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I can remember the Connoisseur boats being built at Wroxham ,and being rather classy at the time.What are they like after all these years since Herbert Woods took them over?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In my opinion, like the rest of the Herbert Woods fleet they are pretty scruffy.

If you want to hire one which has been better-maintained, then there are some at Richardson's.

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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1 hour ago, oldgregg said:

In my opinion, like the rest of the Herbert Woods fleet they are pretty scruffy.

If you want to hire one which has been better-maintained, then there are some at Richardson's.

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app
 

Thanks,I've just got a last minute booking on Glow of Light.Could not refuse because I've been home a week and getting withdrawal symptoms.Any thing will do.

 

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ive had them twice over the last 4 years from HW, and apart from aging which you would expect, they were in good condition. Ive seen a fair of criticism on here regarding HW, and it does surprise me, I have always found them very professional .

 

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47 minutes ago, Wonderwall said:

ive had them twice over the last 4 years from HW, and apart from aging which you would expect, they were in good condition. Ive seen a fair of criticism on here regarding HW, and it does surprise me, I have always found them very professional .

 

Some of the newer boats are not as bad, but the older ones such as the Connoisseurs are in a pretty poor state. Compare any of them to Dominica at Richardson's and you'll see what I mean.

Also consider that many of them still have the original tired and underpowered engines in them, many of which are losing various fluids and for example the one Robin hired a while back where he was told that the heating could only be run for a certain period of time.

Take a look at the boats Ricko's are selling off - Many of them have newish Nannis in and plenty of interior and electrical work and those are the clearance boats. It's a totally different mindset and it winds me up that people cannot see the difference.

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We hire from HW’s every year and find them to be top notch with customer care. Yes the Jewels are past their  best but they are far from new and are not marketed as 5 star boats. We like them and their fleet

Griff

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each to their own, and I guess it all depends upon what you want from a boat you hire.

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12 minutes ago, oldgregg said:

Some of the newer boats are not as bad, but the older ones such as the Connoisseurs are in a pretty poor state. Compare any of them to Dominica at Richardson's and you'll see what I mean.

Also consider that many of them still have the original tired and underpowered engines in them, many of which are losing various fluids and for example the one Robin hired a while back where he was told that the heating could only be run for a certain period of time.

Take a look at the boats Ricko's are selling off - Many of them have newish Nannis in and plenty of interior and electrical work and those are the clearance boats. It's a totally different mindset and it winds me up that people cannot see the difference.

We were genuinely surprised when we hired from Richardson's for the first time last year. The standard of the interior of the boat far exceeded our expectations. It was by far the cleanest and tidiest interior of a hire boat we have had over the years.

The exterior was showing signs of having had a hard season but we hired at the back end of the year so that was in some ways expected. 

They will certainly be our yard of choice next time we hire. 

Our opinion of the yard certainly changed last year.

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I think a lot of people are very surprised when they actually step aboard them - The older boats have often had extensive interior work done so they're no different to a much younger boat from other yards.

They didn't get to the size and popularity that they have for no reason.

I've waited for the cleaners to finish at Ricko's a few times before collecting a boat - It's not five minutes with a duster, I can tell you.

The real problem is some other yards that give people a perception of what older boats are like, so they don't hire them.

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7 minutes ago, oldgregg said:

I think a lot of people are very surprised when they actually step aboard them - The older boats have often had extensive interior work done so they're no different to a much younger boat from other yards.

They didn't get to the size and popularity that they have for no reason.

I've waited for the cleaners to finish at Ricko's a few times before collecting a boat - It's not five minutes with a duster, I can tell you.

The real problem is some other yards that give people a perception of what older boats are like, so they don't hire them.

Indeed. We hired Viscount which had a full interior refit.  It was really very nice and put some of the more modern boats we have hired from other yards to shame.

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Whilst I still believe Richardsons shot themselves in the foot with the solo hiring debacle, my opinion that they're incredibly good at what they do hasnt changed. The value for money they offer is superb, especially with the budget boats but they also offer great quality at the luxury end of the market. 

I hired Tropic Horizon 1 (original Connoisseur 37 built late 70s/early 80s) in 2013 and it was in great nick.

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What Herbert Woods do very well is run a slick marketing side - selling holidays, and getting the initial welcome spot on when you arrive. You are made to feel as an individual and valued customer. However, the bottom line is the product and that is the boat. While I cannot say they are not clean etc inside, they are let go externally unless you are perhaps on one of their Elite Fleet boats.

They use cheap polyester style rope, and the attention given to the exterior upkeep is lacking. If a boat has a high  hours BMC or Perkins engine, despite the noise, smoke and oil they use - they will be kept going. Other yards of equal size to Herbert Woods would just take it out and re-engine. It means less work for them for a number of years apart from the usual servicing. They also get the benefit of new engine warranties and work on a basis of if the engine begins giving them grief a decade later, remove and replace than worry about re-builds. It is a testament to the Japanese base engines though that these units go on and on year in and out in hire fleets clocking up the hours. 

