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JamesLV

Nbd Back To Len Funnells Ownership

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Dan, spot on. I've had a look at our itinerary. It was the second Saturday in July 96, and yes it was an old boat: Corwen a Kennet class (45 ft I think). Steel hull and I think a grp topsides.

We had to ring on the Monday to find out which base we were travelling from which was New Mills, and had to be at Trevor for 12.15 for the coach.

My wife and I slept on the dinette and my wife's sister and her partner in the two singles at the front with their two young children in camp type beds above them -  a bit cramped.

We were lucky with the weather and did make use of the long days:

We cruised for 54 hours in 6.5 days (average 8.5 hrs per day):

Saturday: 4.00pm start, 10.05pm finish (Macclesfield Canal Br 36, 6 hrs)

Sunday: 9.25am start,  6.15pm finish (Macclesfield Canal Br 94, 7 hrs + 1.75 hrs for lunch)

Monday: 9.45am start, 6.00pm finish (Trent & Mersey Br 59, 7.25 hrs + 1 hr for lunch) - Wheelock bottom lock was only open 9am to 5pm because of water shortages

Tuesday: 9am start, 6.45pm finish (Shropshire Union Canal, Barbridge junction, 8.25 hrs + 1.25 hrs for lunch)

Wednesday: 10.00am start, 7.30pm finish (Llangollen Canal, Br 34, 8.75 hrs + water stop (Hurleston top) & pump out Wrenbury 0.75 hr - lunch en route.

Thursday: 8.15am start, 9.30pm finish (Llangollen Canal, Br18, 10 hrs + 3 hrs for lunch + water stop (New Marton top).

Friday: 9.30am start, 9.15pm finish (Trevor Basin, 6.75 hrs) - via Llangollen visitor moorings (2.30pm to 7.30pm).

Cost was: £676 for the boat plus £25 cancellation, £15 Damage Waiver and £20 Colour Television (which I never used as I was either helming or fishing).

 

 

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Perhaps we are getting a bit off the subject, but I have always wondered why there has never been a successful one-way cruise operation on the Broads and I have often suggested it to my friends in the business.

In the days of Crown Blue Line in France and Holland, we had 17 bases and only one of them could not offer a one-way cruise. I would think around two thirds of our bookings were one way and I assume they still are today. There are even letting agencies in France which offer a one way cruise between companies of different ownership.

The only stipulation is that the company will tell you which way you will cruise, a week or two before the start date. The way to get round this is to book early, well before the New Year, so that your cruise is then marked on the chart and the other bookings fill in around it.

In CBL, all of our boats were available for one way cruises. Organising this is just a matter of logistics, which is what yard managers are supposed to be there for! Transport arrangements are simple, as customers often arrive in two cars, so they can leave one of them at the destination base before starting. Or the company (for a fee) can transfer your car to the other base, during your cruise. Sometimes even flights can be arranged to arrive at one airport and depart from another (for instance, Toulouse and Montpellier).

The most obvious one way cruise on the Broads would be between Wroxham and Brundall, as they are both at the further reaches of the river system but are not much more than half an hour away by road. In addition they are both only a short walk from a railway station. That is, when Greater Anglia are actually running a train service!

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The only way to attract people into abandoning their cars would be to provide an efficient alternative. People arrive on holiday often having an unbelievable quantity of luggage and sometimes a mass of fishing tackle. Asking them to then resort to trains or buses is probably a no-no. Maybe if boatyards included coaches, with decent luggage capacity, into their offering then maybe people could be educated into the potential of one way trips. Experienced boaters know the advantages of minimisation but they don't tend to be holiday makers. Or do they?

Compare the cost of ownership and the cost of hiring, you do the maths! 

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Vaughan, 

Interesting you should mention Wroxham to Brundall one way cruise. I believe Connoisseur in the late 80s may have tried that for one season or at least it appeared in the brochure but then my memory maybe playing tricks, the yard was going to up near Norfolk yacht agency. Herbert Woods and Hearts did try with 2/3 classes as suggested by Broads1, Delight and Knave of Hearts plus Tropical Heart and Ray of Light.

Neil

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In the late 1990s Freshwater Cruisers of Brundall operated two Connoisseur Cruisers (Regal Waters and Serene Waters) which for one or two seasons offered one way hires to Wroxham during the short period when Connoisseur Cruisers  also marketed their Wroxham fleet through Blakes as well as Hoseasons.

