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DJB

A Few Gripes After A Week On The Broads

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You are always at the mercy of the weather and storm Gareth put a right damper on the break but it was still relatively enjoyable but there were a few things that niggled.

My first question on arrivals was would we get under Wroxham Bridge. I was thinking about river levels but the hire company told me there were no pilots until the end of March so no we couldn't go. I had deliberately booked a low boat that would get under without rolling back a roof exposing the cabin to the weather. The lack of pilots should have been flagged at the time of booking/in the brochure. We'd not been to Coltishall for years and I was looking forward to going there.

The lack of water facilities was another issue. We found none in Ludham or Neatishead and people I spoke to said they'd found it difficult elsewhere as well. A warning that you might have to call in to boat yards at this time of year would have been handy. Water was available at Malthouse broad. The last week of the fishing season and the small tackle shop at Ludham was shut. The one at Ludham bridge was open.

We had a few problems with our boat. The TV was broken, but it was replaced. We had a small leak in the roof, but it was fixed. As the week went on we noticed that the drain near the steps was blocked so we had to walk through standing water each time we got on or off. A similar story in the front well of the boat. As this was the first week of hire of the season this should not have happened. They should have been flushed clear over the winter.

The biggest problem we had was with the heating. First I cocked up by failing to notice the warm air outlet had adjustable vents. They were closed shut so the air was not getting blown out. Previous boats we had did not have these. So our second night was spent shivering in the cold. The rear bedroom was also cold. I didn't notice that the middle room was particularly warm.  The lad at the boatyard put me right on the vents and I felt a right idiot for not looking at the outlet closer. My excuse was it's all black in a dark corner of a dimly lit boat.

So when left the yard with our new TV, fixed roof and hot air blowing I thought we'd be ok to see out the windy weather coming our way. How wrong I was.

Despite keeping the heating on for hours the boat didn't warm up at the front or rear.  The middle cabin did get cosy. I think that the reason for the cold in the other rooms was a lack of draft excluder on either the front or rear door. The curtain that hung over the glass on the top half of the door was billowing in the wind. The heater simply couldn't overcome it. Perhaps I should have tried calling the hire people out on Sunday evening but I didn't want to be a nuisance.

I probably wouldn't have mentioned it on here had I been given a sympathetic ear when we returned the boat. Instead of making a note of the issue all I got was you should have called us out and we would have fixed it. This boat is probably over 20 years old, we have had plenty of cold windy weather in East Anglia in the 25 years we've lived here, so I can't be the first person to complain about a boat being cold.

Apart from that sour note at the end everything else about the boat was fine. I was particularly pleased that the toilet seat was a regular size and not like trying to sit on a polo mint that we had with another boat. The Sunday carvery at the pub in Ludham was superb. We drove over to the Rising Sun at Coltishall and had a great meal there.

A couple of things to note if you are not a regular boater. Take some slippers with you. The floors get really cold overnight. If you are going to be using the mud anchor take some waterproof gloves to pull it back on board. Don't try going down narrow dykes in windy weather without bow thrusters as you can get in a bit of a pickle. Perhaps you should try and get to the boatyard early so that you can test the TV, heating, cooker etc etc before you leave the yard.

We'll be getting another boat in September. 

 

 

 

 

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Seems a right mixed bag for you DJB but glad the downsides haven’t put you off. Welcome to the forum, I’m sure others will be grateful for your write-up although no doubt want to know which boat you were on. Some useful pointers for early season boating. Do let us know how you get on in September.

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The issue with boat heating is when you do have one that warms the boat up nicely the bi product is condensation which can equally be a pain, with little to no insulation and gaps around the window frames and roofs your fighting a loosing battle from flicking the switch! The best system in my opinion to have on a boat is a wet heating system with radiators. 

Reading between the lines i think your biggest issue was your hire yard and from their response to you I think I know who it was.  

