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What Happened To The Small Boatyards?


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19 minutes ago, DAVIDH said:

Surely everyone knows that if it's in the Sunday/Daily Express, it must be true?

Sadly and maybe surprisingly, there are those that still believe the sensationalism in the papers.  Shocking headlines exist to generate panic in those who cannot see the truth behind them.  I can just imagine the contrived headlines that are to come as school holidays begin and the hordes hit the beaches for their summer staycations, using photos that are years old to try and prove their point.

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3 minutes ago, unclemike said:

no need , just look at this ,live webcam of bournemouth beach

https://magicseaweed.com/Bournemouth-Surf-Report/12/

 

They all look pretty well distanced to me, but someone will still panic about it.  Compared to the crowds at recent sporting events (not just football), it looks more than adequate.  Even before ‘Freedom Day’ there was only a requirement for 2 metres even indoors.

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Just a point of order, it was not Freddie Laker who popularised the package holiday but a man named Harry Goodman who founded the International Leisure Group, parent of the tour operator Intasun, and prior to that a company called Sunair which opened up the Spanish Costas and Balearic Islands.

If Thomas Cook invented the package holiday with his temperance rail package from Leicester to Loughborough 180 years ago it was Goodman who enlightened the world to the cheap beer and permanent sunshine of the Med, long before Freddie Laker's ill fated Skytrain came, and just as suddenly went. 

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I agree and they are outdoors too - you don't catch it merely by looking at one another! Don't think I would have too many concerns over being on that beach but I suspect we are now so conditioned that many will see that view as being a "hot spot". Warm too I guess!

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And another thing I've been reminded of by Vaughan's post. 1973 ish I was too young to drive but I did serve petrol part time. It was rationed for a time and there was a nationwide speed limit to cut down consumption of fuel. There wasn't going to be any more petrol. Doom and gloom. My house was built in 1972, low ceilings and parking for one micro car is all you got. 

I have no idea how it affected the Broads but I imagine evrything may have stopped for a while?

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1 hour ago, Paul said:

Just a point of order, it was not Freddie Laker who popularised the package holiday but a man named Harry Goodman who founded the International Leisure Group, parent of the tour operator Intasun, and prior to that a company called Sunair which opened up the Spanish Costas and Balearic Islands.

I think Sunair came after ILG Paul, though I acknowledge your interest in the matter. Perhaps you were in the travel industry at the time, as that's fairly niche knowledge. I was/am too, and i wonder if you're mistaking Sunair for Clarksons, who really were the major innovative force in tour operating until their sad demise in 1974 (remember the Court Line Tristars being impounded at various airports across the world?) Before that failure, there was no such thing as protection for consumers if a tour operator ceased to trade. A levy of I think £2 was added to everyone's holiday invoice to set the fund up, and it still operates today under the ATOL system. I remember going in to work on the morning after it hit the news, and the travel agency was under seige with people worried about their holiday. I seem to remember it happened early July, so lots of summer school holidays went with them. There's more on them here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarksons_Travel_Group

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Just to add to the mix, the worlds got a lot smaller. The choices are greater.

I always try to promote the Broads to my friends but you would  be shocked to find out how little people know of the Broads.

Lake district, new forest, the Brecon beacons, yup heard of them. The Broads? no.

I vaguely heard of the Broads at Christmas thanks to the ads but if it was not for my mother in law moving down here, I doubt I would have visited.

Even then, thanks to a mis-spent youth and sailing lessons, I was pre disposed towards the water and I took that fatal first step. I don't think I would have otherwise  

And if I was going to cast a critical eye over the holiday experience, I think it comes up short.

My love of the water kept me coming back and spending and the three families I introduced to the area, only one is revisiting.

Being hard core and hating modern conveniences like heating is fine, Battling to find a place near to where the family want to spend the night and failing is not.

If the Broads was vastly over subscribed year on year then there is space for all types of hirers and small boatyards, I loved being able to choose my own start day for instance. I liked being able to choose the last minute "classic boat" hire. But its hard to run with the heard and numbers shout.

Its a bit like recovery firms. Used to be a vast choice to and pick up your car or HGV. But the industry opted out of Tachograph hours, the working day became very long, costs cut and the race to the bottom has begun. 

Now when I ring up to get a car removed from the hard shoulder from a choice of 15, I now have 5 companies.

You want little yards? then you have got to protect them. Stop granting planning permission for houses on old land, get those free moorings somewhere near where people need them. Get the Broads advertised, provide facilities like more yacht stations.

