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Mon, 11 Apr 2016 7:20 am BST- Light Rain
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Wind 2.0 mph @ 40°
48.0°F/8.89°C Humidity 93% Pressure 29.65 (S)

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Apr-27-2016 @ 12:14 PM                           Permalink
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Just thought I would write an account of our first Broads holiday since 1993!
On booking a family boating holiday for July later this year, I noticed on browsing how cheap it was to hire out of season on a budget craft from Richardsons. So the wife and I decided on a 5 night break for 21st-26th April.
I've been really looking forward to it and reading lots of suggestions from this and another forum.
The weather forecast before we left looked ominous to say the least, and my wife doesn't 'do' cold. Wintry showers were not what we gambled on when booking last autumn!

We had a full hours handover which was a surprise compared to previous handovers many years ago - but I think it is good to practice manoeuvres etc.
We moored for the first night on Fleet Dyke after a leisurely cruise down The Ant.We dined in South Walsham at The ship which I highly recommend.

It was a cold night, even with the heating on, this old boat was drafty to say the least. The bedroom was like an oven though and became a place of refuge for the following days!
The beds on this craft weren't to my wife's liking,and to be honest were uncomfortable. We're seasoned caravanner's so are used to a bit of making do and mend and we made the best of a few sleepless nights to this end.
Day 2 saw us travel first to Ranworth, where i made a bit of a mess of a my first stern on mooring, mainly due to a strong cross wind, but it was reassuring to see nearly everyone else do the same.We topped up with water and then set off to Wroxham with a view to heading up to Coltishall.

We'd contacted the bridge pilot before leaving, who said he would see what the tide height was when we arrived as it was round about high tide when we were due.   On arriving we moored outside the cafe and took a walk into Wroxham for some shopping. I called the pilot on return who surprised me at having a go with Concerto up to the hanging chains. They were just touching so he left it for an hour and we got through at about 4.30.

Second night at Coltishall. Fairly quiet up there. Meal in the Rising Sun, which wasn't bad.
Day 3, got up early ( stiff back, neck ache etc!!)but had to be in Wroxham for 9am to get through on the rising tide. Had a super cruise down to Wroxham and didn't see a single boat either way on this leg.

We were hoping to moor up at Horning for a look round. No chance. I've seen the dicussions on Horning about mooring spaces. This was late April so I can't see us even bothering in July. We cruised on by, wishing perhaps we had nipped over Breydon Water for a couple of nights.

We moored on Womack Water staithe just after lunch and had a stroll into Ludham. Partook of a few Bevvies in the pub and watched a bit of footie on the big screen, mainly due to the piercing Northerly winds and flurries of sleet which kept blowing over outside.Due to the TV reception on the staithe ( BGT on the box tonight by order of the wife) we left the moorings intent on mooring on the dyke - which was full to busting!! This surprised us so we motored on to St Benets where there were plenty of spaces.

It was here that just before dusk I spotted a Richardsons craft ( Prelude) approaching from the direction of the Ant.As it passed, I noticed a couple of girls clutching the helm zig zagging down the river. I also noticed both stern ropes in the water and the lifebouy trailing on its ropes likewise.They made an attempt at mooring in a space 3 or 4 boats behind us.I decided to go and assist as they obviously were struggling. I got them in much to their relief as they openly admitted they had no idea what they were doing. They were also rather worst for wear, and had hit at least one boat further back and had a break down...( I imaging this breakdown was a stern rope around the prop, as one of the ropes had only 6 feet remaining! All in a couple of hours. They also couldn't turn the boats engine off which I had to do. Their 'captain' was horizontal on one of the bunks with her face painted with a variety of slogans of which - she was oblivious of. Most were not very complimentary.
I showed them how to start the engine in the morning and wished them good luck.They were obviously disappointed that there was no food or drinks available  on their chosen moorings!!

