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Alpha 42 Low Level Dual Steer


Broads01

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I've made a booking for next summer which I'm pretty excited about, Grecian Girl from Summercraft. This will be our second successive year with Summercraft (Gainsborough Girl last time round). I've always liked the look of the design and I've looked aboard Grecian but I've never hired it before. However, I'm aware that there are some mixed opinions as to whether it's a good design or not (Mr Daniel Horner, you have my permission to comment!) and I'd be interested in views, good and bad and what some of the pitfalls are. There are a few similar boats about, such as Swan Rapide, Alpha Phantom and Rio Light so if you've hired any of those I'd be interested to hear as well.

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It's great news that you have a boat booked for next year. I have been on the Alpha Rapide and this style of boat that you have booked is truly awful. The large lounge area is at the front and you feel very enclosed or claustrophobic with the low ceiling, also when we went in the summer the heat inside the boat was unberable as there are no large opening windows or roof to slide back. In the summer it's so nice to have the roof fully back and a beer in hand or while eating lunch etc. for the same money I suspect you could have had one of Clive's Broads Sunrise, Sunset style of newer boats or even the new RC35/45.

Anyway I suspect you would have a good time on any type of boat being a lover of the Norfolk Broads like I am.

Regards

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Funnily enough Mark, the enclosed saloon was actually one of the appeals of the design, as whilst I love steering and sitting about outdoors my children like doing their own thing out of the weather, so a saloon with a sliding roof can cuase arguments! For the same reason I like the Alpha 42 centre cockpits because the saloon is permanently indoors and even I like a break from the weather (good or bad) when I moor up. Take your point though and I like the Richardson's boats you mention, but they're priced a fair bit higher than Grecian.

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Hi Simon

I guess as with most boats we all have different favourites but as you know they are, well, shall we say not my favourite design that Alpha have come up with :naughty:

Some of the drawbacks have been mentioned already - low headroom moving forward in the cabin which causes more of an issue on some rather than others depending on layout.

The Summercraft one, is, as you'll know already a really nice example, Summercraft's reputation being no exception here and the outside looked first class when I saw it the other day (will try & add a photo).

The layout of Grecian Girl has an open forward settee which helps a little with the head-room restrictions than those that have a close wrap-round settee (which may look snazzy on plan but is inpractical on a few levels). The forward space is used quite well on this one I think, though some I have seen seem to have a lot of dead or empty space in places that cannot really be utilised. On Grecian the fact there is an L shape settee opposite the forward wrap round sofa I think (hopefully its a sofa & not a fold down bed - cant check right now) makes for a good, sociable area for a large party I would think.

I think the sleeping cabins are relatively small, but at 42ft and 8 berths they are probably more in proportion to what is reasonable to expect than on some of the smaller berth models in this design.

Have a great holiday... and dont forget to share your experiences of the old girl on your return :lol:

Dan

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round sofa I think (hopefully its a sofa & not a fold down bed - cant check right now) makes for a good, sociable area for a large party I would think.

Hi Dan

she has a drop down double in the saloon

Jonny ice sliceice slice

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cheers Jonny, I suddenly had a feeling as I was typing it that it might :roll:

Hmm... in that case it may in reality have a fair open space there during the daytime.

I think the boat has a fairly typical Willow Cruisers fitout - solid, fairly dark wood and decent, nice enough quality but nothing too flash or overly luxurious, but I'm sure Simon has scrutinised the intermal shots on Summercraft's website :grin:

Dan

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We hired Alpha Rapide many years ago and have to say if that had been the first boat we had hired our boating would have finished there and then.

Sure there are differences between Grecian Girl and Rapide just hope that one of them is the heads. In Rapide the heads are set under the side decks and on top of a high plinth, that meant if you sat on them you had to lean forward at an uncomfortable angle with your feet in the air and to stand and point you had to thrust forward from the midriff with your head against the bulkhead to reach.

As Dan said you will have no fixed table in the saloon which is a real bonus, the fixed table is a nightmare as everyone has to shuffle round the only seating area in the boat, don't think you will find the restricted headroom a problem with this set up.

The area where the drop down table is was totally useless on Rapide but the benefit is you will be able to leave the table up at all times as there is a lot of room there.

You may find the internal helm is a bit far back to gain a decent view and when it rains the windows do tend to steam up, I had to remove the seat cushion and take down the curtains to be able to see anything from there, hopefully Grecian's seat may be lower.

Upstairs I am afraid can't be that much different so be prepared for a bad back, the wheel is very low to where you are sitting so you are always reaching down but I think this can be an issue on a number of other broads designs.

No doubt you will have a great time on the boat and there is really nothing so bad that it will spoil your enjoyment, on the plus side the front lounge is a lovely place to sit and take in the views either on the move or at rest.

Edit to add:

Just looked at the pictures and it looks like Grecian has a lower seat on top as well so all in all most of the issues we experienced with Rapid seem to have been addressed.

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Simon,

I think the boat you have chosen is a good winter boat, as the seating area is fully enclosed and will be warm and cosy when cold. We like to get out of the sun also but when we did on the Rapide the temp in the lounge was unberable in Aug and it spoiled the holiday for us and kids. Also when sat down during the day or evening you are seated very low and have no view of the river etc.

