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LondonRascal

Adventures with Belmore TC

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Day Five:

 

Watch day five of the Captain's Blog:

 

 

 

There really is such a change of pace and scenery as you go up the Bure and once at Acle you certainly feel like the northern rivers have arrived.  Everything is much more sedate, the speed limits are lower, the currents weaker and rise and fall of tides far far less and everything is much more compact feeling.

Leaving Horizoncraft’s yard I had a clear plan and destination – Wroxham.  I needed to some basic things, something to eat, some toilet roll and some booze. It is always wise I have found to have some drinks for oneself and a bottle of wine or two ready for the spontaneous meetings one tends to have along the rivers and where away from the rivers you might exchange pleasantries and a chat, it is customary to take things far more sedately on the Broads and a conversation leads to an invitation onboard a boat and the wine bottle is opened and before one knows it the sun is setting and calls are being made for more drinks to be brought forth.

The rivers seemed so much quieter than what I had expected and last seen before leaving to head to the southern rivers – many of the boaters had departed for home now the Easter break was over, and it was now mainly families left afloat as the school holidays were still in full swing.

It was an uneventful cruise to Wroxham, save for some sailing boats close to St. Benet’s moorings that made for a good change of scene and meant some wheel and throttle adjustment rather than the constant chugging along to a destination. Shortly after this one passes the mouth of the river Ant and everything sort of fits into your mind where you are and how long you will have to go – Ranworth Dam arriving shortly on the left, then you will be heading towards Horning.  For me this is what makes the northern rivers unique in that you will be able to see and pass quite a few places within a relatively short space of time.

There was a large contingent of cruisers and sailing boats about as part of a group of many kids some sailing some on the cruisers and all the time their group leaders were on the radio relaying wind information one moment and then talking about who has the money to pay for food supplies. I’d be meeting them again later rather head on for that matter too.  For now though I was enjoying the good weather and looking forward to getting into Wroxham.

As I passed through Horning I found why you need your wits about you – a silent running electric day boat had come up and was in the process of overtaking me on my right hand side.  Being high up I had not seen the low boat and spied it actually through the lower down galley window charging up the inside, once past me they ‘undertook’ another boat and then went across his bows over to the right of the river and proceeded to zip past a sailing boat.  You don’t tend to get this on the southern rivers. 

It was not too long and the familiar sights of ‘Salhouse Hill’ (as I like to call it) came into view – you know that line of trees high up as you approach Salhouse Broad from the direction of Horning. Passing but not going into the Broad I continued on next would be Wroxham Broad, far more open and larger making one realise hose picturesque Salhouse is.

Now came to my mind the situation of mooring in Wroxham, I was pleased to see space in the yard at Barnes Brinkcraft and came into moor faffing about more than I needed to but the job was done in the end – I then popped into the office to see if someone could clear a small blockage to the gas jet on one of the cookers gas rings leading it to underperform.   I then walked off into Wroxham and the world that is Roys.

Coming back fed and with more supplies to last me probably the rest of the trip, I found an engineer had been onboard and sorted the hob. Unpacked the shopping and it was time to depart to my overnight destination – Ludham Bridge to meet with Alex and Lorna of Braveheart. I thought I would get something a little different and had also got some cocktails – you put the pouch in thefreezer compartment and squeeze out the contents as a slush – i can report they are bloody nice and being on offer in Roys very good value.

All was going to plan having left Wroxham, cruised past Salhouse when on the ‘straight to horning’ I again came across some of the sailing group and a couple of their support cruisers – talking calmly to the camera I suddenly paused ‘where is he going’ as the 42ft centre cockpit cruiser went further right (to their left) then turned to come straight at me.  It was not a close call by any means but I had concentrated on his course and as he had passed I found the cruiser had sort of ‘hidden’ the sailing boat that was hugging the right hand bank.  I decided the best course of action would be stop – then as nothing was behind me, reverse matching the sailing boats speed and controlling my course with the bow thrusters so I did not wander – it worked well and in a short time the sailing boat had begun to tack to my left and I could once more head forward along the right bank and stay out of trouble.

Through a busy Horning, past Ranwoth Dam and then to the mouth of the Ant – once on this much narrower river it really felt so much calmer.  The water was still and the sun was doing amazing things as its rays came through the clouds.  Before long I had arrived at Ludham Bridge, turned the boat and found Jason, Lorna and Alex waiting – funny how when you have people watching and giving instructions you tend to perform the worse moorings as if you’ve never done such before and are new to the game – the wind caught me, honest guv!

Edited by LondonRascal
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Brilliant, cheers Robin!

