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ranworthbreeze

Broads Swim 2019 23rd June On River Waveney

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Sorry to be a bit late but I thought it might be worth a report on this event from someone who was actually there and saw it - especially as I notice that, yet again, there was no mention whatever of it either in the press or on local TV. We were on the river at the time and spent Saturday night at the WRC as mooring customers, having completely forgotten that this was the weekend of the swim!

The first departure was planned for 1015 with the turn of the tide and the various officials and volunteer rescue people turned up with all their kit and vehicles about 0830. They immediately camped out and took over the whole of the front quay which is normally in use for pump outs, water, diesel and day boat hire. This quay was closed off by them for the entire morning and there is nowhere else at the WRC for mooring customers to get water. Not a good start!

The swimmers came in from Beccles in hired coaches, with all their kit, and immediately demanded to know where the changing rooms were. A member of WRC staff then opened all of the toilet and shower compartments for them so all of the other paying customers of the campsite just had to wait.

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I can't help wondering, does it really need all this kit, to fish a swimmer of of the Waveney? The last time I had to do it I had the help of a boat hook. Does it really need all this belt on gubbins, including orange mountaineering helmets? And what are the flashing blue lights for? are they legal? Just thought I'd ask. . . . 

 

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This was the first start, of which there were three.

 

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The first start involved 2 fully armed rescue RIBs, several hi-vis event marshals in special canoes, 2 ranger's launches and one Broadsbeat police launch. In the last photo you can see how a hire boat coming downstream was forced right over into the reeds and made to stop by the two day boats from Beccles which also contained event officials.

It had been our intention to go to Beccles and on to Geldeston that day, but we were then told by WRC that the only 3 possible mooring places on the river between there and Beccles had been taken over and closed to the public, as feeding stations for the swimmers. So we felt the river was effectively closed to our pleasure activity and went the other way to Brundall.

 

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This was the "crowd" that attended the start and consisted entirely of safety officials and swimmers' family members. The only genuine public "spectator" who bothered to turn up, was me.

I leave you to judge for yourselves whether this was a suitable event but thought you might like a few photos of what actually happened.

 

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That seems like the considerable disruption many of us predicted at the outset, from a group that pay nothing in.

Its up the WRC who they let use their facilities but if I had been a paying site guest I may well have been miffed.  

I take more of an issue with use of BA moorings, the BA launch being present and the day boats used by the group hindering safe navigation of other boats.  

This is totally unacceptable and should certainly not be allowed to continue. 

 

 

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so if they were stopping boats until the swimmers were past, the navigation was effectively being blocked, it certainly appears that they were using the full width of the river with all the ancillary craft, I wonder what would have transpired if a skipper had declined to stop and just carried on, as he would have been within his rights to do, would the rangers have given him a ticket, if they had would it have been legal? we seem to have come back to all of the original objections made on that previous thread, where we were told it would only take a small part of the width of the river.

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I would be interested to know if any sailing vessels were met and how they managed to swim around one tacking, some of us find it daunting enough with an engine!

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Thanks, Vaughan. It looks to be more disruptive than we might have thought. I think politely asking a passing craft to briefly wait is fine. However there's a fine line between a reasonable wait and one which is excessive with that line being different for different people I guess.

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Whine, whine, bloody whine.
It's one day and not even a full day at that.
Money was raised for a very good cause.
I pay my tolls as well but enjoyed just sitting on the boat watching them swim past us, in fact I have the utmost of admiration for them.
I never saw any boats being held up at Beccles and from where we were sitting it looked a very well organised event.
We look forward to watching it again next year hopefully.
Some people are just unreal.

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1 hour ago, scraggs said:

Money was raised for a very good cause.

pray do tell which cause, as far as we knew this was  a money raising event for the organisers

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1 hour ago, scraggs said:

Whine, whine, bloody whine.

Some people are just unreal.

I'm confused

You've made comment about people whining, despite them just stating their thoughts and opinions on an event that has been talked about previously, which is kind of how a forum works, but then proceeded to moan about those people yourself and therefore become a whiner which you started your post whining about :default_winko:

:default_biggrin:

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1 hour ago, scraggs said:

Whine, whine, bloody whine.
It's one day and not even a full day at that.
Money was raised for a very good cause.
I pay my tolls as well but enjoyed just sitting on the boat watching them swim past us, in fact I have the utmost of admiration for them.
I never saw any boats being held up at Beccles and from where we were sitting it looked a very well organised event.
We look forward to watching it again next year hopefully.
Some people are just unreal.

Yes.....they are

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21 minutes ago, chameleon said:

pray do tell which cause, as far as we knew this was  a money raising event for the organisers

As far as I was aware and after double checking the Broads Swimming website swimmers could if they so wished make a donation to Waveney Stardust on top of their hefty entrance fee.

