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Serenity Drive is launched - our newest sister company!

 

Whilst Serenity Charter is very busy over the spring and summer months, it is quieter over winter.

With this in mind, the Serenity Group proudly introduce our newest sister company 'Serenity Drive'.  Our Serenity Charter Skipper, Steve is also a fully qualified driving instructor and will offer driving tuition when not out cruising.

Whether your 17 or 70 and are looking for driving lessons why not talk to us. We offer friendly and patient tuition at times to suit you with an excellent hourly rate. 

 

For more details please call Steve on: 01603 90 80 50  |  07773 90 80 50 or email: learn@serenitydrive.co.uk
Our website for Serenity Drive is under construction so keep an eye on www.serenitydrive.co.uk

 

Serenity Charter launches it's new sister company, Boat Watch UK

 

Boat Watch UK | boat monitoring, Norfolk

Serenity Charter is proud to launch our new sister company, Boat Watch UK.

Boat Watch UK is a new initiative to help boat owners over the winter months. Whilst some lucky boat owners live close enough to their boat to just 'nip to the marina' to check the ropes/fender/electrics etc ... others do not.  Some live hundreds of miles away meaning they often lock up their boat in October and 'hope for the best' until they return in March or April.

Boat Watch UK will offer weekly checks on private boats to ensure that ropes and fenders are adjusted if needed, electrics monitored and topped up if needed and any damage or problems are reported immediately. Our Boat Watch UK deterrent stickers will help deter any potential criminal from targeting your boat.

For more details please call: 01603 908281 or click: www.boatwatchuk.co.uk

 

 

 

Summer verses winter on the Norfolk Broads, which do you prefer? 

 

 

This picture was taken a few weeks ago on a nice warm afternoon.  After last year's endless rain for most of the summer we have welcomed this year's more typical summer with open arms.  Last year I think we can count on one hand the amount of times we were able to remove the canopy completely (as in the picture), this year it has been off more than on!

As the summer slowly comes to an end, don't forget that Serenity Charter operates all year round.  

 

 

Many people don't give the Norfolk Broads a second thought outside of summer but let me assure you that winter on the Norfolk Broads can be equally as stunning. 

Whilst the temperatures are of course somewhat cooler, as long as you dress for the occasion there is no reason why the canopy can't come off on crisp cold days.

New Year's Day this year was just such a day; cold and crisp but beautifully sunny. With hats and gloves etc the fresh air was wonderful. 

If you've enjoyed a luxury champagne cruise with us this summer why not give us a try in the winter and compare the two.

For bookings please call or email: 01603 908182 or steve@serenitycharter.co.uk 

 

 

Old towel 1 : Serenity Charter 0

 

There are many hazards on the waterways; drunken stag parties, out-of-control boaters and even crazy low flying swans!

The other main hazard is what you can't see - mysterious items lurking under the water.  

Generally the waterways are kept clean and clear by The Broads Authority but every now and then something hiding below will show it's face.  It can sometimes be tree roots or submerged deck chairs (throw in by the aforementioned stag parties) ... or in our case yesterday we were floored by an old discarded towel!!

The boat is hugely high tech with state of the art electronic equipment capable of dealing with most things ... except it seems towels!

It was during a charter yesterday that I noticed that something was not quite right with the left leg (the leg holds the propellers on).  It was causing the steering wheel to wobble and had next-to-no power.  Thankfully Serenity, as you can see from the picture, has two engines/legs and so I was able to shut down the left engine and continue on just the right one.

 

 

 

It's strange that last week I also got the propeller on our dinghy snarled up too!  That one is somewhat easier to fix though as it weighs around 25kg so you can just lift it off and clear it. The same can't be said with a 6 tonne boat!  

On the right is the offending towel .... what proved to be a very expensive towel for us!

Thankfully Serenity is now running as normal again and ready for a busy weekend of charters in the blazing July sun. 

To book a luxury Norfolk Broads champagne cruise with Serenity Charter please call: 01603 908182 or email: steve@serenitycharter.co.uk

 

At last, it's summer time...

 

After what seemed like a very very long and cold winter, we, along with every other boat owner were praying for some spring sunshine.  April and May came and went with little in the way of warm sunny days.  Don't panic we thought, June won't let us down ... will it!? Oh yes, of course it did, as per last year it proved to be a disappointment to say the least.  Just as many a boat owner began to wonder if owning a boat in the UK was really a cost effective investment we were FINALLY treated to a warm-ish weekend.

For Serenity it was her first time this year for her to go 'topless'.  

Fingers crossed for the rest of the summer delivering the heat wave we all crave! 

 

 

Winter snow arrives on the Norfolk Broads

 

For many, the arrival of heavy snow means chaos on the roads, school closures and a disruption to everyday life.  I on the other hand have been desperate to see the Norfolk Broads in the snow!

Last year (before I launched Serenity Charter), my previous boat had been 'winterised' meaning it was unusable over winter. With Serenity Charter operating all through the winter, I was today able to get out and 'play' in the snow! 

It has to be said, the drive to the marina was pretty treacherous. A lot of my journey is country lanes and the snow was falling thick and fast. I knew however it would be worth it for the pictures.

My first challenge was just getting on the the boat. As you can see from the picture to the right, the bathing platform which I step on to enter the boat was completely covered with thick snow and ice. I'm pretty steady on my feet but even I was a little apprehensive about making the step off the quayside. One thing you definitely don't want to be doing is falling into icy cold water.

 

The next challenge is to manoeuver the boat out of her mooring and out of the marina. Normally, this is relatively simple; yes, it's a tight squeeze, but I'm pretty certain I can now do it in my sleep!

With a completely snow covered boat and almost zero visibility it's a different story. Just like with a car, the windscreen wipers lack enough power to clear the heavy weight of the snow. Walking down the side of the boat to clear the windscreen by hand is far too dangerous and slippery.

The only way to gain any sort of visibility is to unzip the front section of the canopy and be prepared for the avalanche of snow that's on top of it to land on your head!

Once out of the marina the views and scenery are fabulous. One thing is for certain, the Norfolk Broads in the winter are equally as beautiful as they are in the summer, just in a different way.

Why not come and see for yourself and book a winter cruise? 

 

 

 

 

Serenity Charter now gives you a chance to skipper your own boat on the Norfolk Broads

 

When it comes to hiring a boat for just a day on the Norfolk Broads you have two options; a small self-drive hire boat, or the super-luxury Serenity Charter champagne experience on our stunning 35 foot sports boat with qualified Skipper.

