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Tales Of A Liveaboard

A Norfolk Broads Forum extension for the Sailing High Seas YouTube channel for contact, photos & updates, etc.
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Miles
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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

Post by Miles »

Feeling Confident.
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I had experienced some pretty hair raising boating up to now. I had gone through Great Yarmouth spinning like a nutter, overheated on Breydon Water and destroyed my propeller in Norwich.

I had heard good reports about a place called, ‘Loddon’ on the River Chet. This was off the River Yare on the southern rivers.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Back Over Breydon Water.
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Like the previous year, it was getting too cold to be standing outside on a sailboat cockpit. I had no desire to spend another winter in Beccles. Nothing wrong with Beccles apart from no moorings, no electricity, and water. This time around I wanted to be more comfortable.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Arriving In Loddon.
Arriving In Loddon.jpg
The River Chet is not to be underestimated. Try and navigate it the wrong time and you are likely to run aground. This was to happen on more than one occasion. In fact, the basin at Loddon can get so low on a spring tide that boats will ground out. I was okay with three keels but a single keel yacht would get into trouble if the crew were unaware.

This is a valid point actually as the tidal range on the South Broads is nearly two metres in places. When you consider the North Broads is 4 to 6 inches, the disparity is enormous.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Stripping Project Boat.

Knowing the winter was likely to be a long one, I bought a sailboat wreck from a boatyard adjacent to the village of Loddon. The boat was not worth restoring, so I decided to dismantle it for boat fittings. Oddly enough it had a very expensive boom and it was full of lights etc and these all ended up on my boat.
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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Boat Fittings Are Expensive.
Boat Fittings Are Expensive.jpg
Boat parts are crazy overpriced. It was an early realisation that keeping the boat complete and working required me to try and repurpose anything marine that I came across.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Quaint Village.
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Loddon was a nice place to moor up over the winter. I was able to move around from mooring to mooring which meant keeping in with Broads byelaws. Occasionally I would stay in a nearby boatyard too.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Fishermen.
Fishermen.jpg
Not being one to pull any punches I feel obliged to write as accurately as I can recall. If the hire boats kept damaging my boat, I was going to write about it. The same applies to fishermen who were troublesome.

Without any shadow of a doubt, there have been three major problems with living on a boat on the Norfolk Broads. In order of severity, it would be the hire boats, the discrimination against liveaboards (especially online) and fishermen.

Every boater and fishermen know that when a boat is coming into moor the fishermen are to make way. They never want to and it’s always a hassle. Sometimes you get fishermen arguing that they don’t have to move as it’s a public staithe or even private land. It doesn’t matter if you are standing on your own property as this is the Norfolk Broads and fishermen are expected to keep the navigation channels clear. The amount of fishing lines I have taken is crazy. The number of fishermen failing to make way is criminal. I have even known a fellow boater to be pushed in the river by fishermen.

I recall a hire boat attempting to moor at Stalham Staithe once and they politely informed the three mature fishermen of their intentions. I heard one of the fishermen say he was refusing to move. I walked over to him and reminded him that he was obliged to move. They then packed up and went.

There is no point beating around the bush as these problems are real. If you are reading these articles and wanting to go liveaboard on a boat somewhere, you would be advised to take note of these points.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Petrol Generator Usage.
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I had always liked the idea of having a decent generator onboard. They are pretty costly if you want one that is very quiet, yet powerful to run most power tools. There are a few points to consider.

Firstly, you must take into account, other people. Very often you are not going to be able to run one within close proximity of other boaters. For example, I ran my batteries flat at Stalham Staithe once. It was midday and I told the boat behind me that I had a flat battery and was going to run the generator for five minutes to get my boat started. According to my now dead friend who was sat in a stealth camper nearby, the chap constantly grimaced behind my back every time I went into the cabin.

Secondly, despite other people, you won’t want to listen to a noisy two-stroke generator, so buy a silent suitcase 4 stroke type.

Never use one without a built-in voltage regulator. You can damage electronics as I was about to find out.

Finally, when it comes to output power wattage, be aware that many tools have a cranking power drain. If you have an 800-watt grinder it may draw more when you initially crank it up. This results in the generator tripping out all the time.

The above generator I had seemed to work okay until one day it began revving too high. This resulted in too higher voltage output making my expensive onboard built-in battery charger start smoking. It burnt out completely. I was so distraught.

Worst still, when I came to service the generator, I had a serious accident. The cover was off and the generator was running. I was about to adjust the throttle control. There was an alternator built around the engine. It had a concealed metal fan just like that of a car. Only a small portion of this metal fan was exposed. This became invisible when the engine was running. I inadvertently caught my thumb in it and found myself looking at the bone in my thumb. I was taken to the local doctors who advised me that I required a surgeon. I was then to spend the rest of the day in Norwich hospital. Luckily, I kept my thumb but it was scarred and I am reminded of this incident every time I try to undo a nut or screw with my left hand.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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20 Miles To Norwich.
20 Miles To Norwich.jpg

Norwich was only four hours away so when the weather was good and I needed some supplies I would make the trip to the city.

I would never stay long. Just get what I needed and move on.

I was struggling to understand what had gone wrong with Norwich as it is the most unwelcoming place to moor up.

Nowadays, Wroxham is the heart of the Norfolk Broads. Although at one time, not so long ago it would have been the Port of Norwich. Even in the 1980s ships were still coming into Norwich.

Many will be surprised to learn that even Norwich is not the original heart of the Broads. It was indeed Venta Icenorum just a few miles away along the River Tas. This was the location of the Iceni tribe now famous in folklore for Boudica revolting against the Romans.

Norwich, in my opinion, should be attractive to international boaters with a world-class marina. It could share many attributes with Amsterdam. Instead, it is now a debunked port littered with ‘No Mooring!’ signs.


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Re: Tales Of A Liveaboard

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Ancient City Of Lost Potential.

It is difficult and frustrating as a boater to see Norwich as it is. The rivers towards the city are stunning.

Once you pass a place called Commissioners Cut the riverbank starts to go downhill in appearance and desperately cries out for redevelopment.

Personally, I believe that the Whitlingham Broad holds the secret to Norwich regaining and celebrating its maritime past. This broad could easily be connected to the main river network. It could be a truly fantastic world-class marina. It may be a 45-minute walk from the city, however, it is only a 5-minute ride by dinghy into the city centre.

Until then it’s potential will not be realised.
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