When you hire a boat of any description everything should work, no excuses at any time of year.  Having taken a boat out once with a blocked shower drain from the same yard it sounds all to familiar! 

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1 hour ago, DJB said:

all I got was you should have called us out and we would have fixed it.

Yes, I recognise this response as well. What they fail to acknowledge is the hanging about and waiting at accessible places eats into your holiday quite significantly if you are out for one week!

 

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The thing is most things such as water are not fully on until Easter.It may have been a idea to contact the boat yard prior to your visit.Welcome to the forum.You may have noticed if not ,there is a lot of info available here.

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Welcome DJB. We're out soon so your information about the bridge pilot is most welcome as well as the issues finding water.

Did you happen to venture down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad at all? I know there is a notice about dredging down there and I'm wondering whether this is having any impact at the moment.

We intend to eat out most lunchtimes if we can so I've been looking at the websites of The New Inn, The Bridge Inn and one or two others to try to see whether they are doing food all year round.

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13 minutes ago, SwanR said:

Welcome DJB. We're out soon so your information about the bridge pilot is most welcome as well as the issues finding water.

Did you happen to venture down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad at all? I know there is a notice about dredging down there and I'm wondering whether this is having any impact at the moment.

We intend to eat out most lunchtimes if we can so I've been looking at the websites of The New Inn, The Bridge Inn and one or two others to try to see whether they are doing food all year round.

We go out the day before you, would think it feasable that things like water and Wroxham Bridge pilot would be on from the start of the season

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I just called Norfolk Broads Direct to ask. The bridge pilot doesn't start until last week of March probably, much closer to Easter.

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4 minutes ago, SwanR said:

I just called Norfolk Broads Direct to ask. The bridge pilot doesn't start until last week of March probably, much closer to Easter.

I think it is a really slack performance if the boatyard (or Hoseasons if booked through them) does not point out the start date of the Bridge Pilot. New boaters are not likely to know seasons start dates. If you can hire it - surely the infrastructure is open unless told otherwise. 

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It's not much help to DJB now but for future information to others the bridge pilot operates from Easter to the end of October

20190316_165709.thumb.jpg.983bc8701b1a9c4f4799d297612e4a2a.jpg

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4 minutes ago, BroadAmbition said:

What's a Bridge Pilot?  :default_coat:

Griff

Someone who knows which way round a boat should be when going under a bridge.  :-)

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49 minutes ago, SwanR said:

Welcome DJB. We're out soon so your information about the bridge pilot is most welcome as well as the issues finding water.

Did you happen to venture down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad at all? I know there is a notice about dredging down there and I'm wondering whether this is having any impact at the moment.

We intend to eat out most lunchtimes if we can so I've been looking at the websites of The New Inn, The Bridge Inn and one or two others to try to see whether they are doing food all year round.

The New Inn at Horning yes we had lunch there the end of Feb.they tend to shut for a week or two in early Jan.Not sure about the bridge inn.

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46 minutes ago, DAVIDH said:

I think it is a really slack performance if the boatyard (or Hoseasons if booked through them) does not point out the start date of the Bridge Pilot. New boaters are not likely to know seasons start dates. If you can hire it - surely the infrastructure is open unless told otherwise. 

I suppose end off March is better than Easter 21st April still doesn't help me, booked next week because boat in May is 7ft 8ins air draft too high for bridge.

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1 hour ago, SwanR said:

Welcome DJB. We're out soon so your information about the bridge pilot is most welcome as well as the issues finding water.

Did you happen to venture down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad at all? I know there is a notice about dredging down there and I'm wondering whether this is having any impact at the moment.

We intend to eat out most lunchtimes if we can so I've been looking at the websites of The New Inn, The Bridge Inn and one or two others to try to see whether they are doing food all year round.

No, we didn't go down there.

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1 hour ago, DAVIDH said:

I think it is a really slack performance if the boatyard (or Hoseasons if booked through them) does not point out the start date of the Bridge Pilot. New boaters are not likely to know seasons start dates. If you can hire it - surely the infrastructure is open unless told otherwise. 