Well now Serenity Charter is offering your the best of both worlds with the addition of adding the use of our new, high quality inflatable rib and 4hp engine to your luxury cruise package.

On most of our half day and full day cruises, we drop the anchor for around an hour or so to allow our clients to enjoy a picnic lunch. Whilst many enjoy the tranquility of sitting and relaxing over lunch with a glass of champagne, others prefer more of an adrenalin rush.

For a small additional fee, our clients can now book our inflatable rib to 'play' with whilst we're anchored.

 

It's strong and sturdy and at 2.7 meters there's plenty of room for up to three adults and a child to have lots of fun. 

For more information on how you can add this to your luxury Serenity Charter experience please see our 'extras' page by clicking here.

 

 

 

New Years Day on the Norfolk Broads with Serenity Charter

 

Many people enjoy the charm and peace of the Norfolk Broads every summer. The water ways are busy with boats as far as the eye can see.  It's great to see so many people enjoying themselves. For some reason very few people decide to venture out onto the water over winter. Perhaps it's because many boat hire companies don't operate over winter? At Serenity Charter we believe that the Norfolk Broads are as stunning on a sunny winter's day as they are in the peak of summer. Yes it's cold, but wrap up warm and it's a wonderful experience with virtually the whole river to yourself. 

 

New Years Day was a perfect example of  this. It was dry and sunny and with a few sore heads from the previous night it was a perfect chance to remove the canopy and enjoy the lovely fresh air.  If you'd like to experience a winter Norfolk Broads cruise with Serenity Charter, please get in touch. We can offer 1 hour luxury champagne cruises for up to 9 clients for just £99. Above are a couple of images from New Years Day. Just look at the blue sky, simply stunning.

 

 

 

A visit to Ranworth Church and tea rooms

 

Of course a visit to the Norfolk Broads involves cruising on a boat (or in the case of Serenity Charter, a first class luxury boat cruise!), that in itself is a stunning and relaxing experience. The waterways and the experience of being on the boat is only half the joy of the Norfolk Broads though.  Dotted along the waterways are some delightful, and in some cases, hidden away little villages.  On numerous occasions we have dropped our anchor at Ranworth Broad whilst our clients have enjoyed a luxury picnic; but today was the first time we have ever really explored Ranworth itself. With a dry forecast for today, that's exactly what we did with friends. During peak season, Ranworth is very popular and very busy - finding a place to moor a boat the size of Serenity is virtually impossible. In January however the area is pretty much deserted. People generally associate the Norfolk Broads and hiring a boat as a summer activity; they have no idea what they are missing as they are equally stunning in the winter months too - you just need to wrap up warm!

 

Today we were in a convoy of three boats, "Itzourz" belonging to Graham and Bev Furness, "Dilly" belonging to Mike and Hayley Hogarth, and of course "Serenity" (who was off-duty)!  With plenty of space to get us all tied up we headed off to the local cafe/coffee shop. It's around a 5 minute walk from the main 'green' in Ranworth. The coffee shop is adjacent to the church and run by voulunteers from the church with the proceeds going towards the church funds.  Where else can you get a cup of tea or coffee for just £1? and a scone for £1?  After taking in the calories it was time to burn them off.  We decided to climb right to the top of the Ranworth Church tower. If you suffer from claustrophobia it may not be your idea of fun as you need to climb, for what seems like forever, up the old stone spiral staircase. It's tight and narrow but well worth it for the views from the top. Just as a word of warning, you may want to time your climb to fit in with when the tower bells aren't about to chime! We didn't and I must have been stood just 3 feet away as the giant bells ran out!

The picture above is the view towards Ranworth Broad and on the right it's Emily, Faye and Hayley.

 

 

 

Serenity Charter at The Wedding Show at The Assembly House in Norwich

 

 

A big hello to all the wonderful people we met today who took such a keen interest in our luxury Norfolk Broads champagne cruises.  Hopefully next year we'll deliver some wonderful hen and stag party cruises.

We also met a few people today who offer some great products that will compliment a luxury Norfolk Broads cruise ... watch this space and they'll hopefully appear in our 'extras' page very soon.

Keep any eye on our Tweets and Facebook updates to see when we're next exhibiting at a wedding show.

 

 

 

 

 

The Norfolk Broads Awards 2012 at The Ferry Inn, Horning

 

On Saturday 3rd November, The Ferry Inn, Horning played host to the annual Norfolk Broads Awards.

As a new business this year, Serenity Charter was too late to enter. Instead, we were invited to present the award for Best Boat Services. As any business owner will tell you, awareness is one of the keys to success and this was a great opportunity to make even more people aware of Serenity Charter. I decided to have hundreds of Serenity Charter beer mats made and had the pub decked out with them. Hopefully now everyone who attended will know our website address.

For more details about the awards and a list of winners, click here.

Congratulations to Pete and Sue (and everyone else involved) for a great night. Next year we will be aiming to swap 'presenting' an award for 'winning' an award.

Pictured is me (on the left) announcing the winner of the award.

 

 

 

November on the Norfolk Broads is beautiful

 

Ok, so the days are shorter and the air is no doubt cooler, but a cruise on the stunning Norfolk Broads can be every bit as wonderful as in the summer.  With the waterways pretty much to yourself you're guaranteed tranquillity and plenty of fresh air.

Most of the Norfolk Broads hire boat companies will start to lift many of their boats out soon for winter. Serenity Charter however will continue to operate our luxury Norfolk Broads cruises all over the winter period.

 

 

 

This picture was taken last week during half term in Horning. My 12 year old daughter Emily was at the helm (whilst Serenity was off-duty) allowing me to take some lovely autumn snaps. On a day like this, removing the canopy is lovely. As long as you're dressed up nice and warm, the fresh air in your hair is fabulous.

 

Don't forget throughout November we're giving you a chance to enjoy the Norfolk Broads for a very affordable price with our "November 90" offer ... 90 minutes, £90.  Just find 8 friends to bring with you and that's just £10 each for a 90 minute luxury champagne cruise on our stunning sports cruiser... now that really is a good deal.

Fear not, when you charter Serenity you get a fully-qualified and licensed Skipper - you won't have Emily at the controls!  That said, she's getting pretty good.  Our mooring berth in Ferry Marina is pretty tight with literally around 6 inches to play with.  Last week Emily managed to get the boat out of the marina on her own (with only the tiniest intervention from me).  We then spent around an hour whilst she practised mooring side-on outside the Ferry Inn pub. It may sound simple enough but manoeuvring a 6 tonne, 35 foot boat is more of a responsibility than you might think - any mistakes can be very expensive!