Now a great number of customers really would not care twice about such things, and all should be perfectly fine over the course of  their  holiday but take my experience with Western Light 1, the integrated bin chain just needed a screw putting in to make that work - but they had not and instead put a plastic bin in the galley. The batteries had not been seated correctly in the battery box perhaps after a change or shore based re-charge, meaning the lid (that you stand on) at the helm was in contact with the negative terminal on the top of one of the batteries and 'wonked about'. After a period of time the pressure on the terminal this caused made the terminal clamp to become loose and intermittent battery connectivity resulted. I sorted this one too.

The heater, it worked - reasonably well, but took several attempts to get going (and one always had to have the engine running initially) and once it was running, after about 3 or 4 hours it would turn itself off anyway as the batteries had run out of enough juice to keep it going.

You add this up to the other smaller issues, like needing to top the oil up daily and water in the header tank - and you stop and think 'hold on a second this is meant to be a holiday - this is 2018 not 1960'. I took it in my stride and did not fuss, but someone else paying a good whack of money might see all this as a real issue and frustration. It may put them off, or just lead to an unhappy customer.  I bring this up because if this was a smaller yard or a yard that did not have the big brand image, it may be a little more forgivable - but when you splash so much in to image, a slick website and customer experience the product has to match the expectation and if it does not, for whatever reason the fall is greater for the customer, and their patience perhaps less.

I think instead of a really fancy website with live chat and so on, branded cushions and giving away free pens the back to basics approach might be better. Make things work smoothly and the mechanical and electrical items brought up to date rather than just being kept running as they are with a make do approach.

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6 hours ago, LondonRascal said:

You add this up to the other smaller issues, like needing to top the oil up daily and water in the header tank - and you stop and think 'hold on a second this is meant to be a holiday - this is 2018 not 1960'. I took it in my stride and did not fuss, but someone else paying a good whack of money might see all this as a real issue and frustration. It may put them off, or just lead to an unhappy customer.  I bring this up because if this was a smaller yard or a yard that did not have the big brand image, it may be a little more forgivable - but when you splash so much in to image, a slick website and customer experience the product has to match the expectation and if it does not, for whatever reason the fall is greater for the customer, and their patience perhaps less.

We wouldn't have a clue how to do most of the things that you have mentioned Robin. So we just do what we're told when we hire a boat ... including having to run the engine to start the heating. It wouldn't occur to us to start trying to diagnose any issues, we just don't have that kind of knowledge, like most holidaymakers I would imagine. Instead you end up with a perception of any yard based on the face value i.e. did we like the boat, was it well turned out, did we feel it was good value for money and did it give us any problems.

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Compare that with the Swancraft experience Jean! 

As I've said before you shouldn't have to run the engine to start or maintain the heating. Not on a well maintained boat! (based on many years of winter cruising) 

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1 hour ago, SwanR said:

We wouldn't have a clue how to do most of the things that you have mentioned Robin. So we just do what we're told when we hire a boat ... including having to run the engine to start the heating. It wouldn't occur to us to start trying to diagnose any issues, we just don't have that kind of knowledge, like most holidaymakers I would imagine. Instead you end up with a perception of any yard based on the face value i.e. did we like the boat, was it well turned out, did we feel it was good value for money and did it give us any problems.

There is no way that you should have to run the engine to start the heating. That is a sure sign of shot batteries.

It makes me angry that yards spout this rubbish to their customers instead of spending some of their money they have taken in hire fees on ensuring that the boat is up to standard.

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5 minutes ago, Cal said:

There is no way that you should have to run the engine to start the heating. That is a sure sign of shot batteries.

It makes me angry that yards spout this rubbish to their customers instead of spending some of their money they have taken in hire fees on ensuring that the boat is up to standard.

In the case of the yard being talked about, I can't disagree with that, I am afraid, but I would like to qualify one thing :

Domestic batteries, even new ones, have to be charged during the day and if the heating has also been run in the evening it is quite possible that they will not be strong enough to do the initial firing of the heater the next morning. So I always tell hirers to start the engine only if the heater fails to start the first time. If the fridge is not working in the morning that is another indication of low batteries, as fridges have a safety cutoff for low voltage.

So if the heater only runs for an hour after you have started it in the morning this could still be simply a need to charge the batteries. We hired a boat from Richardsons in May which was around 35 years old but was in absolutely perfect running order and beautifully presented. I never had to start the engine to run the heater. But then, we were doing 5 or 6 hours running every day. Perhaps that's the difference?

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58 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

In the case of the yard being talked about, I can't disagree with that, I am afraid, but I would like to qualify one thing :

Domestic batteries, even new ones, have to be charged during the day and if the heating has also been run in the evening it is quite possible that they will not be strong enough to do the initial firing of the heater the next morning. So I always tell hirers to start the engine only if the heater fails to start the first time. If the fridge is not working in the morning that is another indication of low batteries, as fridges have a safety cutoff for low voltage.