Its worth remembering that in a free market the trend is always toward the bigger. 

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RCD is a factor, too.

While it's generally a good thing that we have standards in boatbuilding, the red tape does mean that it is not really worth it for a smaller yard who only wants to build one boat every couple of years.

Look at some of the yards who stopped building in the nineties. I know for a fact some of them did so because it just wasn't worth the hassle to build any more. And without being able to use their own skills, it would have been unviable to buy new builds in. 

Any hirefleet needs newer boats to remain appealing to customers so as these kind of fleets aged, they mostly fell by the wayside where once they were go-to yards.

If you can't / don't want to build new boats to RCD then you can't have a fleet renewal strategy (or do the odd private build) and so it's not a viable business.

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4 hours ago, DAVIDH said:

I think Sunair came after ILG Paul,

Sunair was 1964, ILG was 1970. After the ILG collapse Goodman created the Travel TV Channel. He was 24 when he set up Sunair and it's generally acknowledged as the UK's first "beach" package tour operator. Clarksons predated Sunair by a few years but in the early days they were a specialist market sector company doing art tours, house and gardens, wine tours etc. Clarkson's grew out of Clarkson's shipping group and was created by Tom Gullick. You might remember they had an "air terminal" in the west end but then coached everyone to Luton to use the Court Line flights. Clarkson's only started beach holidays later in it's relatively short life and many see the over extension as leading to their downfall. Goodman always said that they couldn't compete with him! Court Line bailed them out and took over for a couple of years but yes, I remember the "bang" when the Clarkson debt took Court Line down. I more remember their unique catering, mainly on the one-elevens where the in flight meal, usually based on spam (either salad or sandwiches) was prepacked into the seat backs, thus doing away with galleys on board allowing an extra row of seats. The outbound and inbound food was loaded in Luton to avoid using overseas catering and the "inbound" food was locked away until the return flight but it was easy to pick the lock and eat the inbound meal as well!

I am too young to remember Sunair but worked with Harry on a couple of his later projects, he was a difficult man to read, he did not suffer fools but would let you develop your own ideas, until he decided he did not like them and then it was back to the drawing board. If ever you tried to speak to him about Majorca or Ibiza, or especially Benalmadena, Puerto Banus etc his answer would always be "you don't need to tell me, I invented the f****** place"

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Great memories you have there Paul. I was only 21 when Clarksons went under. It was like nothing i had experienced before in my, at that time, short career as a travel agency manager. ILG was a great friend to the retail travel agent, and we were often grateful for their support when their rival Thomson, was doing it's best to run the independent travel agent out of town! Attached is a memory from the past, a 1969 Clarksons brochure.

clarksons.jpg

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14 hours ago, oldgregg said:

RCD is a factor, too.

While it's generally a good thing that we have standards in boatbuilding, the red tape does mean that it is not really worth it for a smaller yard who only wants to build one boat every couple of years.

Look at some of the yards who stopped building in the nineties. I know for a fact some of them did so because it just wasn't worth the hassle to build any more. And without being able to use their own skills, it would have been unviable to buy new builds in. 

Any hirefleet needs newer boats to remain appealing to customers so as these kind of fleets aged, they mostly fell by the wayside where once they were go-to yards.

If you can't / don't want to build new boats to RCD then you can't have a fleet renewal strategy (or do the odd private build) and so it's not a viable business.

I never saw the RCD as being a particular barrier to building. COST was the barrier to building, but we did build one boat and got part-way though its sister ship.  It is probably harder to do a build from design up-ward, but most yards used Aquafibre or Alpha mouldings anyway. 

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The problem with building to RCD is the first boat in the class, which will have to have buoyancy and stability tests and all the rest of it.  From then on, you have a certificate of conformity and can build as many as you like of the same class.

Fine for Brooms, or Crown Cruisers in the day, but not for a family business that wants to modernise a fleet of 10 boats by adding a new one.

It should not be a problem when "fitting out" an AF hull and superstructure, providing the inside layout and equipment are the same as for an existing boat on the same moulds.

But as Andy says, the big thing is cost. When I ran my small yard, most of my boats were wood and two of them were pre-war! I kept them well maintained but I knew there was no way I would ever be able to afford to add a new one even though I had the facilities on the yard and the skill of an excellent boatbuilder (Mike Fuller). It was one of the other reasons that made me decide to sell the yard.

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