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The Norfolk Broads Forum / General Chat / Tips for First Timers with Kids Please
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Tips for First Timers with Kids Please

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danjamben
Jun-22-2005 @ 12:01 AM                           Permalink
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Hi, I've been browsing this forum for a few weeks now as I start my holiday on 25th June. (This Saturday!!!) I've found it very interesting and informative, thank you all. I went on the broads first in about 1980 as a an 11 year old boy with my dad and a group of his friends. If memomory serves me correctly, we were on Santa Maria from Harvey Eastwood at Brundall? This week will be the first time I've been since and it will be my first time as "skipper"!

I've been wanting to do this for a while and as a single man, I asked a single mother friend of mine and her two kids to come along and be my crew. Now, as we are not a couple, and as the kids are a boy of 10 and a girl of 12, I thought it best if everyone had their own cabin. It was this criteria and the desire to have a playstation for the kids in case of bad weather, that led me to finally plump for "Lady of the Lake from TopCraft at Oulton Broad. (That and the fact that it was reduced by about £300!) (I've also discovered that this is an Aquafibre 42 thanks to Dan Horner's website)

Now, I have read all the threads with tips for first timers on here. I've been trying to take in all the useful tips on mooring, bridges, tides, speed, alcohol etc. I've also enjoyed scouring the pub forums and planning which ones to visit. I have purchased the books "complete guide to the Broads" , "Cruising Guide to Inns and Taverns The Norfolk Broads" and also the seemingly excellent Geo Projects Broads chart.

I guess what I'm leading uo to is that I still have a few anxieties which revolve mainly about my completely inexperienced and predominantly child crew on such a big (42ft) boat. (I have had limited experience of yachting at least, but not as skipper)
I could really use a little more detailed advice on how to handle mooring and casting off. I certainly intent to make sure they have the benefit of the safety tips I have learned such as stepping not jumping from the boat, and not attempting to fend off with limbs. The plan I have in my head is for the mother the step of the bow first and secure the boat, the 12 year old daughter to step off second and catch the line thrown by the 10 year old from the stern. Is this the the right way to do it, or is there a better way? Also would it be best if everyone had set roles in this respect, or would it be a better idea to rotate roles so everyone gets experience of each other's jobs? Should I let mother have a go at parking it sometime bearing in mind that I will be the one who has hopefully gotten most used to the handling of the boat as I will be doing most of the steering?

Just one last question, would I be correct in thinking that a spring line fastened on the boat would be the simplest method of casting off? I haven't found quite so many useful tips about casting off yet.

Thanks in advance for any answers you give. Please give us a wave and say hello if you see us next week!

I plan to write a ittle blog of my week and post it here. Off to post in the pubs forum now, byee!

Richard
Jun-22-2005 @ 12:40 AM                           Permalink
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There's a little known trick when it comes to casting off. We will be on the water at the same time on Lapwing. The trick here is to find us, and watch us cast off, then do exactly the opposite and you should be in good shape!

A Broads boat has a lot mass and even in a very strong wind or tide it takes a awhile for it to start moving. I tend to release the stern line first, as ideally the bow is pointing towards the wind tide.

The the person in charge of the bow line can give the bow a push to get the nose out, and off you go.

It's a good idea to have everyone try everything, just so they know where everything goes, but you'll soon find who's best in which area.

One od the problems with kids catching ropes is that they always try and be helpful, often reaching for a tossed rope that is not close enough, this is when they tend to get wet. It's no problem for the person throwing the rope to haul it in and try again.

danjamben
Jun-23-2005 @ 1:16 AM                           Permalink
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Thanks for the advice. I was expecting to be told I was mad for taking a boat this size out for the first time with a crew of just 2 adults and 2 kids!

Avatar of "Lady of the Lake" from Hoseasons website. I'll replace it with a pic of my own after next weeks cruise Smile

billmaxted
Jun-23-2005 @ 6:09 AM                           Permalink
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Right now,

AF42's are gentle old ladies with good manners so no probs. Unless it is pouring with rain come in and go out with the wheel house right back so you can see and hear what is happening.

I would locate your crew the other way round keep the Kids up front where you can both see them. Mum can deal with the back end.

You have chosen a good yard to start from, really nice people. They will be more that happy to allow you to go out take a turn on the broad and come back again and try it on the yard itself a couple of times I'm sure.

You might ask for an extra short line only needs to be about 10 ft long tie a permanemt loop in one end  and move to the side of the boat which will be against the bank at the back. Mum can then just step ashore and drop in over a post and walk up to the bows to help. The back may swing out a bit but will not go far.

If your Lines have eye spilces in the end show the young ones how to put their hands through the loop and pull a length of line through the loop to make a sliding noose which they can also drop over the post without the need for knot in the first instance the yard will show you what I mean if you cannot visuallise it.

Do not, I suggest try and go through Gt yarmouth on your first night or stop and moor where it is strongly tidal. It getts dark quite late why not make for Loddon? The wiggly bit at the mouth will certainly sharpen up your steering and it is narrow but wind and Tide don't have any great effect. If you want and PM me I will keep my service staithe free and you can moor here so you don't have to rush or be concerned about there not being any room Oulton to Loddon about 4 hrs so depends on what time you can set off. Alternatively do that the following morning and have a word with James Knight and reserve a mooring on the front at Waveney river centre where again I'm sure he will be happy to help and stick you on 'an end'. Loddon has Family freindly pubs and as the Landlady at WRC is a member here I'm sure you would be welcome. (Take a photo of the youngsters with the big fish if you do to post here)

I'm not going to give any more 'instructions' here much better that you ALL look and listen to what you are all told at the yard.