 

Her next challenge was a little trickier, squeezing the boat back into her mooring berth. Whilst 99 times out of 100 I can get this spot on, it isn't easy! It involves gauging the wind and tide before reversing the boat back into her berth. We literally have around 3 inches either side of the boat to work with and only about a foot or two in front to swing her around in. The trick to it (apart from practise) is knowing exactly when to start your reverse thrust - too soon or too late and you'll get it wrong. The bow thruster is a great help but it's a manoeuvre that benefits from speed and precision. When I say 'speed', I mean doing things swiftly, I don't mean whizzing in at a high rate of knots!

Emily was doing very well until the last minute. Within a second or two the wind can take you off in the wrong direction which is exactly what happened. All of a sudden we were in totally the wrong position. With a little dad intervention we eventually got her back in safely.

 

Below are some of our other lovely autumn images ...

 

 

 

 

Lights and heaters ... the less exciting part of owning a boat on the Norfolk Broads

 

Whether you're looking to hire a day boat or picnic boat from somewhere like Wroxham or Horning, or perhaps you own your own cruiser, boating on the Norfolk Broads brings with it many pleasures. The sights, the tranquillity, the slow pace of life are just some of the joys of boating.

Two things that won't excite you are heaters and bulbs!  One of these however (the heaters) could be the difference between having a working boat next spring or having a hefty bill at the end of winter to get your boat serviceable again. More on that in a moment.

Whilst lights, or the wrong sort to be precise, are not likely to cause your boat too many problems, they can throw up a few minor issues. Firstly, powering them. Whilst we are in the marina, the lights are powered by the electric hook up. With the price of electricity constantly on the rise, it makes sense to make the boat as efficient as possible. On Serenity we have in the region 20 ceiling mounted spot-lights throughout the boat, plus the navigation lights, ride lights and deck lights... which, until today all had 'normal' bulbs.

In order to cut down on the electricity they draw, I today replaced all the bulbs with LED's. These use considerably less power and have a better life expectancy too.

The second thing to consider is the boat batteries. Now that winter is on the way, we often cruise in the dark and regularly stop, drop the anchor in the middle of nowhere and enjoy a few drinks. Whenever we are off the marina and when the engines are not running, all the power is generated from the batteries. With so many lights (not to mention the two fridges and other electrical bits) it's a lot of power being drawn. We don't have a shortage of batteries, six of them to be precise (which may seem a little excessive) but they all have different functions. The last thing we want to do is anchor for a few hours and then find that the batteries have insufficient power to restart the engines.

Our Sealine S34 has a special 'trick' up its sleeve that should always give you enough power to start the engines, but why flirt with danger? In theory, we should now be able to have all the lights blazing for days before we drain the batteries.

You would think that would be it, nice and simple... but no! Different bulbs give off a different glow. All the deck lights give off a lovely 'white' light. This looks great for the outside seating area, but it doesn't make the inside galley area feel particularly warm and cosy. Tomorrow I'll change the galley lights for a more yellow colour to get the warm feel we need.  Who'd have thought changing a bulb or two could be such a faf.

 

So, as mentioned at the start, the other really important thing to be thinking about at this time of year are heaters for the engine bay. Whilst a car can happily sit over winter doing nothing, it's a different story with a boat. Ok, so your car may struggle to start first time if left untouched over the whole winter period, but nothing serious is likely to go wrong. The same cannot be said for a boat. Ice/frost in the engine bay can have catastrophic consequences on a boat. If you're lucky, you may just crack a water pipe, however if you're unlucky you could do far more serious damage to some of the vital organs leaving you with a BIG bill in March or April to get your pride and joy going again.

To combat this there are a couple of things you can do. You can have your boat 'winterised'. In addition to filling the engine with anti-freeze, winterising is where all the vulnerable and vital organs are disconnected to prevent them coming to any harm. This is great in theory, but it does mean that your boat is now un-usable until it's all re-connected again. Winterising and de-winterising comes at a cost, so once it's done, it's generally left until the milder weather kicks in

As Serenity Charter will be delivering our luxury Norfolk Broads cruises all year round, we won't be winterising Serenity, so instead we need to take other precautions - this is where the heaters come in.

You can pick up tube heaters for around £20 each. The amount you need depends on the size of your engine bay. When installed with a thermostat the theory is that the engine bay temperature will never drop enough to freeze. It's definitely a more affordable option, but it is not as safe as a full winterisation. If the winter is as mild as last year we should be fine, if however we have a long and very cold spell we may have to reconsider. Many private boat owners will also install heaters in the main galley and bedrooms of the boat too. This keeps the mould and moisture away and is a good idea if you're leaving your boat for a long winter period. The thing to remember with tube heaters is the electric supply. They are only any good if you have sufficient electric on your hook up. Put plenty on it, too much is far better than running out, especially if you don't live locally to your boat to nip down and top it up.

All the Norfolk Broads boat yards and boat hire companies will winterise 99% of their boat fleet which is why the Norfolk Broads are so quiet and peaceful over winter.  On a nice sunny day, a winter cruise, although cold, can be absolutely lovely. Just wrap up warm and the experience is wonderful.  Why not see for yourself and book a winter cruise. How about New Year's Day? We have a special offer in our 'Special offers' page of our website - what better way to cure you hangover!

 

For more details on any of our cruise options please give us a call: 01603 713430 or email: steve@serenitycharter.co.uk

 

 

 

In May 2013, Horning plays host to The first Horning Boat Show

 

On Saturday 4th May 2013 Horning will proudly be hosting the first Horning Boat Show.

 

There will be a large number of Norfolk Broads boat hire companies, Norfolk Broads boat advice and information ... and I can confirm today that Serenity Charter will be a part of it. We will be there with Serenity gleaming and on display - please come down and take a look around her.

Other confirmed companies include Norfolk Yacht Agency, Wroxham Marine, Norfolk Boat Sales, Barnes Brinkcraft and many more.  BeWILDerwood will also be there on the day to help entertain the kids.

Details are still very much at the planning stage for Serenity Charter so watch this space for more details

 

The Horning Boat Show website will be going live soon.

 

 

 

Advertising our luxury Norfolk Broads boat hire and charter business

With so many media and marketing companies hoping to take a slice of my money, where is the most effective place to spend a marketing budget?

 

This is a question we ask ourselves regularly, but we really don't have a definitive answer. We are experts in delivering luxury Norfolk Broads cruise experiences, but not experts in marketing. We're very much testing the water with as many marketing avenues as we can afford. We'll then see which ones deliver the best results.  So far we have advertised in various Archant magazine publications as well as some smaller local magazines too.

