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SteveDuk

When Did People Become Scared?

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This thread was inspired by something @JennyMorgan said on @EastCoastIPA,s April Fool thread:

Overcoming the fear that so many North Rivers boaters have of going outside their comfort zone, e.g. Breydon.

When did it start? When I started coming to the Broads as an adult (questionable) in the late 90s as far as I know people just got on with it and went north to south and vice versa.

 

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I guess it all started with facebook and people posting pictures of boats aground and stuck under the bridges at Breydon.

mind you - that said I dont think its a new thing, in Arthur Ransomes coot club, young tom was worried about getting there too early, and once he had turned to beat upstream while waiting, was then worried if he had enough wind to beat against the tide, so obviously an issue then too with unassisted sailing craft.

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11 minutes ago, psychicsurveyor said:

It started in 1997 when the backbone of this country started to disappear. :default_sad:

Yes. You’re thinking of Titanic hitting the cinemas obviously?

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Why 1997? IIRC Britain won the Eurovision song contest for the last time to date (and most likely ever) and The Princess of Wales died, which whilst sad would not, I'd have thought garnered such abject terror as crossing Breydon seems to do nowadays.

 

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1 minute ago, batrabill said:

You’re thinking of Titanic hitting the cinemas obviously?

I thought it hit an iceberg? I have to ask what a cinema was doing in the middle of the North Atlantic .....

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What makes you think you won’t hit an iceberg on Breydon?

Or a Unicorn? It could happen!

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would that be a narwhale as as far as I remember unicorns dont react well to salt water.

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When I was a kid in the 1970's I do remember my dad saying I had to stay inside the boat with my life jacket on when crossing Breydon and on no account go out of mum and dads sight during the crossing. Fear was installed!  

We did witness some awful crashes when people were trying to moor up at the yacht station and many boats grounded on Breydon  . If you get the tides wrong ....... Just watching Robin's video of him fighting the tide and nearly stopping doesnt look like fun.  We havent been across Breydon yet .... 

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I can suggest a number of reasons, though in reference to the trepidation of taking an unpowered craft through Yarmouth I doubt "young Tom" would have been the only one enjoying a near brown trouser moment, then or now. I have never attempted such a thing and often think I would like to one day, until I'm surfing down the lower bure on a 5mph ebb with an engine. 

I do think that passing through Yarmouth and across Breydon has been bigged up out of all proportion in recent years. Let's face it, it's not rocket science, keep to the right, turn past the yellow post and "straight on 'till morning". Keep between the posts, in exactly the same way you do on many other stretches of the Broads. In fact I think the posts are more confusing on Rockland than they are on Breydon. 

I think your average holiday maker is more of a wimp nowdays than they were in years gone by. Life has to come with instructions nowdays. Homo Sapien, or a great many of them at least has lost his ability to think for himself. There's 'nowt so uncommon as common sense anymore. 

And the social media aspect as above, may well have had an effect. 

 

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I think also some yards do discourage it in order to stop less experienced hirers from sticking it in the mud.

When I hired last year the handover guy asked us what our plans were for the week. We said that we'd find somewhere quiet on the first night and then head down south for the rest of the week. The response was something like "Ooh I wouldn't mate, there's strong tides down there and you have to be really careful, more hassle than it's worth" etc etc.

We pretended to have been discouraged and then were at Oulton Broad the following evening as planned, but I do think it will put newer hirers off.

I was speaking to a (distant) family member last year about it as he'd been on the broads a few times both North and South, having hired from NBD and Silverline and he said that he was reasonably confident but went on to say that "the one thing I'd never do is go across Breydon, sounds too risky".

I just think that's a shame as like Paul says, you use the tide tables and then keep within the posts. There must be a lot of northern hirers that don't get to see the south and that seems a pity as it's (arguably) the nicer part.

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From our very first time as hirers in the 80s it wouldn't be a Broads holiday without crossing Breydon. Had a very exciting crossing once when a storm came in as we were passing GY, turned to starboard to head south and the boat could hardly make way at full revs, canopy was down felt like I was drowning in the driving rain, bow going up and down like a YouTube video of a rough crossing in the North Sea. Could hear the contents of the cupboards crashing to the floor....

God it was fun!!! :default_biggrin:

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13 minutes ago, oldgregg said:

There must be a lot of northern hirers that don't get to see the south and that seems a pity as it's (arguably) the nicer part.

nah, it's not. The south's horrible. Nothing to see, no good pubs, no pretty villages. Moorings are always rammed by 11am every day and we have real life sea monsters in Oulton Broad. Have been known to swallow boats whole. Much better to stay north. Go to Horning and buy some rock and a kiss me quick hat.

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I do remember helming one of the jewel of lights with a little trepidation as we crossed Breydon Last year heading south, but that may have been because we were 4 abreast in the channel and I was on the end near the marker posts with not a lot of leeway to edge away from them, and the JoL at the other end had cut the corner somewhat with 3 boats between him and the posts.

