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Popping my Broads Cherry

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Hi folks,

In two weeks time, i pick up the alphacraft sabre. This is my first time on the broads, but not my first boating break. Im used to a narrower kind of boat. I note with much interest that many of your members feel that too many people turn up ill prepared and lack basic boat handling skills.

so with this in mind, i would like some advice. basic boat handling skills i have..... slowly slowly catchy monkey has always worked on the canals, and i presume the same is for the broads. But how do i stern moor?

Any advice on a good spot to moor on oulton for the power boats.

Any good places to eat in lowestoft.

i am exploring the southern broads, aside from the powerboat racing on thursdays, (this is a must!) can you recommend any 'must see' things.

Dog friendly locations would be appreciated too.

and finally, is their any place i can abandon the mother in law, so she can't find her way home?



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Hi Dave, and welcome to the forum cheers

There are so many factors that can effect stern on mooring, such as current and wind direction, that its just about impossible to direct someone step by step on a forum such as this one, as every attempt will be slightly different. Some Broads boats also have bow thrusters, which can help a great deal when it comes to stern on mooring, as they help you straighten the boat up ready to go backwards smoothly and very slowly onto the quay. your Boat yard should be able to give you some tuition and hands on experiance of this, and if you have a look on U-tube no doubt there will be something useful to watch on there too.

For your first attempt, pick a wide open slot with plenty of space between other moored boats, and dont try going too far out from the bank as boats need throttle control as much as steering at the helm to effect the desired stern swing around into the open mooring slot where you wish to go stern on. Also an important crew safety tip is to NEVER jump the gap between the quay and the boat when coming into moor, and always hold onto a grab handle tightly with one hand, and rope ready in the other to step onto shore. If your in the Southern broads then theres often plenty of space outside the Wherry pub on Oulton broad to try this, as well as plenty of moorings around the yacht stations at Oulton and Beccles once you have gained more confidence, although the rise and fall of the tide at some points on the Southern rivers can make boarding a little more difficult due to the greater rise and fall of the tide compaired to the northern rivers.

For your mother in laws return home there are railway links for the trains from Reedham, Norwich, and Oulton Broad, plus a national coach link from Norwich.

Most Broads pubs welcome well behaved dogs onto their outside seating areas and some into their bars, but non that i know of allow them into their restaurants due to health and safety reasons, and the fact that they can become drooling scroungers at the sight of delicious food! :lol::naughty:

A couple of places that come highly recommended by our members are the Indian restaurant overlooking Oulton broad, above the shops, and Coldham Hall on the River Yare, theres also the Crown Carvery at Thorpe st Andrew if you want a chain type pub serving a decent value roast for under a fiver a head.

The best places to watch the speed boat races depend on whether you want to watch from onboard your boat, moor outside the Wherry pub and pay the overnight fee, or use the Yacht Station, which is nearer to the speed boating admission entrance, but can be a bit more tricky for stern on moorings for a novice, as its more popular, and mooring slots tend to be tighter together. There is a Quaymaster on duty during the day, a fee is payable, and theres toilets and facilities available at the rear of the moorings. Personally, I prefare the Wherry side, as if the weather is wet, we still get a fairly decent view of the races from the comfort and shelter of our boat. If you want the info on the speedboats and to get close up to them, then you have to pay on the admission gate just like any other sporting event :grin:

I hope you have a lovely time and the weather is kind to you,

Julz :wave

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Many thanks for your response. am i right in thinking that these cruisers tend not to steer well in reverse?

The safety tip in much appreciated, and i am sure we will give the indian a go.

As for the mother in law transport. the intention is to lose her, and not let her find her way back ;)

If the broads in anything like the canals, then the weather will not matter a jot.

i just wish i was collecting my boat today!!