With a twenty year radio career behind me, I am well aware of the benefits of radio advertising and what the costs are.  Radio advertising on local or regional radio is not something I have ruled out - although I do think that a product like a luxury sports cruiser sells itself better through images rather than voices.

With plans for our year two marketing taking shape we are pleased to be 'dipping our toe' in the exhibition market.  Hen parties are one of the cruise options we offer on the Norfolk Broads and so far they have been very popular. We already have a number of hen party bookings for 2013 in the diary. 

 

On Sunday 18th November Serenity Charter will be exhibiting at the EDP Wedding Show at the Assembly House in Norwich with the aim of getting  more 2013 hen party bookings.

As you can see from some of the images further down in our blog, a hen party on the Norfolk Broads is a great way to give the bride-to-be a very special day that she'll remember and cherish.

If you're thinking of something a little different for a hen party next year (or this year), why not come down to The Assembly House on the day and have a chat with us. Alternatively you can call us any time: 01603 713430.

 

 

 

And the winner is...? Why not join us at this year's Broads Awards?

 

On Saturday 3rd November, the 5th Annual Broads Awards will take place at The Ferry Inn, Horning. It's a great evening celebrating the achievements of Broadland businesses over the last year and we're very pleased to say that Serenity Charter will be sponsoring the Best Boat Services award.

As Serenity Charter was only launched in May of this year we were too late to enter the awards ourself, but next year we intend to not only be sponsoring an award, but to win one too.

The annual awards are organised by www.thenorfolkbroads.org and the winners are voted for by members of their forum.

On the night, guests will enjoy a carvery at the Ferry Inn followed by the awards ceremony. The night will be finished off with live music from Hard Rain.  We've seen Hard Rain play on a few occasions and they're fantastic... We hope to see you there.

For more information on the awards you can visit www.thebroadsawards.co.uk 

 

 

 

If you're looking for a perfect hen party... why not enjoy a relaxing and luxurious Norfolk Broads cruise?

 

 

This weekend on the Norfolk Broads, Serenity Charter hosted birthdays and brides (to be).  In fact Nicky's hen party on Saturday had been re-named by the girls as their 'duck party' instead... I'm not sure if that was to tie in with their cruise on the Norfolk Broads, or because they were a little quackers! 

If you were out on the Norfolk Broads and heard a bunch of lively girls shouting "Ahoy", then it was probably them.

As they sipped champagne, the sun did it's best to shine through the cloud as the girls relaxed and enjoyed their luxury Norfolk Broads cruise with Serenity Charter.

 

The one downside of hen party celebrations is the very popular bride-to-be's scarf of choice - the fluffy feather boa!

Yes they look great for the hen's fancy dress outfit...  yes they are traditional (I guess)...  but YES I will be finding feathers in every nook and cranny of the boat for the next 6 months!  The feathers do seem to mault more than a Labrador in the summer - in fact I'm still finding pink feathers in strange places from a hen party back in July.  This weekend it was a red boa, so at least I know who to send the feathers on to in the post!

 

Pictured far left is Nicky, the hen (or duck) and then left are the ducks doing their best nautical salute!

One of the things that always makes me smile is how quickly clients find their 'sea-legs' when cruising the Norfolk Broads. When they initially walk on the bow (front) of the boat, they walk a little like Bambi on ice, with their arms out like a tight-rope walker! Within minutes they soon relax and the cameras come out for the traditional Titanic and other poses.

 

If you're looking for a brilliant hen party idea or day out, why not enjoy a luxury Norfolk Broads cruise with Serenity Charter.  For more details please call: 01603 713430.  Remember you can also follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 

 

 

Owning or hiring a boat on the Norfolk Broads - which is best for you?

 

Since May of 2012 when we launched Serenity Charter we've delivered a wonderful Norfolk Broads experience to over two hundred wonderful clients.  Many are local and have never experienced the tranquillity and beauty of the Norfolk Broads before despite it being right on their doorstep. Within minutes I hear phrases such as "Ah, this is the life" and "This is great, we need to buy a boat!" ... Of course our clients are experiencing the Norfolk Broads in the very nicest possible way, with champagne, strawberries and, not to mention, the sheer size, style and elegance of Serenity.  

 

If you're thinking of buying a boat on the Norfolk Broads, why not come out for an hour with us first. Feel free to pick our brains on the real costs of owning and operating a boat on the Broads. How far can you go? Where can your moor for free? are questions you may have.

In a similar way to owning a car, the cost doesn't stop with the initial purchase. When buying a boat you need to factor in the following:

 

Boat Survey - it is always wise to get any potential boat surveyed by an expert. They can give you an idea of how 'sound' it is. An engine test is advisable too.

 

Boat Safety Certificate - is similar to an MOT on a car. Your boat will need a valid certificate to obtain your river tax. BSC's are renewable every four years on a pleasure boat and every year on a commercial boat. 

 

River Tax (Paid to the Broads Authority for use of the waterway) - in our case, this is £998 per year.

 

Insurance - the cost of this depends on the size value of the boat. You won't be able to get your river tax without proof of insurance. 

 

Maintenance and fuel - boats can and do go wrong, more perhaps than your average car will. With so many complex fiddly bits there are lots of potential bills waiting to slap you in the face. It's worth bearing in mind that virtually any replacement part will be expensive. For example, something as simple as a bulb for a boat will cost double what it costs for a bulb in your car or house, that's just the way it is. Your boat will need servicing annually and winterising annually, neither of these come cheap.

Fuel for your boat will dent your wallet somewhat! A boat with a large petrol (or diesel) engine will guzzle fuel, even at low speeds. The other thing to bear in mind is which is better for you, petrol or diesel? A petrol boat will cost less than an identical diesel boat. The challenge with petrol is filling up your tank. There are no petrol filling points anywhere near the Horning area so you'll need to keep topping up your boat with a jerry can. This is messy, heavy work and not ideal. Diesel however is available at many places along the river making re-filling no more of a problem than filling your car. If you can afford a diesel engine, go diesel.

You may at this point be thinking "can I run it on red diesel"? The answer to this is 'no'. There's a mountain of literature about this online, but in a nut shell you may not 'propel' a pleasure boat with red diesel, you may however use red diesel to power your heating system (if fitted).

 

Mooring - Unless you intend to launch your boat every time from a trailer (which will also incur a charge), you need somewhere to keep your new pride and joy.  There are several marinas up and down the Broads, but mooring berths within them are few and far between, never buy a boat without first securing a mooring to house it.  Mooring costs are based on the size of your boat and most marinas work on a similar figure per square foot / meter.

