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Weekend on San Francisco 2


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Despite holidaying on the Broads for many, many years I've never written a holiday tale - so here goes!



Mums 82 now and not so steady on her feet so thought we would treat her to a weekend afloat before it becomes too difficult for her. She’s been visiting the Broads since 1952 on boats and in cottages and it’s definitely her favourite holiday.
Dad passed away back in 2007 and his ashes now reside somewhere between Belaugh and Wroxham so we could also pay him a visit.

Unfortunately my wife is not keen on anything without a full size bath, 24 hr heating, maid service, waiters etc. so it was just the 2 of us, effectively I was single handed. Mum knows how to helm a boat but her eyes and coordination are a little wonky so best suited to wide open spaces, like the Broads!

I drove from home in Warwick, collected mum from Bushey and we arrived at Richardsons around 11:30. Checked in at reception and San Francisco 2 was ready to go so we loaded up, had a very quick trial run and were on our way by 12:15. We couldn’t believe our luck at such an early departure as the last time we hired it was 3pm.

Headed down the Ant in lovely warm sunshine, mum helmed across Barton Broad and managed to avoid ramming the island so I could sort out a few bits and pieces. We made it to Acle and snagged a nice spot between two empty Horizon Craft so no noisy neighbours – mum tends to snore a bit :razz:


I wandered up to the Bridge Inn to book a table and thought it would be rude not to have a pint of Adnams Broadside, very nice it was too! 
Mum had an enormous bowl of soup and I managed to clear a plate of hunters chicken, no room for desert but I did manage another 2 pints of Broadside. The food, drink and service were just as good as last time. We were pretty tired after a long day so were tucked up in our beds by 10, luckily mums bed is the other end of the boat and 2 doors away so her snoring didn’t affect my beauty sleep !





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If you check the rev counter in the photo the boat is only running at tick over so going pretty slow!



We had a warm comfortable night on board, nice breakfast of bacon sarnies and headed off to Wroxham.


The tides were a little high, Richos said San Francisco needs 7 ft for Wroxham Bridge and the gauge read about 6ft 9. Phoned the pilot who said no problem, his gauge said 6ft 11 and took us through with about 2“ to spare.  Confused.com !


Moored up and had the obligatory wander round Roys for some supplies that we didn’t really need and then onto Coltishall. Mum and dad always loved this stretch, when a cruiser became too much they swapped to one of the Summer Craft lodges so used to enjoy evening cruises in the day boat.  The moorings were pretty quiet so we took a little cruise up to the lock but it was extremely weedy, over half the width has become overgrown.  Decided to turn around at the mill stream junction and returned to the Rising Sun. Managed to get alongside just before the heavens opened so our luck with timing was still holding!

The rain carried on until sunset when the sun made a brief appearance before setting. Had a curry ready meal thingy on board which was actually quite good and spent the evening chatting and reading. Had to run the heating as it was starting to get a bit chilly, it was a pretty good heater as we had to turn it off after about 45 minutes so we went to bed nice and warm.


Only took a couple of photos this day so here's one of sunrise over Acle.


I'll have to finish off tomorrow night as the washing up is calling two guns



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It was pretty cold overnight but we were nice and cosy under our duvets and blankets. I plucked up the courage to run out and flick the heating on and back to bed for a few minutes until it warmed up a little. My mum is made of sterner stuff and was up and about already.


It was a lovely early morning cruise back to Wroxham with the mist and sun rolling across the river and the temperature slowly rising. 

I could see the river was still fairly high so we had another walk around Roys. For some reason my mum wanted to buy a frying pan from Roys, no idea why it couldn't wait until she got home but there you go! It was a gorgeous sunny day with very little wind so we just relaxed in the sun as we had to wait until 2pm to get through Wroxham bridge.


We negotiated the suicidal and blind day boats through Wroxham and Horning and onto the Ant.  Not sure where we would end up as long as we made it passed How Hill so we did not have too far to go in the morning.

Once through Ludham Bridge we raised the canopy as kit was starting to get a little chilly.  Clive took some stick about the amount of turns on the winch but I think it's just geared so 82 year old grannies can operate it.  :grin:


Lots of wild moorings were taken and Irstead was also full so we stopped at Barton Turf where there were only a couple of hire boats and a single private boat.

