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Day One:


Watch day one of the Captain's Blog:



It had felt like forever since 2014 and my last visit to the Broads - I was itching to get on the water after what felt a long grey winter, however it was almost all scuppered due to me falling ill a couple of weeks beforehand.  I had wanted to join Griff and others lending a hand with Broad Ambition's bi-annual maintenance week - but found myself instead spending several days in hospital - after I was discharged there was just a week before Easter, things were very much looking booked up and going seemingly day by day - Richardson's had a selection either too large, or not the type I wanted to spend 10 nights on - forward steer boats and Shiela wanted a 'proper looking boat' a call to Barnes Brinkcraft found they too pretty booked up but with just a few boats available we picked Belmore TC - A twin cabin variant of Belmore and Regal Star.


We arrived at the yard along with just about everyone else keen to take over their boat or book into their shore based accommodation - everyone was working flat out, from reception, to cleaners and engineers - we opted to head into Wroxham grab some food and then do some shopping in Roys for the essentials.  I had a call saying there was a small problem with our boat - and while it might seem annoying at the time when one is keen to get onboard, have to hand it to them for checking more than just the engine before handing the boat over - a small leak had been found in the pipe connecting the two water tanks - the tanks had to be drained, new pipe fitted then tanks filled and checked to ensure all was watertight.


About 20 minutes later all was good and we made our way to the yard got our things onboard and was given a brief tour of the boat and then left to get on our way.  It was essential we made it to Stracey Arms for the evening if we were going to make it to Yarmouth the following morning to get under the bridges - even if it went all to plan we would be arriving an hour and a half after slack water and I was worried how much room might be left (the boat has a claimed air draft of 8ft 10") but as Ludham Bridge showed later in the week, it is certainly less than this.


Through Horning noticing how busy the moorings were at the Ferry Inn - double moored - and St. Benet's Abbey moorings were filling up too in the late afternoon - we still had quite some way to go and I know Shiela found the last part past down to and through Acle a little boring - water and reeds was the order of the day but she did a great job helming in a very straight line most of the way. 


Suffice to say we reached Stracey Arms with plenty of time before sunset and I made schoolboy error number one of thinking we were going against the tide, only to find we were going with it and wondering why the stern wanted to wander out into the river when we came to moor.  Fortunately the ever watchful and increasingly proficient Shiela grabbed the right rope, looped over the post and we were saved an embarrassing situation of the boat being taken 180 degrees round by the current.


Though there is the noise of the A47, it does not stay too loud for long and through the night was very quiet - first days are never filled with too much to report, it was a case of reaching our destination, unpacking and cooking dinner before an early night for I had to be up before sunrise the following morning waiting for enough light to cast off and head to Yarmouth.

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Hope you are all better now robin :)


I think you need to get your gf back in the middle of august when it's nice and warm and its dodgems time that will keep her occupied!!


Looking forward to these although apologies I may struggle to watch them all quickly. 

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I have to warn people that some of the Blogs will be pretty long.  I did think about making episodes like ‘day 2 part 1’ and then 'day 2 part 2’ and so on, but this could get complicated so have decided to just do as single days as usual and leave it up to you to watch when you have the time.


I am also editing in AVCHD with huge files sizes and data rates and rendering is taking the best part of a day (but the quality of video is very good).  So they will come along as and when I am able to do it - good news is as the trip unfolds I get better and voice begins to work more thus I talk more (not sure that’s so good of a thing haha) and things get a bit more interesting!

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you won't hear any complaints from me about the length of the videos Robin. :party: ... it's been a long winter


personally I think it would spoil the effect if you split them up.


the quality looks great by the way


looking forward to the next one

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Day Two:


Watch Day Two of the Captain's Blog:




Usually when people take over a boat they go for a short cruise somewhere, moor up and unwind taking their time to unpack things - however we had had to go on to the moorings at Stracey Arms from Wroxham if we stood chance to get through Yarmouth the following morning.

