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Lads Week 2021


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28 minutes ago, grendel said:

Apparently a broken toilet handle, combined with a burned out bilge pump switch, soon fixed

You haven't done too well with these hires ?

I know you have said it is down to how well issues are resolved, but there have been a lot of issues ...

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Personally, given all the issues, I think I’d be looking for a very large financial gesture of goodwill.  I know they’re old boats at the end of a season, but surely the maintenance programme is more than a little lacking.

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All credit to you guys for carrying on and making the best of what appears to be a catastrophic week afloat!!  I agree with Mouldy, despite all the issues being dealt with, I would also be looking for some sort of gesture of goodwill at the end of the holiday.

Chris

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32 minutes ago, CeePee1952 said:

All credit to you guys for carrying on and making the best of what appears to be a catastrophic week afloat!!  I agree with Mouldy, despite all the issues being dealt with, I would also be looking for some sort of gesture of goodwill at the end of the holiday.

Chris

From my point of view, the issues with the gearbox, loss of steering (especially at Reedham), combined with the boat taking on water due  to an issue with a toilet, would almost certainly put a novice crew off boating for good and would have caused a degree of panic even to folk who’ve holidayed on The Broads before.  Those issues, coupled with running out of gas completely on one boat and only having a part bottle on the other indicate a lack of maintenance and/or handover checks.

The Broads are advertised as being a relaxing holiday afloat, which with these issues to most people, certainly would not have been.  Although they were dealt with, should so many have occurred over a week to one party?  A very poor advert for the boatyard imho.

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1 hour ago, Mouldy said:

From my point of view, the issues with the gearbox, loss of steering (especially at Reedham), combined with the boat taking on water due  to an issue with a toilet, would almost certainly put a novice crew off boating for good and would have caused a degree of panic even to folk who’ve holidayed on The Broads before.  Those issues, coupled with running out of gas completely on one boat and only having a part bottle on the other indicate a lack of maintenance and/or handover checks.

The Broads are advertised as being a relaxing holiday afloat, which with these issues to most people, certainly would not have been.  Although they were dealt with, should so many have occurred over a week to one party?  A very poor advert for the boatyard imho.

It does sound like a lot!

Our incident on the Broads last year where we completely lost steering near the start of our two weeks certainly didn't put us off boating. (Then again we weren't complete novices - it was our second go at hiring a cruiser).

It was dealt with (out of office hours) quite promptly, though it did require the engineer to commandeer another boat to get out to us.

It was all a bit of an adventure really. The only other thing that went wrong was the spring on the engine cooling fillter cap going sproing into the bilges and that was worth it for the chance to visit the Sandersons building where a replacement was found for us.

If we'd had even more things go wrong I don't think it would have put us off boating, but it might have made us consider a different boat yard next time.

(On the other hand we really liked the Beam of Light and there aren't many other Diamond 43's available to hire).

 

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5 hours ago, Mouldy said:

Personally, given all the issues, I think I’d be looking for a very large financial gesture of goodwill.  I know they’re old boats at the end of a season, but surely the maintenance programme is more than a little lacking.

I agree. They're not old boats in the context of the hire boat population (1990s) and I've hired much older many times with very few issues.

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It's difficult for us to sit here in judgement on our keyboards.

There's no excuse for the gas and bottles last a long time, now that we no longer have gas fridges or gas heating, so possibly not checked for several weeks beforehand.

The toilet?  Could have just been a pipe that came off and the pressure switch kept the pump running, with no-one noticing over the noise of the engine.  Bilge pumps do wear out sometimes, with no prior warning.

The gearbox, mounting feet and broken steering are, to me, clearly accident damage, probably from the same accident and, if my guess is right, by going aground when going astern.  Probably happened 2 or 3 weeks ago.  All the same, I would have thought the excessive vibration would have been obvious to a mechanic when driving the boat.

We know that Griff will give them a fair hearing when he gets back, so it will be interesting to see how they handle his complaint.

 

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13 hours ago, Bikertov said:

You haven't done too well with these hires ?

I know you have said it is down to how well issues are resolved, but there have been a lot of issues ...

It's been a hard season on these boats, plus we don't ignore even minor issues as they soon become major issues, so we report them, these boats will be in tip top condition for the next hirer, we do work them hard and put in a lot of miles (and pubs) over the week, so we do find any faults that may be incipient.

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Every year we go through the boats before handback and compile a list of work that is needed for the engineers,, from cosmetic to functional, like a windscreen panel that was replaced with perspex and is now starting to get scratched up, to door catches that need new springs.

Vaughan is I think correct in his diagnosis of the toilet, the gearbox issue went from slight vibration when we left (we had noticed the stern gland dripping excessively before we left and had it tightened), to excessive vibrations as they crossed breydon, we had been on the go as we went from PH straight to reedham, something obviously shifted at that point to make the vibrations worse, one bolt had sheared on the universal coupling, at this point in the middle of breydon, there was not much option other than to continue to reedham.

It was obvious that this was the result of some previous incident, probably not reported to the yard on return.

As for recompense, we have generally ( through dint of hiring the same boats year in and year out, ) managed to get concessions - like our Friday afternoon boarding so we are ready to be off early Saturday, and not paying for the hounds. Each is renegotiated at the end of the trip.

