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Thiswan

Coaster Hits With Hirecraft Moored At At Reedham Mystery

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Either my old memory is playing tricks or an identical occurrence took place at Reedham some twenty years apart.

One time in the early Nineties I remember mooring for the evening outside the Pub (Red House?) alongside the Sugar factory at Cantley it must have been around October as the factory was belching out stuff from the chimney. I noticed a Coaster tied up at the plant, in the morning the Coaster had gone and as we watched breakfast tv there was a report that a Coaster had damaged a hire craft at Reedham from the report I could see it was an Aston Boat and the family sleeping on board had had a lucky escape. Ah,I thought it must have been the very same vessel that was moored in front of us. Today I found an old report of the incident but it said it happened in the Seventies and the damaged boat was the Aston Penguin could two Aston boats be that unlucky at the same mooring spot. Tell me I'm not going mad :default_icon_cry:

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Don't know what boat was involved, but I did actually witness a hire boat damaged outside the Ship as a coaster passed through the bridge. It wasn't hit, but I recall both deck mooring cleats were ripped out as the river dropped. Not sure if it could have been a fibreglass boat, more likely a "woodie". That would have been late 70's early 80's.

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I don't think you're going mad.

During the time we used to do lads week which was early to mid 1990s we encountered the said coaster on Saturday afternoon as we reached the end of the Chet leaving the boatyard. The patrol boat signalled us to hold in the mouth of the Chet. That was easier said than done with the tide running full tilt creating eddies galore in the river mouth. This was in the days before Princess was fitted with bow thrusters so it was constant twitches of forward and reverse gear, lots of steering to try and keep the boat in the middle of the Chet. The coaster passed, IIRC heading upstream and we turned downstream to our favoured first night at Geldeston. 

As we went through Reedham there was a bit of a kerfuffle going on but we didn't learn that a boat had been damaged by the coaster until we stopped At Castle Craft at St Olaves a couple of days later. Whether it was by contact, which I find unlikely, or by wash I'm not sure. 

To add the final touch, that was the week when the short lived TV series "An Inspector Calls" featured the Broads Inspectors. There was a great clip of the inspector telling us to stay where we were, and a few seconds of us sitting serenely in the Chet Mouth. We were not aware we were being filmed and sadly I had no time to visit make up but it looked quite impressive the way the boat sat, apparently stock still in the end of the river as the coaster passed. Thankfully the camera was too far away to pick up all the shuffling about, and one or two of the expletives that may have been heard on the not infrequent occasion the boat didn't quite do what I wanted. 

As to time of year, lads week was usually August bank holiday, but was October half term on a couple of occasions. By that time coasters were quite rare, I doubt that there would have been another. 

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I remember back in the end of the 70s, or early 80s, we hired Kingfisher from Maffett Cruisers in Loddon (well, technically in Chedgrave as they were on the North bank), and saw Pacific Cruisers DC30 in Pacifics shed being refitted. It turned out a coaster hit that too on the Yare at Cantley. I think it happened more often than people think, as there were a great many hirecraft in those days constanatly on the Yare, and coasters going to Cantley and Norwich were quite common. In fact the first time we cruised into Norwich, i can well remember seeing a coaster moored outside one of the factories on the West bank of the Wensum in Norwich itself.

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1 hour ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

I remember back in the end of the 70s, or early 80s, we hired Kingfisher from Maffett Cruisers in Loddon (well, technically in Chedgrave as they were on the North bank), and saw Pacific Cruisers DC30 in Pacifics shed being refitted. It turned out a coaster hit that too on the Yare at Cantley. I think it happened more often than people think, as there were a great many hirecraft in those days constanatly on the Yare, and coasters going to Cantley and Norwich were quite common. In fact the first time we cruised into Norwich, i can well remember seeing a coaster moored outside one of the factories on the West bank of the Wensum in Norwich itself.

That takes me back to my first ever hiring in the early 70 ties "Angelina Bee" from Brundall first time out heading for Norwich coming past the old Power Station I looked behind and what seemed like a massive coaster was barring down on me I had no experience at all but knew I couldn't outrun him so I pulled over to the right  didn't seem like a lot of room against the Power station mooring and prayed ! he went passed I went up and down again all ok what a welcome  to boating . It obviously didn't, put me off though.