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Hi Dave, the thing you will notice most between canal boat handling and the broads boats is that you have more tidal effect and underwater currents to contend with. I know there are areas of the canals where tidal rivers are part of the navigation system, but the entire broads is effected by the daily rise and fall of the tides, and you have to take into this into consideration when mooring and always come into moor against the tide, even if this means truning your boat around at a convienient place to do so. :)

With stern on, its nothing like driving a car, theres the factor of tide, wind direction, and power onto the rudder to push the boat around into the desired position before gently going stern on. The throttle plays as much a part in this as the steering wheel does, and indeed its something that takes a few attempts to learn, and then on occasions even the most experianced boater will get it wrong, and have to go out and start again, its all part of the fun of boating! :lol:

Im sure you will be fine once you get the hang of it, just take your time and as you said before, do things very slowly, its often best (and safer) just to drift stern onto a mooring once you lined up and about 6ft of the bankside, and dis-engage throttle to avoid any hard bumps that would bounce your boat or a possibly a crew member off the back and into the water. Theres also the option of mooring alongside if everything else fails, which in the upper reaches of the southern waterways probably wont be much different to what you have been used to with your narrowboat, as long as you remember to come into moor against the tide.

Julz :wave

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Thank you for that very valuable advice. as i haven't experienced much tidal water, is there any thing i need to look out for when it comes to mooring rope tightness.

obviously i don't want to tie up tight and discover my boat on its side in the morning :norty:

Well im sure, just like my first attempt at entering a lock, my first stern moor will be interesting, i certainly won't make the same schumacher style mistake as i did with entering the lock, that was a painfull mistake.

i have spent some time watching other peoples mistakes on you tube. and it seems to be the same mistake every time........ too much speed. do the yards not stress the importance of taking things slowly??

i hope all are as friendly on the broads as they are on the canals cheersbar

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Hi Dave, no hard and fast rule regards mooring ropes, only to say keep an eye on them, keep them safely onboard and away from the propeler to avoid any expensive tangling, use the appropiate knots, and adjust as required as the tide rises and falls.

This can be most noticeable the nearer you get to Gt Yarmouth, where the rise and fall of the tide can be several feet. The outlet to the sea at Lowestoft is somewhat protected from such drastic differences by Mutford Lock, but can still rise/fall around a metre in places, and around the Yacht station at certain states of the tide. Im unsure what your airdraft is on your hireboat, but you may face some restrictions at Reedham, Somerleyton, and St Olaves bridges, as well as the Vauxhall bridge at Gt Yarmouth, although that might be a bit out of your range if your planning to tour the Southern broads and as a novice, as its one part of the Broads where the rise and fall is at its greatest (needing ladder access at times) and the current is at its strongest.

The hire yards do indeed give give advice on speeding and the consequences of not heeding to that advice, but unfortunately some people just dont listen, and in the case of the worst offenders, the boatyard is within its rights to reclaim the boat from its hirer early following an inceident, and without any refund of monies or compensation for doing so. Theres also a hefty fine which can be enforced by the authorities, and rangers and police do patrol the broads and use speed monitoring equipment where they suspect the restrictions are not being adhered to.

Most of the time though the rangers are a happy bunch, and often a good source of local knowledge, help and advice, and are always happy to chat and share a joke and a cuppa! :dance

Im sure you will be fine, just remember to wear your life jackets when out on deck, and take your time and enjoy the beautiful scenery, take some basic provisions onboard as river side shops are few and far between on the southern rivers, and the best shopping areas are Norwich, Beccles and Lowestoft, but they still do entail a fair walk from the riverbank espacially if carrying heavy shopping. Loddon is a nice little village, but the approch down the Chet can be quite narrow and winding in places and stern on places at the staithe cannot be garaunteed, as they are popular with private boaters who use the shore power points.

Julz :wave

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Hello Dave,

Stern mooring is not to bad if you can see what is happening behind you but i suspect that the boat you are hiring is one of the type that anyone steering the boat can see at all, you will need to keep going forward to line up the boat for your reverse. The best thing to do is get a line to another boat if anyone offers and let someone just pull the boat in, if this is the case put the boat in neutral. Most people are very helpfull it also helps prevents damage to their boats.