Have been dying for the next one to come out.. been a tad under the weather and your vlogs have been a highlight..

 

Note for next visit.. Roy's cocktail slushies... :clap

 

x

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Great blog as per the norm - well done and thanks for taking the time to put these blogs together for us humble addicts.

 

Ok - minute 11:10 ref the lazer / radar / Ultrasound thingy to check levels of bridge heights - If you ever do become a boat owner - and I hope one day your ship does come in - You won't need such a device, Why?  - well one gets to know ones own boat inch by inch, and no doubt you will accurately measure your craft in various states of readiness, you will also no doubt be aware that some bridge height markers are way out of calibration - Wroxham being a prime example.

 

That reminds me, our new canopy battens onboard 'B.A' have a slightly bigger arch in them so I will have to do a re-measure of those, the brass plate onboard the helm is now wrong on two accounts it states the mast is 9ft - it no longer is as we extended it a while ago it is now 10ft 6" so I'll have to get that replaced - another job on the maintenance list then :pcwhack:

 

 

Griff

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Day Six:

 

Watch day six of the Captain's Blog:

 

 

Last night I spent a lovely time aboard Braveheart with good conversation, laughter and a mixture of different drinkies not to mention good food, but now I has woken to a gray, foggy scene at Ludham Bridge so was in no rush to depart, bedsides I was not on the northern rivers and it was time to take things easier and spend less time cruising (yeah, like that was ever going to happen).

As the time past so the sun struggled to show itself and burn off the mist - it was now viable to leave the mooring and head under Ludham Bridge my new nemesis.  I waited, then waited some more and finally I got to depart when there were no other boats coming as I wanted to stop under the bridge and get my head out the roof to see just how much clearance there was so I would have a fair idea how much leeway I may have with regard to the height gauge.

I find it truly appalling that these vital indicators are left to degrade to the point that they are unreadable at low tides.  I understand the things take a lot of time to install and likely cost a fair bit to have made, but the Rangers in their launches even once a month surely can stop by with a broom and scrub the muck off.  Alas now it is too late to salvage as the numbers are fouled so badly.

Suffice to say there was plenty of room under the bridge and now I was headed up the river Ant.  I stopped off at the moorings for How Hill and made a little error that despite the fact the current here is so slow, as the tide goes out it still does indeed run and it was just enough to mean my stern wanted to wander away from the bank as I came to moor.  I was not happy with my mooring but none the less it was time for lunch.  Nice crusty roll and cheese with a coffee and a slice of cake to finish it off.  Lovely.

It would have been lovely, that was until I had just put the cheese in the roll and put my coffee in the mug where there was the most almighty bang then a crash as my port side hit the quay and I was pushed off balance to the bulkhead.  I was shocked - I had just been hit by a boat and in a moment I had rushed up to the aft well expecting the boat to stop - but not only did it continue as I shouted to the crew, they looked back and said nothing!  Unbelievable - a moment later and I would have had the kettle in my right hand pouring the water and with the impact and shock for certain would have splashed the boiling water over me.

I've been nudged and scraped along but never hit so forcibly before - I ranted to the camera and then I had my lunch and calmed down.  There was no real point to report anything, no damage was done to the boat or me it was just as case of rudeness and people not taking responsibility as if they had not realised they had struck the boat.

Time to continue up the Ant towards Barton Broad - I noticed with some sadness how so many mature trees had been cut down or cut back so much all that was left was a large stump effectively.  Moorings with lovely tree cover in the summer now would be exposed, but this is a managed landscape one has to remember and changes all the time.

I named the Blog that accompanies this write up 'The Big Talk' because I do seem to talk a lot, and it was as I approached Barton Broad the need arose for me to have my thoughts aired as to the branding of the Broads as a National Park - you can watch the video to see what they are.  Now the sun was shining and getting uncomfortable to be wearing a jumper - I crossed a still Barton Broad with beautiful deep blue skies above heading to Gays Staithe where I could have a shower, change into something short sleeved and chill out.  Well I had the shower and changed but the chilling out?  Nah not so good at doing that on a boat I am too eager to explore so it was off to have a peek at Nettishaed along what always feels such a personal and special parts of river that leads to the moorings that is Lime Kiln Dyke.

After turning at the full moorings, it was time to head back the way I had come (well I actually had a peek at Paddy's Lane before I headed back over Barton Broad).  Not much to say other than I had a camera on the roof as I passed under Ludham Bridge and as I always seem to do, never took into account how tall the camera and its mount is and so almost lost the camera to the bridge!

