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The Norfolk Broads Forum / General Chat / Potter Heigham Bridge Height update
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Potter Heigham Bridge Height update

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Potter Heigham Bridge Height update| Potter Heigham Bridge Height| Potter Heigham Bridge Height| potter heigham bridge heights| potter heigham bridge heights|

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expilot
Nov-07-2006 @ 10:46 PM                           Permalink
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Give or take "a gnat's crotchet" a Calypso will clear PH bridge at 6' 10" PROVIDED the boat is dead central to the arch and is running parallel to the arch sides (which are not parallel to the riverbanks)  That said, because a Calypso has a very convenient foredeck, two reasonably sized adults sitting "oiut front" can reduce the required clearance by a good inch.  This advice should be ignored if the crew on board consists ONLY of two!

And to what does the 6' 10" clearance actually refer?  It certainly isn't the height from the water's surface to the bottom of the keystone.  I simply don't know.

And to Pete, if the pilot's gauge showed 6' 8" when you passed the bridge cleanly you can be assured that your boat will always pass at that height as indicated on the pilot's gauge.  When you're feeling brave try 6' 7" as shown by the pilot's gauge.  If you hear a metallic rubbing noise comimg EQUALLY and SIMULTANEAOUSLY from both sides of the roof above your head, you have just left a permanent mark on a listed monument and have two grazed handrails.  Your boat needs 6' 8" as indicated by the pilot's gauge.

Establishing a boat's required clearance height at Potter bridge really is that straightforward.  As Pete says, the cheapest way is to ask the pilots and, until you get used to passage through the bridge, £3.00 to the pilot is VERY cheap insurance!

"There are old pilots.  There are bold pilots............."

Broads01
Nov-07-2006 @ 11:34 PM                           Permalink
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Keep'em coming, expilot! Your posts on here are always really useful.

I'm guessing the pilots probably err on the side of caution (quite rightly), so getting them to take a boat when bits are likely to be scraped in reality is unlikely to be an option?

Simon

PeteSanders
Nov-07-2006 @ 11:49 PM                           Permalink
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Many thanks for the clarity in that post, Expilot - much better!! Smile

It is as I previously thought, 6` 8" on the pilot`s gauge then.  I`m happy with that again now, but feel much more comfortable with 6` 9".  As you said previously, that inch makes all the difference!

Pete

jamesbagnall
Nov-07-2006 @ 11:53 PM                           Permalink
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quote:"......
£3.00 to the pilot is VERY cheap insurance
......."


Hi Expilot.

As per your quote above - does this mean that in unlikely event of a boat being damaged by the Potter (or other) bridge pilot, the damage is covered by the pilots insurance scheme? Who 'owns' the pilots therefore - they were always referred to in my old hire days as 'the Hoseasons pilot' or the 'Blakes pilot'.....??

Best wishes,

James.

expilot
Nov-07-2006 @ 12:51 AM                           Permalink
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The pilotage service at Potter used to be operated by Blakes and Hoseasons separately.  Twenty odd years ago the two companies formed a new company to bring pilotage under one roof.  The contract to operate the service on behalf of the one company was awarded to Phoenix Fleet Ltd.  Pilots are still employed by Phoenix Fleet Limited and pilotage is just one of the many tasks expected of such an employee.  Throughout my years of service, no claim was ever made against the company's insurance policy.  It has always been my understanding that the same policy covered hire boats and private alike.  

"There are old pilots.  There are bold pilots............."

Gordon
Nov-08-2006 @ 4:26 PM                           Permalink
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Mny thanks for the advice there expilot and also to spider. The benefit of your experience is very welcome.

I will take your advice re spending the 3 quid it will be well worth it, it will also give me the opportunity of seeing the reality of the clearance, it was so much easier with the old aft drive elysian you could see what was going on.

The bit about the bridge not being parallel to the river is useful, info although I have already discovered it, comes as a bit of a surprise though when you realise it for the first time as I did.

Thanks again for the advice I am sure I will seek it again as I will from many others on the forum.  Been coming to the broads for the last half century but only as an owner for the last three.

WhisperingReeds
Nov-08-2006 @ 4:35 PM                           Permalink
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Hi,

I can confirm, that on very, very, very rare occasions, the pilot does ding a boat.  Frankly, I'm amazed at how rare it is, practically non existant, when you consider just how close the clearances sometimes are.  The level of skill, and sheer balls it takes to do the job should never be underestimated.  

As you probably know we are the 'wrong' side of the bridge (we like to think we're the right side, but that's for another discussion) and so we probably have more boats go through than any other yard.  (We'll fight that one out with Martham later Playful  )

In the very, very rare event of any actual damage being done to our boats, it is simply paid for via the pilot operators (Phoenix Fleet).  How they recoup the costs is up to them, insurance, swallowing it, whatever...

We are billed once a year by Hoseasons on the number of transits of the bridge our craft have made, they then pay the pilots directly.

I'm filled with admiration for the pilots, I know it's not a great money spinner for the operators, and as expilot rightly said, £3.00 to practically insure your tens of thousands of pounds worth of boat, to navigate that tiny little hole in the wall, is peanuts really.

I know it's a challenge to do it yourself, but unless I was d*mn sure, I'd be mooring up, buying some chips, then knocking on the door of the pilots office...

Regards

John



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PeteSanders
Nov-08-2006 @ 6:28 PM                           Permalink
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It`s certainly a big challenge to do it yourself, but one which I`ve enjoyed in a strange sort of way throughout the years I`ve been a private owner.  I`ve always heeded the advice given by the very expert Pilots, especially Expilot, who was always very very helpful whenever I went and asked questions etc.  The pilots of days gone by were always encouraging me to take it at less and less clearance, and I remember taking my old Safari through at just a tiny fraction under 6` 7", (roof slid back) with one of them sat on the foredeck!  Real white knuckle stuff for me!!

I suppose the enjoyment bit is the adrenalin rush, similar to a fairground ride, but it is however a big lump in the throat job though, as you approach the bridge, and why oh why does that keystone always seem to have moved either one side or the other, as you get about 3 feet from passing under it, despite however carefully you`ve lined up beforehand.  With the Bounty, I line by closing one of the front doors, and lining up using that, the mudweight cleat and the bridge keystone.  The throttle has to be set moderately fast (for good steerage and to draw water out of the bridge arch) beforehand and is too far away to reach from the lining up position, so once on the final approach, you are fully committed to it!

Unless there really is a good clearance ie. 6` 10" or more on the actual bridge gauge, I will always moor up first and have a look at the official gauge in the Pilots office: - just to be sure!!

Pete

Trevor
Dec-30-2006 @ 7:48 PM                           Permalink
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Today would have been a good day to go under the bridge as over 7ft clearence. As can be seen the level that has been has left its mark.

Trevor & Deirdre


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Trevor
Dec-30-2006 @ 7:50 PM                           Permalink
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and the level was still going down at 14:30 today

Trevor & Deirdre


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VetChugger
Dec-30-2006 @ 9:19 PM                           Permalink
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That seems quite a substantial fall. Is there any particular reason? Are we likely to continue to get regualar levels of greater than 6'over the next few weeks?

Trevor

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