If they so wished, cant quite remember but Im not sure thats what we were originally to believe was the case. 

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2 hours ago, scraggs said:

Money was raised for a very good cause.

I never saw anywhere saying it was for charity, I thought it was an organised event to line the organisers pockets, certainly last years wasnt for charity.

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I would imagine quite a few did it on a personal sponsorship level and money was raised for charities but not under the organisers unbrella.

I tend to agree that one day out of 365 is not much of a hardship. Regattas often monopolise boating infastructure to the exclusion of the rest of the boating public.

To outsiders it must seem like we boaters do nowt but "bellyache" and constant moaning about all and sundry can dilute one's argument when really serious matters are in contension.

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1 hour ago, ChrisB said:

and constant moaning about all and sundry can dilute one's argument when really serious matters are in contension.

Couldn't agree more.

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I suppose the people most put out by the swimmers would be hirers, especially of day boats, who may not have been warned of the event. As long as boat owners have plenty of warning of the race, we can keep away from the area for the short time it is on. I didn’t see any notices about the event and I was around the Waveney area for the three weeks preceding. It is only because I was aware of the race from last year that I made a point of looking to see when/if it was on. It is only one day but I don’t think it should be left to the race safety crew to be directing other river traffic and actually making them stop. That should be down to the BA rangers imho. 

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James Knight is no fool, he's in business to make money.

Boats being asked/told to keep out of the way of swimmers, even being told to pull into the bank whilst groups of swimmers go past is questionable. Perhaps swimmers being asked/told to keep out of the way of boats should be the preferred option. If this event is to continue then I hope that a size limit will be set. I wonder whether the inevitable size and impact of the support fleet had been considered by the Navigation Committee.

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3 hours ago, ChrisB said:

I tend to agree that one day out of 365 is not much of a hardship. Regattas often monopolise boating infastructure to the exclusion of the rest of the boating public.

Sorry, but I don't see it like that.  Regatta officials on the 3 Rivers Race do not simply force passing boat traffic up into the reeds by abusing the self assumed "authority" of the hi-vis jacket with "Event Marshall" written on the back.

Sailing regattas are well tried and tested events which draw large crowds of spectators and which make no attempt to restrict other users of the navigation, other than informing them of the event in advance and to request their co-operation.

I wrote my report from the genuine view-point of a holidaymaker on a motor cruiser, who found himself involved in the event because he was moored there for the night. Once it became obvious that my wish to cruise to Beccles that day would only result in delay, obstruction, withdrawal of mooring facilities and quite possibly, an un-wanted argument with some self important official trying to give me orders, Susie and I made the simple choice to turn round and go to Brundall instead.

But what about the normal boat hirer, who has paid a substantial amount for a week's holiday in the high season, and who had planned to take in Beccles and Geldeston as part of his cruise? Why should he be made to feel that this would no longer be possible, owing to the high handed manner in which the navigation, as well as the tranquil holiday atmosphere, had been taken over by these people?

I am noticing that my remarks seem to be aimed more at the event officials and volunteer rescue people, than at the swimmers themselves and I think this is the main part of the problem. Again, I am writing about what I saw first hand and I got the distinct impression that there is a large amount of "posing" involved in all this.

I repeat that I am only writing about what I saw and what actually happened. I don't see that as whining or moaning - rather I am giving first hand information, as I seem to be the only forumite who was there on the day.

 

 

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it does strike me that with 2 BA rangers and Broadsbeat in attendance, that some of the marshalls assumed an authority they may not have warranted, but by having the rangers and broadsbeat on show in the background they used their presence to order boaters around, I do still wonder if had any boaters ignored the marshalls whether the Rangers would have stepped in on their side to uphold their 'requests'

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Having been a Marshall at an event, where  I was responsible for controlling the general public, and having less official power that that of a primary school prefect, I find myself with some sympathy  for those "High handed officials". We are volunteers trying to keep people safe, especially those who "Know their rights". Without such marshals, many events just could not take place.

If the event was sanctioned by the Broads Authority, and had the support of the Police, then the Marshalls with their Hi-Viz jackets should be treated as if they had all the authority of those 'policing' it. 

 

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2 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

If the event was sanctioned by the Broads Authority, and had the support of the Police, then the Marshalls with their Hi-Viz jackets should be treated as if they had all the authority of those 'policing' it. 

Sorry, but does that include using two hired day launches to force a passing cruiser into the reeds, on his own side of the river?

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If that was an appropriate action to keep all concerned safe, then yes!