If i was you phone Summercraft now and exchange it for something else that they have available.

You asked for an opinion so I hope you dont' mind me being honest.

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Thanks for your replies everybody. Don't mind you being honest at all Mark but I still like it and I'm going to stick with it! As I said I have looked aboard Grecian and other similar boats in the past so I know what I'm getting in part. Thanks for the pic Dan. Never tried the toilets though I must admit...

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We hired Alpha's "Rapide" a few years ago and I have to echo all Senator's comments. Worst boat we have ever hired with all the problems mentioned. The worst of which was the backache from the topside steering. We just did not feel we had enough of a view to use the interior helm safely. As Dan said, its set quite a long way back,

While we were out on "Rapide" we had to have an engineer out a couple of times and he was a long time employee of Alphacraft, said with out hesitation that its the worst design Alpha ever built.

Having said all that, just being on the Broads ensures that we are strangely forgiving at the time!

Trevor

www.normanboats.co.uk

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Interesting that all the experieces are of Rapide, which is also the boat that put me off the design at the 1991 London Boatshow. Could any of the negatives have been ironed out by the later models or are they too inherent in its key design I wonder?

Dan

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Good thought Dan. The difference between two boats of the same design between two different hire yards can be very marked in my experience. Regarding the exterior driving position. there is a lovely photo of it from above on the Summercraft website and it just makes me want to be sitting in that helmsman's seat right now. I have no intention of using the interior position unless the weather is really horrific and even then I might not bother!

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Guest paulgolden

Following the general thread of Low Level Dual Steer we considered an Alpha 42 design for next years holiday but ultimately rejected this design. After returning to holiday on the Broads after many years away,(mostly running a business on Costa Del Sol ) we used Richardsons this year( Diamond Gem) for space and level floor one of our party is 84yrs old from Rochdale, 2 are late sixties from Ireland, and the breadknife and myself will never see sixty again this time round. Diamond Gem was functional but tired but we had a great time and the Irish ladies caught the "Broads Bug". So we need 3 sleeping cabins, enclosed helm for iffy weather with an option to open up in good weather (july) and raised helm for better sight seeing when possible. We are going for 2 weeks and want this time to go above a certain bridge. Scoured the fleets with a preferance to use a small boatyard for more personal service. Having driven 5 hours from north Manchester this year we were not impressed to find office and yard deserted at 5.15pm on a Saturday although to be fair this was printed on our invoice and the office had rung us at 4.55pm when we were approaching Acle and 15 minutes from the yard. So we have booked True Freedom a 43ft Broom which we hope will fill the bill. The Yard seemed eager to please so we are counting the days!!! Any thoughts on our choice, Herbert Woods have a similar boat called Beam of Light but several hundred pounds more.

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Whilst not meaning to be rude I wonder if you forgot that whilst you arrived at 17.15 the yard staff would have started about 8am, done about nine hours already and you arrived after what I'd consider the standard closing time for businesses. Why didn't you arrive earlier, why should you arriving late mean people work even longer rather than you waiting until the following morning for the formalities?

On your next choice front, I think that's possibly my favourite boat in the Freedom lineup, and like the two Beam of Light's was one from the Broom hirefleet. Great fitout that hasn't aged much through good choice of fitout style and to Broom's usual high standard. I haven't hired this one but have hired the same of style boat from elsewhere and the layout is great and I especially liked having an external helm but also a sliding canopy over the saloon - a rare treat on a dual steer model (as the design stems from a single steer smaller version). Nice to have the optioon of being moored up, all in the saloon and the canopy open.

All the best,

Dan

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Guest paulgolden

Hi Dan appreciate your thoughts as to choice of boat for next year, really looking forward to it already. These Brooms do look very stylish . They remind me of a boat from the past which l really loved from Fowlers of Oulton Broad called Dazzling Waters. I worked for many years on the Broads a long time ago and remember going for a drink every saturday night at The Bell after work with Peter Heard who was the manager for many years of The Beaver Fleet. We never finished before 7pm on turnround day and lam sure peaple like John at Maffetts would always service their customers. The real problem was the two toilets aboard Diamond Gem had labels over the seats instructing that they should not be used before being shown by staff how they work. Fine because Richardsons have excellant shore based facilities available and the boat was moored close by. Just one problem, the toilets were locked up. Four ladies of a certain age!!! Iam sure reception at Richardsons holiday camps at Hemsby dont close on the dot at 5pm . I ran a car hire business in Malaga for 9 years meeting nearly all my clients personally at the airport. Planes were late every day sometimes seriously late l always waited, its a service industry.

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same here the aquafibre diamond is a stunning design would have been better if they put some form of small well at the stern instead of a small stern but thats the only fault i have with the design...

p.s Paul check your pms at the top of the page

Jonny

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Hi paulgolden. I'm in support of Dan and of Richardsons on the opening hours issue. I wouldn't expect boatyard staff to be available after the advertised closing time any more than I'd expect Tesco to stay open after 4pm on a Sunday because I had shopping to do. Bringing things back to the Sumercraft subject, it's fair to say a smaller yard like them may have more flexibility particularly if the owners happen to live on site (as with Pacific for example) but as a customer I would never expect it.

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