My mind had now turned to the evening - where to moor, a place alone or somewhere close to civilisation and easy 'no cooking' evening meal out?  I opted for Horning - but by the time had got on the river Bure, decided Ranworth and so it was that I reached Malthouse Broad to find a full staithe.  Being cheeky I nosed down the 'side part' of the moorings to see if there was space, nut no it too was full so a quick reverse out and turn (Belmore TC turns very sharply in reverse either left or right) perhaps due to the 'tunnel' that the prop is situation is and how the flow of water then is jetted towards the rudder.

Back on the Bure and headed towards Horning.  I was now thinking there would be no room there at all, not a hope and would have to moor in Wroxham in a  boatyard if I wanted to not cook onboard tonight.  Low and behold upon passing the Horning Ferry pub there was a mooring!  It was not too long but I could fit and so a quick turn and came in to execute a lovely mooring.

So there it was, far from being an easy day of little cruising I had been all over the place, been hit and now would be able to relax have a nice evening meal and a couple of pints without worry of washing up.  It had been a lovely day, sunny and warm and I was thinking how pleased and lucky I had been to get the time off to have ten days on the Broads and not be thinking 'oh tomorrow is my last day' .

Edited by LondonRascal
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And another thought! Get up to somewhere like Coltishall, West Somerton or Geldeston where the water is so clear and you could add the underwater profile to your boat reviews!

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I too wish to do this in time, including under Wayford Bridge.

 

However I must confess to preferring hire boats that are anything but capable of going under these bridges which is a bit silly I know!

 

I've got the underwater camera and tried it out back last July on Brinks Royale but it was then so murky could not see much at all (that was on Bargate down near Brundall).

 

Anyway I am back on track so later tonight if the politics gets too much for you all, Day 7 will be uploaded on You Tube.  I got a bit behind as have had some issues to sort out not least a leaking roof again which saw me on said roof sorting that last night.

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Day Seven:

 

Watch day seven of the Captain's Blog:

 

 

It did not feel like I was now beginning my seventh morning aboard Belmore TC - the beginning of the week, getting to the moorings at Stracey Arms and then heading down to the southern rivers the following day felt so recent and yet at the same time so much seemed to have happened and been seen so what I wondered might today bring?

It was time to take a trip to Potter Heigham - was the pub open still, how were those chips these days from the chip shop and what bargains could I find in Lathams? 

It was not esepcialyl early neither late when I left the moorings outside the Ferry Inn in Horning but already those who had been moored there the evening before had all departed - it was a Friday, they must have been on a Friday to Friday week break or a Monday to Friday short break and were now back at their respective yards - yet I had 4 more days to enjoy on the water.

Of course reader and likely boater on the Broads, you may leave the likes of Horning knowing you are going to Potter Heigham and enjoy the trip - yet I was worried, worried you see because I was not really seeing much viably Blog footage to capture.  Very little traffic, not much to be seen other than the same leafless trees and light brown tinged reed lined banks and so between Horning and the mouth of the river Ant I have successfully managed to pack into the video 24 minutes of me talking.  God help you all.

But from my point of view the trip was lovely, blue skies, a warm gentle breeze and very little in the way of boat traffic - that was until we reached the river Thurne where some small sailing boats tacked slowly ahead of me.  I've really not ever been nervous of sailing boats, it is often easy to see what they are going to be doing based on the prevailing wind conditions and what they have been doing for the few minutes prior to you catching them up.

In this instance it was actually really nice to see them on the water, it added some colour to the scene and reminded me how beautiful and simply this form of boating is.  I did I confess wonder how it may be to sail just the wind and water providing the soundtrack.  However I would probably feel how I do when cycling, that anyone else not cycling is somehow bad and an enemy trying to run me over or crash into me - diesel powered cruisers therefore would be the same as HGV's on the road - noisy, smelly and god knows where they are going.

It was not too much longer and we came into 'Chalet Town' which actually is very beautiful albeit eccentric .  It really feels like you've arrived at a very special location where there is a waterway acting as their main road, and what you wonder will great you at the end?  Alas that is the problem with Potter Heigham very little is there to keep you - it is very much a stop off and move on place and yet to the new hirer it is mentioned so often in maps and guides one might expect there to be a little more to do.

I moored in Herbert Woods yard used their rubbish bins and then walked over to the boats for sale to have a nose about - some were pretty nice, some pretty bad and frankly how one can expect to get almost £28,000 for a Seamaster 30 complete with two Perkins engines that are increasingly hard to source parts for I know not.  Good luck I say, then again is £60,000 a good price for ex hire boats with their gel coats going chalky hmm I never would make a good broker!