The event I was marshalling at was a motorbike race on the Isle of Man.. What level of action would you sanction for me to remove a member of the general public who went onto the circuit to "get a good photograph". (I had seconds not minutes to consider my plan of action)

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Vaughan, I was not having a go at you, more the fact that this was the subject of moans for over a year and more so the general level of moans about any other activity that is not boating on The Broads. As it happens I disagree with swimming on The Broads because it sends conflicting signals as the official advice is Don't.

With regards to Regattas in my mind was the complete monopoly of moorings (when there were some) for the Thurne Mouth Regatta and the same for Barton Turf/Paddy's Lane for The Barton Open. I have seen the same ex-hire Mother Ships/side haulers occupy Paddy's Lane for 72 hours not giving the general public a look in at the moorings for the whole of the August Bank Holiday! Barton Open is hardly a spectator event.

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2 minutes ago, ChrisB said:

Vaughan, I was not having a go at you, more the fact that this was the subject of moans for over a year and more so the general level of moans about any other activity that is not boating on The Broads. As it happens I disagree with swimming on The Broads because it sends conflicting signals as the official advice is Don't.

With regards to Regattas in my mind was the complete monopoly of moorings (when there were some) for the Thurne Mouth Regatta and the same for Barton Turf/Paddy's Lane for The Barton Open. I have seen the same ex-hire Mother Ships/side haulers occupy Paddy's Lane for 72 hours not giving the general public a looking in at the moorings for the whole of the August Bank Holiday! Barton Open is hardly a spectator event.

The Thurne Mouth Regatta has been going on for many decades, and it was a clause in the lease with the land owner when the BA had the Thurne Mouth moorings that they would be closed to the general public for the week end of that event.

 

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8 minutes ago, MauriceMynah said:

If that was an appropriate action to keep all concerned safe, then yes!

The event I was marshalling at was a motorbike race on the Isle of Man.. What level of action would you sanction for me to remove a member of the general public who went onto the circuit to "get a good photograph". (I had seconds not minutes to consider my plan of action)

Im sorry but I fail to see the comparison

Pushing boats into the reeds to ensure safety of the swimmers only stands to prove the concerns that were raised about the event to begin with.

In any case a precedence has now been set 

Before long any Tom Dick or Harry will think its their god given right to turn up and effectively close public moorings to facilitate a commercial event taking place and the Broads Authority will stand by with their fingers god knows where and do absolutely nothing as usual. 

I could not care less about swimmers being in the water, but if swimmers cant co exist with boats without public facilities being closed then I personally believe they radically need to rethink their choice of venue.

This event relies on the river being quiet, I wonder what would happen next year if that wasn't the case and all the “public” moorings had boats parked on them.

 

 

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I seem to recall from the original thread that we were told that the event would not exceed 1/3 of the river width, and that there would be plenty of room remaining for boats to pass in both directions on the rest of the river, from Vaughans excellent pictures we can see the swimmers using half the width of the river, and the support boats using half of what was left, if they are forcing oncoming boats into the reeds, what chance of following boats getting past at the same time, it does seem that the promises that were made and the reality on the day bear no resemblance to each other.

thus the concerns that were originally made over the event appear to (on the second year of running) already be coming to the fore.

and as mentioned before in this thread, that is without considering the flappy things that dont have brakes (or reverse) and dont have control over which side of the river they need to sail to achieve progress.

I am not against people swimming in the river, but i am against organisations that say they will do one thing, then quickly forget they have ever made such promises, if the event gets bigger, how  long will it be before there is an insistance that the river be closed for the event- citing some near misses from previous years as proof of the necessity- eg "well we had to force several boats into the reeds for safety reasons during the event last year as they were endangering the swimmers"?

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3 minutes ago, grendel said:

I seem to recall from the original thread that we were told that the event would not exceed 1/3 of the river width, and that there would be plenty of room remaining for boats to pass in both directions on the rest of the river, from Vaughans excellent pictures we can see the swimmers using half the width of the river, and the support boats using half of what was left, if they are forcing oncoming boats into the reeds, what chance of following boats getting past at the same time, it does seem that the promises that were made and the reality on the day bear no resemblance to each other.

thus the concerns that were originally made over the event appear to (on the second year of running) already be coming to the fore.

and as mentioned before in this thread, that is without considering the flappy things that dont have brakes (or reverse) and dont have control over which side of the river they need to sail to achieve progress.

I am not against people swimming in the river, but i am against organisations that say they will do one thing, then quickly forget they have ever made such promises, if the event gets bigger, how  long will it be before there is an insistance that the river be closed for the event- citing some near misses from previous years as proof of the necessity- eg "well we had to force several boats into the reeds for safety reasons during the event last year as they were endangering the swimmers"?

I think the BA might have a fight on their hands in that eventuality.....

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