View Full Version : Norfolk Broads.... in a keel yacht?

10-10-08, 10:31
I have this mad idea.

I have never explored the Broads and seeing as I have Roach anyway, I think it is mad to charter a yacht. How about just exploring them with Roach? The down side is that she draws 4ft and the mast is keel stepped. The good thing is that she is flush-decked and will get under almost all bridges. So it would mean doing it under engine with the mast on a deck crutch or stored ashore - but that is fine as the friend that I would like to do it with hates sailing but loves boats.

I would like to do this early on in the next season (Easter timish) and my questions are:

1. Any suggestions of a good yard where I can un-step the mast and store it- prefer oldy woldy yard.

2. Any suggestions where I can keep her, near a train station to with connections to London, for a month or so, to use as a base for weekend exploring?

3. The broads "must dos" so that I can start my armchair planning and any recommended reading/charts...

10-10-08, 11:03
Just been a post on the MOBO forum and the chap who answered it did appear to know about the Broads. Perhaps worth you asking your question as part of that thread.


I delivered a mast to Loddon last year. It is a beautiful village with an oldfashioned boatyard but unfortunately not on the train line. Well worth a visit if you make your trip.

10-10-08, 11:28
I am sure that those more experienced that I will be along later but my 6d worth is:-

We took Sirenia on the northern rivers between Potter Higham, Wroxham and Acle bridges 2 years ago.
We had her keel right down (5ft) most of the time and only had to lift it to get along side on Salhouse broad.
You will need to get your mast down quite close to your point of entry to the rivers.
I would suggest that you come in via Lowestoft.
There are quite a few yards around Lowestoft or Oulton Broad that should be able to help.

The broads are well served by rail and you would have a choice of places that are near stations. It would depend where you want to explore.

The Broads Authority (http://www.broads-authority.gov.uk/boating.html) web site would be a good place to start.
They will want some money from you for a river licence anyway.

12-10-08, 09:02
Thanks CliveG, you have been a great help in getting me started. Fining it a problem getting hold of a decent map with depths included though, I'll keep on searching!

12-10-08, 16:52
You may like to concider the Lowestoft cruising club as a base. The marina has water and electricity to all berths , a good shower block and is probably the cheapest in the country.
We have our own mast crane and room to store your mast. The members would give you a hand to get the mast down if required.
The Oulton Broad North station on the Norwich line is 200 yds away and Outon Broad south is 400 Yds away which is on the Ipswich line.
You can get through the lock into Oulton Broad and up to Beccles with the mast up. Depths throughout the broads are at least 4 foot in the main chanels.
You can go round to Great Yarmouth by sea and up the Yare to Norwich with the mast up.
With the mast down you can go into Oulton Broad and down the Waveny to Yarmouth From there you can go into the Northern Rivers of the Bure, Ant and Thurn .
The quietest Places are Hickling and Barton, Dilham and Coltishall.
Lots of interesting places and clear water and lilies etc at the upper end of all the rivers.
It can take years to explore it all.

12-10-08, 21:45
funnily enough i was there this weekend,i saw a mast stepping service on the river bure about 1/2 mile from Gt Yarmouth

14-10-08, 12:38
I would hire a boat.
I have spent a couple of holidays on the Broads. Its the only boat I could get the family on! The standard of boat control is truly scary. I would not take my wn boat on the broads unless it was protected by all the fenders in the world. Most of the muppets that hire boats have never used one before and get about 5 minutes tuition before being let loose with a heavy motor cruiser. Most seem to stop by hitting something, generally hard!
If you are in a hire boat everyone expects you to be a menace and will be pleasantly surprised when they find you can actually control the boat.

14-10-08, 16:57
We had a family holiday on the Broads in a hired yacht many years ago, the most memorable moment was an afternoon in Salhouse Broad. We had moored up to the bank, and watched one of the long hire boats coming in at full speed. It stopped by ramming the bank, but unfortunately the bow rode up, and about one third of it's length was out of the water. Much revving of engines in reverse and swearing, but all to no avail. They had to stay there until the yard men arrived some hours later with a large workboat and towed them off.

Back then we found that most of the sailing yachts were well handled and also many of the motor cruisers, but these hire boats that looked like long wide canal boats were to be avoided at all costs.

14-10-08, 18:27
I took my old Pegasus 800 from Ipswich to Reedham through Lowestoft several years ago. Very enjoyable trip aprt from lowering the mast for Haddiscoe Bridge. But then I did have a lifting keel. Not sure I would take my 1.4m twin keel Sadler 290 through the broads as some of the moorings get quite shallow close to the bank at low water.
Does anyone produce charts with depths marked on them for the southern broads?

15-10-08, 10:01
Thank you all very much for your help. It has got me started -special thanks to HunterWanderer, as I think your suggestion of unstepping the mast at the Lowestoft cruising club is one I will take up.

I think I will give it a shot at the beginning of next season and get a 28 day licence. A chart would be really handy, but after speaking to the broads authority, they say that non are produced as the depths change every year due to dredging - but at 4ft draft most channels can navigated. I reckon I will make a long boarding (fender)plank though and carry the kedge in the dinghy!

One last question. Will saltwater antifouling work, or should I get that special broads stuff and change to seagoing mid when out to sea again?