Off to see what was new and anything that had changed - at the time of filming the pub was open still, and then over the bridge to the chip shop, £2.59 for a small portion of chips and a can of coke - they were luke warm, soggy and pretty poor to be honest.  You see they had fired so many chips and yet had so few customers - why not fry small batches, most customers would be more than happy to wait for fresh good tasting food than bland food that has been kept warm for goodness knows how long.  I walked over to the bench by the bridge and watched a few sailing bots head under - then a Marthams boat (I forget now which) lined up and with not much more than 6ft 4" on the gauge went for it.   My god the chap left it literally to the last second to duck down for the bridge - but it was certainly something to witness these boats being taken through like that.

I popped back over the bridge and into Lathams, their food area seems to have grown and there can be some real bargains on drinks.  I had a look at some of their other things and wondered how easy t would be to hoard great handfuls of stuff should you live locally - everything from slippers to hammers and a pot plant could be bought here and yet I thought as I left what a shame this shop had been let to go as it had.  If you look on their website your see photos of how it used to be, proud displays in the windows and now you can tell if it was to be modernised it would cost so much and I wonder how long in its present form it could go on for lets just say it has a well worn feel about the place.

Back out into the sunshine and to the boat - I took my time to unpack things and it was really rather nice sat the wind gently moving the boat, the roped and fenders playing that soft tune of a squeak and a stretch which is so nautical and timeless and can sooth away any stress  - but where I thought should I head to now?

I decided to go back down the Thurne and head for the time being to St. Benet's maybe I would head then up the river Ant under Ludham Bridge and to somewhere peaceful and alone that you get on a wild mooring - as it happened I left and Herbert Woods and found when I arrived at the moorings at St. Benets the moorings in their entirety to be empty.  I could not pass this opportunity up, turned the boat to come in against the current and the boat perfectly drifted to the bank, only to immediately be blown away from it.  Yep while the current was aiding me the wind was against me and so it took some time and bow thrusters to hold Belmore against the bank long enough for me to get off and secure her with the ropes.

All secure I made myself a coffee and had a couple of Mint Clubs (you know the chocolate covered biscuits) lovely - then it was time to do what so far I had not been able, feed some Ducks and Swans - of course no sooner have you begun than the rowdy Seagulls had arrived ready to take anything they could but also what surprised me was a large Crow - swept down and tried to take some bread from the water without touching it with its feet even, it failed but I had never seen such before.  It landed by the grass and I threw some bread to it - it was happy and at least did not have to worry about getting its feet wet!

Not long after I spied River Song coming along  and Simon and Sonia spied me - by now the wind really had got up and as they turned and came back (avoiding the wandering sailing boats) I helped with taking their lines, and like me it was a case of the wind wanting to send them away as the current wanted them to stay.   All safe and secure now it would be silly to g anywhere else and so we begun the late afternoon with a bottle of very agreeable red that I had got earlier in t e week from Roys (I do think Roys have a good selection of wines).

It was later on that we went for a walk with Dylan their beautiful Labrador and on the way back I was spotted by a follower of my You Tube channel - him and his family were aboard Melody from Richardson's and it is always nice to meet people who may have commented in a video in person.  Suffice to say the evening was spent on River Song in  good company making these broadland adventures all the more vibrant for you never know who you might bump into along the way.

Edited by LondonRascal
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Great blog as usual Robin and thanks for the mention. Hope to be able to buy you a drink someday as a thank you for keeping me sane out here in Saudi.

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Well Eric, least I know where you are from now and must remember instead of hitting record and then thinking urm..what country is it?

 

Pleased they are going down well with you :)

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Day Eight:

 

Watch day eight of the Captain's Blog:

 

 

After a fine evening of wine, good food and company aboard  River Song today brought forth the sort of weather you might stay in your cabin for - dull and grey.  It certainly was a lot different to the fine warm weather of yesterday.

I took time to get ready and then wondered where would I be headed today?  The wind was gusting (and pushing the boat onto the bank) so anywhere I went would make for an interesting mooring should the wind not be in my favour.   Now you see when one is alone you've got to do things a little differently than when you have one or two others with you to lend a hand.   The first thing to do would be to leave the mooring - not a walk in the park because I had to my front Bronze Gem and to my rear River Song with about 4 or 5 feel separation.  I had nobody to hold the bow line as I would clearly have to depart the mooring astern so it would all have to be done using a little skill and thrust.

I got off the boat and untied - I much prefer it when the wind is strong and pushing the boat on the bank, I can take my time, ensure my ropes are secure on the boat and get on without and drama or rush - it is all very much a different kettle of fish if the wind is blowing the boat away from the bank, for then the moment you untie one rope off the boat wants to drift.

