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Tazman's Tale of Terror!


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We had arrived at Freedom's yard after driving through some quite horrible rainy weather to brightening skies. Unload both my car and that of gazpode's little accent and we are all ready to pull "Fair Freedom" out of the yard.

A full brief follows with the engineer who runs through all the usual items and then it's out onto the river. Once happy the helm is handed over to gazpode (who is our pilot/helmsperson for this trip as Martin who usually comes with us has a major project on at work and is unable to join us this time)

A quick trip past the "Ferry Inn" and then its time we turn our boat around in order to drop off the engineer back to the yard. We pull into the moorings at the end of the yard and wave goodbye to the engineer and then chug off down river towards "Thurne" our destination for today.

En-route down the river, it is as busy as one would expect for August and we have to give way occasionally to some sailing vessels, some of which are tacking back & forth across the river!

Before long, Thurn Dyke begins to appear within view, but before we are going to turn into the Dyke we have to first avoid two more yachts which are in front of us. Behind one which has just Tacked and then a quick blast of throttle to go behind the second.

Turn in and then give Gaz the command to throttle back and into slow astern, so that we can begin to line up for the spot which ive identified for mooring up. However when asked, it appears gaz has it in full ahead! Check on where the lever is and it's actually full astern, yet the boat appears to be gathering pace!

We are now hurtling down Thurne Dyke at around 7 knots and somehow, Gaz manages to steer the boat and avoids a collision with any of the boats which are already moored up on both sides!!! As we reach the end of the dyke there is an area around the pumping station which is free and I tell Gaz to steer the boat towards this area so that I can jump off...Which I do, taking the bow-line with me.

Then, using every bit of strength I manage to bring Fair Freedom to a full stop, (however in the process my trousers began to partially fall down, but not all the way, meaning I only ended up giving the whole of Thurne Dyke a "Partial Moon"!!!)

Then once the bow-line was secured on the shore, we manage to kill the engine, and then turn the boat around using some spare bits of long line and the lines already fitted to the boat, and align the boat alongside, Starboard-side-to facing back towards the river, and then afterwards Gaz sorts out the springs so the boat will not float out into the river and will also be held in position.

A quick investigation later and it becomes clear that the boat had become Jammed in Full Throttle Foward position! A call to the yard follows and we discuss the problem with the engineer which we then identify as a sheared pin on the gear selection/throttle system.

We were actually heading to Thurne anyway and are now safely moored so we arrange for the engineer to visit in the morning, before we head to "The lion Inn" for dinner. The dramas do not end there! As we arrived back to our boat followng a very nice & filling meal, we are told by a man fishing that he can hear our bilge pump running!

Both myself and Gaz consult the manual and look around for the pump switches which we are unable to find following an exhaustive search. We then had no option but to call the yard again to ask them about it. A call back from Andy who tells us that the pump is auto only and there is a method to turning it off, by pressing a button deep in the bilge, which we achieve using our boat-hook. A noisy night with repeated interuptions follows, and I am now worried as to why the pump keeps activating. I will have to ask Andy about this in the morning, when he arrives to repair the Throttle problem.

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I get the call from Colin (Taz) who asks me if I am able to come and pilot a broads cruiser for him as Martin has been loaded with a major project at work and cannot now make it. I jump at the chance!

So I navigate up the motorways in poor weather on the journey up together with a delay on the A11 meant the trip took longer than expected but it was brighter when we arrived at the boat.

After we had unloaded all our gear from the two cars we recieved a full briefing from the boat yard and headed up river with the engineer. Soon it was my turn on the helm and it took some getting used-to compared to a sailing yacht which I am normally crewing on.

We turned around the boat mid-river before I dropped off the engineer back to his yard with a mooring which came off very nicelyindeed.

We chug off down river towards our destination for the day "Thurne" and en-route we avoid some of the many sailing yachts and day boats which are behaving unpredictably - the yachts I understood fully what they were doing due to the lack of space available and the fickle breeze playing havoc with their sails!

Soon I have Thurne within view and motor around the last of the yachts using some stronger forward propulsion. Then I turn the boat into the dyke and attempt to slow the boat down to point towards the spot which Taz has identified he would like us to moor up to.