Fred

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18 minutes ago, JennyMorgan said:

Asking them to then resort to trains or buses is probably a no-no.

But a very simple matter for one member of the party, at the end of the week, to catch a train from Brundall to Wroxham, to go and fetch the car.

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2 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

But a very simple matter for one member of the party, at the end of the week, to catch a train from Brundall to Wroxham, to go and fetch the car.

In theory!

You and I, plus a few others might go along with that but I suspect that time constraints and lack of inertia by the majority will kick in. A bold, imaginative campaign might kick start it but Le Boat tried and failed thus I do wonder if the effort required would significantly increase bookings. If anyone can pull it off then maybe Len is the lad to do it. 

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14 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

But a very simple matter for one member of the party, at the end of the week, to catch a train from Brundall to Wroxham, to go and fetch the car.

I am not sure that it is what people would expect these days as good customer service, quite the opposite in fact when even with takeaways home delivery is becoming the norm.

Fred

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1 hour ago, rightsaidfred said:

I am not sure that it is what people would expect these days as good customer service, quite the opposite in fact when even with takeaways home delivery is becoming the norm.

 

A pizza delivery is not the same thing as accepting the insurance responsibility for driving your valued customer's Merc in his absence.

If you want the option of a one way cruise you have to put yourself out a bit. Personally I think a few inconveniences are well worth the effort but it seems that Broads customers have not been attracted, over the years.

 

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Two things - luggage and logistics!!

If you fly to France for a holiday, say, you only have limited luggage. As has been said, just look and see what they bring today, for a long weekend. You would be astounded!!

And clearly Vaughan, you have not checked whether its even possible by train!! Cost pp £6.40 single and one connecting train every 2 hrs,  time taken 35 mins. And at both ends hirers would have to WALK!!!!

Alters the equation a bit methinks - there are good reasons why its not practical on the Broads and why it has not been successful even when tried.

 

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10 minutes ago, marshman said:

And clearly Vaughan, you have not checked whether its even possible by train!! Cost pp £6.40 single and one connecting train every 2 hrs,  time taken 35 mins. And at both ends hirers would have to WALK!!!!

 

2 hours ago, Vaughan said:

That is, when Greater Anglia are actually running a train service!

I think my own comment answers that question!

13 minutes ago, marshman said:

If you fly to France for a holiday, say, you only have limited luggage. As has been said, just look and see what they bring today, for a long weekend. You would be astounded!!

For more than 25 years I have been welcoming customers from the World over. Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S. and more recently, Russia. They had no problem with luggage, it seems, but they all had great holidays.

It is no surprise to me that Connoisseur tried out a one way cruise since they are well used to the concept in France. If their own existence in Norfolk had not then been cut short by more global corporate policies (in other words, their new owners decided to duck out) they would have had the best chance to make a success of it.

24 minutes ago, marshman said:

Two things - luggage and logistics!!

I simply speak as someone with a long experience of the logistics and I still wonder why no-one seems to have taken the opportunity to make it work here.

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2 minutes ago, Vaughan said:

I still wonder why no-one seems to have taken the opportunity to make it work here.

As has been said Le Boat tried it and so did one of the Broads pioneers who's name I forget now. Apparently he used hand barrows and horses and carts to move both customers and their luggage back to either Norwich or Wroxham, whichever was their departure point. I believe that he also moved rowing skiffs from from one to the other so folk could choose their departure point. I would imagine the scheme died a death because of time constraints.

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Sorry Vaughan but England and France are seperated by a lot more than the English channel and what applies in one has no bearing on the  other, back in the 80s and 90s a lot of hirers were German and Scandanavian you rarely see either now, times change and so do peoples expectations.

Fred 

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3 minutes ago, rightsaidfred said:

Sorry Vaughan but England and France are seperated by a lot more than the English channel and what applies in one has no bearing on the  other, back in the 80s and 90s a lot of hirers were German and Scandanavian you rarely see either now, times change and so do peoples expectations.

Yes.

And maybe that is what has gone wrong with Broads tourism, over the last 3 decades.

There is a global market out there, which is exploited by companies who use global marketing. Broads marketing is maybe still stuck in the days when all of the customers came by the Midland and Great Northern Railway?

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35 minutes ago, JennyMorgan said:

As has been said Le Boat tried it and so did one of the Broads pioneers who's name I forget now.