Engine running, full left-hand lock and a burst of forward throttle - then astern - then forward - and each time I could go astern a little longer and get my stern to drift out thus I could then after I believe three moves at this go astern and out towards the centre of the river - clearing both boats without any risk of touching them.   Job done it was time to proceed up the Bure with the destination being Ranworth.

Upon arrival many of the boats had departed the Staithe but I was not sure if I should come in 'down the side' or at the front of the Staithe - the wind kept changing direction I opted to come in to the front and counter any drift with the bow thrusters.  As it happened Belmore TC really is easy to put where you wish, and with a good few revs on astern she came around nicely between two forward steer boats.  A  quick burst forward with opposite lock to correct the drift and a push of the bow thrusters and all was sorted - that was until I was off the boat and trying to tie up the wind was back up to its old tricks.

No sooner had I moored and filled the water tank than I saw on one of the electric posts (that served the moorings on the side of the Staithe) was loaded with quite a bit of credit still.  I moved the boat around and plugged in.  Now again I was unsure if all was well with the charging system - when I initially plugged in the voltage meter rose to 14v (more than had been the case with the engine running and the last time I had witnessed this voltage was prior to having one of duff batteries replaced).  But it would pulse and then drop off back to under 13v - something was not working correctly.

I called Barnes Brinkcraft. Shortly after the rain started - then the hail stones too and guess where I could only get a good signal on my phone - outside on the grass area - in fact the engineer had tried calling me back because he had not heard where i was exactly, so nipping out in the rain to retrieve a voicemail and call back it was all set and about 20 minutes later David duly arrived.  Used to working on Oyster Yachts he had been with Barnes Brinkcraft for about a year and I felt he loved his boats but not so much some of the annoying 'non-problems' some hirers would make a great fuss about and then find out a switch had not been turned on etc.

I was pleased I was not one of them and actually had a problem - the earth wire which appeared to be connected to the Victron Energy argo fet battery isolator was  not connected (the wire having come out of the spade terminal) - he got a new terminal, new wire cleaned the connections and and metered everything.  The checked the Alternator, the belt tension, the battery charger, the inverter load tested things with the engine on, off at low and high RPMs  -  pretty good service I thought low and behold with the engine running we were charging both banks of batteries correctly and voltage now showed 14v hallelujah!

An argo fet battery isolator in very simply terms is like a valve for electricity, and through some clever electronics a very small voltage loss is caused but it means that charge is directed to where it is needed and should you run down your domestic batteries, you won't also run down your starter battery - just wait until Day 9 to find out more about the argo fet battery isolator!

For now David had left, the sunshine had retuned and white puffy clouds had replaced the grey dullness of earlier.  I was perky, confident my boats electrics were not in tip top order and as the rain had made way for the sunshine what should I do - an explorer cruise was the order of the day and so leaving Ranworth Staithe it was first up to the Bure, turn right and head towards the river Thurne - and Thurne Dyke which I had not moored at for a long time - the wind however was gusting just as bad.

Belmore TC is a high sided boat with a planning hull and she is light, thus the wind caused one to have to keep concentrating where the boat was headed, but along the Thurne I found out I could drift, and thereby I invented 'Norfolk Broads Boat Drifting'  - don't be confused with the nautical 'drifting' as one can of course - no this is much more akin to the Japanese art of drifting cars - I could at certain revs and with the wind from the left turn the boat away from the bank into the wind and continue down the river under power but at a sideways angle.   Wow I thought how cool was that, until that was I arrived at Thurne Dyke and a 42ft boat was attempting to turn around in the confines of the narrow dyke. Of course with some boats moored either side as I turned to go upt he dyke I was very aware of drifting where I did not wish to caused by the wind.

Di you know Thurne Dyke narrows as it goes towards the pub?  I did not, well it does and so I picked this location to turn the boat - under power  - I managed this feet only tot hen be pinned once more on the port side and because there are no posts (only mooring rings) I did not feel confident to get off and tie up especially as the boat was being slowing push along the dyke towards the pub end of it.  Time to depart and head elsewhere.

Back to the main river then away from Potter Heigham I went to the river Bure, turned right and my next destination was Fleet Dyke and a look at South Walsham Broad.  This is a very pretty often not visited part of the Broads, indeed I have only been there myself a few times but today with the wind blowing it was not the most restful and quite of places but the intimate feel of the Broad and the lovely homes that line part of it was still very much in evidence.