However, upon applying reverse propulsion, the boat does not appear to answer this and instead continues to pickup speed! Taz urgently questions my actions which I reply that I WAS in full astern, yet meanwhile the boat is somehow continuing to pickup speed! The situation is now becoming very scary as many moored boats are whizzing towards us at break-neck speed yet I appear unable to get the boat to slow - have I disconnected the clutch button and have it in neutral??? No I haven't as a quick check indicates it is in gear!!! :shocked:shocked

I some-how rapidly steer the boat away from ALL the boats on the shore before Taz spots a place at the very end of the dyke where he can rescue what is now a very grave situation!!! I turn towards the spot and hope for the best! He leaps like a cat and lands softly upon the bank with the bow-line and somehow - even I do not know how, performs a Herculean effort and manages to bring the boat to a stop with his bare hands using no more than his own strength!!! we are stopped! WOW!!! :clap:bow

Now it's to sort out what on earth has gone wrong..I am still shaking like a leaf and efforts to get the spare line to sort out our swinging stern go wrong too! Still he manages to somehow turn the boat and we soon have one line attached to the shore and manage to finally kill the out of control engine!! :party:

Now it's down to sorting out the stern and attaching the spring lines, so the boat doesn't move too much and imvestigate the problem. Soon, following a phone call to the yard it becomes clear that the pin which is responsible for performing the clutch action near the engine, has failed meaning the control rod is doing nothing but waving in the air at the gear selection arm!!! :wave

As we're moored at where we wanted to go originally anyway, Taz arranges for the yard to visit us in the morning, and then we head off to the Lion Inn for some well needed refreshments! ice slicecheersbar

Upon returning, we discover that our bilge pump is now running! What ELSE can go wrong today! We search the whole boat for the controls and can't find anything. So Taz is back on the phone to the yard, and it's actually Andy, who rings him back this time.

"Grab the boat hook gaz" comes the cry and I am talked towards the bottom of the bilge where I can feigntly make out a white oblong thing.. "Hit it!" says Taz, which I did and the noise stops! Smiles all around. Taz informs Andy of our drama's and even he can't believe how Taz managed to stop our boat single handedly, which becomes the opinion of many neighbouring skippers we spoke to during the evening who enquire what had happened and why they had seen us coming in so fast!

During the night Taz had to turn off the pump twice more - something's amiss here!!! When Andy arrived this morning he discovered that there is a small ingress of water from our prop shaft which he will need some more hefty gear to repair and promptly returns to the yard to collect originally having fixed our propulsion system.

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Soon after completing the repair to the propulsion system, Andy returned with some heavier spanners etc and a few spares for our prop shaft leak. He had the repair completed amazingly quickly, - We have always been very impressed with him and his boatyard and this proves so even more.

Both problems was definately nothing which neither Andy or ourselves could have forseen nor avoided as it was one of those things which could have easily gone wrong at any stage. Despite his brilliant efforts to get us repaired and ready for departure, time was now against us so we took the descision to stay in Thurne Dyke for another night as it was coming upto One O'Clock and given the distances planned we would be lucky to get a berth anywhere else at this time. (having originally planned to head

towards Acle)

So the rest of Sunday was spent with a combination of relaxation, a walk to the Lion Inn for a spot of Lunchtime refreshments, followed by a really nice evening meal. At the Lion Inn, there is a large "family room" which has a large quantity of toys and games for children, including a GIANT connect four! The portions were of really good size and even the "kids meals" were really quite substantial.

In the Afternoon we met up with Jim and Linda (least I think it was Linda - apologies if it wasn't!) who moored up thier small sailer just along from our boat and then promptly moved thier boat down to join ours and create a bit more space further up. We got chatting to them and found that they are regulars on the broads and come sailing every year for a number of weeks.

They were very nice people and joined us for drinks after dinner and had coffee aboard with us following our meal. Animated discussions were held which went on until late into the evening before we all retired to our beds and Jim and Linda returned to thier sailer next door.


After much relaxing on Sunday, we decided to move-on with our boat now fully repaired and all systems again functioning normally, thanks to the excellent service recieved from Andy & freedom cruises. By the time we went to pull out of Thurne in the morning, it was alot more quieter than when we arrived and our first depature on "our own" went very well with no major drama's!

Our plan for the day is to head down river to the Stracey Arms windpump for lunctime, or mid morning, before heading back up to pull in to the Bridge Inn - Acle. The river is again very busy and Gary is having fun on the wheel avoiding all those vessels which are being unpredictable, but seems to judge the sailing craft's movements well as he is usually a "yachtie" himself.