They left early next morning in the direction of Acle but as we set off to Potter Heigham I was relieved to see them moored albeit somewhat precariously at the end of Thurne Dyke.I was a little upset that they didn't seem to recognise me on waving after my heroic efforts with them the night before.

Potter Heigham was busy with boats but we did get moored on a quiet mooring with the rond anchors.The weather reached its zenith of coldness while we were here and we returned to the craft for some warmth in the toasty bedroom cabin before setting of to Fleet Dyke to kill some time before mooring for the night at Acle. On our return down the Thurne earlier, we saw a small motor launch towing 'Prelude' and the girls back towards Potter Heigham.God knows what they had done this time, but they still failed to recognise me!
Had a nice meal with some friends who live locally in The Bridge at Acle Sunday night.

Monday was brighter but still chilly. We had resorted to stuffing my mucky socks in the gaps around the canopy next to the steering position to stop the icy blasts,and one could only drive for extended periods laying down on the helmsmans seat as there was an air vent on the floor where your feet should be. After half an hour I couldn't feel my toes if the wind was in a certain direction.

We moored at Ranworth for lunch and ventured up St Helens church tower. Fantastic views, but bracing to say the least.We had lunch watching boats large and small trying to stern on moor in the gusty wind.Then set off up the River Ant, stopping for a walk at How Hill and Neatishead on the way to moor for the last time in Stalham. Had a fantastic Indian meal at Oasis which I highly recommend if you're up there. Although admittedly a Monday evening, I was surprised how much of a ghost town Stalham had become since I was there some 30 odd years ago.Probably the Tesco store had put paid to a lot of the shops on the high street.
Quick turnaround next morning and we were leaving Richardsons yard by 8.30am.

In conclusion. I Really enjoyed the break.My wife less-so.I presume because Concerto is an old boat, and at a budget price,it is not a boat I would like to be on in winter. The weather spoiled it for us, as we had hoped to leave the boat and do some walking, but although we took some coats and hats, we didn't expect to be wearing them in the boat! Richardsons were great as you would expect,and more than half of the boats we saw on the rivers were indeed Richardsons craft.I would say consider a boats heating system if you are planning on going during the winter months - especially if you like home comforts.
I can't wait to get back in July with my two boys, and hopefully my wife will be able to enjoy herself a bit more, without the arctic wind and sleet/hail showers.

I do wonder what became of the 6 girls from Rochdale though.    

This message was edited by steelman on Apr-27-16 @ 12:23 PM

Apr-27-2016 @ 2:16 PM                           Permalink
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Hi Steelman,

Thanks for sharing your experience aboard Concerto.

Yes it is a shame about the weather but I am still enjoying myself.

We are on Royal Velvet 2 and the heating is fairly good.  We are not cold. aboard with the heating on or in the sun when it decides to show itself.

The bed is really  comfortable and a decent size as I am 6ft 2" and can lay flat out.

Not cold in the night at all under the duvet and I pop up about 20 mins before we intend getting up and switch the heating on dive back under the duvet long enough to warm up a bit.

Better luck with thw weather on your next trip.cheers:

Kind Regards

This message was edited by boat-mad on Apr-27-16 @ 2:18 PM

Apr-27-2016 @ 7:28 PM                           Permalink
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As a sailor, being cold on a boat is par for the course! We always have some warm gear aboard, even on summer trips, as we have no heating on board and, in any case, have to be out in it to sail the boat! Summer evenings can still be a bit chilly and we like to sit out as much as possible...

As far as sleeping goes, we use three or four season sleeping bags and rarely feel cold at night! We had three nights out at Easter and felt quite cosy, although a draught from the companionway did make my nose chilly! The uncomfortable mattress would be much more of an issue for me...

Glad you enjoyed your trip, despite the cold!


Apr-27-2016 @ 8:14 PM                           Permalink
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I think a thick woolly sweater and some thermals would have done the trick - we'll be prepared for next time, If I can persuade her to brave it again out of season!

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