 

You need to think about what you want from your boat; are you a sociable person, looking to see lots of other fellow boaters whilst stopping regularly at the riverside pubs? If so, you need the Northern Broads. The Northern Broads cover a vast area with Horning being pretty much the heart of it.  The Southern Broads are much quieter, far less commercial and with far fewer pubs.  Choose your marina / mooring carefully as travelling any great distance will take a long time by river.  We get many clients asking if we can drop them off in Norwich. Whilst Horning to Norwich is only around 25 minutes by car, it will take in the region of 12 hours by boat at 5MPH.

 

So, having heard all that, where do you buy you new boat and how much do you pay?  Generally, boats do not come cheap. Clients often ask me how much Serenity is worth. I usually get them to guess and have answers ranging from £20,000 to £80,000.  The truth is you would get no change from £110,000, a huge sum of money for a large floating lump of fibre glass!

Obviously because Serenity is a luxury charter boat she is somewhat larger than perhaps you may want as a family boat. You can pick up a reasonable boat from around £10,000, just don't expect any whistles or bells.  That said, whilst the whistles and bells help make your boating experience more enjoyable and luxurious, just the sensation of being on the water is wonderful regardless of the size or value of your boat.

Last weekend we spent most of our time zipping around in an inflatable rib (pictured in some of our blog entries below). Being so close to the water is fabulous and it's a very affordable way to enjoy the Norfolk Broads. At the time of writing this, NYA (Norfolk Yacht Association) based in Horning and Brundall have a rib for sale and an engine for around £650. Ok, you will get wet if it rains and have nothing more than a seat on-board, but what a great way to get started if there's only a couple of you. The website for NYA is www.nya.co.uk

I purchased Serenity from the NYA, their personal service is fantastic. They are very knowledgeable and helpful and make every step very simple and enjoyable. Speak to Chris Cooper (the Sales Manager at Horning) or any of his helpful team.

 

So having given you a brief overview of buying and owning a boat, you may decide that it's more cost effective to just hire one whenever you need one. If the truth be told, unless you are going to use your boat a lot, yes, it probably is way cheaper in the long run to rent one - but I think the pride of cleaning and polishing your boat is totally worth the extra you pay to own one, plus you get the social life that goes with it - there's plenty more on that if you scroll down our blog.

If you want to hire a boat, there are plenty of options around the Horning and Wroxham area. If you search online for boat hire Norfolk Broads or Norfolk Broads cruise (something like that) you'll find plenty of hire companies. My suggestion would be a boat from Ferry Marina in Horning (www.ferry-marina.co.uk). Their day hire boats are nice and there's ample free parking. They also have the benefit of a marina pool and cafe to compliment your day.

When you hire a boat you drive it yourself. This is pretty straight forward and shouldn't put you off (it does become more of a challenge when you want to moor outside a pub though). Most hire boats are pretty basic - they float but offer you little in the way of luxury and style. This is why we launched Serenity Charter.  We give you the chance to enjoy the Norfolk Broads in first class luxury on a stunning 35 foot sports cruiser, without the worry of mooring and other river hazards.

Serenity Charter is perfect for you if you want something a little special from your day on the Norfolk Broads. Serenity is licensed to carry up to 9 clients plus your personal Skipper.  So what if you have a party of 20 or so people? We get many enquiries for parties of this size which we sadly are unable to cater for.  If you're looking to organise a boat trip for a party of that size I'd suggest talking the Broads Tours based in Wroxham. They have a few very large sightseeing boats that carry around 100 people. One of those is available for private charter.

I love the Norfolk Broads and have been navigating them both socially and professionally for many years. I am passionate about them and happy to talk all day to anyone wanting more information or advice. Whilst I am a fully-qualified and licensed Skipper with plenty of experience, my words above are merely my opinion; others may have their own opinion which differ. The best advice I can give is do your homework; get other opinions; talk to as many experienced people as you can in order to make up your own mind on what is best and most affordable for you.

For a luxury Norfolk Broads experience on our stunning 35 foot sports cruiser, please call: 01603 713430. We look forward to delivering you an unrivalled first class Norfolk Broads cruise.

 

 

 

Looking for an unusual Christmas gift idea?

 

"Ho Ho Ho"... with Christmas just around the corner, do you have a friend or someone in your family that just has everything? ... they're impossible to buy for aren't they?

You could trawl Google for the 'Christmas Gift Ideas' websites, but we have a better (and easier) idea. Why not treat them to a luxury Norfolk Broads boating experience with Serenity Charter?

Our Serenity Charter gift vouchers are not just great for Christmas; they make great birthday gifts or wedding day gifts too. Valid until the end of 2013, our Norfolk Broads gift vouchers can be redeemed against any of our Serenity Charter cruise options from 1 hour to a full day.

For more details, please give us a buzz: 01603 713430.

 

 

 

Winter cruises, charters and Norfolk Broads boat trips

 

You might think that boating, boat hire and charters on the Norfolk Broads come to an end over the winter period - but you'd be wrong!

Whilst some Norfolk Broads boat hire companies do wind-down for the winter and lift their boats out of the water, Serenity Charter will run it's luxury charters all year round.

Whilst the Norfolk Broads are at their busiest over summer, they can be just as beautiful over autumn, winter and spring too. One of the joys of the Norfolk Broads is being outside in the open enjoying the fresh air.  On Serenity it's easy to achieve this; we simply remove all, or part of the canopy from the boat - just like removing the roof of a convertible car.  This of course is only really possible on dry days - we've not had too many of those this summer have we!? Just imagine a lovely frosty (but dry and sunny) day in winter - with plenty of layers of clothing, having the canopy off is beautiful. The other beauty of the off-peak months is that you pretty much have the waterways to yourself; it's wonderfully peaceful and a great way of getting away from the stresses of everyday work life.

If you're thinking of booking a winter luxury Norfolk Broads charter cruise with Serenity Charter, don't worry if it's not sunny, the boat is heated to keep the frost bite at bay!

Throughout November we're tempting you to sample the stunning Norfolk Broads, at a time when you may not think of a Norfolk Broads boat trip, with our "November 90" special offer.  Enjoy a luxury champagne cruise with Serenity Charter for 90 minutes for just £90. For more on this great offer click here.

 

 

 

The Norfolk Broads social life!

The best part of boating on the Norfolk Broads and working on the Norfolk Broads is the social scene that goes with it! Here's the story of our fabulous off-duty weekend on Serenity Charter with fabulous friends.

 

For the first time since we launched Serenity Charter in May of this year, we had a completely free weekend.