Lads week is a week of adventure, we relish the unusual and challenges the week brings. It's all good fun and part of the lads week, as much as the pool on what Robin will break next on his boat.

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I think your attitude is very reasonable indeed, and a credit and example to hirers.

Too often we all complain and want 'compensation', without thinking about things from the other side, from the business providing the product or service - I can be as guilty of this as the next person, and I run a business so should know better.

I hope the yard appreciate you and treat you well as a result !

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Well early departure from wroxham as BA were watching the height gauge, so we left just after 8, destination ranworth. We arrived at ranworth to find plenty of spaces, and bumped into Meg from Norfolk Dream

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4 hours ago, Vaughan said:

Bilge pumps do wear out sometimes, with no prior warning

As happened to us a few years back. One evening everything just died but luckily the engine battery was ok. We were moored at Somerleyton and, as luck would have it, a mooring by an electric post was still free so we bagged it quick. After some investigation my husband found the bilge pump was going (quite silently) but not making any connections. We went on up to Beccles and Hipperson’s were brilliant, sorting us out with a new bilge pump within 24 hours. Just shows how easy it is for things to happen. 

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36 minutes ago, Bikertov said:

I think your attitude is very reasonable indeed, and a credit and example to hirers.

Too often we all complain and want 'compensation', without thinking about things from the other side, from the business providing the product or service - I can be as guilty of this as the next person, and I run a business so should know better.

I hope the yard appreciate you and treat you well as a result !

I that a reasonable attitude is appreciated, however to a less able or knowledgeable party this chain of events could have spoiled an expensive holiday.  It has certainly cost time, where most of one day was spent at Reedham causing a plan for the week to be altered.  There can be no excuses for failing to check empty gas bottles at turnaround.

You mention from the other side.  Is the lack of maintenance the result of trying to run the business on a shoestring, with too few staff to undertake the level of work necessary.  You and I know that in these profit driven times, companies can and do attempt to do this and whilst there is no evidence here to prove that, could it be the cause?

 All too often, we Brits have been accused of accepting poor service without complaint.  Businesses should be more aware that they need to provide what they say they will and that in a competitive marketplace, failing to will result in loss of future business.  Sadly, this year in particular has seen high demand for holidays in the UK, but as things return to normal and folk go back to their package holidays overseas, perhaps loyalty will be shown to those places where service is outstanding, not adequate.

When we were hiring, we went with Summercraft for many years.  Until the imposition of VAT on marine diesel, they used to offer free fuel to returning hirers, but latterly we used to get free undercover parking, no charge for the dogs and free damage waiver.  Their service level was superb, for us at least, which is why we hired from them eight out of nine years.

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39 minutes ago, Mouldy said:

You mention from the other side.  Is the lack of maintenance the result of trying to run the business on a shoestring, with too few staff to undertake the level of work necessary.  You and I know that in these profit driven times, companies can and do attempt to do this and whilst there is no evidence here to prove that, could it be the cause?

My posts are naturally on the "side" of the boatyards, since I have spent most of my life in the business.

But I cannot argue with what you have said.

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41 minutes ago, Mouldy said:

where most of one day was spent at Reedham causing a plan for the week to be altered.  

The most of a day was spent in the pub at reedham, rather than the one at Loddon, so no loss there, the delay there didn't cause the change of plans, that was down to high River levels and getting stuck at Thorpe,

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We handed dazzling light back this morning and trust me you are not the only crews that have had trouble this week. We have had the yard out twice due power issues total loss of heating etc. We sat at Ranworth on Wednesday morning along with two other woods boats all waiting for the engineer. He told us its was a tough week with lots of call outs. Covid had impacted there winter maintenance programme, compounded by an incredibly busy season. I do accept things go wrong and are just part and parcel of boating at times. But I have to say an awful lot of woods boats look knackered, there is some very serious investment needed bringing that lot upto date and looking good. 

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I wonder if some of this could be linked to recent events last year which are still being investigated by MAIB?

I've seen a lot of posts on Facebook this year asking about handover and do you have to have the formal handover even if you've hired many times before. The answer has always been that this year hire yards are insisting on a proper handover even if you have hired before. Richardsons have even made a point about this in the press recently. The point is that if every hirer is having a full handover then surely unless there has been an increase of staff on turnaround days, then something has to suffer somewhere. Are less engineering hours being spent on pre departure engineering tasks with perhaps more of those tasks being left for weeks when the boat isn't on hire, or the Winter maintenance period, in favour of spending more time with the hirers on handover?

I don't know why, but I feel I need to say this is not a criticism of the hire industry, but plainly labour only goes so far and can only be completing so many tasks at any one time. Is handover maintenance suffering as a result of more time spent with hirers at handover?

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2 hours ago, Broads01 said:

Andy, I think your experience this week and the fact you were waiting with two others at Ranworth is very telling.

Well we must be glutens for punishment Charlie, we said goodbye to our friends this morning and the wife didn't want to go home. So we got offered a really good deal on prince of light and here we are moored at acle and what a cracking little compact boat this is. I've just seen you and the lads sail past. But I do agree with you. What a cracking sunset we are going to have tonight. 

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