It doesnt seem very long before we arrive at the Stracy Arms pump and lets hope this approach goes to plan - IT DOES! a much less hassled arrival than our previous attempt and we demonstrate how it is usually done. Now for a short walk to the shop at the Wind-Pump.

The kids & Gary all chose something from the shops. Later on we find Gary is outside Baby-sitting Karl on a swing who has fallen asleep on it! Thats Karl Not Gary!

After a spot of lunch we leave our berth before finding a place to turn Fair Freedom, which is a little tricky because of a strong crosswind! finally the bow comes around and we are off again up river for the short journey back to Acle.

On arriving at Acle we find that all the berths are taken already and it's only lunchtime! There was opportunity to moor stern-to next to Horizon Craft/Bridgecraft's yards but with the strong crosswind, Gary decides that he may give this one a miss as he is inexperienced at reversing such a craft. So we take the descision to head further up-river to the Dog Inn - Ludham Bridge.

Upon navigating the tight confines near to Ludham bridge, it becomes apparent that this too is completely full as well! The broads are Heaving this year! So it's further up the Ant we go and set plans to head towards Stalham, with Richardson's yard being our fall-out option.

Going up past Ursted Church on the narrow sections it seems that Richardson's yard is having a major turnaround day with all the oncoming traffic we pass - Gary does a brilliant job in confined spaces!

Once we get to Stalham, We do end up putting into Richardson's yard which is unsuprisingly quite empty! We opt for a stern-to berth in the north-eastern corner of the yard next to reception and maintenance. Conditions here are less windy and the mooring is done without a hitch. Later we take a long walk into town, passing Tesco and St Mary's before eating in the Swan Inn.


On Tuesday we weigh up our options and decide that we would go into town for some brief shopping at tesco's before returning to the boat and considering our options on where we could go to. We considered Sutton but eventually decided to spend a day relaxing in Stalham as the town was nice and we had a good berth (on experience we may end up with endless motoring trying to get to different places only to find them full)

As were decided to stay in Stalham We took the short walk to visit the nearby "Museum of the Broads" A warm welcome on arrival and we find that the whole family (Three adults & Five Children) were admitted for a mere £14!!! most excellent value, especially when considering the size of the place. Not only this but each of the children was given a hand-held audio device which when passing a number on an exhibit, they press it an an audio description of the exhibit in front of them is played through the speaker on the handheld! A Brilliant concept which the kids loved.

Gary did some boat cleaning in the afternoon and took things a little too far when I found he had borrowed a bucketful of fairy liquid from the cleaners office!!

We returned twice to the Swan Inn, once for lunch and again at dinner time where the food was excellent and the publican most obligingly helpful, despite an obvious shortage of staff for the evening, meant he was even doing some waitoring duties too, and was the one to bring us our food!

Gary decided to "let his hair down" a little and had alot to drink (for him anyway - he is usually a tee-totaller back home!) He admitted the following morning that he had probably exceeded his own limit as he apparently felt quite ill by the time it was bedtime!

Over dinner, I noticed that there was a very nice poster on the wall of the Pub, which potrayed "The Rat Pack" playing pool - a copy of it might make an excellent addition to my wall at home! Gary and I later discussed our plans for the following day which involved an early departure so we could guarantee a quieter passage down the Ant and additionally a Berth near to the Bridge Inn - Acle.


Gary seemed to take a little longer to get himself going when we woke him this morning, which was when he admitted he might have had a little too much to drink! Seems a couple of Glasses of wine and he's anyones! Engine checks complete and weed filters cleaned (they were pretty much empty anyway but always best to keep them tidy) we depart at our planned time and pretty much had the river to ourself until we were past Barton Broad, when it was starting to get a little later and people were beginning thier days movements.

As we get further down river towards Acle it becomes aparent that either there are alot of people going to the Bridge Inn - but hopefully some of those vessels ahead of us are going to be heading onward towards Great Yarmouth.

Running at engines full ahead we slowly overtake some of those vessels we are following which includes another from our own hire yard - she is called "Lady of Freedom".

We later discover that they too are also heading towards Acle and pull into a berth behind us when we arrive at the Acle Bridge moorings. We find a berth which is about a five minute walk to the Bridge Inn and put into it.

Gary again does well on the helm despite again being a little tense about things, mooring again is trouble free.