As winter approaches the bookings understandably fall away slightly (perhaps this is a good point to remind you that we will be operating our luxury charter service as normal over the autumn, winter and spring months too - and it can be just as beautiful as the summer, and certainly less crowded!)

If any of you are boat owners, or enjoy camping/caravanning, you'll know that one of the best parts is the social life that comes with it. The marina very quickly becomes a mini-family and good friendships are made with fellow boat owners. Pictured right are: Mike, Hayley, me and Faye. Considering Mike just held out his phone to take this, in the dark, on the front of a boat... I think it's a pretty good result! (Bev and Graham, the other couple with us were too busy dancing on deck to join us for the photo).

 

 

This weekend we decided to have a bit of a party weekend, kicking off on Friday evening.

The first part of the plan was a night-cruise on Serenity. Night cruises are great, the water is perfectly calm and there are no other boats out and about. So with Serenity's navigation and deck lights lit up beautifully off we all went.

Serenity is certainly a head-turner in the daytime... and even more so at night as she looks fantastic all lit up! We didn't go too far, just to Horning Little Broad, but a lovely slow 2mph cruise through Horning village takes around 30 minutes at that speed.

Once on Horning Little Broad we dropped the anchor and out came the piping hot jacket potatoes (left, before going in the oven) and chilli ... oh, and a few drinks too!

It was just brilliant, with the kids downstairs watching a DVD, the 'big kids' enjoyed a drink or two and a few games of Uno - perfect!

 

 

So after a fairly late night on Friday, and with one or two people waking with a hangover, the only way to start Saturday was with a traditional fry up - bacon, sausages and scrambled eggs, lovely.

The plan then was to all head (in our own boats) over to Ranworth Broad. It's only half an hour or so from Horning and is a lovely area to just tie up together like a giant raft, drop the anchors and watch the world go by. It's also a great place to have a play in Graham and Bev's inflatable rib (see below).

Pictured right is "Dilly", Mike, Hayley and little Elliot's boat on the way to Ranworth.

 

 

After a wonderful few hours anchored on Ranworth Broad we decided we'd go to the pub in Ranworth for the evening and watch the live music. A band called 'Hard Rain' were playing. We'd seen them the previous weekend in Ludham and loved their music and so were happy to watch them again.

With Mike on the soft drinks, we decided to take two of the three boats back to the marina and head to the pub in Mike's posh Lexus.  Pictured left is a lovely shot of Serenity returning to base whilst the sun sets beautifully. As we expected, the band were ace, a great mix of country and modern songs.  The icing on the cake was Hayley doing a guest spot, singing Jessie J brilliantly.

After a night cap and a few games of pool at Mike and Hayley's house it was bed time for all and the end of another fabulous day.

 

 

 

 

70th birthday celebrations on the Norfolk Broads

 

Today, Serenity proudly hosted a 70th birthday party.

 

Despite the windy conditions, it stayed dry and the temperature was ok... not great, just ok!

The clients today requested a Serenity Food Platter to compliment their luxury cruise and I must say a massive thank you to The Gallery in Horning who prepare all our wonderful food; today they certainly did us proud.

The pictures below show just some of the lovely meats, cheeses, pies, pasties and salad items in the platter.

If you're thinking of a luxury Norfolk Broads cruise with Serenity Charter, why not let us deliver the full package and take advantage of something delicious from our menu selection.

Today's clients left with big smiles on their faces and I'm sure will spread the word to their friends and family. We thank them, and all our valued clients, for their custom and their trust in us to deliver the perfect experience for their special occasion.

 

 

 

 

 

Utilising the wonderful riverside Norfolk Broads pubs, well, it's not all work, work, work!

 

Two of the great things about boating on the Norfolk Broads are the wonderful riverside pubs and the social life.

With our boats safely moored up, the Serenity team and a number of our friends from the marina went to The Dog Inn in Ludham.  They had a live band playing called 'Hard Rain' which we'd been told were brilliant.

Wow, what a night! The band were fabulous and the atmosphere was superb all evening. If you get the chance to see them, do it, they're brilliant.

Our friends Mike and Hayley, who were with us, have a fabulous games room at home with a pool table and jukebox - the perfect location for an after party to cap a cracking night.

 

 

 

Tweet me, poke me, follow me, like my page ... 

 

Social media is something we hear alot about these days. Today was mostly about making the best use of all the available options.

We already have a Serenity Charter Facebook page - it's great for posting pictures of our luxury Norfolk Broads charter cruises and our happy customers.  Our Serenity Charter Twitter feed, @serenitycharter is also a great way to highlight special offers and Serenity Charter events.

Today I have set up a Serenity Charter YouTube account and a Serenity Charter iPatter account.  The first video uploaded to our YouTube account is the full-length video of Serenity at sea last week. You can see it here.

iPatter is another business networking website. I've been aware of it for sometime so decided to give it a try. It was rather amusing when the 'help' lady in the video turned out to be one of my friends, Rachael Paddick.

My evening was Norwich City Football Club related. I was asked to host the EPPP evening. EPPP is the Elite Player Performance Plan. It's a great opportunity for Norwich City to be able to find potential young talent from further afield.  I compared the event, introducing the guest speakers, David McNally, Will Hoy, Ricky Martin and Neil Adams on stage. It concluded with me interviewing our new Manager, Chris Hughton on the stage.  Chris is a great guy, very 'down to earth' and a pleasure to chat to. Keep an eye out for him on the Norfolk Broads soon, he may well be seen with his family on Serenity soon.

Tomorrow it's back to the boat to get hear gleaming ahead of this weekend's charters.

To book a luxury charter for you, friends and family please call 01603 713430 or email: steve@serenitycharter.co.uk

 

 

 

On The Ball City! From boats to balls for a day at Norwich City Football Club

 

Two days in a row on dry land, I think I'm getting boat withdrawal symptoms! 

As well as owning and operating Serenity Charter, delivering luxury Norfolk Broads charter cruises, I have a couple of other 'fingers in pies'.

My other side line is a very privileged position, Pitch Announcer at Norwich City Football Club.  I started in the role around 4 years ago through my broadcasting job on the Norwich 99.9 Breakfast Show. 

It's a great job and a wonderful responsibility, I announce the team line-ups etc and broadcast all the messages that fans hear in the stadium. The only time I ever get nervous is when I have obituary announcements - tonight was one of those nights. With the sad passing of former Norwich City Manager Jon Bond today there was a 1 minute silence before kick-off.  It's my job to announce what we're doing and why.

