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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Hire Boats Q & A / The Opel Gem
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Posted By Discussion Topic: The Opel Gem

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philipt740
May-25-2016 @ 8:09 AM                           Permalink
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Fens Fatale
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Morning all

If our party suddenly increases, which could happen at anytime we don't want to be stuck on a small craft.  This craft will offer 2 couples a reasonable amount of privacy.  If numbers increased to 6 people we could still cope for a long weekend.

Anybody got 1st hand experience of Richardson's Opel Gem, ie handling, ease of access etc.  There's no front well to swing your legs into and no stern entry and was thinking I might find it awkward.

Thank you in advance.

This message was edited by philipt740 on May-25-16 @ 10:35 AM


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BuffaloBill
May-25-2016 @ 8:35 AM                           Permalink
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If you would like to increase the number of people on
the boat, even for a long weekend, you will need
approval from Richardson's first and likely have to pay
extra too.

The older I get...
The better I was....!!

philipt740
May-25-2016 @ 9:15 AM                           Permalink
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We haven't booked it yet but both boat's are available for when we want.  One is a small boat for 2 and the other this one.  I've spoken to Richardson's and been told you pay for the boat not the number of people; I can add names as we go.

The price difference isn't worth worrying about so I was just trying to work out which to book; would a boat this size be to much for a complete novice to handle in the event we end up going-it-alone.

I'm panicking because I need to make my mind up soon otherwise there'll be nothing available. We can't get definite answers from people who said they were interested.  

That's family's for you  Smile  Smile  Smile

Paladine
May-25-2016 @ 10:47 AM                           Permalink
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Looking at the floor plan of Opal Gem, the berths in the stern cabin look to be more suited to a young agile couple, as it looks like a bunk bed arrangement. The berths in the forward cabin only have access from one side. Do you have to get up in the night? Who is going to sleep on the inside? There are steps down into both cabins, and steps to get out of the cockpit onto the side decks. On the plus side, the cockpit is high, so there is a better view over reed beds than from a ‘bathtub’ and some people find a centre cockpit boat easier to handle.

The other boat you said you were considering was Broads Suncharm – a ‘bath tub’. This will be quieter, as the engine is at the back of the boat, not under the cockpit. The rear berth is accessible from both sides, which is a bonus. It has easy front and rear access, and a bow thruster (which makes arriving at and leaving a mooring much easier). Once aboard, the internal floor is on one level. It looks like it will sleep 4 in more comfort than will Opal Gem and would be my choice.

You haven’t said how many might be in your party, but if you want to sleep 6 in comfort, I suggest you look at a boat that can sleep at least 8.

As far as size goes, Opal Gem is 37’ 3” x 12’ 6” and Broads Suncharm is 35’ x 12”, so there’s not much in it. IMO, Opal Gem is the better boat from an all-round accessibility and comfort point-of-view.



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boat-mad
May-25-2016 @ 10:59 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Philip,

Opal Gem.Features.
37 ft x 12 ft
Sleeps 4 + 2

Raised centre cockpit with good all round vision, also making reversing easier.

Broads Suncharm Features.
35ft x 12 ft.
Sleeps 2+2

Single floor level throughout. In addition to no stepping up and down on board I find single level boats seem much more roomy.

Front steering.  Good forward vision but restricted to the rear.

Bow thruster for ease of mooring, leaving moorings and turning the boat around.

Rear access for easier mooring and boarding from the stern.

Walk around bed so no need to clamber over your partner should you need to get up in the night.

Split sliding canopy over saloon. If sunny but a bit windy can have 1 side open and the other closed.

Looks to be a newer boat than Opal Gem.

I would personally ask for a definite answer from friends or family.  You could be disappointed that you hired a far less comfortable and suitable boat for nothing. Cheers

P.S Sorry if I have repeated stuff already stated but was in process of typing the post. Smile

Kind Regards
Alan...
www.mynorfolkbroadsboating.co.uk/


This message was edited by boat-mad on May-25-16 @ 11:11 AM

PizzaLover
May-25-2016 @ 12:20 PM                           Permalink
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I'm a fan of these old Connoisseirs - and the newer ones (some of which I think are at Herbert Woods.)

I've had Opal Gem several times.
If you're concerned that it is too small, take a look at the Fairways and Preludes - they are the same design as Opal Gem but with another cabin. Check the bed layout in the aft cabins - some have doubles and some have crossover bunks.

The boats are very easy to handle, and the internal layout is great - the whole of the "saloon" is open when the roof is back, and the galley is very usable.

The engine is in the back, and much better silenced than before, so it's pretty quiet.

I think that the only design flaw is access to and from the boat.
Access is from the side... with fairly steep steps into the saloon... and the side of access changes when the roof is down.
If you are moored stern-on with the roof up, it's not too bad to walk along the port side of the boat holding the rails and then take the steps down, but if the roof is down then you need to go down the starboard side, and there's nothing to hold on to.


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philipt740
May-25-2016 @ 1:59 PM                           Permalink
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So to be 100% sure of having something to hold on to the roof will need to be closed when we moor-up.  I can live with that; thanks for your answer.

boat-mad
May-25-2016 @ 6:34 PM                           Permalink
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Philip,

As you are pretty local you could contact Richardson's and maybe they would agree a day and time for you to have a look on board some boats.

Kind Regards
Alan...
www.mynorfolkbroadsboating.co.uk/


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