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A good chum (now deceased) was mate on the Rix boats that went up to Colman's, his post from after Haven Bridge was in the fo'c's'le with a loadhailer suggesting to smaller craft where they might like to go! He always said they got an extra knot or two after a trip to Norwich as they scraped the bottom most of the way.

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First time I met a coaster was above Trowse railway bridge. We were on Richardson's Crusader 1 in July 63, going upstream and the coaster was coming down.

My cousin and I were sat on the cabin roof at the rear of the cockpit. At the last minute the lad at the helm panicked and headed for the bank which was steel piling.

The boat sideswiped the bank (fortunately not going very fast), my cousin and I landed in a heap in the cockpit and as I looked up the other three lads had jumped for the bank which was above head height. Two of them made it but the one who had been at the helm was left hanging down on a chain attached to the piling.

When I got up the boat was headed for the coaster. I grabbed the wheel and steered away and alongside the ship. There was a guy on the coaster's deck looking down at us and shaking his head.

I looked back and two of my mates were pulling the other lad up the piling. When they caught us up and asked me to come alongside, I thought I'd teach them a lesson and told them I'd see them at the Yacht Station - which took them ages as in those days there was no direct route alongside the river. 

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It indeed happen twice. I actually have the clipping from the EDP somewhere  

The second time was the Aston Severn. One of the Thames class. She was written off by the insurance and sold off to be refurbed because it popped the seam between hull and superstructure. She was kept at St Olaves for a while and called the ‘She’ll be right’.  

She left the broads several years ago though and I think went to somewhere on the Thames.  I believe there’s a photo of her in a Thames marina floating around somewhere on one of the forums. 

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Just wait until Vaughan reads this - he will have a few tales to tell I bet about the coasters! 

In the early 60's I used to spend a lot of time ,wasting my time at Bells in Brundall and one morning we launched a brand new cruiser for a private owner. It was around mid morning so we all nipped off to the tea shed for a cuppa, leaving the cruiser on the front, when there was a loud crunching sound and  a coaster, swinging a bit wide, calmly side swiped the new boat and put her under. Cannot remember much beyond that but it seemed a bit exciting at the time, - except for the new owner!!

 

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13 hours ago, marshman said:

Just wait until Vaughan reads this - he will have a few tales to tell I bet about the coasters! 

Yes indeed. I don't remember the Aston Boats incidents as I was off the Broads in those days but in the 50s and 60s the coasters were a serious hazard on the Yare. Norwich was a thriving port in those days and you might get ten of them up above Carrow bridge at a time. The Everards coasters were colliers which supplied the power station and they were quite big ships of about 1300 tons with a bridge island amidships. They were too long to turn in Norwich itself but could turn in Trowse Eye. There were quite a few Thames Barges as well.

They were supposed to take a pilot up the Yare but many of them didn't bother, especially if they were regular visitors. They would always have the tide under them either way, for obvious reasons but this meant if they approached a sharp bend too fast when loaded, they just didn't get round it. There was one aground on Whitlingham bend or Postwick grove most weeks. So the river inspectors, "Shiner" Wright at Brundall and Jack Hunt at Reedham, had quite a lot to do. They had VHF marine sets in the launches and Charles Collier's callsign was River Charlie! In those days it was forbidden by bye-law to moor on a bend on the Yare, as you risked getting the boat squashed flat by the coaster's stern as it swung round.

Just outside the bridge in Thorpe, on the "back reach" is a made up quay heading which looks like a good mooring and is nowadays used by some liveaboards. In fact it is a major construction of steel piling and concrete which was designed to stop the coasters undermining the railway embankment when they crashed into it! They have also been known to collide with Reedham swing bridge on more than one occasion. There were dolphins provided (one of them was more or less opposite the Lord Nelson) for the coasters to wait if the bridge was closed but to actually stop one with the tide under it was almost impossible and this is when they usually started colliding with hire boats. If they were going too fast past a mooring, the squat effect was enough to pull mooring cleats out of the deck and set boats adrift, with or without people on board.

