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Boats, beers, BBQ's and bumps

Guest plesbit

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I seem to recall that the Summer Bank Holiday weekend last year was the standout best weekend of the entire miserable summer weatherwise. Hoping for more of the same this year, and with the sun setting on our ownership of a boat for which we will always have a soft spot, Silver Dream and her crew set out on the river for what will most likely be our last major excursion together. Last year a gloriously sunny trip out provided us with a nice evening at Beccles Yacht Station, and the company of forum member Chris, aka Pandemonium, who spent most the Saturday evening propping up our bathing platform with beer in hand. Sunday night was spent on Oulton Broad owing to the ludicrously over crowded yacht basin.

So, would history, repeat itself? Yes and no. We set out Friday night in reasonable weather, slightly undecided as to where to stay overnight. Passing through a mobbed Reedham I became concerned that our chosen moorings at Herringfleet, still some way off, might be in a similar state and we'd be left in an area with little useful alternative. Seeing one space left on the end of The Ship's moorings at Reedham we passed through the bridge and turned the other side to come back and moor into the tide. And what a tide! I am used to there being a bit of a current through Reedham but I've never experienced one as fast as that - the log said 6kts (and it reads slightly slow) but the GPS said 2.8kts as we punched back under the bridge. Mooring was achieved with a bit of a clonk but some helpful pub goers grabbed the bow line and held her steady whilst SWMBO dealt with the stern and I was able to hop off and take over. Sadly it was the only occurrence of unofficial help in the entire weekend.

Conscious of not lapsing back into my old lager drinking days I studied the options on offer at the bar with some interest. My one previous visit to The Ship put a dent in my steely determination not to relapse when I found absolutely nothing suitable and ended up ordering a coke! At the last minute I spotted a bottle of my favourite Fullers Organic Honey Dew behind the bar something else had caught my eye. With Howard, amongst others, suggesting I might like Adnams Explorer, and with Adnams logos everywhere I placed my order. Unfortunately, although my head saw "Explorer" my eyes were actually seeing Broadside. So when the Broadside came it was something of a shock. Nevertheless, all those years living in Scotland were not wasted, and I learnt long ago that if I paid for it, I'll drink it. And actually it wasn't bad!

A rough night as the tide fizzed past and the boat banged violently into the awful quayheading gave way to a rough dawn with a number of early rising boaters rattling past at speeds which sounded much like they were on the plane - followed by more crashes and bangs off the quayheading. I was pleased to leave! We then headed down towards our intended destination of Beccles. In no particular rush I decided to take a detour into Oulton Broad to see if Jeckyls could help us with the snapped guide wires on our port side. Unfortunately the people who could were not in that day, so after stopping for lunch we set off again, bidding farewell to the bedlam of the yacht station and all the people who had sat around watching us attempt an awkward mooring without bothering to help - SWMBO being left to try to find a way to step up nearly 4ft off the bathing plaform onto the quayheading with both port and starboard stern lines in each hand.

Next stop was the WRC to take on water as it was several weeks since we did (our yard, helpfully, doesn't provide water hoses). Reverse parking (stern on) on the front of the WRC with the Waveney in full flood was not a pleasant experience and once again the boat crews around stared but offered no help. Thankfully it all went fairly well until a member of staff from the WRC strolled over to say that, despite our excellent mooring, we were still going to have to leave. However when I said we were only there for water he consented to let us stay long enough to get it.

A stop off at Whorlingham (sp?) broke our trip to Beccles into two and when we eventually arrived in Beccles in somewhat indifferent weather the people around merely gawped again as SWMBO again tried to steady the boat from being taken in a crosswind whilst single handedly holding both ropes behind her back as she stepped off the bathing platform. Fortunately the quayheading in Beccles is much lower but it still amazes me that people can take so much interest in someone else struggling without it ever occurring to them to help. Happily though, the weather quickly improved and our intention to have a BBQ that evening was not to be thwarted and plenty of time was spent chinwagging with members of the crew of a private Alpha 35 called Seth that moored next to us. They had to reverse park like we did and instinctively I climbed out and took ropes for them. Not only were they very grateful but it also broke the ice and we spent a good deal of time talking to them both that evening and the following morning. A little effort really doesn't hurt and might even bring benefits.

