hitting other boats no longer became so much of a worry to them. I just went along with it all and let him do the steering and I did the ropes. We were let go just by the bridge and entrance to Herbert Woods and I immediately gave Shiela the wheel lol and all liability to her (okay not true as I was the actual named hirer).

Both of us had been suffering for a terrible cold and cough during our week away in Yorkshire, and as I sit and write this up now I still have the remnants of the cough even now,  as does Shiela too. This did not so much put a dampener on things but would have been nice to have felt and sounded 'normal'.  We decided that we ought to go for a bit of a run for we had no idea how long the boat had been left and with no shore power what state of charge the batteries had. Why not see how full Ranworth Staithe would be?  So Shiela helmed all the way there - although she still point blank refuses to attempt any form of mooring.

We arrived at Ranworth and found the Staithe was not too full - and once moored up got to unpacking out cases and decided that we would go for an early dinner in the Maltsters. In the Christmas period of 2016 we had some great food in their, in fact spent three evenings over our trip eating and drinking there. Over 2017 Christmas periods we again wanted to but they were open for shorter periods and would change the times of when they were serving food day by day - but one the day we did manage eat there it was almost as good as in 2016 - Ribs and Hunters Chicken were had just as we always have in there.  So this visit in April 2018 were knew what we were going to eat but oh...Same prices, same description of the food but goodness things had gone downhill. No little salad on the side of my Hunters Chicken, no pot of coleslaw for the Ribs, the chips were smaller and not as 'chunky' and the fresh battered onions rings had given way to 'catering pack' type - you know, the ones with the mashed up onion covered in a breadcrumb type coating with added onion powder as part of the ingredients. The Ribs were almsot identical to Whetherspoon - e.g. not cooked from scratch over a grill, but microwaved in a bag. It was then we overheard people talking at the bar asking where the Landlord was - and told he would be back later was not but was out at Macro buying more stock. This therefore may explain the change over two years and variable results in their food. You can in my view only cut back so much before the end result no longer is of a good enough quality to warrant the same price charged.

Now it was not bad by any means, but it was not 'worth' what we paid and was a real let down compared to 2016 and 2017 where we really loved the food and could not praise them enough. These days when you have the likes of the Lion at Thurne doing such great food, and the Acle Bridge Inn who are well known for their good food, it really can mean a lot to get it right I think. I hope the Maltsters go back towards where they were in 2016/17.  Well food had it was time to get on with the drinking and Ale turned to more warmer ideas to calm ones throat - Brandy. Well you have one double and  then another and then Shelia is worried my breath might catch light so we opted to go back to the boat. Of course we had tired earlier to get the heater going and after three goes I knew the boat did not have enough capacity in the batteries to fire it without  the engine running first, at 5 minutes to eight in the evening and with one of the Broads most noisy boats we had to fire her up to get some heat.  Even now it took two smokey attempts for the old Webasto to fire up - and once it had it too was noisy, but at least with the engine off did give us several hours of use. It was an early night as they go, and I hoped that come the morning I might feel a bit better.

 

  • Like 15

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

And those that live afloat get bad press for using their brains and using solid fuel heaters rather than those that cost volts etc 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoyed the video Robin. And very interesting, as a hirer, to read about your handover and see you having to use the engine at the moorings late on in the day. This is exactly why we are sometimes forced to do so. As people who listen to what is said and read the Skipper's Manual on board, we do feel that we should follow what the boatyard tells us to do. This is also why we tend to go for boats with electric hookup if hiring early or late in the season, so that we can get some heating without having to worry about running the engine. It really does make a difference. Looking forward to the rest of your tale.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

Good watch  that, Herby woods do seem to be stuck in the 90's in some respects, but those Connies are great boats and are on my list as a potential purchase in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, 40something said:

Good watch  that, Herby woods do seem to be stuck in the 90's in some respects, but those Connies are great boats and are on my list as a potential purchase in the future.

I think that is fair comment. I know Connoisseur boats pretty well, as they were merged with us to form the "Le Boat" company in France. They are very innovative in a lot of ways, especially in the use of GRP contra-moulding when fitting out the interiors.

It is fair to say, however, that their engine and electrical installations owe more to the technology of the 70s than to the millennium and after. This was obvious when Robin lifted the engine hatch!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bit unfortunate about the handover. Apart from the fish barrier fiasco, I've always found Wood's staff very good. We only go with them in February though when it's quieter. What we do is find the boat first and dump our bags. Mrs Nog then heads off to Larth-arms while I go to reception and pick up the paperwork. Then head off to the A section office, pick up the life jackets. Our hand over is usually just the basics as they are usually aware we've been before and know what we are doing (ha, ha). Then they just leave us the keys, I go for a burger, drag Mrs Nog  out of Larth-arms and off we go. The staff sometimes say to ask if we need any help but I've always taken us out of the basin unaided. I can't recall any lectures about running the engine etc (which I would ignore anyway). I wonder if they are a bit more laid back out of season and have to go through the motions in the main season? 

I think on the whole they are a good yard and were very helpful with us when Mrs Nog broke her ankle. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loved the blog. I have such fond childhood memories of those boats.

It was great to see you both as you passed by us at Wroxham. Wish we had known it was Sheila's birthday then me and Selsie could have sung happy birthday as you went past!  On second thoughts..... maybe just as well we didnt know lol

 

 

 

  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

great blog robin you passed us on sunday near st bennets we was on sovereign , god did we get a great week from wednesday it was scorchio, we went up to coltishall lock and the pub was great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great video but yes, that engine is very noisy! Again, like Simon, maybe the batteries are a bit dodgy.