I was up at 5:00am, got the kettle on for a coffee to get my head awake and then the unenviable task of taking off the outside vinyl screen cover - fortunately there was no dew so I managed to fold the cover and stay dry. 

I could tell there was no mist - all that mattered now was when it would be light enough to leave the mooring and head to Yarmouth.  Low water was at 5:23am still very much dark - slack water at 6:23am would be ideal alas we were about an hour and half away from Yarmouth so I knew whatever happened we would be arriving as the flood tide came in but how much of the precious space under the bridges would have been lost by the time we arrived was anybody's guess.

I waited, and waited and then slowly the orange glow on the horizon grew brighter  and the sun slowly peaked above it - time to depart.  Shiela still sound asleep I cast us off and slowly past the moored boats, once past them and on to the 6 M.P.H limit it was time to put the throttle down and see what time we made.  It was good to begin, we (being further up the Bure) still had a weak ebbing tide under us but the closer to Yarmouth we got the less this was until we reached a point where it seemed we were neither being assisted or hindered - more revs were needed to keep our speed up, but the closer to Yarmouth we got the tide had turned - now slightly against us more revs were put on to maintain our 6 M.P.H - we were on track as far as time and predictions for arrival went.

Shiela was up and having a shower, soon after I told her about my worries to do with getting under the bridges, she of course took it all in her stride, but for me I kept looking at the plaque on the helm  8ft 10" is declared was our air draft - I was sure it was less but even so how accurate were the bridge gauges at Yarmouth?  Time past and we approached the Yacht Station the first bridge gauge proclaimed 9ft dead - it would be close but that was enough - the next showed the same and at the first bridge which I knew was a little higher than Vauxhall Bridge I was truly in a panic - it seemed every so tight just passing under that - yet Vauxhall's gauge claimed an additional 3" existed under it, I approached dead slow and Shiela was outside looking up ready to shout (or so I hoped she would) if we were not going to make it - silence from her and I edged under - no scraps, straighten up and we were through only for Shiela to come in excitedly saying we had about 'this much' showing me her fingers - about 3 inches to spare!

I could relax all was good and we turned at the yellow post and I took the boat under Breydon Bridge and then let Shiela take over on Breydon.  After a few minutes I knew she was comfortable and enjoying the experience keeping to a very steady course and loving the fact we could now open the throttle fully - by GPS we were hovering between 9 M.P.H and 10 M.P.H (when it flickers to the higher number chances are we are north of 9.5 M.P.H).  With the tide now behind us helping us along we left the other cruisers in our wake and I enjoyed a rare treat to actually take in Breydon from the rear of the boat - the noise the engine and prop made was a great almost perfectly tuned note coupled with the turbulent water - this boat sure was good.

Shiela was happy and doing a great job at the helm despite the boat's steering not being hydraulically actuated, and thus becoming very light at speed she was slow and steady on the wheel and as the video shows kept things straight like a pro.  I took over at the end of Breydon and ournext point of call would be Reedham.  A bit of a wobbly moment when the Ranger wanted us between two large private boats but I wanted to go between two hire boats instead.  I also needed to call Barnes about our charging and battery issue - things were not feeling quite right and as it turned out they indeed were not, a battery had a cell go and it was dragging the others down - they replace their batteries now with Rolls branded batteries and they sure ain't cheap - in fact the engineer told me over the winter two of their boats had £25,000 spent on refurbishments and over a tonne of batteries put in!

Breakfast had, walk around Reedham and chats with fellow boaters at the quay it was time to move on - destination Surlingham were we would be having our evening meal at the Ferry House (frankly to my mind Broadlands best pub for atmosphere and food).

Shiela took us past the Chain Ferry and I took over to take us the rest of the way, it was not a very bright day but it was mild and having company made the long trip pass without feeling a drag - Shiela spending most of her time if not at the helm on her Mac watching Big Bang Theory, still whatever makes you happy when afloat.

And so we arrived at the pub, and a note of caution the quay heading is not the best here so be careful and it is also a  good idea to actually tie your ropes to the posts unlike our later arriving neighbour from Alpha Craft who simply wrapped the rope round and round the post and hoped friction would do the rest!