Unfortunately, despite the good evening, the weather worsened considerably over night and we woke to high winds and frequent rain showers, heavy at times. Back up the river we headed and eventually on to Oulton Broad where we had agreed a temporary (1hr) mooring with the harbour master to allow us to replace the broken port guidewires. Lots of to-ing and fro-ing in Jeckyls identified exactly what we had and what we needed and that they couldn't provide any of it - though they could order it. Returning to the boat I found no harbour staff to pay for our short term stay as they had all headed off to furrow their brows about the road bridge which was stuck in the up position and not proving popular with passing (or not) motorists. So, lunch was had and then a member of the harbour team zeroed in on for a grovelling request to make our stay up to 24hrs. After much conflab between the the harbour staff it was agreed we could stay, so we settled in for the day and went for a stroll, return a little while later to see if we could push our luck further and reserve another space for some friends (more on that later).

Knowing Monday was gala day we hoped there would be some gala activity already and perhaps the fun fair would be open (yes I am a child) but sadly nothing was, though the stroll around Nicolas Everett Park and views of the broad was nice. Eventually we return to the yacht station and spent lots of time chatting to the folks on the boats moored either side of us - to port an impressive aft cockpit wooden broads cruiser, around 50 years old, beyond him a Carver Montenegro flybridge jobbie which had come up from the Thames earlier in the day and to the other side (our starboard) a magnificent Fairline Targa 38. What a beast! Come the evening our expected friends arrived with their sickeningly nice Sealine 310 Flybridge and, just to really upset the yacht station staff brought with them a big Birchwood TS37 flybridge and large flybridge Broomprincessyfairsealine job who were attached to the end of the main harbour (already rafted out four deep in some places), Ian and I having to scale the ladder on the side of some enormous trawler yacht to take their lines.

Needless to say the yacht station was mobbed and, as it turned out, almost the entirety of Ian's marina had made their way down, including the marina's owner and his wife, who all set up a big BBQ get-together at the end of the yacht station. Later in the evening the crews of Silver Dream, Clandestine and Crackerjack all forcibly removed some locals from the corner of a local watering hole and took over for the evening and, emboldened by my experience on the Friday I even ordered a pint of Broadside, which became two when Jonathon mistook my "No I'm fine thanks" for "Another Broadside please Jonathon".

A good evening concluded, I set off back to the boat, the other deciding that midnight was as good a time as any for a visit to the Chinese. Walking down the crowded and noisy street to the yacht station I did wonder if I would get any sleep at all but in fact it was remarkably quiet on the boat - the large number of mixed sex parties gathered along the park benches by the yacht station were engaged in a form of communication that did not require tongues, at least not in a manner which makes much noise!

A slow start the next day and we hung around until shortly after midday cunningly figuring that leaving Oulton Broad at that stage would get us a push up the Waveney with the tide turning whilst we were in the cut and then we'd get a push up the Yare as well - a calculation which brought dividends. And by the time we reached our marina we had a hastily arranged viewing of our treasured possession (with a view to yanking her off the broads and taking her to Yorkshire :cry ). Fate was on our side and by the time they arrived the sun was shining gloriously and the canopy was open on all sides.

A good weekend. cheersbar

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Thanks for taking the time to tell the story Simon - an interesting read.

Yes, it is a shame when people stand and gawp instead of helping.

I was out and about around the Northern Broads over the weekend, and although the weather was much the same the tides were as always far more friendly than yours down south.


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Hi Simon

I always love reading other folks boating tales, many thanks for sharing with us. cheers

Glad you enjoyed the Broadside, its quite strong and malty with (I always think) quite a sweet taste. Very drinkable. The Explorer is very different, much lighter in colour with a fruity hoppy taste, lighter bodied but still full of flavour. Great summer drink (or autumn or spring or winter come to that). For some reason Broads pubs are a bit shy of stocking it although its part of Adnams regular portfolio. You would definitely get it in Norwich. I’ve drunk it in the New Inn (Horning), Waveney, Bell at St Olaves and Hotel Wroxham to name few but they never seem to have it on all the time! Shame as (IMHO) it’s a cracking beer.


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and plenty of time was spent chinwagging with members of the crew of a private Alpha 35 called Seth that moored next to us

Hi Simon

sounds like you both had a little fun while on SD

ahhh my favorite topic

Seth the private Alpha 35 centre cockpit is moored at Loddon was talking to the very same people when i was moored at potter and helped them moor up. his wife is great to get on with while her husband was watching the hirers just barely missing there pride and joy. some of the profantity that was shouted was brilliant :-D :-D :naughty::naughty:


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