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Asha’s North Sea Adventure



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Asha is a 15yr old Broom 35CL owned by Andrew Barratt and kept on the Thames. We met Andrew at the Southampton Boat show last year when he approached us about doing some work for him on his much-loved boat. Her canopy was weather worn and being moored too close to Heathrow the emissions from jet engines had caused some damage.

There were a number of other jobs which needed doing so Asha came to us at Brundall on the back of a transporter, followed by Andrew so we could inspect the boat and discuss what was required. One suggestion we made to Andrew was for the fitting of gas struts to assist lowering and raising the arch on the Broom 35, which he welcomed saying something about making it easier in his old age! Asha stayed with us over the winter for the agreed works and at this point I’ll let Andrew pick up the story about getting Asha home.

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“We returned to Broom in the Spring to be delighted by what appeared to be a brand new boat. The new canopy was superb in an improved material and a perfect fit, as well as windows you could actually see out of! I was very keen to sail her back to the Thames, and my wife was quite keen for me not to! However, she was off to Spain, so in her absence I progressed my plans and the team at Broom found me a skipper in Peter Buckle. In June he found an ideal tide and weather window for the trip. Starting out at 8.30pm Peter, his friend Edward and I, with combined ages in excess of 210, headed off to Cantley for a peaceful night at the moorings between the sugar factory and the sewage farm! The bridge at Great Yarmouth was booked for 9.15 the next morning so we set off early, we were the only boat going through so all went smoothly and before I knew it we were out into the North Sea. Peter’s planning paid off brilliantly and with the throttle set at 2,200 revs, which showed 8 knots ± 0.1, the trusty Perkins 135 ran for the next twelve hours until we picked up a mooring at Gravesend, a total of 94 miles for the day. But what a day! I had never expected a North Sea passage to be completed in shirtsleeves, a hat and plenty of sun cream. Following the coast down past Lowestoft, Southwold and Aldeburgh, passing a couple of dolphins but with very little else in sight Suffolk disappeared, Essex didn’t appear at all then and the next landmark was the power station on the Isle of Sheppey. The tide and slight breeze followed us down the North Sea and it wasn’t until we reached the Thames Estuary that there was any movement on the water. It was approaching dusk but we still had a great view of the US Coastguard sail training ship moored there, apparently requisitioned by the Americans from Germany after the war as reparation.

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The following morning we headed towards the Queen Elizabeth Bridge at the Dartford crossing, through the Thames Barrier and then finally towards the more familiar landmarks of central London. Asha, who had looked so big on the transporter arriving at Broom, now looked very small in the shadow of Tower Bridge – it was truly breathtaking. I was thrilled with the work the Broom Marine Services team had completed, and Asha was returned to me in such lovely condition. This brought to an end a wonderful few days and a great experience for me, many thanks to all who helped make it happen”.

Thank you to Andrew for sharing his story with us. If you would like to discuss any maintenance, repair or refurbishment work, then please do give us a call, we would be happy to talk through your requirements.

Don’t forget that our Heritage team can undertake full repair and restoration programmes on wooden craft too.