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Richardson's RC45 - Carousel


Paulr181

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Having just finished our holiday on Richardson's Carousel 3, from their Platinum range, I thought i'd let you all know what I thought about the boat and how we got on.

 

There was just myself and my wife on our trip but we like space and loved the luxury offered on board the new RC45 boats.

 

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Styling and interior:

 

Well it goes without saying I think these boats look stunning. Out of 1000 pictures taken about half of them are with the boat in the background or of the boat itself! There were many comments from passers by and other hirers about how nice a boat she is, even the Broads Authority guys commented on how great the RC45s look.

 

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So staying on the outside the boat has loads of space to walk about the decks, all the way up to the Bow, so easy to moor up being able to gain quick access to all points of the boat.

The rear end has a great design, the very back end of the boat is almost level with the river so care must be taken when stepping out and if you have kids doesn't make it so easy to allow them to sit out the back, in-fact I think Richardson's advise no-one sits on the back whilst the boat is in motion (although I have to admit we did). Access to the decks is also available through the open canopy just behind the Helm. The mooring cleats are nice and large making it easy to tie the ropes to when mooring. Hand rails are available along the entire length of the boat so when walking the decks you can hang on, however as with any boat with a canopy the rails move with the canopy! so care must be taken when walking about the decks with the canopy down.

 

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The canopy on the RC45 is large! meaning on a nice day lots of the boat is open to the air. Again this is something that many passers by would mention as many canopy style boats have a small canopy. The Canopy folds back over the top of the rear superstructure, it folds down pretty low as well achieving the low air draft of only 6’9”.

The canopy is electric which at a press of a switch it will fold back. Carousel has a new safety device attached which is well thought out. The safety shut off is to prevent anyone getting there hands caught up in the closing canopy. So for example if you have kids onboard this will prevent accidents from happening. One thing to note the pressure required to stop the canopy from moving is low, because of this the curtains can get snagged and stop the canopy from going any further. We found the easiest way around this was to move the curtains all the way to the front of the canopy and then as it moves back towards the roof of the rear cabin lift the curtains over the top.

The engine cover is at the back however as it’s a new boat we were told we didn’t need to do anything over the week so we never touched it! Also the gas is stored in a compartment at the rear, these covers double up as the rear exterior seat. Finally a nice little touch for the exterior night time illumination, some low level blue LED’s along the back which illuminate the rear deck and steps nicely.

 

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Interior:

 

The whole interior is very luxurious and fitted to a high standard with no exceptions.

Starting with the front cabin, this cabin is very spacious with a nice sized bed, the only thing I would say with the bed is that due to the rounded mattress you must sleep as far up the bed as possible especially if you 6ft (like me) so that your feet don’t hang of the bottom, to be honest it’s a small point as the bed was nice and comfortable and I am just used to a superking sized bed at home J There is plenty of storage for clothes with draws etc, and on one side is a little mirror which was perfect for Helen to get ready at each morning. There is also a second TV in here for those nights watching a film in bed. The lighting is ample with warm LED lighting in the ceiling, these illuminate the room very well, but if you fancy something more subdued then there are also LED strips set into the curtain lines so you have the option for some nice soft lighting. The cabin is very well sound insulated and does a good job of keeping engine noises out from other craft. The first shower room/toilet is in the front cabin and is plenty spacious with enough head room for even me to stand up in (6ft 2).

 

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Moving into the main cabin and the space is a nice open plan setting, the U shaped seating can be turned into another double berth but of course we only used it as a seating area, this was comfortable and very spacious. Opposite is the TV cabinet with the Sat Nav inside and inverter control panel, this also contains the heating controls. Steps, which lead to the outer decks, are also in this area used when the canopy is fully open.  There is a further large cupboard underneath the helm, great for hanging your clothes in as it’s pretty tall. Again further storage under the seating in the form of draws. Leading down the steps into the galley there is a nice spacious seating area, its great having a table area so that you don’t have to fold the table away after each meal. The galley is very spacious with a great gas hob and oven/grill. The fridge is smaller than I have seen on other boats but still large enough to contain the essentials. You won’t go short on storage in here, lots of draws and space filled with crockery and pans etc but behind the table is some large cupboard spaces, very good use of space which would otherwise go wasted. Again plenty of light in these rooms which are also all LED so low power consumption, however I would say that it’s a shame there is no softer lighting in the main living cabin, as on an evening the main lights are pretty bright, although it’s enough to ask when the lighting is in the canopy even if it does move (lots of other boats with canopies rely on side wall lights as they can’t put the lighting into the canopy itself) so it is a nice touch to have overhead lighting.