I left South Walsham and back down Fleet Dyke decided to go to the river Ant - whilst blustery my thinking was get under Ludham Bridge and find a nice quiet sheltered mooring for the afternoon.  Well upon arrival at Ludham Bridge there was less room than the other day and I was not even at How Hill when I chickened out and turned to come back.  What if, I thought this wind held up tides and I woke to find I was unable to get under Ludham Bridge?  Unlikely but I got anxious and thought to myself 'better safe than sorry'.

Having just got throught eh Bridge I thought I would go back to Fleet Dyke as there are nice moorings there - maybe even a wild mooring?  Then I spooted Alex of Braveheart he saw me, I said something he could not hear, he said something I could not hear and between this and unpowered Hunters sailing boats coming from my left and right stuck against the bank or using a boat to bounce off I thought I better turn about, moor and witness the show to be part of it and find out just what Alex had said.

So with the wind gusting, I managed to avoid a moored boat on my left, a Hunters boat to my right, rest on t e bank, then turn and come back to be helped by Lorna and Alex moor - Phew!  Turns out Alex was just asking if I wanted to stop for a beer.  I did now, so we had a couple.

I left Ludham Bridge sometime later and head to Fleet Dyke - the wind now much kinder and being even nicer as I came to moor along the reed lined Dyke, it gently pushed me on the bank and I had plenty of time to put my Rhonde Anchors in and set my ropes - also with the help of some gloves, remove some dry Reeds from around the heater outlet - just to remove any chance of them being heated to the point of combustion from t e hot exhaust gases.

And silence.  With the sun beginning to set, but still a nice warmth in t e air I ended the Blog and just stood and watched and listened.  At last I was completely alone not a boat near me the wide open skies the rustle of the Reeds this was what it was all about. Back on the boat I got my Spaghetti Bolognese on the go, a nice cold bottle of white was opened and Rule Britannia blasting from the speakers - I was in my heaven.

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Lovely - thanks Robin!

Especially enjoyed the chat about inefficient inverters and tips on departing a mooring in the wind - have a feeling that may come in handy later in the year!

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Day Nine:

 

Watch day nine of the Captain's Blog:

 

 

I woke up super early just before sunrise as I wanted to capture the boat in the fresh soft light as the sun rose - then capture the wonderful warming tones of the sun as it came above the horizon - only it was dull and cloudy and not at all nice for capturing such - and so it was, back to bed.

For me when you are moored on a 'wild mooring' there seems something a little different, no other boats behind or in front of me and on the side the boat was against the bank of course nobody to walk past the boat and peer in - couple that with the gentle sound of the Reeds rustling in the wind and the boat moving slowly on the ropes and it equals somewhat of a challenge to stop keep looking out at the distant marshes and water and actually get ready and plan where you are going for the day.

I had breakfast and decided Wroxham would be a good place - grabbed the camera did a bit to it then changed my mind - Ranworth would be a better bet for there I could dispose of my rubbish and top the water tanks up it would also just be 'down the river' and all being well I would arrive not long after people who had overnighted there might be leaving and off on their own adventures of the day.

Leaving the mooring was a bit tricky compared to my arrival the previous day - the wind was blowing the boat off the bank, and with Rhonde Anchors it would prove hard to be able to take the ropes out of them, put on the boat, sort my ropes and then get myself on the boat all before the boat had not drifted off down Fleet Dyke.  In such circumstances what I do is almost remove the Rhonde Anchors from the ground and then in a swift action, take the bow then the stern ones and get myself on the boat safely even if the ropes remain tied with the Rhonde Anchors - for then I can sort such things out in my own time and not be rushed by what the wind is causing the boat to do.

Also when mooring at a location with a lot of Reeds and debris that float along and congregate around the hull I like to clear any that may be under the boat when in deeper water with a quick ahead and astern action and a pulse of the bow thrusters to ensure all is clear. 

I turned onto the river Bure and headed towards Ranworth which did not take too long - because I had been moored at a mooring away from others I had been able to run the engine prior to departure so all was warm and the heater had been on low to take the chill off - but things were looking good - blue skies and high cloud the only menace was the gusty wind.

Turning down to Ranworth Dam all was just fine and I was thinking about the fact tomorrow was my last full day and I would have to pack things away and prepare the Boat Review - how might I go about filming it and so on.  I could see to my left Ranworth Island and just as Carousel passed me I suddenly smelt a very strong whiff of burning.  I paused looked, sniffed and yes it was certainly about but I was not sure if it was Belmore TC or not - thinking something might be about to occur I hit record on the Blog camera.

