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Broads01

Brinks Jazz

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I hired Brinks Jazz for a week in May 2019 and here are my thoughts.

The boat was built in 1991 by Porter and Haylett/Connoisseur Cruisers not originally for Broads use but rather the French canals. It has dual steering, combining a fairly standard forward drive layout (with internal steering forward) with a roof-mounted external position. The bow area has a well with seating as per a 'bathtub' but unlike a bathtub the bow is pointed in shape which can make stepping aboard more of a challenge. Also a challenge are the unusually narrow side decks which resemble those of a narrow boat but nevertheless can be negotiated with the aid of the hand rail. You can tell the boat was built by Connoisseurs from the trademark side door on the port side near the stern with stern mounted engine and absence of traditional stern access door. To access the roof deck there are deep steps from the stern. Up top it's very sparse, having no windscreen and the only seating being a hard (and somewhat uncomfortable) double helm seat. Nevertheless the top steering position was the one I used by far the most as it provides fantastic views over the Reeds and far beyond. The steering wheel is the highest point of the boat and piloting bridges like St Olaves and Ludham requires some contortion from the helmsman of the top steering is to be used. Air draft is 7 feet 10 so not especially high by dual steer standards. Surprisingly, the helm view is not as good as you might think for manouvering - because the side decks are so narrow and the position so high, the extremities of all the decks are obscured by the superstructure resulting in a degree of guesswork to estimate how far away the quayside is.

Access through the side door requires very steep steps inside to be negotiated. Once inside at the stern there is a cabin which can be configured either as a double or as single bunks (the top bunk simply lifts off to form the outer half of the double berth). Floor space with the double set up is fairly limited but storage is excellent with deep hanging space and plenty of shelving. Also at the stern is a toilet with washbasin. This is cramped and the toilet bowl almost comically small. However, what works really well is the separate shower just forward of the side door. This is spacious and avoids the usual issue of getting everything im the toilet wet when the shower is used. The forward half of the boat is an open plan galley/saloon area with galley across the boat and the sink area looking forward. The galley is a reasonable size with good storage, full size fridge and microwave. The cooker is dated, caravan-style, however, being a two burner hob and small oven and grill. The narrow side decks give good space inside and it feels like you're on a boat wider than its actual 11 foot. There's a long straight (not L shape) sofa which converts to a double bed. The saloon area also has plenty of storage. The interior helm has good visibility forward but almost non-existent visibility to the rear, even by forward-drive standards. The heating is variable temperature and works well. There is shore power, solar charging and an electric mud weight. 

Overall I really enjoyed Jazz and the combination of top steering with all the advantages of a forward drive works really well. This is one of Barnes' cheapest boats and yet the equipment levels make it excellent value. Being a compact boat it's easy to handle with the exception of lack of sight of the side decks as mentioned. It is, however, not a boat for anyone with even the mildest of mobility difficulties with its deep external steps and steep side access (give me a conventional stern door anytime!). 

I apologise for having taken no internal photos. I'd intended to do so on departure but cleaners were standing by waiting for me to vacate. 

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i agree with all of the above. I too found it disconcerting that you could not really see behind you when steering from the inside and I only ever tried to walk down half the length of the deck when disembarking, so narrow was the "pathway". Having said that, I think the boat is excellent value and the positives you mention, for me far outway the negatives. 

I think the fact that some people find the look of Jazz to be less than "beautiful" (even Barnes refer to it as not one of their prettiest boats) keeps the price down making it a lot of boat for your money.

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3 hours ago, DAVIDH said:

I think the fact that some people find the look of Jazz to be less than "beautiful" (even Barnes refer to it as not one of their prettiest boats) keeps the price down making it a lot of boat for your money.

Definitely. Richardson's also have the larger version (Astral Gem) as well as these (Clarion) and the Astral is an absolute steal provided there are at least two of you.

Many people do not like them, but I'm quite a fan actually. For the size I think they pack a lot of space, and they are very cheap to hire.

I was due to have Silver Haze about three years back but had to cancel due to a long holiday getting booked over the same period and Hoseason's wouldn't let me move the booking to the next year so sadly I never got to try it. 

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Have always been intrigued by the look and layout of these type of cruiser to try, unfortunately me and hubby never seem to get on the water alone nowadays as we have a stowaway in the form of my mother. Layouts are extremely important when she comes along, separate cabins with en suite heads and all that. I must admit though I do like to have an en suite cabin myself for personal reasons but if it was just me and hubs it wouldn't matter :facepalm:  

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9 hours ago, hazelgirl said:

Have always been intrigued by the look and layout of these type of cruiser to try, unfortunately me and hubby never seem to get on the water alone nowadays as we have a stowaway in the form of my mother. Layouts are extremely important when she comes along, separate cabins with en suite heads and all that. I must admit though I do like to have an en suite cabin myself for personal reasons but if it was just me and hubs it wouldn't matter :facepalm:  

No ensuite on Jazz I'm afraid. 

I missed saying I used both beds, starting on the saloon bed when my son was with me for the first part of the week. The saloon bed isn't the easiest to assemble, involving a large drawer which has to be pulled out and stored within that two deep and very heavy cushions. Once you've assembled it, there's a big gap between the main sofa cushion and the additional ones, so it's not that comfortable. My son wasn't very complimentary about the double berth in the cabin but I found it just right and I slept very well. 

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9 hours ago, Broads01 said:

No ensuite on Jazz I'm afraid. 

I missed saying I used both beds, starting on the saloon bed when my son was with me for the first part of the week. The saloon bed isn't the easiest to assemble, involving a large drawer which has to be pulled out and stored within that two deep and very heavy cushions. Once you've assembled it, there's a big gap between the main sofa cushion and the additional ones, so it's not that comfortable. My son wasn't very complimentary about the double berth in the cabin but I found it just right and I slept very well. 

If we did ever hire this type of cruiser it would just be me and hubby so no need for the en suite, there is no way it would work with mother in tow which is a shame.

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If there'll be two of you, I'd give Astral Gem a look - It is actually cheaper than the smaller boat (Clarion) and more spacious.

 

The separate shower room is also really spacious; something of a rarity on Broads cruisers, especially at that price point.

 

Sent from the Norfolk Broads Network mobile app

 

 

 

 

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