This charming and illuminating history of the Broads cruiser by hire company family member Vaughan Ashby is packed with anecdotes and memories of a time when ‘Blakes was very much a “league of gentlemen”, who all wished to help each other’. (Even as a kid I remember being struck by the way the Broadland yards seemed to cooperate… )
Ashby’s story about the combination of a petrol engine and gas fridge with a pilot light that hire operators tried for a while is particularly scary. ‘Most hire boats still had petrol engines. So if you had a petrol leak, the vapour went down into the bilge and rose up over the galley floor, until it reached the pilot light low down at the back of the fridge. Boom!’
Do check out the rest of the wonderful Broadland Memories website while you’re there…
One thought on “A history of Broads cruisers”
Good stuff, I can recommend Hunter’s, I had a great time on Brown Bess recently, quite a lot of rowing but none the worse for that. She started life with a Stuart Turner apparently but you’re not going to see much wildlife with all that noise plus the oil slick in your wake.
Some lovely clips on Hunter’s site of rigging and sailing tips.
Being picky I don’t think gas fridges have pilot lights. I think they are always on like paraffin fridges gently heating up the ammonia. The effect of petrol in the bilge would be the same whatever you called the naked flame!