A great night was had in the pub, really yummy food and to cap it off some live music from an eclectic group of musicians and equally interesting instruments - it was well after 10:00pm when we left and I at least had a bit of a wobble back to the boat - Shiela playing it safe and not drinking alcohol  could hold the torch steady for me.  However do I cope when I am on my own!  And so to bed it was after a long day but one that had taken us to somewhere really very lovely.

Edited by LondonRascal
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Hi Robin,


I see you have been to Regent Street and Oxford Street, to revamp your boating wardrobe. Blue really suits your complextion :naughty:  I hope that poor old voice of yours is back to full working order. :)


Hurry up, SWMBO is waiting to view the next one. :naughty:


cheers Iain

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Day Three:


Watch Day Three of the Captain's Blog:




I was up pretty early and getting ready - occasionally peering out of the window and noting that the weather had taken a real turn for the worse - gone were the cloudless skies and in their place a real chill had arrived and outside was gloomy, low grey cloud and looking like it could rain at a moments notice.

We had overnighted at the Ferry House, Surlingham and after I had made do with a shave in luke warm water left from the previous evenings engine running I was none the less pleased I had not disturbed anyone - then around half seven our neighbours engine coughed into life and the peace was shattered.  I have to say that Belmore TC like several other boats I had hired from Barnes Brinkcraft benefit from a double waterlock silencer a larger device close to the exhaust outlet on the engine and then a smaller one just before the water and exhaust gases are ejected from the boat. The result outside is a very muffled note of the engine and just the splash of the ejected water into the river.

Soon Shiela was up too and as another boat had started their engine so I did too to get things heating up for she would not be making do with anything other than hot water.  Kettle on I sat down and looked at the tide table - it was about an hour from low water at Norwich which seemed ideal - we would have no issue with any bridges on the way in - it was further decided that on a chilly grey day the seaside at Yarmouth was not going to be a good bet.  So we decided to go around the Cathedral and then do some shopping and stop off for lunch before returning to the boat.

After breakfast it was time to head the short distance into Norwich - I do love how even very close to the centre it is still very much countryside and serenity and really only changes suddenly into a more urban environment once you approach Trowse Bridge and head under the main train lines.  I still have yet to walk along to some of the places one passes on the river - but they do look nice and I am surprised how relatively speaking so few boats make the trip into such a varied and pretty city.

We arrived at the Yacht Station just as fine rain began to fall, it would be repeated again later int he day but I still had not figured out how to moor gracefully in Belmore.  On boats like Omega, and Royale one could approach a mooring at tick over, move into neutral and steer away from the bank - go astern brining the boat to a stop and having the last few feet of the stern gently touch the quay and thus also bring the bow in all in a single move.  Belmore on the other hand was a different beast - when one performed this same manoeuvre the boat would come to a halt then immediately (and rather quickly) go sideways into the quay.  While it was a case of the fenders doing their job I was not happy because this was not something I was used to having happen preferring a more civil arrival to a mooring.  While my approach to and departure from moorings is one might say different, often it is because I am alone so don't have the benefit of someone to aid with ropes or pushing the boat away as one leaves.

My plan originally was to moor in Norwich overnight - Shiela's train was not until 7:00pm so it made sense, however upon talking to the Ranger at the Yacht Station he offered to sell me a day ticket for £5.00 see how we felt and if we came back and the there was room (if 10ft shows at the Town Bridge then about 9ft will be showing at Trowse Bridge) we could head back down river and moor somewhere quieter and get a cab back to the station later. We left the boat and went exploring - finding very shortly a way to the Cathedral and my goodness what a sight this is.  I thought some filming was going on to begin but it was because of the Peregrine Falcon's which have nested on a platform pretty far up the spire of the Cathedral.  The Hawk & Owl Trust had a selection of spotting scopes aimed so one could see - my 'old Blog camera' however proved rather capable of zooming in to where the platform was, though no birds were spotted.