On the island at Hearts we would sometimes see all the moored boats move up against each other and strain at their mooring lines. This surge was caused by the water being pushed up the river ahead of a loaded coaster, but you wouldn't see it go past on the back reach until almost 10 minutes later. In some ways it is a great pity that Norwich has closed as a port, but in other ways, it isn't!

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I remember that "squat" effect and the time it took for the coaster to appear after you were aware of the water shifting around! It could be quite surreal.

I am not sure always that they went with the tide - quite a few used to leave Norwich well before slack which meant they they had to pass somewhere or other - I remember being at Postwick bends once when there was one well stuck, and one coming upstream and another down - fortunately in the end it did not all happen on the big bend but a bit beyond!

I also remember the lighters coming up to the gas works when in addition to the coasters and the hire boats, I recall they had the tugs with three lighters, on very long tows, coming along behind, Each lighter had someone on the tiller as well which must have been a dreadful job in the winter - nowadays they would want a toilet as well!! ( Must search Broadland Memories some time to see if the tows were really as long as I imagined!)

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21 minutes ago, marshman said:

( Must search Broadland Memories some time to see if the tows were really as long as I imagined!)

They were!

It is true they sometimes left at the wrong time of the tide and that was when they often ended up on the beach at Postwick Grove. The bend above Surlingham Ferry was popular as well! The risk of grounding was more in the upper reaches so they would normally leave Norwich on the high tide, or come up from Yarmouth on the rising tide. This also meant they didn't (normally) have to cross each other in the river.

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What a wealth of infomation ! big thanks to all who replied I bet the people at the time could not imagine what would change in the future. I wonder what we have instore? Best not to think aye,

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3 hours ago, marshman said:

I remember that "squat" effect and the time it took for the coaster to appear after you were aware of the water shifting around! It could be quite surreal.

I am not sure always that they went with the tide - quite a few used to leave Norwich well before slack which meant they they had to pass somewhere or other - I remember being at Postwick bends once when there was one well stuck, and one coming upstream and another down - fortunately in the end it did not all happen on the big bend but a bit beyond!

I also remember the lighters coming up to the gas works when in addition to the coasters and the hire boats, I recall they had the tugs with three lighters, on very long tows, coming along behind, Each lighter had someone on the tiller as well which must have been a dreadful job in the winter - nowadays they would want a toilet as well!! ( Must search Broadland Memories some time to see if the tows were really as long as I imagined!)

We still get the pull of the water from the commercial boats on the Aire and Calder, sadly not so many as there once were but plans are afoot to get more commercial carrying going again on this waterway.

The boat will sit back on her ropes a good 10-15 minutes before the ship comes past. You have to remember to put plenty of fenders and lines out.

Luckily the A&C isn't all that busy so the chances of being pulled into another boat are pretty slim.

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I can remember being moored in Commissioner’s Cut, near the river end, when a coaster came upstream during the night. We got out of bed to see what all the noise was and saw this huge monster bearing down on us. It was quite scary being very dark! 

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At the junction of the Bure and Yare August 82.

My wife was at the helm of Admiral 7 through Yarmouth. Immediately after I took the first pic I saw the bow of another coaster appear in front of the moored boat.

I said to my wife, are you OK with the other boat. She replied what boat - Oh I thought it was a wall.

She handed the wheel to me and I headed for the stern of the second boat (in the second pic).

As we passed through it was obvious the second boat was aground (third pic).

Since then, whenever the subject of the Broads comes up in family conversations, the usual comment is "Do you remember when mum ran that ship aground". :default_icon_e_smile:

857a Chris Bure-Yare junction.jpg

858a Chris's wall.jpg

859a Chris's wall.jpg

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 I remember a hirer being shouted at by a rather large coaster changing moorings from port to starboard in norwich, almost got squished, saw it again near reedham,

please excuse the pic quality , scanned from an old instamatic pic

reedham.jpg

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I've got a few news cuttings relating to coasters damaging vessels and Reedhan Bridge on Broadland Memories ... including one which Vaughan kindly sent me. The first is from September 1965, the second article from 1978 (Aston Penguin) and the third is from 1976. 

