My current boat is the EMMA LUCIE Profile 33 twin engine Volvo Penta 42 hp diesels 1.1 Ltrs per Nm, one of the second batch built by Maidboats of the Thames 1988.I joined the Training Ship INDEFATIGABLE at the age of fifteen and left for sea at sixteen to sign on my first ship WAYFARER of T&J Harrison of Liverpool. Did a while with that company and then various others as A.B and lamptrimmer, twenty years in all. Only have ICC & CEVNI, VHF certs in RYA but studied a bit and have no problem taking my boat up the East Coast, France, Belgium, Channel Islands. Used to sail as well but can't handle that now owing to health problems, now seventy five and retired but studied Bookbinding at college and still take on commissions including logbooks when required have just done No 105.
As an Auxiliary Coastguard Afloat, I was acting as Chief Rescue Officer for the World Speed Sailing Championships in Portland Harbour held during the week when, on the night of the 15th/16th October 1987, the notoriously un-forecast hurricane hit Dorset.The photograph, taken by Roger Lean-Vercoe of Yachting Photography on the morning after the hurricane struck, shows me in the wheelhouse at the helm of his MI21 rescue boat “Response” while crew members Billy Acres and Phil Gollup try to recover the wreckage of “Jacobs Ladder” one of the competitors boats which had been moored overnight in Portland Harbour.“Response” with her twin 75hp Mercury engines, miraculously still flying her “R” flag, had luckily escaped serious damage overnight as a result of having returned to her sheltered mooring in Weymouth harbour at the end of racing the previous evening to drop off an ITV camera-crew.
In my case, I operate on the Broads, normally without V.H.F., where the Broads Authority have their own fleet of patrol boats. Of course, we are always available to offer our support, as any mariner would.My own experience deep sea, and in particular latterly in the North Sea where I also operated 10 meter f.r.c. and helped with helicopter rescues etc., might have some minor use, and if the Broads Authority are prepared to call for help on a mobile ‘phone, we would certainly respond if within range of the incident. [The mobile phone network is not always reliable on the Broads]. We did see a Coast Guard f.r.c. well up river about 5 years ago responding to a heart attack incident one night and thought at the time that local boats might have been able to respond quicker…however their action was in time and the outcome successful.Our boat is a ‘Relcraft 29’ named BORATO downgraded from a 26 knotter petrol engine to 8 knots max. diesel. SSR No 05442; Broads Authority Reg. 285H We are based at Bell Boat Yard, Brundall (there is another member there but we seldom see them).We normally operate on the southern Broads rivers with occasional visits to the northern Broads rivers. We need 8 ft. air gap so cannot get under the lowest bridges on the broads.I was a tanker man, Master Mariner FG Steam (sailed as Master) and still with Nautilus, GMDSS Radio certification, plus North Sea and Offshore experience including professionally trained (Lowestoft) in f.r.c with some practical experience of their use. to bring pax back to mother ship in any weather in the early ‘80s; working with and use of commercial SRA helicopters; help with Nimrod search (CAA Radio Licence, but may be out of date) also in the early ‘80s; and occasional liaison off shore with Air Sea Rescue helicopters - all a long time ago (retired 1999 but still fit -ish). No R.Y.A. certification.The sides of our 29ft boat are too high for manhandling bodies but she does have a small bathing platform on the stern which would help for conscious victims, dogs etc., plus accommodation and galley for providing support. Traditional lifebuoy and line on board plus basic First Aid kit and fire extinguishers etc. Could tow small vessels but she has been modified with a fixed prop which gives her a 3.5ft draft restriction. I could re-fit the V.H.F. which was dismantled as irrelevant when she transferred from seagoing from Rye, to the Broads 8 years ago although V.H.V. comms on the Broads is not great.
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This my barge “PEKE”, she is 22 metres x4.05 x 1.2m. Originally a sailing barge built in 1917 now powered by a130 hp Perkins. Based in Burgundy.