The Yacht stations at Oulton Broad and Beccles provide good moorings with electric hook up and showers (extra of course) but worth while.

Beccles is a good walk from any moorings but a great little town.

If mooring at Reedham we prefer outside the Reedham Ferry, reasonable food and I can watch the ferry going across the river for hours.

It is about 3 miles into Loddon on the River Chet but the basin at the end provides good stern mooring plenty of pubs and village shops and the cafe is worth a visit and is talkedabout on most forums.

The Green Moorings next to Woods End is also a good mooring spot.

Enjoy your holiday if you see us on the river between 11th and 19th June give us a wave.


Alan Hood

Ranworth Breeze

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Many thanks for your loation tips, i'll be sure to visit a few of them!

Also a very good tip for stern mooring, after all, the last thing i want to do is bump into someones boat causing them to spill their whisky.

Im out there to relax and make friends, not to hak off the natives!

i will make sure i wave if i see you or other forum members.

again thanks for your tips.


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Hi Dave

Your visibility shouldn't be too bad on Alpha Sabre as the steering position is raised and central (sort of anyway!) so you can see ahead and behind a bit better than on a forward steer.

Ask the yard to show you how to stern moor and then make sure you try it at least once whilst they're with you so you can at least ensure you have got the basics or a bit more confidence before you're on your own, as the first time you try it will bound to be a bit nerve racking.

I would always have a couple of your crew on deck, one to guide you back and tell you how far off the bank you are as until you get used to it you can look further away than you are from your helm, and hitting the bank hard is not good. Also, make sure they realise they will need to talk loudly as you will have the engine beneath your feet and they will not.

Its probably worth having someone stood the other side of the boat to where you are helming and ask them to keep a look that you are not getting close to anything and again give you clear notice and at a level you can hear so the whole thing doesn't get too stressful! :cool:

If you get the boat almost in, or lined up bang on and its a very tight gap then pulling it in on ropes can be a good option, but I would try and do it under power as plan A or to start with, as if you are in a windy or tidal spot or need the rope off the other side of the boat to the one you are working with this really could still mean you end up walloping something, especially as 42ft weight of boat is not always easy for everyone to have the strength to conquer, epecially if wind and tide is against you.

So... get the most out of your instruction, ask for more help or another attempt whilst your instructor is with you if YOU feel it beneficial, take your time, have a couple of lookouts on decks to help advise you on bank/boat proximitys (stood somewhere safe & holding on tight, wearing life jacket) but if you feel you have messed it up realise early on, and dont be afraid to circle out and try again correcting what it was you did wrong on attempt one!

Finally enjoy yourselves... it really isn't too tricky so you'll soon find your confidence


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Dave, Hi.

Two final tips on arriving and departing stern-on... when you're against the mooring just pop her into slow reverse and this will hold you there until the ropes are tied off. Likewise on departing, put her in slow reverse before you untie and then she won't drift away.

If you've got a strong able-bodied spare hand it's worth getting them to throw the mud weight overboard just before your stern approaches the bank; this will then drag the weight into the mud and hold your bow fast. If it's difficult to pull up when you depart just go slowly forward until the boat pulls the weight out of the mud's suction. You can then stop and pull the weight onboard.

Whatever, have a Great Time! cheersbar

(and the Lowestoft Airshow is on the w/e 23/24th June... huge enough crowds to lose anyone!) :naughty::naughty::naughty:

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thank you very much for all of your helpfull advice. I was slightly concerned that i would get conflicting advice, but you all seem to be giviing the same general advice, with some personal tips. I intend to take all of this info on - board. Hopefully if we do see each other, it will be under a failrly professional and controlled manner.

the one thing that i promise all fellow boaters, is that if i do bump you, it will be slowly and purely accidental, followed very quickly by an apology.

as for losing the mother inlaw at the airshow....... more chance of me getting lost there, after all im the ex raf techie ;)

either way the same effect will be acheived. no mother in law. :party2:

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