65_sept11_reedhambridgedamage.jpg

78_cruisercrush_reedham.jpg

 

76_coasterkosferry_30_07.jpg

 

I was sent some photographs which I actually managed to match up to the incident described in the 1976 article of the sailing cruiser Brigand being recovered from the river which I included in a blog post in 2013 .... two years later I then recieved a message from someone who was actually on board Brigand when the accident happened. The power of the internet! Anyway ... you can find that blog post here:

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk/blog/2013/01/when-coasters-ruled-the-yare/

 

Carol

 

 

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Thanks for that Carol, you have reminded me! I was personally involved in the 1965 incident as it was me who gave the hirers their trial run before they left the yard at Hearts. This included showing them how to start the little Stuart Turner auxiliary engine!

It seems they arrived at Reedham running free before the wind and decided to lower the sails in the river, before turning round to moor at the Nelson. They didn't think to start the engine first and then realised they had forgotten how to start it, so they ended up drifting sideways down towards the bridge. The bridge was open for a coaster coming upstream, which tried to avoid them and clobbered the pier on the Reedham side of the bridge. What made me laugh was that as the coaster went past them, they were soaked to the skin in hot oily water from the engine room cooling water outlets!

If you look at the main photo in the article, there is a man standing in the background with one foot on the rails. Look carefully and you can see that when they closed the bridge, the rails at that point were 3 inches out of line. The man standing beside him in a white hat, leaning on the parapet, is Jack Hunt, the river inspector.

When we came out to the boat afterwards, the engine started normally! British Railways sued the Coaster Company, Metcalf, they sued the hirers of the yacht and the hirers sued Hearts Cruisers. My father managed to find someone to sue which turned the whole thing into a legal circle, and I don't think it ever got resolved!

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Hi Carol - you are right the internet is wonderful! See Tug Genstream here  http://www.ourgreatyarmouth.org.uk/page_id__172.aspx 

Scroll down and you will see a bit about working on the tug and barges/lighters. Sadly the pictures do not show the length of the tow - anyone else got some 50s/60s pictures showing this?? 

Vaughan - not much has changed then in the Courts!!

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Thanks for that Vaughan. :default_beerchug:

Excellent photos Marshman, thank you for the link. I don't think I have any photos showing the tow like those, but I seem to remember they were captured very briefly on cine film by my grandfather c1950.

 

Carol

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Like those pictures at the dolphin - although running aground is an acceptable manoevre if it slows you down! It was a well known trick of the wherrymen to "bung it in the hedge" to slow down - todays Skippers are discouraged from using this tactic! It also helped when turning.

I remember in the late 60's sailing up into Maldon on the first of the flood in a Thames Barge - we only had the topsail up so it was not that windy but the tide was flooding nicely. At mid tide its not that wide opposite Hythe Quay but there is plenty of mud - as we got to the quay, put the wheel hard over, dropped the topsail in a trice, and slid back gently into the middle and the way carried us almost back onto the quay. Like thats how its been done for years!!

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The barges for the gasworks had to pass under Foundry bridge to unload beside Bishop's bridge, above the yacht station. There was also a large coal yard owned by Thos. Moy & Sons in the centre of the port of Norwich on King St, in between the breweries. The Power station was downstream of Carrow bridge and the Trowse swing bridge, and was served by much larger ships.

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3 hours ago, webntweb said:

At the junction of the Bure and Yare August 82.

My wife was at the helm of Admiral 7 through Yarmouth. Immediately after I took the first pic I saw the bow of another coaster appear in front of the moored boat.

I said to my wife, are you OK with the other boat. She replied what boat - Oh I thought it was a wall.

She handed the wheel to me and I headed for the stern of the second boat (in the second pic).

As we passed through it was obvious the second boat was aground (third pic).

Since then, whenever the subject of the Broads comes up in family conversations, the usual comment is "Do you remember when mum ran that ship aground". :default_icon_e_smile:

857a Chris Bure-Yare junction.jpg

858a Chris's wall.jpg

859a Chris's wall.jpg

 

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