I wonder if the Maltsters use Brakes fare which might explain it, as Robin mentioned pubs like the Bridge do set the standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NN I seem to recall Robin Posting somewhere (may have been facebook) that he had found and fixed a loose Battery Terminal during his holiday, so maybe that sorted it

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 01/05/2018 at 07:35, grendel said:

NN I seem to recall Robin Posting somewhere (may have been facebook) that he had found and fixed a loose Battery Terminal during his holiday, so maybe that sorted it

Indeed, you will notice in the forthcoming Blog that where you sit at the helm (and put your feet) the Lino is all loose, not only this but the plate to which this Lino covers would 'wonk about' and this got worse overtime.  Finally I noticed that the whenever the plate moved the domestic voltage gauge also wobbled. Once moored I had the Lino up to find three domestic batteries under the plate and one was not seated correctly - it meant the plate and anyone's weight was pressing down on the battery terminal wire clamp - which had worked loose. Off with the battery clamp, move battery back into the cut out shape for it - and bingo problem solved. Put the wire clamp back on, plate was then flush and Lino no longer loose as I put it back under the kicker plate and secured the screws. I also fixed the bin and fridge door while I was at it.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day Two:

And so another installment (worry not there are only three nights to cover) and a later than expected start at Ranworth due to the fact Shiela and I were still feeling thoroughly under the weather with a Cold we caught in Yorkshire earlier in the week.  Also that during the night Shiela had not slept well due to the fact she kept seeing an image of a woman whenever she went to go to sleep.  She then (and really surprised me) asked if this boat was the one that had featured a few years earlier in a murder suicide.  I won't go into the details here but if one looks on Google for 'Le Boat Norfolk Broads Murder' you kinda get the drift.

I was not in the mood to go on the Database enter the reg number and find out if this was the 'murder boat' in the early hours of the morning, but found it most odd how Shiela who is no boat nerd knew this was the class of boat that featured in those terrible events. As it transpired the boat that was involved was T434 (Western Light 1 is T345) and it would appear the boat no longer is on the Broads as that registration number has gone.

After Shiela threw away her nail clippers over the side mid way through doing her nails - it was time to depart - destination Wroxham.  We went via Salhouse where we got water and a walk, then too in Wroxham Broad before arriving at the moorings whereby I elected to take the Pilot and not take any undue risks and be a fool. I then naturally bribed the Pilot to mark down we had used his services and took the boat through myself anyway :22_stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Once through the bridge it was time to remember the former yard that she would have been based at when new - and then head up the Bure to the serene peace this section of river offers. We arrived at Coltishall and moored on the common (well by the side - you get the idea) and went for a walk. I found out that a bench around one of the trees was there since the Queens Coronation and after an ice cream it was time to head off to the Lock.  

We duly arrived to find another boat here, I turned the boat and we moored up and took a couple of hours of doing nothing at all - the issue was the flies which grew ever more annoying the closer the Cows came to the opposite river bank. Time to head back to Coltishall proper which turned out to be a great choice, since we then headed later that evening to the Kings Head for dinner seeing it was Shiela's birthday. This was an electric place, but the food - well the best I have yet had anywhere on the Broads. Perfectly cooked, attentive service and very yummy.  Not a place for a few pints a burger mind you, this is serious grub with a price to match.

IMG_4669.JPG

IMG_4670.JPG

After our fill it was back to the boat where we settled down with a Michael McIntyre DVD who has become a firm favorite with Shiela and I must say some of his early stuff gets me laughing out loud too.

 

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I pulled onto the staithe at Ranworth on Tuesday morning to go to the shop before parking at the church for my trip on Hathor. There were two HW vans and four guys sorting out boats at 9.00am. One customer was quite animated over a berth being unuseable due to leaks (the day before, Monday was awful). One of the ex Le Boats was running their engine. Not the cleanest of exhausts that I have seen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to check the reg of one of the boats I was on as a kid as I knew there was a 4 in it but not the same 

IMG_0541.JPG

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lovely vid, thanks Robin. The banter between you and Sheila cracks me up (in the sense of laughing along with you, I hasten to add). The affection you have for each other really shines through.

Helen

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I too passed the murder boat tied up in the trees, on a day boat out of Wroxham. I still think about it often as it turns out the young girl was on board alone at the time, and the two bodies were in the water. I knew something was not right but didn't act on it unfortunately. Regarding the boat I think they retired the reg number and then renumbered the fleet so the boat could not be identified, could be wrong though.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was on the Broads that week too and I remember passing the boat. What a tragic story. 

I've watched part one so far Robin and enjoyed every bit as much as usual. Please let Sheila know it really adds to the video when she's aboard - the two of you bounce off each other really well and your personalities compliment each other. It's great also when you have the freedom for extra shots when Sheila is steering.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would make sense to retired the number so that particular  boat can’t be identified... 

Really enjoyed the vlogs too! I had been missing the captains logs.

We start our 11 night break on Broads Gem 2 next Monday and they really peaked my excitement, a week now seems a long time to wait!!! :default_cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 03/05/2018 at 16:37, LondonRascal said:

seeing it was Shiela's birthday.

Robin wish Sheila a very happy birthday from me and the Wench please

Charlie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Bexs said:

It would make sense to retired the number so that particular  boat can’t be identified... 

Really enjoyed the vlogs too! I had been missing the captains logs.

We start our 11 night break on Broads Gem 2 next Monday and they really peaked my excitement, a week now seems a long time to wait!!! :default_cool:

Have a great time. There's no boat called Broads Gem though. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • NBN Mobile App

    Want to use NBN when you're out and about?

    Get our mobile app for Android and iOS!

    Get it on Google Play

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

For details of our Guidelines, please take a look at the Terms of Use here.