Norfolk Broads Cruiser - Star Supreme 1

The story below was submitted by Charlie Griffin (Griff). It outlines the ongoing restoration of R641, originally named Star Supreme 1. Griff and the others in the syndicate are desperately trying to piece together her history.

The story so far

The 'Broad Ambition' project is a six man syndicate to restore a Norfolk Broads cabin cruiser (R641) to its former glory. Sadly, my dad - Harold Griffin, the former Chairman of Broad Ambition, died on 26th October 2002, a year after we acquired R641. Dad was a 'Broads fanatic' all his life. What satisfaction it would have given him to see Broad Ambition once we've restored her!

R641 was purchased on Sunday 20th October 2001. She last sailed (under her own power) on 16th December 2001 from Woods Dyke at Horning to Malthouse Broad and back. This was followed by a pub lunch and syndicate meeting at the Maltsters Inn.

The dirt road leading up to our boat shed was very uneven, with some potholes over a foot deep. As ‘Broad Ambition’ was coming by low loader we had to price up 16 tons of crushed concrete to be delivered. This had to be hand balled into the holes, with a compacter to get a level road surface.

Click on any of the pictures below for an enlarged view.
(Scroll the page for the full story!)

On 9th June 2002 we at last got her into our 'Boat Shed' (a disused former engine railway shed) near Doncaster, in South Yorkshire.

We have been working on her ever since, in the evenings and at weekends. None of us are joiners or carpenters, let alone boat builders - but we probably will be by the time we have finished! Sometimes we wonder if we should have started off with a dinghy!

We have renamed her 'Broad Ambition' under her original registration number. She is on 'The Books' with the Broads Authority and is also registered with the 'VWBA' (Vintage Wooden Boat Association) under number VWBA 910.

Her canopy is not hinged. The wheelhouse sides slide up and down with a canvas type hood supported by thin bows port to starboard. She originally had berths for nine. When we have finished her she will be an 8 + 2 berth with a small well deck. Her construction is teak, not fibreglass! She had so much paint on her that she did look like her hull was indeed fibreglass, but after hours and hours of scraping her original wood all came into view - TEAK. We had John Williams from 'John Williams Boats' visit us up here in Doncaster and he confirmed that she is teak on teak frames.

The history of R641

We believe she was originally built in 1965, by Jack Powles of Wroxham. We found lots of evidence, and have had confirmation e-mails to support this. On stripping off years of paint we came across the name 'Star Supreme I' painted over the stern, along with Jack Powles and their flags. There were also lots of deck boards and furnishings with Star Supreme written or painted on. She was the first of a class of six, and because she is 'Teak on Teak' her hull was considered so good that she was used as a 'plug' to cast the first fibreglass hull of her type. Being teak is also a reason that she has survived to this day in her present condition - which to be fair is pretty poor, although the hull is good. Engine is a Perkins 4108 4cylinder diesel and the gearbox is a Borg Warner reduction.

Boat statistics

She is shown in a 1966 Blakes catalogue as Star Supreme from Jack Powles.

Date of Registration: 17/01/67 (this date is as far back as the ‘Broads Authority’ computer records go. She will have been registered prior to this)

Gross Weight 8 tons (estimated)

Length 40ft, Beam 11ft

Hull construction - Teak on teak frames - Mahogany cabin sides Fwd and Aft - Coach house roofs - plywood, with plywood deck

| You can find out more about this restoration project on the Norfolk Broads Forum website
Congratulations to you all on a job well done|

| The history of Monarch and Shaft of Light, former Norfolk Broads hire cruisers |
| Other wooden Norfolk Broads boats from the 1950s |
| 1960s Broads boats - page 1 and page 2 |
| Norfolk Broads - Blakes Holidays Afloat 1947 | | Canals - Main page |