Within moments of doing so and leading into the introduction of where I was and smelling burning I looked down to the galley and found it was indeed onboard the boat - there was smoke, pretty light and just gentle drifting out from around the fridge area.  I rushed down was it the cooker, no but turn the gas off - was it the fridge compressor - no - back up to the helm, now I was starting to worry.  The engine was running like a dream, but there was smoke rising from any small gap in the floor or fitments what the hell was causing it and where was its source.

I was now panicking somewhat because there was no doubt about it the smoke was more than it had been just moments ago, back down to the galley throwing open doors - was it coming from one of the cabins, I even looked in the heads to see if it was something burning up there like the shower pump - but no I could not find where it was coming from as it seemed to be coming from everywhere.  It however smelt very much an electrical problem, that horrible acrid smell that anything that goes wrong with electrics causes.

I carefully lifted the engine cover a few inches - yep there was a lot of smoke in there but the fan belt was fine and Alternator too no burning and no flames - back to the helm and with my heart pumping I needed to get to dry land quickly.  Ranworth Island was just moments away to my left, and so I headed for it.  Oddly despite the smoke my adrenaline and worries I did not go flat out for fear someone may see and think badly not knowing what was unfolding on the boat. 

Talk about a high pressure mooring, but it was all instinctive - how much throttle and when, the wheel and where to place it looking out the back, the side, then forward then back - I was not thinking I was just working on automatic by now.  Off the boat and I realised just how strong the wind was and within a moment I was unable to hold the boat and it drifted to the right when a chap hiring Swallow from Maffet Cruisers in Loddon came over.  He took my starboard rope and the both of us bought the boat back to the quay heading .  Despite saying I had a problem with the boat and mentioning smoke - he was just focused on the wind and getting the boat secure - always handy to have someone willing to help and they not knowing how welcome such help was.

Back on the boat with engine off I lifted the hatch which is outside and where the fuel tank and batteries are located - out poured white and greyish smoke and my god did it stink like burning insulation and resin.  Back to the helm I began (and I am not sure now what help might have been) cutting power to all of the trip switches but despite being told on handover where the battery isolators where this had escaped by mind and I wondered where they were.  I grabbed by phone and started to make my call - the engineering number saved in my contacts.

As it was ringing I was wondering what to do if things got worse - call the fire brigade I knew where things were to grab and where fire extinguishers were too "Hello Barnes Brinkcraft how can I help" said the guy on his mobile( for calls had been diverted to him as the office was shut being a Sunday ) "Yes this is Robin on Belmore TC.  I have an emergency but I believe it is under control however there is a lot of smoke around the battery area of the boat"  - well as you can imagine usually these chaps get calls like 'I can't start the engine' or 'the shower pump has packed up' but he was suddenly met with a possible fire on one of their boats "smoke!" he asked in a  very forthright manner - and I began to explain.

He was on a call out at Acle, but that had to give way to what I was now reporting  - he would find a way to reach me and be there as soon as he could.  I was now feeling a lot calmer as the smoke was now a lot less when I lifted the hatch and I got a torch and got down into the rear of the boat.  I then saw the battery isolators - bit late now but disengaged them - then I got back up into the saloon and lifted the engine hatch and got down beside the engine to turn off the still active (and live) Victron Energy Inverter/Charger which bypassed the isolators.  The boat was now electrically dead.

Back to the aft hatch and I could feel clearly heat radiating from the thick battery cables connecting the batteries and the ruined Argofet battery isolator.  This little blue metal box  is similar to diode battery isolators but FET isolators allow simultaneous charging of two or more batteries from one alternator (or a single output battery charger), without connecting the batteries together. It had failed rather spectacularly - the earth wire connector was just carbon, the metal cases bowed out int he middle and cable insulation had simply turned to liquid dripping down into the bottom of the boat and solidifying like hard wax.

I called the engineer back - David was his name and explained more about what had happened and with this information he knew he would have to stop back at base get another unit and appropriate tools and some new wire.   I could not do much at all - just wait and then I spied a Faircraft Loynes boat with a family on board being directed to come alongside the moorings to my left.  I had been 'rescued'.

We had a chat as he fixed things, about boats, customers, his history working on Oyster Yachts  and my very own Captain's Blog.  It did not seem like much time had passed before we began testing - me revving the engine, him with a multi meter and amp meter - then he checked the Alternator, the belt tensions, the wire looms and runs - the battery electrolyte levels even some everyday unconnected checks like coolant and oil and weed filters - and then we had a cruise about the Broad and he was happy and I was happy it was sorted - I dropped him off alongside another boat at the Staithe and then it was back to being calm.

