A Regal Safari Week....
I started an adventuring week on regal safari on the 28 September 2014, to visit the southern broads, mainly to give the engine a good work out. The first night was spent moored at Stracey Arms, as there was no room at Stokesby. I set my alarm clock and woke early ready for crossing Breydon Water, and set off at around 7.30 to make Yarmouth at slack water.
Following several hire boats down stream, I got to the BA site at Yarmouth where boaters were being advised to moor as the fog was bad. However I felt it was OK, and being a private boat continued.
The visibility was around 500 yards or the length of 4 posts in sight so wasn't that bad really and the crossing was reasonably uneventful passing several other boats along the way, until I made it to Berney Arms where the fog became very thick..... I continued on cautiously along the River Yare.
Finally, stopping at Reedham, where I moored next to a very enthusiastic/keen boater, Alan Hunt , who gave me details about his website (www.mynorfolkbroadsboating.co.uk) which I must say appears very good. Copies of his guide will be printed for my boat. Later I made the trip up to Lowestoft via Oulton Broad without any issues.
I returned up north on the Wednesday, mainly to get a nice position for watching the Great British Bake Off. At each mooring that I stopped at, I went for a long walk in the area, and spent some time walking the broads walks around Barton Broad - a beautiful spot. By Thursday I was thinking should I head for Wroxham or Potter Heigham?
Still unsure, I decided to have a look at Potter Heigham, and moored up just behind another Hampton boat owner. After mooring I walked down and spoke with the owners asking whether they were going under, they said no but another Hampton had just gone through, so with a cheeky smile I went to ask the Pilot.
He looked at the boat from his office, and confirmed the boat would go through easy, and it did......see the proof here... The crew of the other Hampton (Jacqui and Mal of Malandi) filled the boat going under. The weather was glorious and I spent that afternoon in Horsey Mere visiting the beach nearby at Winterton, and looking at the seals. It was great!
It did feel a bit weird however, as I was really the only cruiser out on the water. I spent a lot of time walking around Martham Broad, so much so that I missed the pilot for returning on the Saturday afternoon! It was absolutely lashing it down, and I missed them by ten minutes or so. I tried to contact them with no response, at the time the bridge guage was showing 6.5 in the pilot office.
I thought well I'll just catch them in the morning, and settled down for the evening.......
First thing the following morning, I visited the office and the Pilot confirmed that the tide would not be right until around 15:00 hrs. He was also not confident that the height would get to 6.5. So time passed by waiting for the tide, and at 6.2 on the guage the pilot appeared to check whether the boat would go under. He confirmed we would go dead slow, the boat was not far off going under, but it was very close.....
......Another hour passed and we tried the same again, by this time it was 6.3. This time the boat got a lot further but was catching on the solar panel. The Pilot confided that with some extra weight it would be fine, so we moored up again, and gathered people off the staithe, the boats moored behind, and the local pub until we had around 10 volunteers!
With everyone on, the boat was visibly lower. The Pilot set off and at this point, my heart was pounding ten to the dozen, with nerves and anticipation.......I didn't want to watch so stood in the back.........the next thing was cheers from everyone saying made it!
I thanked everyone for their help with hands shaking in relief. The pilot did a blinding job, but learning from experience I would only go under Potter Heigham at the beginning of the week.
And so, it is possible to get a Safari Mark 3 under at just around 6.3ft......but I would not recommend it
Experienced, written and submitted by
Dave (Regal Safari)