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After mooring, Gary and I had a walk downstream to say hello to those we had passed on "Lady of Freedom" who were enjoying some english sunshine as they hadn't seen much in Scotland!


Then it was time to take the kids for a walk upto the bridge inn for some lunch and fun on the Arcade machines. We later returned to the boat before heading back to the Bridge Inn a few hours later for dinner.


Gary wasn't feeling too good at this stage as he was suffering from drinking more than he was used to the previous evening!!!


We pulled away from Acle a little bit later than planned, but the departure was fine, despite Gary's oppinion that he hadn't done as well as he'd hoped!

We motored east towards the Stracy Arms looking for an ideal place to turn around, which we did so near to the engineering works between The Stracey and Acle Bridge. This time, The turn came-off much better than it had on monday when Gary got a bit confused about which way to turn the wheel when going astern! (not to mention getting caught out a little by the wind & tide!)

Going up river, the initial plan was to turn onto the Bure and eventually head into Ranworth (Berths allowing). However the broads appear to be so busy this year, that upon arriving at around 11am we are greeted with the sight of Ranworth's main moorings being completely full, as well as all the Island's moorings also being taken with moored boats!!!

Not only that, there appeared to be at least another ten or so cruisers "mudweighting", appearing to be standing by to "up anchor" and head in whenever a berth appeared.

So our stand-by port of call at South Walsham was our next destination. Whilst motoring round towards south walsham we could see BOTH the "Albion" and "The White Moth" in the distance, with the latter heading into South Walsham.

By the time we got down to South Walsham's Broad, there was The White Moth, tacking back & forth on the main broad itself! Like Ranworth, even here all the moorings were already taken! So now our options are becoming very limited and it looks like we will be heading either to Salhouse or even back to the yard itself for tonight!

A short time later, Gary suddenly engages full astern! I ask him why he has done so, when he shouts out "THAT GREAT BIG BLACK THING!" and points forward; I turn around and see the albion very close to us (that close I could have shaken the skippers hand!)

A few hours later, after waiting for a trip boat to turn in the river we are into Salhouse Broad. We head in to moor stern-to, (Gary should be good at this as he does it all the time when sailing) however we successfully moor at the second attempt after Gary decided to "Go around" when not happy with his initial line of approach.


A few hours of relaxing after a phone-call to Steve (To book our table and arrange collection by car from the car-park) and we are walking through the woods in torrential rain (For some reason, it always seems to rain when I visit Salhouse Broad!).

Steve collects us in the Car and we are soon enjoying a fantastic meal in "The Bell Inn"

Martin (My son) has a second helping of crumble for the second year running! The food here is the best of our trip.

Later it's another car ride back to the car park where we walk back to the boat, through the woods, avoiding the many frogs and puddles which have been brought-about by the night's rainfall.


I'm up early again and managed to capture the sight of all of the local birds sleeping in some apparent segregation!


Today we got things started a little later than previously as we are only heading a short distance to "The New Inn" at Horning where we will be having both Lunch & Dinner.

We arrive earlier than planned and begin our mooring, with Gus on the quay-side pointing out where he would like us to moor. Gary misjudges his turn and we arrive further down river than we'd all have liked but, when we did eventually run astern to moor, Gary once again did really well and we are soon tied up with no drama's.

Later after eating lunch, we find that Gus had moved our boat to his original planned berth by cleverly using the tide and the ropes of our boat to good effect, meaning he didn't have to trouble us for the keys or even start the engine!



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As this was our last full night, the kids enjoyed some extra long playtime in the Arcades and even Gary got involved where he also spent a little while playing on the 2p machines! (at one stage his reaction to winning a game was quite amusing!)


We had a very nice meal, before we headed to a table near to our boat, on which we were rejoined by Jim and Linda, who we had previously met at Thurne Dyke.

We had to hand back Fair Freedom by 9am, as our trip finishes today, so everyone is up early and we depart The New Inn at seven thirty am. A short motor around to Freedom's yard and a somewhat tricky mooring is completed without too much trouble. Then it's time to finish the cleaning which we had previously started yesterday and begin offloading all of our luggage etc ready to head back home and the strains of "normality!"

This has been an eventful trip and one which we will definately remember for a long time to come, with the drama's at the start, the memories of the encounter with the Albion, as well as all the fun my kids enjoyed at the various pub's we visited.

We will definately be back on the broads again soon for another trip! :wave



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