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We have been hiring for about 10 years now and from our second time we crossed Breydon, oooh we do love a good crossing, we have done it in glorious sunshine and we have done it in very tricky conditions, if you get close and realise the tides are wrong just pull in at GY or Berney till it's right whether it be an hour on or try again the next day. 

I know a fair few boat owners on the North that don't make the trip South just because they did it soooo many times in their hire days and they have seen every inch of the Broads many many times they just stay local and chill. They don't have the same drive to see as much as possible in that one trip because they will be back for most of the summer.

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In 1982, never having been on a river boat before, we picked our boat up from Brundall and proceeded down the Yare and then the Chet. The following day we headed for Berney Arms and then crossed Breydon. During those 10 days we got up to West Somerton and then to Wroxham before returning south. I think Grendel is right, it’s all the social media coverage these days that puts people off crossing Breydon and that’s a shame. Follow the rules and it’s really quite straightforward.  

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In years gone by our itinerary would usually be something like Loddon - Beccles - Oulton - Acle - Wroxham - Horning - Stalham - Stokesby - Loddon. If tides were not ideal we would be up at first light, and above once have crossed Breydon with the sun setting behind us, which is a lovely time to cross. Nowadays we don't want to be so energetic with our cruising days so tend to stay south but will occasionally venture as far as Acle. We love the Bridge Inn and love Breydon (so much so our second child was named after it). Sadly, in recent years we have decided there is not much worth heading further north for.

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Crossing Breydon is part of the fun !

 

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Breydon is nothing more than a flooded field. Just keep between the posts in the main channel which used to be deep enough to take full sized coasters and you will be ok. If you look on the other side of the posts you will see wading birds even at high tide it is that shallow.

Be careful if you are looking at the posts against the light as they sometimes appear to be all the same colour. This is especially important in late afternoons when going upstream when you get to the top end of Breydon as there is a bit of a dog's leg in the deep channel and many boats come to grief there.

Just use a bit of common sense, read the boat manual before approaching Breydon or better still immediately after taking over the boat and you will be safe.

If everything does go pear shaped and you do run aground, don't try to power out of it in forward gear. As soon as you feel the boat touch the mud go quickly in reverse and go off the way you entered in reverse and head for the channel. Don't faff around running in circles and arguing about who did it, time is of the essence. The water if the tide is going out recedes fast and you will quickly be left high and dry. If the tide is coming in you have a bit more chance of getting off.

It is a good idea if you do go aground to check the weed filter on the incoming engine cooling pipe and don't forget to shut off the stopcock before you do it and turn it on afterwards. You may have picked up some muck which could cause cooling problems. Do this when you are in a safe spot and not out on the broad and when the engine is turned off.

Whatever you do, just respect Breydon but don't be afraid of it. Do your homework (boat manual) and you will be quite safe. The Southern rivers are somewhat different but have their own character and charm and are much quiter. A visit to Norwich is well worth it as is Beccles, Loddon and Oulton.

Writing this post has stirred up the juices and I will have to wind up my old egg beater (outboard) in a dustbin full of water to see if my winter servicing has done its job. Hopefully I will be on the water in late April/early May and will probably have a bash over Breydon to blow the cobwebs off the old tub. 

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Crossing Breydon is part of the fun, but just as you should not overplay it, you should not underestimate the potential for it being a more difficult trip than elsewhere - you know what they say, never turn your back on the sea like King Canute and within that lies a grain of truth.

Take your time to plan that crossing and it is easy, but cock up the timings and go across in a stiff easterly, or south easterly against a stong tide and you may wish you had planned for some eventualities- just a little forethought might have reduced the anxiety levels, if indeed you recognised that they existed!

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Too much knowledge is a dangerous thing.      We used to cross in the early days oblivious of everything I am sure of that.

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Try it at midnight with no moon and a hint of fog, makes it so much more fun.

It was that or stop on GY quay by haven all night with a desperate doggy wanting emptied, couldn't get under haven till midnight.

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1 hour ago, Troutbridge said:

As soon as you feel the boat touch the mud go quickly in reverse and go off the way you entered in reverse and head for the channel.

Good advice, and I would add to that get as much weight as you can (i.e. deckhands and mother in laws) as far back in the boat as possible, as quickly as possible. Sway from side to side, that sometimes helps. 

Best advice though? Go across Breydon on a rising tide, it's better all round. Saves fuel, less thrashing the engine and if the unthinkable does happen you will normally be off in a few minutes.

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And remember, the tide ebbs on the Bure for 30 - 45 minutes atfer slack on Breydon. 

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5 minutes ago, Paul said:

And remember, the tide ebbs on the Bure for 30 - 45 minutes atfer slack on Breydon. 

Now that's interesting! Slack, as I hopefully understand it, is an hour after low. So if heading north an ideal time to pass Vauxhall Bridge would be a little after slack?

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