We then entered the Cathedral and I was struck by the size and beauty of the internal space - I am not overly religious by any means, but felt very much like I wanted to take it all in - to relax and think and contemplate on life on the past and the future and found it very beneficial spending some quiet time there.  I then got the camera out to try and capture some of the scenes, and it was not before long that an announcement was made a service would be starting shortly - then the grand Organ came to life the most amazing thing was the way the sound seemed to come from every direction at equal volume - really special and pleased could capture its sound while there.

We left the Cathedral and went looking about - spotting a nice hotel, a good selection of places to eat and noticed too the great many specialist shops past the usual high street brands Norwich has to offer.  I popped into the Coleman Mustard shop and then we went to Café Nero and divulged in a luxurious hot chocolate.  Norwich has a great deal to offer be it in the day for shopping, for places to eat - or in the evening for drinking and clubbing and will need some more time spent in future to take it all in.

We got back to the boat not long before Norwich Football Club were playing at home (whom they were playing I know not) but what I did was the tide had come in and there was less than 10ft at the Town Bridge - with 8ft 10" indicated on our plaque at the helm I did not want to get trapped the wrong side of Trowse Bridge and Shiela did not fancy spending a few hours alone with a lot of football fans in the city and so it was decided to depart.

We got under the bridges just fine - though Shiela shouting 'it is way too far' at Trowse Bidge did confuse me ok to go for it or not?  She meant there was loads of room between the boat and the bridge to pass under.  We arrived at Bramerton Common whereupon I once again cocked up the mooring and did the quick stop then sideways lurch into the quay.  After we were moored up I plugged into shore power but was confused why the volt meter pulsed and looking under the engine hatch could see the Victron Energy combined charge and inverter's light was flashing - something clearly was still not all ok with the battery/charging system on the boat but after a power down and power up it seemed to settle and we had 240v with the batteries being charged too.

I was looking at the fenders and lines wondering about how much slack should be left when Secret Lady moored and we had a little chat - later Shiela and I went to the Waters Edge Pub/Restaurant for a drink but found the atmosphere not very warm and far more geared up for food than a cosy sit down and a drink.  Then sadly her Taxi arrived and that was that, she was off on her own journey and I wandered back to the boat now alone. I then had the good fortune to have a chat with (and this is why I am really very bad) a lovely couple on their boat - but what the boats name is and their names I know not now (so sorry) but you had taken your boat down to the southern rivers, a real credit to you looking fabulous and I am sure if you read this you will enlighten me on what her name is.

Talking of boats and meeting people, Mark and his wife of Secret Lady spotted me and asked if I wanted to come onboard for a drink and a homemade curry - well of course I agreed and the curry was actually very well prepared in the confines of a boat galley, the conversation was good and I really enjoyed the evening - time soon rattled on however and I think it was getting on for, or even past 10:00pm before I was back onboard Belmore and ready to turn in for the night.  It actually felt rather weird, sad even now being on the boat alone  now Sheila had left - I called her to find she had not long got home - it seemed as if the moment she had gone home I was then spending many hours with people drinking and being merry, while she had a terrible train journey which involved a bus replacement and had work in the morning I felt guilty and it was not long before I was now in my berth - opting to move to the smaller single cabin on the port side of the boat.  It felt cosy and I was soon wondering just where I should go tomorrow before drifting off to sleep.

Edited by LondonRascal
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Producing this series of Blogs is proving to take far longer than in the past - mainly due to the longer episodes and higher quality of the video footage.


So, to keep those of you who like them 'fed' for the time being, here is a preview of Day 4 - Crossing Breydon is always good when there is a bit of a swell, but when a large Broom offshore boat heads your way causing a great deal of wash it just makes the trip that much more fun.  Enjoy.



