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The Norfolk Broads Forum / Projects / Delight VII (Water Rail) - a minor project?
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Posted By Discussion Topic: Delight VII (Water Rail) - a minor project?

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w-album
Jun-04-2009 @ 8:14 PM                           Permalink
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I am hoping that the next few posts might be of interest to those that share a love for the historic traditional broads cruisers.

I have actually typed this up and pasted from a word document - hence why it is so long.  I wondered about cutting it into segments but decided to leave the history as a seperate post and then subsequent project work (hence the discussion topic) will follow and be updated as the work progresses

----------------------------------------------------
At the end of 1965, Herbert Woods released several of their boats from their hire fleet.  Just  after Christmas my father  bought Delight VII (B77) - he paid £650!  This is a photo of her taken by my brother in the spring of 1966, on our first holiday.  She was in a very sorry state having probably had no money spent on her for several years.  

There were twelve Delights built and they ranged in length from 24 feet (as per catalogue) to 27 feet (Delight VII). Eleven and twelve remained in the hire fleet for longer, but I remember eight was for sale and remained at Herbert Woods in private ownership when we were there.  One became Jacqueline owned by Martham Development. Earlier ones were sent across to the River Shannon/Irish Canals as we saw one in August 1965 on our only Irish boating holiday.

As to Delight VII’s age?  If someone has any catalogues from the 1930s that would be a great clue.  The BA registration documents says 1934 but when my father wrote to the Port of Great Yarmouth & Haven Commissioners in the 1970s they did not know but stated that based on her registration number it was probably 1935 and this was the date I always had in mind. However, my father also wrote to John Loynes at Herbert Woods in around 1980, (we have both the replies) asking the same question and again they were unsure but ‘Roger George’ thought it was 1934.  My assumption is that she was probably built in 1934 and registered in 1935 but anyone can prove otherwise, we would be most grateful.  The catalogues will only be a guide though as ‘just because it was listed doesn’t mean it was actually built in time for the season!’  We have no knowledge of her war time experience although we do have a family photo of her on the bank at Herbert Woods taken by my father on a broads yachting holiday at the end of 1945.

In 1966, the layout was still as per the catalogues for an odd number with a single bunk in the fore cabin and two parallel bunks in the rear cabin.  The water tank was in the forepeak and the tap for water came directly off the tank.  There was a two burner gas hob with grill and I can remember it took 30 minutes for a kettle to boil!

My father renamed Delight VII – Water Rail.  The reason was the name was because of my father’s love of water and boats and that he worked on the railways.

In the summer of 1966, she was taken out of the water and had a major refit and internal re-design.  A second berth was added in the fore cabin - it was for not suitable for a tall person but was ideal for me as a 10 year old.  The aft cabin was redesigned so that a double bunk could be made across the end of the cabin.  A cooker with oven was fitted in the rear cabin and a sink with electric pumped cold water was also added.  The water tasted of rubber for years so we always had to have containers of drinking water.  There was no hot water!   A gas fridge and navigation lights were added a few years later. The toilet compartment remained unchanged but a cold water tap was connected to the wash basin and later an electric pump was added to the toilet until the day when we could no longer discharge into the river.....  There were without doubt plenty of new planks fitted.  We still have all the receipts for the work that has been done over the last 40 years which are fascinating to read.

For the first five years we commuted from our Surrey home to Potter Heigham at every opportunity, and all my holidays were spent on the Broads.  My brothers were older and didn’t come up very often although they occasionally used her for a holiday with friends.  We used to hire a lugsail dinghy from Woods, until we bought our own dinghy – a Fairey Marine Duckling no 221 which I still own.

In December 1970, we moved to the house at Horning and since then she has been moored outside.  She would stay there summer and winter and would only come out of the water to be painted.   She was still used for holidays, regular visits to nearly all the Regattas and I simply grew up with her.  My parents also helped with the Three Rivers Race as guard ship usually above Potter as she could get under so easily in those earlier years.  In 1981, I married and moved away from Norfolk but my parents still went away on her and continued going to Oulton Regatta for several more years.   A new diesel engine was fitted in the 1980s when the original Vedette petrol engine finally gave up. However, with advancing years, my parents started to use her less although she was regularly maintained beneath the water line!  

When my father died in the 1990s my brother started working on her superstructure.  He has his own varnished sailing cruiser which he has maintained since the 1970.  Water Rail was in a sad state despite the hull below the water line being in good condition.  Many hours were spent rebuilding sections of the cabin sides and without this work, she would probably not be here today.  It was at time that Water Rail started to spend her summers at the Museum of the Broads.

When my mother died in 2006 the will left Water Rail to her four children. My eldest brother had no interest in boats, the younger brother had a passing interest and myself and my other brother have a keen interest.  My children were growing up but we had bills to pay (university fees) so we all agreed that we would gift Water Rail to the Museum.  This wasn’t totally straightforward and it was agreed that initially for a year she would be loaned. At the end of the first year we decided that gifting wasn’t the way forward and she returned to Horning, when at the beginning of 2009, I became the sole owner of Water Rail, something I am actually very proud of as she forms an important part of the history of the Broads.