Well you said, "Aim for the green post!" Bill...

P.S. The worst that normally happens is that you end up with one end firmly attached and the other goes wandering off back away from the bank. At this point you discover the the rope at the front will not reach the back. (this is quite deliberate because also will not reach the propeller Wink  ) Learn how with a rope still tried to the post you can quickly tie together the bow and stern line with a secure knot to form a bow string. Starting at the fixed end you when just quietly walk towards the other and hand over hand gently pull the other end in.

PPS What ever makes you think you are going to do most of the steering and the others will do the running around? Evil Grin

This message was edited by billmaxted on Jun-23-05 @ 5:34 AM

Richard
Jun-23-2005 @ 6:32 AM                           Permalink
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And there, my friends, you have the answers from a real Broads expert. Does this site not provide all of your answers !

billmaxted
Jun-23-2005 @ 6:36 AM                           Permalink
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NO just the answers that 1 time out of 10 won't work Scared  LOL

Well you said, "Aim for the green post!" Bill...

danjamben
Jun-23-2005 @ 8:53 AM                           Permalink
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Excellent reply, thank you so much Bill. You've really helped to put me at ease with your thoughtful reply.  I Will reply properly later as I'm just on my way out to work.

Avatar of "Lady of the Lake" from Hoseasons website. I'll replace it with a pic of my own after next weeks cruise Smile

This message was edited by danjamben on Jun-23-05 @ 7:54 AM

Sloshed
Jun-23-2005 @ 10:23 AM                           Permalink
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Welcome aboard.

I imagine you will be surprised at the competency of your crew quite quickly. At that age it's amazing how quickly they learn, especially when aided with enthusiasm. One point I would make, when there are posts available is to teach them to wrap around the post as quickly as they can to avoid taking the weight of a 42 ft vessel ( possibly with the wind and tide pulling ). I'm sure I don't need to add ( but I feel compelled ) that life jackets are a must for the kids.

I have fond memories during that age practising knots and mooring techniques in the back garden, it was a great build to the holiday and every year I could not wait to try it out for real.

One last thing, as Bill pointed out, there will be a queue for the helm, gentle supervision makes for good fun, and being a passenger has it's advantages too.......  Cheers

Have a great time !


Michael.

Champagne tastes, Beer money.

This message was edited by Sloshed on Jun-23-05 @ 9:44 AM

DanHorner
Jun-23-2005 @ 10:43 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Dan

Welcome to the site.

Sounds like youve got the idea of all the things to be wise too, and Bill's advice is good.  

I'd add avoid arriving at the base close to the staffs home time.  We did this the first trip due to a nightmare journey and had a very quick handover with little river instruction which meant we had a few disastrous mooring experiences as a resukt before understanding what was going on.

I'm sure the size/style of boat will be ideal and no trouble at all.

Here's a pic of her I took last week (I really will get round to uploading these to the reservation side of the site real soon everyone, honest!)

All the best, have a great holiday.

Dan

This message was edited by DanHorner on Jun-23-05 @ 9:43 AM


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PizzaLover
Jun-23-2005 @ 11:11 AM                           Permalink
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As a family, we've done many cruising holidays, where those on board are:
- Me (an expert (hah hah hah))
- Mrs PizzaLover (who has a physical disability)
- Junior PizzaLover (first experience was about 6 years old - now an Able Seaman)
And we've never come to any grief (so far..)

All the advice on this forum is worth the read... take a hunt for the "first time guide", which covers many aspects. But to repeat a summary of (some of) the advice:
- Look about you (look at other boats, the current, wind)
- Gently does it (arrive and depart from moorings at a controlled, sedate pace)
- Moor into wind and/or tide
- When leaving, a shove off from the bank helps (but note that this is a prime falling-in opportunity)
- Plan ahead (everyone knows what everyone else is doing, ropes coiled and not knotted)
- Try to avoid shouting... stay calm

Typically, we would approach the mooring with the Able Seaman on the stern. Bill's advice about keeping young crew in view is excellent, but one advantage of having them on the stern is that there's usually more to hang on to back there, and they're less lightly to topple in if you do bump. So an additional responsibility for the helmsman is to keep an eye on the crew (this was easy on the boats that we've used.. I'm not sure about Santa Maria).

Anyway.. Able Seaman on the stern. Bring the boat in to the mooring. It's the helmsman's job to get the boat in close, and the Able Seaman is allowed to laugh, and refuse to jump, if presented with anything more than a 10cm gap. Put the bow in first. Swing the stern in. Adult hops ashore from bow. Able Seaman hops ashore at stern. Bill gives advice elsewhere here about a couple of loops around a post... crew ought to be able to do at least that without help. It's usual for us to be able to moor with just me and the Able Seaman doing the work, and Mummy reminding us to Beee Careful. (That's not to say that we're smart... it's more to say that it ain't that hard.)

I've only used spring lines to leave a mooring a couple of times. How to leave a mooring? Well, start by looking at the mooring ropes... if they're both slack, just untie 'em and push off. If one or both are taught, have a bit of a think about what the boat will do when you untie (and decide if that is going to help you or cause you a problem.)

When leaving a mooring, we would typically have Mummy at the helm, Able Seaman at the stern and me at the bow to shove.

We've always insisted that Junior Pizzalover wears a lifejacket whenever on deck. As such, it is an automatic thing for him to slip it on when we get close to a mooring.

I don't buy into the idea that only men can steer boats - so share it about. Having said that.. kids don't have the experience of physics that adults have... so even now, I'd be wary of letting my Able Seaman take the helm of a cruiser when mooring (and I'm proud to say that he's better than many adults.)

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