I could see the couple on the private boat were looking with some concern at a hire boat approaching their pristine Alpha 31. Having been boating since I could walk, working at a hire yard for 10 years and the last 13 years at Volvo Penta I have a little experience of boat handling, rubbish at anything else though.  So I cruised slowly past, did a smart U turn and came alongside the mooring in front of them as if I was on rails.  They looked quite shocked and I was pleased I hadn’t mucked it up as is normally the case when you have an audience!


Now Mum has been coming to the Broads every year, sometimes twice, since 1952.  I’ve been coming along since birth until about 18 and then every 2/3 years since.  We worked out that, as far as are aware, Barton Turf is the only location we haven’t stopped at in all these visits.  I had a wander along the now famous boardwalk, (see Paddy's Lane thread!), over to Cox's boatyard and back to stretch my legs a little.  We ate on board again as we seemed to have picked up quite a lot of nosh from Roys and it was too far for mum to walk to Neatishead.







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After a warmer night we were up at dawn, had breakfast and proceeded the last 20 mins or so back to Richardsons.  While cruising along Mum did some tidying up and cleaning, (I knew there was a good reason for bringing her), my packing took about 5 seconds and consisted of stuffing everything into my holdall.

Fuel was checked, bags dumped in the car and we were on the way home.  Back down to earth with a bump after being held up by two accidents and getting stuck behind a tractor on the new dual carriageway A11 at Elvedon but with only 1 lane open each way - took 3 hours to Bushey!  Dropped mum off, had a coffee and then another 1 ½ hrs up the M40 to home in Warwick.  Just got back in time to collect the kids from school, my daughter gave me a look as if to say “oh your back then?”.  My son gave me a huge hug and said he’d missed me.  Mmmm, maybe I could get away with a lads weekend on the Broads with my son, I need to think of a cunning plan to convince my wife!

As for San Francisco 2 itself, yes you can hire boats from some yards that are in immaculate condition – Summer Craft and Royalls spring to mind.  Summer Crafts AF32 was moored near us at Barton and it looked about 1 year old!  San Francisco must be at least 25 years old now but was clean, tidy and good value for money. 

We had no problems apart from a dripping stern gland annoying my mother at night – but pretty much everything annoys her these days, I have 3 children; my mum seems to be becoming the 4th! Some of the steps were a little high for her but we wanted a centre cockpit as you get better views.

My only real issue is that the saloon lights are mounted on the rear wall, they tend to shine in your eyes and made reading a bit tricky, plus there were only 2 so the saloon is a bit gloomy.  It really needs 4 lights mounted in the roof with a power cable for the sliding roof.
I struggled to get the wifi dongle to work very well and found it was better to use my phone to set up wireless hotspot.  I had very weak signals in Acle and Coltishall but a very good signal at Barton Turf on O2.

Now has anyone got any tips on how to convince my wife to let my son and I out for a long weekend over the Easter school holidays??





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Great write up Neil

Glad you both enjoyed it

One of the reasons we hired the Magic Gem this time was because it was all on the level for mum and she had good all round vision, we usually have a centre cockpit or fly bridge type........ In fact we have already booked a Broadland Mercury (which looks similar to the boat you had) for next September

Thanks for sharing....... Nice pics too


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Hi Neil, 


Thank you once again for such a great holiday tale and the pics are lovely


As regards on tips to get away at Easter with your son, my Husband and two sons often go on a weekend fishing trip without me, my hubby soft soaps me with things like "Wouldn't it be lovely and peaceful for you to have a husband and child free weekend and a bit of R & R", what the crafty so and so doesn't know is all though I protest a little bit (have to make him feel a bit guilty Lol) I have a blast with my girlfriends coming over and lots of wine consumed.


I guess what I am trying to advise you is that your wife would probably love a weekend off, throw in some wine and choccies and you should be fine  :naughty: good luck



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Thanks for the tips Gracie.  I have a son who is 8 and two daughters at 1 and 7, think I would struggle a little on my own with this lot !


My brother and sister in law are up with their brood tomorow, he's alway fancied a Broads trip so I can see a plan forming !

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Great write up Neil, thank you and some good pictures. You'll recall my tale about the winch on San Francisco 1 and I see you also had fun with it! I agree it's a great value boat. You were lucky to get under Wroxham as the water was a bit higher at the end of May and the pilot refused us.

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"Now has anyone got any tips on how to convince my wife to let my son and I out for a long weekend over the Easter school holidays??"


Advise SWMBO that it is a bonding thing, that has to take place afloat. Worked for me I will be afloat with son and 3 grandsons over half term



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