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Admiral

Syndicate Enquires

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Thunder is a great boat, but not necessarily the easiest if you'll be single-handed - At 43 feet she can often seem to be just that bit too big to fit into the gaps people leave at popular mooring spots. Also, from the interior helm the visibility of the stern is best described as 'quite limited'. The size is also such that really you do want one person at the helm and then at least one person on deck (ideally at least two).
If you're planning on boating more as a party of two or three then she's a different proposition, and doesn't feel cramped with a larger party aboard. With a group of five mates, we've been able to use her comfortably with no-one making beds up each night as she has five separate beds (plus the saloon).


You should try her in the school holiday weeks- the gaps at side on moorings are often too small! We always take the dinghy to increase our options.

We have peaked with 4 adults, 4 children and 2 dogs. I would describe it as cosy :-)

No doubt solo cruising could cause some problems, particularly as the upper helm only exits to one side.

M



Sent from my iPhone using Norfolk Broads Network
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Hi Matt,

We had a share owner that often cruised Lightning (exactly the same as Thunder) solo. He said all it needed was a bit of planning, and lay the mooring lines ready to be picked up very easily, so saving time and problems.

 

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I don't doubt it's possible.... Sensible is another matter.

Imagine this scenario: You're going down the river and one of those ropes slips off the deck. How quickly are you going to be able to get from the upper helm to the port side deck to fish that out before it goes round the prop?

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Yeah it's a thing on any boat, but we're talking about a 43 footer so doing a trip round the deck to get to the other side does take a bit longer!

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I don't think size is always an issue - Broad Ambition is 40ft and with care you can handle that Solo, just as I did with Brinks Serenade or Brinks Rhapsody (44ft).  Large, heavy boats are so much easier to moor and handle than light small boats but that is just my experience.

Where it does get challenging and can slip from 'this is going to be tricky' to 'this is potentially very dangerous' is when the river current and/or weather conditions can conspire to be agaisnt you.  A good example was last summer when I was on the really rather small (24ft) Sheerline that is Trixie. I had to moor on the waiting pontoon that is situation close to Breydon Road Bridge - but I had to do this as the tide rushed in.  In order to get off the boat I had to leave it running at 1,200RPM ahead to stay stationary alongside the floating pontoon while I got off and secured the Bow.  Either I did that or not get under Vauxhall Bridge  (to lower the canopy and screens) and thus would have had to head back to Bernery Arms to moor and would still be in a situation there with an incoming current and big height difference between bank and boat unlike the floating pontoon on Breydon.

Being alone makes you think, plan and consider what could go wrong. I think far more about what I will be doing, where I am going to step, how I hold on and the like. The moment you take a simple thing like stepping off a boat or back onboard for granted is the time you slip, put a foot wrong and at best hurt your leg, at worse end up in the river and then you have nobody there to know you are and come to your aid - you really are in it alone.

It may be also that you have a very stiff cross wind blowing 'away from the bank' - well how do you moor when alone? The moment you get off the boat that wind will want to take the boat rapidly away from the bank, and the larger the boat the heavier and you literally have a few seconds to secure the boat before it is too much to hold. With one or more crew the person on the helm can always be n control of the boat and if the worse happens leave his or her crew on the bank and go around for another attempt.

This situation will not be especially new to Russell being a solo hirer - but if I was in the market for a boat I would be thinking the longer outlook. Am I really going to always boat alone? As an owner it opens up a new area of possibilities to invite friends - after all unlike a hire boat that costs a significant amount every time you go, with the syndicate route she is all 'paid up' so a week with some palls can work out great as a cheap holiday for everyone and just perhaps ask for a bit towards the pump out/fuel.  I have also found that spending more time on the water and without that nagging 'oh well that is the end of that holiday' knowing you will have a set amount of time to come (4 weeks minimum) means you just adapt and change your routines -= why cruise so far and so long? Spend a couple of days between two locations that are not too far apart, take more time in the morning, stay for longer in a pub at lunch, walk a bit further when on shore - it all adds up and I had a light bulb moment of "so this is what relaxing really is about" because I was not on a timetable, not worrying about where I was going to go, that would be interesting to film etc. I spent two days on Barton Broad and loved it without a care in the world.

So honestly I would not be thinking about all the in's and out's - I would be thinking about the positives - my boat, my time, my space. An asset to enjoy and use and care about and be part of rather than just a boat that you have paid a hefty sum of money for and have use of for a week.

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BA is a centre-cockpit boat though and it's easy to dart onto the side deck...

Come out on Thunder and I'll show you the issue!

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

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