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Day Four:


Watch day four of the Captain's Blog:



I found it a little harder to get out of my berth this morning, maybe it was as a result of the beer last night or just the very still and quiet mooring Bremerton Common offers.  It was strange waking up to a boat where I was the only occupant - but once up and got ready it was time for some cereal and coffee and a sit down to figure out where I may be going after all - I could not work it out.  Every idea I had seemed just 'ok' but not a winner.

I thought the best bet was at least to get underway and head in the direction where I had come from - go to Reedham I thought there I could top up with water and make a back track to the likes of Loddon, or head off down the New Cut to the likes of Oulton Broad or even head down to Beccles.

I left the mooring at Bramerton and before long was back in to the swing of 'solo boating' having all my bits and pieces I needed within reach not to mention the fact I was not talking far more to the camera.  Now I had between three and four cameras going at some points during this day, the problem was I had not synced all the time and dates on them - this only proved itself so important now I have come to edit the footage which is in four different file prefixes and two different formats in no order.  It has been fun trying to get each clip in the right order to which they were recorded and I have had to scrap about 50 minutes of footage just to stop the episode of the Blog going on for too long.

I could not help but pay a flying visit to the beautiful Broad that is Rockland.  On a nice warm sunny day this is the sort of place that would make having a rowing dinghy just perfect - set off with some food and drink and just explore the shallower reaches and not give a damn about the time.

Next on the list of places that would be cruised past was Cantley and the vast sugar factory  I like its almost cathedral like scale on the landscape unashamedly showing off what it does with pipes and vats and chimneys - rather see this than a bunch of wind farm windmills on the landscape.

Once past this I always think Reedham is not so far away, but it actually is and takes longer to get there than I give credit for.  When I arrived it looked full - indeed Brinks Jazz appeared to be double moored but a closer look showed it was adopting the new mooring technique I have seen and be party to: a boat will come to a mooring, use you (as you are moored already) to scrap down the side of and help 'guide' them into the mooring.  There was a smallish mooring near the Rangers shed, but as I turned to go back to that so a huge space became available when Connoisseur class boats from Herbert Woods departed.  Bugger me I thought, and spun round and headed for it.

My heart began pumping fast - this would be the first solo mooring I had done on Belmore TC and there was a syndicate boat - Lightening dare I get this wrong, and added to the equation two cameras rolling capturing everything I did. Well it all went well the current doing most of the work for me and although I was a little over cautious making absolutely completely sure we were stationary and agaistn the quay before I got off the boat I was happy there was not a repeat of the side way quay kissing seen the previous day at Norwich and Bramerton.

It was a quick stop as things go, I had something to eat on the boat, filled the water tanks and after more procrastinating declared we would be heading to Oulton Broad.  Well we left the mooring and under the swing bridge, soon the New Cut was ahead and all was going well until I suddenly turned the wheel to the left and we were going to the Berney Arms moorings!

I decided I could moor here overnight catch the 8:00am tide and be back north for lunch.   A long story short I arrived with a strong ebbing current but would prefer to more on my left side - since that is where the wheel was and I could see what was going on compared to an 'offside mooring'.  I did an initial test moor using powerful engine and bow thrusters Belmore TC is blessed with just down from the actual Mill and away from anyone else - all went well and I was confident I could repeat the same with a boat behind and in front of me. 

I then did the same manoeuvre at the moorings just along from the pub and all went well - it might be 'breaking all the rules' but it was successfully completed and I was moored up (far better than when I attempted similar with Jewel of Light last year with an ebbing tide).  So there was I thinking I was going to be here all night, when boat after boat came thru crossing Breydon - what was going on, it was two hours plus before low water - i took a walk.  With the binoculars I found I could see the advance height marker for the bridges at Yarmouth as you enter Breydon from the river Yare - 9ft 3" and of course getting lower all the time.  Back to the boat decision - go for it, get under bridge and it a strong ebbing current all the way up the Bure or wait till tomorrow?  Urm.. Go for it!