With all other announcements on a match day there's a crowd of 27,000 cheering and singing and, if we're honest, they probably don't pay any attention to half of what we're announcing!! Obituaries are very different though.  You can literally hear a pin drop as I'm reading the brief script ahead of the silence. Every fan is listening to my every word - now that is pressure! I'm sure parts of the ground can hear my heart pounding!

It was a good win tonight for Norwich City in the Capital One Cup beating Doncaster 1-0. 

The other focus in my life at the moment is my driver instructor training.  As I only launched Serenity Charter in May this year I really didn't know (and still don't) what the demand will be for my luxury Norfolk Broads charters over winter.

With that in mind I am almost a third of the way through my training to become a driving instructor. Watch out (when I'm fully qualified) for "Serenity Drive".  The training at the moment is all books/paperwork and written exams - definitely not my strong point.  I'll be glad when part one is done and dusted and the training becomes more practical... watch this space, I'll keep you posted.

 

 

 

Are you looking for a perfect Christmas present for someone who has everything?

 

Blimey, it's exactly 3 months until Christmas Day, how frightening is that!?

Don't forget if you're looking for a perfect Christmas gift idea that's a little different from the norm, or for someone who has everything, why not give one of our Serenity Charter gift vouchers. They can redeem them for a luxury Norfolk Broads charter cruise anytime in 2013. Call/email us for more details.  Speaking of the Christmas period, we also have a New Years Day cruise available in our 'Special Offers' page.

 

So today... it was a day on dry land today - the first day in ages that I haven't set foot on Serenity.

I spent most of the day with web and IT experts Mike and Hayley Hogarth to chat about search engines, QR codes, vouchers and an AMAZING Serenity Charter video that will be online soon.

If I'm honest, I'm pretty good at controlling a boat and delivering wonderful luxury Norfolk Broads charter cruises - but pretty hopeless at understanding 'Search Engine Optimization'. I also discovered, I'm pretty hopeless at pool compared to Mike too! 

Throw in a hair cut at the snazzy new salon in Blofield and dinner with Emily (my daughter) at King's Lynn Pizza Hut and my day is complete.

 

 

 

Celebrating a birthday soon? why not celebrate it in style and luxury on the Norfolk Broads?

 

It was another busy weekend on the Norfolk Broads for Serenity Charter with clients on both Saturday and Sunday.

This weekend, all the charters were birthday celebrations. I especially love it when it's a surprise too. Clearly the first clue that their birthday treat is boat related is when they arrive in the car park. Their faces when they see Serenity looking so stunning is lovely. When flowers, food or balloons are requested to compliment the champagne reception, many clients have been reduced to tears of emotion.

Saturday was lovely. Although fairly chilly, there was plenty of sunshine about so we removed most of the canopy. Sunday however was a different story. With a cold wind blowing, temperatures were well down. In the afternoon the heavens opened and we pretty much had rain non-stop.

You might think wet and cold weather would ruin the experience, but it really doesn't. With the full canopy on everyone stays dry, and when it rains you often see the steam rising off the water - it's a lovely sight.  Also with the heater on it remains pretty toasty if you've come dressed appropriately!

With no clients booked for today, the plan was to clean and polish the exterior of the boat - the weather however had other ideas again.

The wind and rain were pretty brutal, far too wet to polish. The rain and strong wind also makes handling any boat very difficult and so the river was pretty empty. I on the other hand see this as a challenge and headed out in the boat for a pub lunch at The Swan Inn in Horning.

On returning to the mooring the wind was howling across the marina. Reversing into our mooring berth is tight at the best of times with only a few inches each side of the boat to play with. On a day like today it makes it a real challenge - but good fun. The trick is to work out which way the wind is blowing and utilise it. By begining my reverse turn a little earlier than normal I simply allow the wind to blow the boat round to where I want it, nudge it in reverse a little and bingo!

Hopefully tomorrow will bring us some dryer, nicer weather. At some point this week the chap is coming to fix the hinge from our bridge accident last week!

 

 

 

Serenity Charter goes to sea

 

 

Since May 2012, when we launched Serenity Charter, we have had the pleasure of delivering luxury Norfolk Broads cruise experiences to hundreds of wonderful clients. 

Our beautiful Sealine S34 sports cruiser has racked up around 200 hours up and down the Norfolk Broads - mostly between Horning and Wroxham.

Whilst here stylish, sleek and sporty design make her attractive and deliver a wow-factor, her two huge Volvo Penta D4 engines are far from ideal for the Norfolk Broads. They deliver a massive 420 horse power (enough power to propel her 6 tonne weight at around 30 MPH).

However, speed limits on the Norfolk Broads are, at best, 6 MPH and in most areas 4 or 5 MPH. Whilst this is great for preventing river bank erosion and to prevent excess wash affecting other boats, it's not great for our engines!  It could be compared to driving a Ferrari around a city centre all day in first gear!

 

To prevent the engines getting choked up, it's essential to give them a good blast every now and again allowing Serenity to stretch her legs and the engines to 'breath'. I'm fairly certain that The Broads Authority would take a dim view of this through Horning village, so the only places suitable are Breydon Water, just past Great Yarmouth, or by going out to sea. 

Breydon is great but is still used by the 'braver' holiday boaters. Out of courtesy it's essential to slow right down as you pass them to prevent throwing them about in your wash. This means a bit of a stop-start run for us - so we decided the time had come for our first trip to sea. 

With a boat the size of Serenity getting to sea does not come without its challenges. At 35' long, her length doesn't restrict us – but her 11' high radar beam certainly does, especially with the lights (around 1') and VHF aerial (around 5') mounted on top of the radar beam.

From Horning there are four bridges in our way, the first of which is Acle Bridge (pictured right). At around 12' high this one doesn't cause too many problems, it's just a simple case of lowering the lights and the VHF aerial on the radar beam and under we go. It only holds us up a few minutes.

 

From there on, it's just a long, slow cruise to Great Yarmouth Yacht Station where the fun and games then begin. The closer you get to Great Yarmouth, the fewer boats you see and more the strong tides take effect.

The next 2 bridges to contend with are "Yarmouth Vauxhall Bridge" and "Yarmouth Acle Road Bridge". They give us clearance heights of 6'9" and 7'... you don't need to be a Rocket Scientist to work out that with a boat height of 11', this isn't going to work!

 

Thankfully, Serenity has a folding radar beam and the entire arch folds back and ‘sits’ on the rear seats (pictured left). It would be lovely to think that this is done at the touch of a button, but sadly not, it's a case of releasing the catches and very carefully lowering it. It's extremely heavy and at least a two person job.

