We begin this section with an account from Graeme Cushion of his first two trips on the Broads in the 1970s:
My first experience of the Broads was back in 1974. I had been asked by a couple of friends who I had been at school with to make up a third person to hire a boat. Of course I jumped at the chance. It was Jayne from Martham (can’t remember the exact one). Petrol engine as I remember and the throttle/gear lever looked like it had come out of a signal box.
The first thing I remember is that Martin made an offering of two packets of Consulate cigarettes to the Gods of the River as we loaded things on board. Of course he made it look like he tripped. For Sunday dinner Dave had decided that we were having a chicken and all the trimmings (don’t know what he was thinking). As he was basting said chicken we hit the wake of another boat. I still remember the way that it slid around on the floor as the boat bobbed up and down, well it made me laugh. Did we eat it?? 3 young lads, of course we did.
Funny how I seemed to be the one always in the cabin doing the steering, but I enjoyed every minute. Well almost every minute. We were to do the Southern Broads as well and so stayed over night in Yarmouth. Next day we set off for Breydon. Don’t forget I was a complete novice and we didn’t have any maps as such. On being told by Martin that we needed to turn right at the marker and seeing what lay ahead I uttered something along the lines of “Not F****** likely” and did a 180 degree turn back to Yarmouth. This was before Breydon Bridge had been built. We did get through though (I followed another boat that looked like it new what it was doing). Whilst down there we stayed at Norwich for one night where we were set adrift while we slept.
On the last day we headed back to Martham and under the dreaded Potter Bridge. As it was my turn to steer, yet again, it was decided that I would be the one to take her through (yes I know there’s a pilot service or at least I do now). When I made comment about the clearance they told me not to worry. Surprising how much lower in the water she was after the sea cocks had been opened.
But none of this put me off and we were back again the next year. This time Lorencia 3 from Richardsons, brand new that year. About day two we were moored up doing something to eat when a boat went speeding past, the wash rocking the boat so bad the cooker fell over! Surprising how quick 4 people can leave a boat, I missed my footing on the quay side and badly bruised my leg. But of course that wasn’t the end of it. The key broke off in the door lock. I managed to run her aground in Rockland. And on our way back from Norwich, just passing Thorpe we lost all steering control. This in the days before mobile phones, luckily a police patrol boat was passing and they passed on the message.