There was a nice swell on Breydon, nothing to write home about but I am writing about it here instead, once on the open water proper throttle down and she got up to 10 M.P.H with the current getting stronger from behind - the boat came alive, steering light, responsive and gripping the water than I spied Breydon road bridge was lifted perhaps for some sea going flash stuff that had left Berney Arms prior to my arrival - possibly, but I could see something big coming up towards me in the  distance on the plane.

By the time it reached me, it was travelling at far less speed but none the less the wake it produced was good and I steered into it, and was surprised how the light small boat that Belmore TC is glided through it without a crash or bang and remained very stable throughout.  After the fun of this it was much the usual crossing down to the yellow post where some confusion with currents was to be normal, but a burst of power and we went through and were now back on course and well against the tide and so began the monumentally long slog up the Bure to Acle.

I'll cut to the chase arriving at Acle after a long day I was pleased to find space in Horizon Craft's yard - and yes for those of you watching the video I was a bit harsh on the poor girls gearbox but  I am sure she has been through far worse in her times and I was not crashing from full throttle forward to reverse.  Moored up it was time to put stuff away, get the annoying vinyl screen cover attached to the front windows and then...head off to the Bridge Inn for food  It was packed - but I was found a small table in the bar area and despite being so busy the service was great and the food was spot on I was full and it was a short walk back to the boat and being off the main river in the basin there was no lapping of the wavelets at the hull so a silent (apart from cars over the bridge) night was had.

Edited by LondonRascal
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Just catching up with your blog Robin, having just got home from our first week on the broads. We didn't take our laptop with us, so had a lot of catching up to do on the forum. Another great blog Robin, looking forward to the next episode on Belmore TC.  cheers

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Hi Robin,


I'm loving these! 


Couple of things..


Not sure on the blue jumper ;) You need to get yourself some sailing gear. Mustos, Gill, Henri lloyds etc lol


It was good to watch your sheila aboard, she looked like she was having fun in the end and it was a shame to see her leave after the weekend.. more shelia :)


Also the new blog camera isn't good.. the focus compared to the other wasn't good lol.. stick with the old camera.  You mentioned about the forward camera having to switch it on.. Following your recommendation on another post a few months back you recommended the sj4000, and when i looked around I noticed they did a newer Wifi Model which I got and with the phone add it allows you to control it wifi signal so perfect for sticking somewhere on the boat and controlling via wifi.. maybe an option..


Ok back to watching day 4 (shame you didn't stay south but I've not learnt why yet ;) ) cheers

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     I have been looking for something similar. Can only seem to find them on FleaBay though.


Did you get all the "bits" with yours as standard?


And can you actually control and stream it to a phone/tablet without being at home near your wireless router? 

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Hi Mark,


Here's the amazon link:




You get all the bits including the waterproof case with it although you don't get a dash mount suction pad which you get from amazon or fleabay for a couple of quid.


The camera actually acts as a little router so it sends out its own wireless signal which you connect using the app on your phone/ipad/tablet etc. (apparently a few feet).


I've not played with it too much but I had a go and it seemed to work well.. Certainly worth they £60 odd quid and doubles up as a dash cam for the car too.



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I did not stay south as I wanted to go back north due to the fact that if I am on the southern rivers I tend to go there now because it can be exciting with the currents and provides good opportunities for footage for the videos – but once I feel I have that in the bag, I tend to want to go back to the slow moving easy going rivers of the northern rivers.


The new Blog camera’s focus is actually far better and faster than the old camera – but I was experimenting by having it Aperture Priority mode and a huge open aperture so the focus area was a pretty small ‘sweet spot’ too close to me and I was out of focus or too far away and I was. But the general footage, say on mini tripod is far crisper than the older camera.


I am not that happy with the SJ4000 because of its exposure being too much or too little – for example it will expose the image sensing the bright sky leaving what you want to capture as pretty dull so it’s relegated to the back of the boat for stern on moorings.  I used a new one on the roof with remote control which is what captured some of the footage at Berney Arms etc. It is a  TCL-SVC200 and costs a bit more (link here)


However this camera (link here) seems interesting.  WiFi with remote control and very much looking like an SJ4000 but for £50.00!

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