HMS Norfolk
The Challenge

It all started in 1996 when Peter and I put down the keel of my model HMS Norfolk for the specific purpose in mind and that was a Long Distance World Endurance Record on a river.  NOT on a pond, lake or canal, as they would be static water and this would not be a Challenge.

So I took it upon my self to find a suitable river. As I already owned a cruiser, I had cruised up and down the River Yare and River Waveney a lot, and I came to the conclusion that if we did it from Norwich all the way down to Beccles there would be some serious quick tides in some of the places, such as Reedham railway bridge and we would have to use the New Cut and the tides were sometimes difficult here as well. Also further down the River Waveney it also could be dodgy sometimes so I decided to go from Waveney River Centre up to Boaters Hill Quay near Beccles as this was a lovely river that was protected most of the way there and back. The tides were not too bad, about 1 to 1.5 mph and it was a reasonably quiet river WE HOPED!

My team was Peter Dorsett, David Houseago, Richard Thurston, Richard Flatt, David Tedstone and myself.

After finding a river on which to do the attempt, we applied for permission from the Broads Authority. A week later the reply came back and it said in principal they would agree to let us do the attempt on The Broads, but would need me to fill in a 5 page Risk Assessment.  I had good fortune here as I had found a good friend in a navigation officer and he is a knowledgeable man indeed. He gave me a lot of help and when I had filled in the form I sent it off to HQ.  Also I had to have up to date model boat insurance. After this was completed I had to get permission from Waveney River Centre as I would need to have space to change our batteries and would need a large tent for the scrutineers and for charging the batteries. Originally we were going to use their flat bed ferry as a chase craft that was offered to us but it was found to have a few problems, such as not much weather cover and it could be blown sideways. On reflection it was not the right type of craft we should have used. So it was back to the drawing board. "Oh dear", you would say, but it's only something else to solve. I had plenty of these types of problems to solve.  After talking to Dave Tedstone and other cruiser friends, we decided to use my cruiser Blithe and have Dave's cruiser as a back up.  A local farmer up at the Beccles end gave me permission to use his quay and I thank him for doing this. We had thought to continue up and into Beccles main quay but there was a problem in doing this and that was getting through the sailing yachts and reducing our speed to 4mph before turning and struggling through the yachts again.