So if the heater only runs for an hour after you have started it in the morning this could still be simply a need to charge the batteries. We hired a boat from Richardsons in May which was around 35 years old but was in absolutely perfect running order and beautifully presented. I never had to start the engine to run the heater. But then, we were doing 5 or 6 hours running every day. Perhaps that's the difference?

In the past ten years of ownership the batteries on our boat have never failed to start the heating in the morning. We change our batteries before they get to that point. I know that there is a difference in how a private and hire boat are used but there is no excuse for sending hired boats out with shot batteries. 

By all means advise hirers on the number of hours a boat needs to run to charge the batteries but don't instruct them to run the engine to start the heating!

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Unfortunately I don't think you understood what I was trying to explain.

Just because a battery will not start up a Webasto heater does not automatically mean it is "shot" and it is not automatically the fault of the boatyard.

As a private owner you naturally ensure that your batteries are charged so that you can get the use you require out of them. One could perhaps expect a hirer to do the same, without just dismissing it out of hand as shoddy maintenance by the boatyard.

If you have heard somewhere that boatyards are telling hirers to start the engine every time, I don't think you will find this is commonplace. They certainly don't tell you that at Richardsons and in my career in the hire business, I never have either.

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21 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

Unfortunately I don't think you understood what I was trying to explain.

Just because a battery will not start up a Webasto heater does not automatically mean it is "shot" and it is not automatically the fault of the boatyard.

As a private owner you naturally ensure that your batteries are charged so that you can get the use you require out of them. One could perhaps expect a hirer to do the same, without just dismissing it out of hand as shoddy maintenance by the boatyard.

If you have heard somewhere that boatyards are telling hirers to start the engine every time, I don't think you will find this is commonplace. They certainly don't tell you that at Richardsons and in my career in the hire business, I never have either.

We have heard from hirers some shocking things that yards have told them over the years. The best one last time was that it doesn't matter if they hit another boat it is like dodgems. 

Obviously we put them right on that point.

With regards batteries obviously you can't expect all hirers to look after them or know how to look after them so a little advice from the yard doesn't go amiss. Bit it also wouldn't hurt the yards to check that they are sending boats out with batteries that are fit for purpose. 

I know that can be difficult I a boat has been sat a few days between hand overs with items left running such as fridges, but for batteries not to be able to start the heating the next morning after a good long run the day before is not really good service from the yard. They should check the batteries on a regular basis rather then leave it to hirers to find out they are not at their best. After all at this time of year even the cheaper yards charge through the nose for their boats.

If I was paying those prices I would not be expecting problems with the boat. We always hire out of season either at the beginning or the end so expect a few problems due to winter lay up or a hard season use. We wouldn't expect that mid season when we were paying highly for the privilege. 

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If boats were fitted with battery monitors and a simple instruction not to let the batteries go below, say, 65%, then we may have less running of engines at moorings.

image.thumb.jpeg.81287a7dedc8280f3e19fd4876684875.jpeg

Colin:default_drink_2:

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Older Webasto heaters are prone to be susceptible to lower voltages, my last boat had a webasto heater over thirty years old if the voltage was down a tad, it did on cold days need just that little bit more,I replaced it with a new one, the difference was remarkable but if at £2000=00 was it worth it!!!!. You can get a lot of start ups for that amount.John

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15 minutes ago, Islander said:

If boats were fitted with battery monitors and a simple instruction not to let the batteries go below, say, 65%, then we may have less running of engines at moorings.

The newer boats are fitted with them - Richardson's have a very simple 'traffic light' system on the dash to give novices an indication of what the state is, paired up with a proper battery monitor on the distribution board.

BUT what will they do when the batteries get low because of the TV, fridge etc having been on for hours?

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14 minutes ago, Islander said:

If boats were fitted with battery monitors and a simple instruction not to let the batteries go below, say, 65%, then we may have less running of engines at moorings.

image.thumb.jpeg.81287a7dedc8280f3e19fd4876684875.jpeg

Colin:default_drink_2:

A very good point. 

Although it wouldn't stop people firing up their engines at silly o clock in the morning to get hot water!

Have never understood that. You are paying over the odds for diesel at the yards so don't waste it moored up making hot water. Go cruising and make hot water at the same time .

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1 minute ago, oldgregg said:

The newer boats are fitted with them - Richardson's have a very simple 'traffic light' system on the dash to give novices an indication of what the state is, paired up with a proper battery monitor on the distribution board.

BUT what will they do when the batteries get low because of the TV, fridge etc having been on for hours?

Surely the battery banks should be sized to allow for the boats systems to be used once moored up. 

Of course this assumes the hirers will then use the boat the next day for x amount of hours to recharge the batteries.

 

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I think it might be time for you to start your own thread, on this subject?

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