During the day the view from this part of the boat is great, plenty of height and you can see through the back windows easily and the large panel windows at the front give a great forward view. The side curtains are alittle long so when open do bunch up blocking a lot of the window, they can be removed but I don’t think its ideal as the fittings probably won’t last long if you keep removing them.

The rear cabin is another bedroom with a double bed, again a great size for a couple and has plenty of space around the bed, there is also loads of storage including a wardrobe and shoe rack. It is in this cabin that the ground anchors are stored in a nice glass cabinet complete with mallet. The fuel Stopcocks are in this back cabins and so are the battery isolators, everything has been thought out well and does not stand out like on other boats, although they have a purpose they disappear well into the background. Finally the rear toilet/shower room is accessible both from the rear bedroom and the galley/dining area.

The finish on these boats is the best I have seen with nice finished surfaces and walls. The fittings are a nice touch including the handles and switches.

Although there is vents in the canopy I will say I think there should be a window that can open on the galley side, there is a large opening window on the opposite side but when cooking in the evening there is not much to get rid of the steam etc. (again a small point and nothing really that bad).

There are a couple of floor hatches but these do not need to be accessed so no need to have to worry about putting things in the way of hatches which need lifting each morning!

 

Another point I will make is how well everything fits, other boats the canopy can have huge gaps letting in cold air on those autumn nights, well not the RC45 range, everything is fit with small tolerances meaning it is very air tight for this kind of boat design, there are a couple of gaps which I can understand can’t be dealt with but the heating system is very efficient so soon sorts that out.

 

Helm:

 

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The helm is no much more different to other boat in that it has the same as most! The dials include oil pressure, engine temp, RPM counter, Fuel gauge, Water Gauge and a waste tank warning meter. There is also a battery consumption metre in the form of a line of LED’s in green, amber and red, these indicate when you need to run the engine etc. You also have a large LCD display which shows the speed and mileage trip via GPS and a second LCD display with the view from the rear of the boat from a small camera which is attached to the Stern. Electric windscreen wiper and horn complete are the only two switches on the dash. You then have the Bow and Stern thrusters control, very easy to use! Basically push the control in the direction you wish the boat to move you can either use single thrusters or two at the same time either both on the same side or in diagonal corners giving most options for maneuverability.

Switches for individual electrical devices are all stored in a nice little glass fronted cupboard at the side of the Helm, this is out of the way as you won’t really need to access this. The helm seat is very comfortable with arm rests that can be lifted up for easy access, it is a true captains chair as you can spin it around to use it as a seat when not navigating. You can also move the seat forward if required. There is a footrest at a good height to allow fitting for many people. When the canopy is open you can easily stand and see over the top of the screens, which during a nice day makes this an ideal navigating position. There is a little space down the side of the helm seat, which is ideal for you map and a cuppa! J

 

Features:

 

The heating system on this boat is very efficient and is separated into two. The split is a little confusing as really there are three parts to this boat, There is a hot air vent in each cabin including two in the main seating area and one in behind the table dining area. There is also a very handy hot air vent at the windscreen infront of the helm which is very useful in the morning to de-mist the screen! The split for the separate controlled heating is the rear of the boat including one of the vents in the main seating area and then the other system includes the front cabins and the second vent in the seating area including the windscreen vent. They are simple to use, just switch them on! It is advised to have the engine running for the first few minutes whilst they start up, they do start up without the engine but a couple of times I tried this (due to not wanting to disturb others with the engine running) they started up then stopped giving hot air. So run the engine it was from then on just to get them going. Apparently eat heater will burn 0.8 litres of per hour and of course there is two of them so they will burn a fair bit in the colder seasons.