That was John Loynes, who we have mentioned earlier!

 

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The one thing that seems to slipped many minds is that a one way hire, from North to South or visa versa , involves crossing  Braydon Water at suitable tide times which are often at an impossible time for a hirer unless they start fitting nav lights to enable very early starts .

Plus they would have to increase the mooring spaces either side of  Braydon for the hire and private boats to wait for suitable passage if they have arrived too early or too late 

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24 minutes ago, CambridgeCabby said:

The one thing that seems to slipped many minds is that a one way hire, from North to South or visa versa , involves crossing  Braydon Water at suitable tide times which are often at an impossible time for a hirer unless they start fitting nav lights to enable very early starts .

Plus they would have to increase the mooring spaces either side of  Braydon for the hire and private boats to wait for suitable passage if they have arrived too early or too late 

Perhaps in that response, there is the overlying problem. There is always a negative, isn't there? Oh no, we can't try that - because! The whole journey from Wroxham to Brundall can easily be done in a working day,  whichever day suits the tides best. Ask Jayfire!

I cast my mind back to the 60s, when Fred Brinkoff of Brinkcraft, invited Fred Soler's Swiss agency to book Broads holidays on his boats, and my father joined in by allocating certain of his boats exclusively to Soler's agency, through Blakes. The customers all arrived by a chartered aircraft into Norwich (the first package tours?) and by doing this, they created the first Thursday turn-round day, where all hiring had previously been Saturday to Saturday only. It wasn't long before other yards joined in and Swiss flags on hire boats became a common sight on the Broads.

Fred Soler's agency is still running and they still provide a major and much valued part of Le Boat's client base in France. In fact we regard them as our best and most appreciative customers. But they don't seem to come to the Broads any more. I wonder why not?

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Do all hire boats wait for the tide - at least 50% just seem to turn the wick up irrespective!!

Sorry Vaughan, I did not make myself quite clear on the luggage point. If indeed any person comes into France by air, and you confirm how many do, their luggage is limited by airline baggage restrictions. If you arrive by car ,as virtually all do, they seem to want to bring everything and two kitchen sinks, and this paraphanalia all has to be shifted if you don't have a car to hand. what I was trying to say was that just as peole like huge boats they cannot clearly use to their fullest potentail, they like to bring loads of tat they are never going to use just for the sake of it!!!

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I have travelled from Wroxham to Brundle also in a day , but importantly that was achieved when there was a favourable crossing window for Braydon Water , my posting wasn’t made to pass negativity on to the notion of one way cruising but was made to give an honest opinion on why such hires are not available and the possible reasons behind this .

Not that long ago I can remember when many boats were being held at Reedham by the BA due to adverse weather conditions , fog, and were only permitted to pass Breydon in convoy behind a rangers craft ( I believe YouTube exists if this). 

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1 hour ago, CambridgeCabby said:

The one thing that seems to slipped many minds is that a one way hire, from North to South or visa versa , involves crossing  Braydon Water at suitable tide times which are often at an impossible time for a hirer unless they start fitting nav lights to enable very early starts .

That's only true in early spring and late autumn. Negotiating Great Yarmouth at low slack water is always possible in daylight for the vast majority of the boating season.

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22 minutes ago, Broads01 said:

That's only true in early spring and late autumn. Negotiating Great Yarmouth at low slack water is always possible in daylight for the vast majority of the boating season.

But not everyone wants to go South the majority would seem to stay North hence the in-balance of yards

Fred

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One way hire could be done, there are issues to be resolved which can be overcome, but the most important one is - is there a market for it.

All the debate on here has been around how it could be done, what problems need to be resolved for it to happen. No one has said 'please can we have it because I want it'. Until people start saying that in numbers it won't happen.

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1 hour ago, Vaughan said:

But they don't seem to come to the Broads any more. I wonder why not?

Perhaps not impressed with the pseudo BNP tag:default_dry:?  

More likely that they were treated as welcome guests from Switzerland and now they are not? Back in time when I managed the moorings at the WRC and I saw a Swiss flag on a boat then I hoisted a Swiss national flag at one end of the shop, the other end already flying a Union flag. A simple courtesy but seemingly much appreciated, a custom that we still see at some coastal sailing clubs.

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When did you last see mass advertising for holidays on the broads? 

Two years ago I convinced a work mate to have a break on the northern rivers and with the lack of mooring I was surprised he still talks to me

 

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