After all that I did not wish to do too much cruising, and the wind - oh this damn wind it would not stop and it was getting stronger - 50 MPH gusts were forecast according to my weather App - so I left Ranwoth behind and headed for Wroxham.  Here I could moor back in the boatyard, have a nice meal out (or a takeaway) and put all the excitement of the day behind me.  The journey as regulars to the Broads know is not a long one, but with the wind causing the boat to drift this way and that it felt longer and ones concentration was always needed.  I popped into Salhouse, moored up and got some water before leaving, then a little way along into and out of Wroxham Broad which due to being more exposed was a little choppy - but the waves were not going against me so it was not as 'splashy' and fun as could have been.

I had just a short way to go to Barnes Brinkcraft's yard and upon arrival the wind was blowing across their basin - this meant mooring stern on once again would be a challenge.  The moment I came into moor the boat wanted to be taken to the right and would be happy to side on moor had I let her, but a tug of war ensued - me verses the boat and wind.  Every time there was a moment of clam I would heave the boat both along the heading and straighten it up - it took a good 10 minutes and with sore hands was pleased to have the boat finally secure.

Time now to put the vinyl window cover on the front screen and then  crack open a can of beer - what a day it had been reflecting back on things then I thought, if it is going to happen then it will happen to me!

Edited by LondonRascal
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:wave and  :welcome:  to the Forum Philip. 

 

Thanks for the heads up! Hopefully Robin will be able to update this thread soon! We are all impatient viewers :)

 

cheers

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Thank you. I'm a reader of this site not a poster but I'm a bit worried that the health and safety nutters have annoyed Robin

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Day Ten:

 

Watch day 10 of the Captain's Blog

Sorry I ran out of time to post the write up for Day 10 here before departing for another trip to attend the NBN Spring Meet.

 

I began early leaving Barnes Brinkcraft's yard before they opened up for business where I had overnighted.  Today would be an easy day where I would go somewhere quiet, pack all my things away and do the Boat Review.  This usually takes about 3 hours to complete going from cabin to cabin and getting the right shots in the bag so to speak.

Wroxham Island moorings seemed ideal.  It was about midday by the time I had completed the review and everything was packed and sorted for my last night with just the essentials left out, it was about this time I thought with the lovely day why not go on a bit of a 'cruise about' going here and there without any real aim.

First stop was Ranworth Staithe where I would be able to drop my rubbish off and go for a walk - I took a stroll down to St. Margaret's church where there was a great deal of Lotto funded works going on to repair the roof amongst other things and I am sure will look lovely when complete - it was such a nice day to be walking in the countryside the bird song and first shoots of new growth from plants and trees alike you had a real sense that spring really was just about to unleash itself.

I walked back towards the Staithe but the pub seemed an attractive idea - stop off for a pint I thought, but hey its lunchtime why not for food too?  So I did.  To be honest I was never a real fan of the Maltsters as a food pub - great for drinking but for food, the prices seemed a bit steep for the food one had, condiments from unbranded sachets, onion rings that were made with mashed onions not freshly prepared and so on and I thought much would be the same - how wrong I was.  Things really have improved my cheese burger had plenty of cheese, a nice side salad, fresh bun lovely beef oh it was delicious and I was so pleased I had stopped and given it another go and I suggest you do too.

Back on the boat it was time to head off again - but as it was the last day, I did not want to go too far so retraced my footsteps back along the Bure back to Wroxham Island - this a mooring suitable for just one boat with the expanse of Wroxham Broad to look out to from the mooring.  I arrived to find it free (I had been worried it may not have been) and then it was time to wind down and relax.

So ten days, so much seen and done - from Wroxham in the North to Norwich in the south and most points between - this was a true adventure not to mention some of the more eventful moments with the boat - but you know, it was a lovely boat so easy to manoeuvre, plenty of punch when you needed it but also would cruise happily along all day very quietly on the likes of the river Ant sipping fuel.  It was a tall boat, but I was really pleased I had chosen it and it takes second place behind Mystic Horizon as my all time favourite boat to helm, and live on.

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Thanks for another great blog Robin, really enjoyed the 10 day trip

it seems like ages since I watched part 1 because we had our own trip in the middle.

looking farward to your next trip already

cheersbar

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Hear Hear David. Thank you Robin for yet another informative blog! :clap

 

 

cheers Iain

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Just been catching up with this one Robin. You moored at Norwich on day 3 only a few minutes after us coincidentally. Just after you've turned the boat round there's my daughter and I on Bright Horizon 2 on the left, just adjusting the ropes having not long since arrived. Thanks for giving me a bit of video of our holiday I didn't know I had!

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