The TV is sufficient for an evenings entertainment should this be what you are after, there is a built in DVD player and the TV channels are provided via a SatTV box which is fed via a satellite dish (pod tracking device) which sits at the front of the boat. There are plenty of channels available as it is freeview. The TV in the front room is connected to the same box so you can watch the same thing in the front cabin, however the signal is not as clean up the front end but is fine to watch. This TV also has a DVD player built in. The only drawback of the SatTV is it needs a strong signal to be able to watch anything so if you moor in amongst the tree’s then you won’t be watching tv that night. There were a few times we had no signal, but nothing to complain about as we didn’t come the the broads to watch TV J. The only other thing I will say is whilst watching TV in the front cabin you can hear the satellite tracker…tracking every so often.

The Electric Canopy is a god send, it basically means you can approach a bridge and easily have the canopy down in seconds. Then on the other side of that if it suddenly starts raining then the canopy can be up in no time.

 

The toilets onboard are just like your normal household toilets, no pumping required, just a switch which electrically pumps the water through. The Showers onboard (two) are simply amazing, they are just as powerful as you would expect from a good household shower. Once the water is heated when the engine has been run you get plenty of hot water. The entire plumbing system onboard is first class.

 

Electrics are great, no thought is needed really as the batteries hold the charge very well. There is a clear indicator on the dash at the helm to indicate the state of the batteries but I never saw this drop below the three amber lights once, so we never had to run the engine for power, and this was during longer nights! so no hook up required either! The only reason the engine was needed during the night was to get the heating going.

 

Performance and Handling:

 

These boats are not made for speed but there is plenty power in reserve for those times you may need to go against the tide. Although Carousel is 44ft long she handles very nicely, interesting in tidal areas like the south but as she is 44ft long you will always find this but the bow thrusters come into play here.

I believe the drive is hydraulic but still feels very responsive, you need to be confident with the power when turning or slowing down. One thing to note is that if you are using the thrusters then remember that these take some of the power away from the main drive (I guess this is to do with the fact everything is Hydraulic? Maybe Clive can answer this). So an example of this is if you are reversing and decide to quickly adjust the boat with the Bow thruster then as you let go of the thruster all the power will go back to the Prop, this can catch you out if you have forgotten that you had it in full reverse etc. I don’t think this is boat specific but more just the way all boats with thrusters act, it should also maybe be mentioned in the hand over?

With the thrusters this boat is easy to control, I even moored the boat myself many times, both piloting and tieing up.

With the GPS speedo reading you can see a true speed reading so when against the tide if you wish you could push to get the actual speed limit, as mentioned above there is enough power to go 6mph against the tide, we ended up doing this coming from GT Yarmouth, but it does get thirsty in this scenario! So be warned.

 

Fuel consumption:

 

This is a big boat and therefore will always take more to get going and stop etc, so as you can imagine will drink more Diesel. At a guess the tank will hold about £300 so maybe about 180-200 Litres of Diesel (again maybe Clive can answer this), but I am guessing due to my recent usage. We used about 151 Litres which cost us £239. The Fuel gauge was showing between the empty and the ¼ mark. With a week hire your looking at £150 of fuel deposit, I recon if you don’t want to use more than this then make sure you use less than half the tank on Carousel! But the best way to look at it is the way I do, I budget an additional £100 for Diesel, this way anything I spend under that £100 is a bonus, and if you get some back from your deposit then even more of a bonus. This way the fuel gauge will not control your holiday. Try not to navigate against the tide this will help lots.

 

Overall we loved this boat, it is so well finished and worth every penny we paid for it. You pay premium and get premium in return. 

I love the broads and it doesn't really matter too much which boat i'd be on to enjoy this amazing place but the RC45's added a nice level of luxury and comfort. When you consider how much you have to pay for most hotels these days the price really isn't that bad. 

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