I keep Malindi, a Profile Pursuit 34 1980, in Gloucester and cruise both upriver and the Bristol Channel, I still work as relief Master on the large passenger vessel MV Conway Castle and the ex Dunkirk fomer Thames passenger vessel MV Queen Boadicea 2.
I own a narrow boat on the Mon and Brec Canal, and she is berthed about 3 miles from Brecon. As the canal is not connected to the sea, nor to the rest of the network, we have no involvement with the Coast Guard, nor indeed the rescue services, of which I am well aware, having spent 21 years as a Trinity House Deep Sea Pilot!Our narrow boat was formerly in the hire fleet of Cambrian Cruisers. She was built in 1988 and we started hiring her for our holiday cruises in 1990. Around about 1994 she was rebuilt and, as we were the principal hirers of the boat called “Angharad”, we were allowed to suggest the layout best suited to us.There was a carpenter working at Cambrian who was a craftsman. He was one of the carpenters that restored the woodwork of Windsor Castle, after the fire. He rebuilt “Angharad” in teak and oak to a very high standard, and so we asked to be considered when the boat came out of the fleet. This happened in 1997, and we became proud owners of the boat. Length wise she is 40 feet, which is an ideal size for the twists and turns of the Mon and Brec, where the max is around 55 feet. John Greenland, the carpenter, has since modified the interior to form a double bunk in the after part of the cabin and a pull out settee at the forward end, to make a second occasional double. She has Ebersbacher central heating, as well as a log burning stove. The bathroom has a pretty powerful shower and the toilet is a Sealand drop through type, with a tank that is capable of running for over a week before pump out. I do most of my own maintenance and painting as you would expect, and especially as I am now Chairman of the Mon and Brec Canals’ Trust, and it would not do to let the side of the MN down!I have attached a photo of her, taken for a calendar about three years ago.
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We were able to indirectly help some holiday makers stranded this summer by calling up the B.A. new rescue boat on a Sunday, but anyone private boat owner would have done the same if they had the ‘phone number available.We were motoring down the Yare in BORATO on a warm Sunday afternoon last year, planning to cross the top of Breydon Water with the intention of mooring for the night at Burgh Castle. As we entered Breydon Water we saw ahead of us a small hire boat which had motored out of the wide and well marked channel - not an uncommon incident. They had run up on the rapidly shoaling mud banks about 3 hours before low tide. We motored to within haling distance but were too deep drafted to leave the channel to get close enough to pass a tow line. They were not fully aware of their dangerous situation although they had tried to contact their hire company but, being a Sunday, that office was closed with only an answering machine available. They had no other phone numbers to contact. Realising that at the very least they would be stranded for a minimum of 6 hours, and with the potential of a list depending on their hull form, I suggested they may ring the Broads Authority for help with a tow. This Authority had recently bought a custom built Aqua Bell Trojan 33 rescue and tow vessel built for fast help on this potentially difficult stretch of water and this was dispatched from Great Yarmouth immediately, crossing the long stretch of Breydon Water at speed, quickly passing a tow line and pulling the hire boat back into deep water. They towed the boat to the nearby Berney Arms where she and her holiday makers was checked out, and, as far as I know, they were then able to proceed on the remainder of their holiday, with an extra tale to tell.
On November 28th 2014 this truck finished up in the canal at Pont Royal. My boat is just visible through the bridge ( the blue one) at its winter mooring. I was summoned by VNF on the afternoon of the 28th to be there on Monday to move the boat out of the pound so that it could be drained to recover the truck’s load.After driving 500 miles on Sunday I found it was not possible to move the boat as the pound below the next lock was empty so I said that my boat could rest on the bottom and the other owners agreed. This is what happened despite the local manger insisting all boats were moved, she did this whilst sitting in an office 50 miles away. All is now OK but some of the load was Champagne the bulk of which disappeared over the weekend!