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Jun-04-2009 @ 8:16 PM                           Permalink
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Bringing her into the 21st Century
Although she has been maintained, and her last lifting was in the autumn of 2006, internally she is not really very modern.  A basic BSS was completed in 2008 but the cooker and gas fridge were condemned.  The toilet is the most revolting piece of plastic imaginable and the idea of a few days away on board her is really not viable.  Her internal varnish and paintwork is pretty tatty and she needs some TLC.

For the last twenty years she has been maintained by Ludham Bridge Boat Yard with credit to the staff who has spent many hours working on her.  With Jason as new co-owner, my brother approached the yard with a view to having some work done.  

On Thursday 28th May, she was lifted out of the water and a hull inspection was done the following day.  This was going to be the first stage of any work programme as until I knew how sound her hull was, I didn’t want to commit myself to paying a large sum of money on a potential rotting hulk.  With Steve, Jason, my brother and myself I was shown the hull and despite the need for a ‘few’ extra hours work, she is sound.  For her age she is infact remarkably sound and a credit to the early boat builders and the quality of wood used.  The following photos show her on the bank with a few of Steve’s arrows indicating where some hull repairs are needed.  No new planks but some filling and copper plates.  The rubbing strakes will need replacing in time, some are soft but they do not at present warrant the additional cost involved.  Her superstructure will continue to be maintained by my brother.  Work on the hull has been postponed as the weather is too hot and she will dry out too much before it can be started so she is being put back in the water.  

On Friday 29th May, Jason and I spent the afternoon discussing the work involved, a bit of measuring to realise quite quickly that a new fridge won’t go in the existing ‘hole’ so it will have to be put in the rear cabin next to the new cooker with some rearranging and the gas etc will have to be made safe.  A new toilet with stainless steel holding tank will be fitted but the idea of hot water was knocked on the head when Jason announced it was the wrong type of Nanni!  I shall continue to use the kettle to heat water just like in the late 1960s.

Unfortunately, during the years when my father looked after her, he was inclined to add a few ‘bits and pieces’ and the result is she is very cluttered with odds and ends.  I hope to remove some of these.  It’s impossible to return her to her original design but there are still many original features.  There were also some numbers engraved on the bulkhead but we couldn’t work out what they were?

What was the most fascinating and maybe help ‘Glimmer’ identify their Woods boat.  We removed two of the original drawers.  One had clearly in pencil on the underside Delight VII and the other had VII saft (starboard aft!).  This was real history!

Here ends my first instalment.  I hope it is of interest and Jason and I would like to keep you up to date on progress with future photos being supplied by Jason and his team.  She is easily visible from Ludham Bridge if anyone wants to see her.

For my part I have washed the curtains and they are already ironed and waiting to go back when she is finished!
Liz

This message was edited by w-album on Jun-4-09 @ 9:23 PM


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Jun-04-2009 @ 8:19 PM                           Permalink
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Another image taken by my daughter
The man in the image was on the boat behind!
Liz


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BroadAmbition
Jun-05-2009 @ 6:37 AM                           Permalink
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What a fascinating tale and a proper Broads boat too made out of the right stuff.

I'll certainly be having a 'look-see' next time I'm at LBB which is everytime I'm afloat.

More photo's and some internal shots would be appreciated.

Thanks for sharing her with us.


Griff

'Broad Ambition' - 'Dreams do come true' - Afloat at last 06-10-07

www.grifftile.co.uk

Japonica
Jun-05-2009 @ 7:16 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Liz,
good on you, a very beautiful broads cruiser well worth the time, effort and money to keep going. Owning a Herbert Woods boat myself I totally agree they were built well. I know of one other Delight which has been restored by Colin Buttifant and is a truly stunning looking boat. How nice it must be to travel our waterways on such a stylish cruiser.
Good luck to Jason and the team with the work ahead,
cheers
Mat

AdnamsGirl
Jun-05-2009 @ 10:47 AM                           Permalink
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Hi Liz

I shall also follow the progress with great interest! All the best to everyone with the restoraration and good luck with discovering more about her history ... she is a little dear!  Smile

We took a look around her in 2006 when she was moored at the museum. The interior photos below were taken then ....



Carol

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk
An Archive Of The Golden Era Of Boating On The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads


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AdnamsGirl
Jun-05-2009 @ 10:47 AM                           Permalink
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And another ....


Carol

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk
An Archive Of The Golden Era Of Boating On The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads


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AdnamsGirl
Jun-05-2009 @ 10:48 AM                           Permalink
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And the final one ....


Carol

http://www.broadlandmemories.co.uk
An Archive Of The Golden Era Of Boating On The Norfolk & Suffolk Broads


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GeoffP
Jun-05-2009 @ 12:50 PM                           Permalink
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Wonderful to hear that such a wonderful Broads classic is in good hands and is being well maintained. Long may it continue.

Regards
Geoff

SailingSloth
Jun-05-2009 @ 4:27 PM                           Permalink
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What a lovely story, Liz.

How good it is to know that Water Rail is in the right hands to ensure that she's given the TLC she deserves. I look forward to further instalments, but most of all I look forward to doffing my cap to her (and to you!) as we pass on the river.

I also look forward to seeing which species of butterfly you'll have on your personal pennant, but I think I can guess...

Good luck with the project.

SS

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