I don't have a problem with the pilot not working but the lack of information in the brochure about it or at least a message when you go through the online booking.

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If you hire a suitable boat from Faircraft Loynes and let them know you wish to traverse Wroxham Bridge they will send someone over to get you through (yes I know they are higher priced , but the attention to detail on their boats,  shows )

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2 hours ago, MauriceMynah said:

Someone who knows which way round a boat should be when going under a bridge.  :-)

You beat me to it John.

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Any dredging down Fleet Dyke should be easy to bypass - or it should be! Its only narrow just around the bends.

To be fair you have hired in a period when most yards have not even started! And there is a good reason for this as the weather in mid March out here can be atrocious. Last year as you will recall we had the notorious Beast from the East and you would  have been hard pushed to have progressed even out of the yard because of ice - similarly most hoses are turned off on public staithes to prevent frozen pipes.

You probably noticed a lack of boats - there is a reason for it I am afraid and you probably were a victim of it. You could say the yard could have warned you and probably they should, but whilst a very few stalwarts hire from early March, there is generally a sound reason why you might only see a few intrepid travellers!!

Are even the Yacht Stations open? Probably not as most employ seasonal staff and I doubt they are yet on duty and there was not a day last week that I would have felt very comfortable with crossing Breydon on - indeed it is not allowed by most yards yet as they know in reality it is still winter. Equinoctial gales are a pretty common feature and are more prevalent now than later in the year - probably!

I hope you enjoy your September holiday rather more but once we get to the end of September, that too can bring more unacceptable weather conditions - unfortunately!

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3 hours ago, SwanR said:

Welcome DJB. We're out soon so your information about the bridge pilot is most welcome as well as the issues finding water.

Did you happen to venture down Fleet Dyke to South Walsham Broad at all? I know there is a notice about dredging down there and I'm wondering whether this is having any impact at the moment.

We intend to eat out most lunchtimes if we can so I've been looking at the websites of The New Inn, The Bridge Inn and one or two others to try to see whether they are doing food all year round.

We went down Fleet Dyke on the 22nd Feb, dredging was underway but even with the barge holding the dredged spoil moored alongside the dredger there was no problem passing.

The Ferry Inn, Stokesby was and is serving food.. one of my favourite stopping points as they are very welcoming.

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On the 9th and 11th of this month Gorleston inshore lifeboat was paged to assist vessels in trouble on Breydon. The first to assist in refloating and moving a vessel off of the sands to the lay bye pontoons at 23.00hrs. The second was to assist another vessel which was visually seen to be struggling. A crewman was put aboard who took over the helm and took the vessel into calmer waters before handing back to the occupants of the vessel. 

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Welcome DJB,

You make some good points there. Boats do have problems and it is annoying especially at the start of the season when you'd think all would have been sorted over the winter.

The biggest issues I see is that without doubt you should have been informed of the lack of a Bridge Pilot and that not all facilities are available at this time of year.

And on returning, a sympathetic ear listening to your concerns is worth more for a business than it costs to provide.

Hope you enjoy you're break in Sept. The pilot will be there and all water points working.

BTW Swan R.... Fleet Dyke is fine. 

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5 hours ago, SwanR said:

We intend to eat out most lunchtimes if we can so I've been looking at the websites of The New Inn, The Bridge Inn and one or two others to try to see whether they are doing food all year round.

The Bridge Inn is open all year round for food :418_fork_knife_plate::default_beerchug:

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I didn't know the Bridge Pilot doesn't start until the end of March. Given March is probably the most popular month for yards to start their season (February for Herbert Woods) I find that very surprising. Something in the back of my memory says that the pilot service is staffed by guys who also operate the Broads Tours passenger boat services. Given that it's probably to early in the year for passenger boats to be operating, is that why there's no pilots either? 

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