Even with the radar beam folded down, we still need just over 8' of clearance to get under a bridge, and this is where the tides come into play. The published Yarmouth bridge heights are all measured at high tide. The water levels however rise and fall by around a massive 5' (and do so ferociously), so it's just a case of waiting at Yarmouth Yacht Station until the tide drops enough for us to fit under. We'd already done our tide times homework and so only had to wait around 30 minutes before we could comfortably clear both the bridges. When I say 'comfortably' I mean with around a foot or so to spare. Our return leg would prove to be anything but comfortable!

 

Once the two low Yarmouth bridges are cleared you're almost there, just one more, "The Haven Bridge" which leads to Yarmouth Port and out to sea. We however decided to tackle the sea first thing the following morning, so for now, just a simple run across Breydon Water (right) for a night at The Berney Arms pub.

Before we could head across Breydon Water however, the heavy radar mast needed lifting back into place again.  With nowhere to moor to do this it proved 'interesting'.  After clearing the two Yarmouth Bridges there is about a 100 meter stretch leading to the Haven Bridge. We decided to just hover there whilst we raised the beam. This sounds simple enough, but with a fearsome tide hurtling us towards the Haven Bridge (and with just two of us) we had just a few seconds to get the beam up. We quickly realised that just hovering with no one at the helm was too dangerous, we were moving too fast in the tide and we really weren't 100% sure we could get the beam up and secured before the tide had pushed us into the side, or worse, the bridge.

 

We decided the only way to buy us a few seconds was to leave the boat in gear facing into the tide – again with no one at the helm. On a normal non-tidal river, this would move us along around 4 or 5 MPH, on this occasion though it was enough just to hold us in one spot whilst we got the radar beam up.

 

After a nice pub dinner and a well earned pint of Guinness it was time for an early night ready for an early start in the morning.

We knew the low tide the next morning was around 0800 so our plan was simple: 1) Clear Haven Bridge at 0815 (pictured left), 2) have a short 'play' at sea, before, 3) heading back ahead of the tide rising too much to prevent us getting under the low bridges again - what could possibly go wrong?!

If however we did get it wrong we'd be stuck the wrong side of the bridges for another 10 hours or so until the tide dropped again. What we didn't know was this was a particularly high 'spring tide'.

 

This threw our timings out somewhat...

 

So, as planned, with the radar beam lowered once again, Haven Bridge was no problem - but having never negotiated Yarmouth port before we soon realised it's a much longer passage out to sea than we imagined, around 25 minutes. So, allowing 25 minutes to get back again, this gave us around 45 minutes to play at sea.

 

In a word, ‘WOW’, what an experience. With no restrictions and no other boats (and with the champagne glasses and tea pots carefully packed away) we could finally let Serenity go.

With her huge engines growling beautifully she ripped through the water like a hot knife through butter. The waves splashed across her bow as the wind whistled through our hair - absolutely exhilarating and exactly what she's designed to do; we could almost hear the engines screaming "thank you, thank you"! There is a short video on our Serenity Charter Facebook page or the full video on our Serenity Charter YouTube page. It was filmed by our friends Graham and Bev from the shore and is superb.

 

 

Like all good things, it came to an end all too quickly. We knew time was tight to get the radar arch back down and back under the bridges in order to return to Horning that day - so it was back through the port we headed.

 

As we moved towards Haven Bridge it was evident that the tide had, and still was, raging in faster than we'd anticipated. All our earlier excitement turned very quickly to apprehension (hence no further photos).

 

As we approached closer and closer to Haven Bridge we were not 100% sure we were going to fit under. As the bridge is arched, there are two arrows to navigate between in order to clear the highest part of the bridge. On calm still waters no problem, we can spin the boat on a sixpence and manoeuvre it pretty much anywhere. In a very fast tide it's a very different story.

It's a horrible feeling when you just aren't sure. In that situation you'd normally edge forward very slowly so you can reverse back if you're not able to clear it. This option wasn't open to us! Approaching the bridge with the engines in gear made our approach way too fast, the tide alone was moving us around 4 MPH and pushing us from side to side. Our only option was to do it in neutral and be ready to throw it into reverse if needed.  However, once in neutral you lose all control of the boat.  On the first attempt we were quickly pushed off course with the tide moving us dangerously towards the very low part of the bridge.  With the engines in full reverse thrust we only just managed to keep ourselves from being dragged under the bridge.  Three attempts later and we were still the wrong side of the bridge - and with every passing minute the water was getting higher and higher.

 

Finally we had a lucky break. Haven Bridge is a lifting bridge. Twenty-four hours notice is needed if you require it to be lifted so we were unable to request it; but by chance a boat coming up behind us had done just that - phew!

 

So, one down (just) and two to go.  As the river bends quite sharply just before the next two bridges it does mean the tide is slightly less unforgiving.  Again, as we approached as slowly as possible, the "will we/won't we" feeling was uncomfortable.  With the ability to negotiate much slower I could see that we would be ok, but only just.... oh, how wrong I was.

 

As we passed under with an inch or so to spare it's a very claustrophobic feeling, but at least we were under ok. That was until we quickly realised that there were a handful of wooden blocks with bolts through them that protruded around 2 inches lower than the main bridge. Trying to dodge all of the blocks was like a game of Frogger, the old computer game where you raced across the road avoiding the four lanes of traffic. 

Finally, our luck ran out. With a meter or so to go before we were completely clear of the bridge one of the pesky blocks clipped the top corner of the folded radar beam.  As you can imagine a 6 tonne boat clipping a bridge is never going to be pretty.  It snapped the right hand side hinge clean off... and there was still one more bridge to go.

Thankfully this one was smooth underneath, so once you're under you're ok.  We again cleared this one by an inch or so.

 

With adrenaline pumping it was time to moor at Yarmouth Yacht Station once again to a) calm down, and b) survey the damage.

It seemed we got away fairly lightly. Apart from the broken hinge there was no other damage that we could see. We later discovered that it had also pulled out all the wiring for the horns, speakers and lights! This was a quick fix though so not a disaster. With the help of one of the yacht station staff we lifted the radar beam back up and surprisingly it all fitted back into place perfectly.

From here on, it was just a gentle tootle up the river back to Horning.

 

They say you learn from your mistakes and we've certainly done that. Next time we go to sea we'll only tackle the bridges at low tide slack water (where the tide is at its lowest and on the turn; it gives you around an hour or so of non-tidal water).

It was certainly an adventure. She guzzled around £200 of fuel but the experience was priceless!

 

After a few hours cleaning and polishing, Serenity was back on sedate charter duty all this weekend.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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