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Our own journey with Orchard Delight, our 29ft Aft Cockpit Motor Cruiser, began in 2002.  We had both grown up close by canal networks, Denise in Birmingham, Stephen in Manchester, so when we thought of buying a boat our natural inclination was to one of the ‘narrow’ kind and nothing was further from our minds than a river cruiser.  That is until the day that Orchard Delight appeared on the sales pontoon at Priory Marina in Bedford.  Something just ‘clicked’ from the moment we went on board.  She oozed (no pun intended) character and quality and seemed to embody the navigation history of the Ouse. 

A survey revealed that for her forty-three years she had lasted well, a tribute to the skill and craftsmanship that went into her construction in 1960, but part of the port chine (the main substructure) needed attention.  We duly purchased her in the full knowledge that there was some specialist work required.

 varnishing orchard delight craning her out of the water
work on the chine

Restoration work in progress (click here for more renovation photographs). Right, craning her out of the water. Top left, re-varnishing. Bottom left shows new timber clamped to repair the damaged chine. The contraption on the left is purpose-built to steam the wood prior to bending into the clamps

The late Alec Goodge, from whom we bought her, provided us with her broad history and expanding on that has become a passion.  We have published this website to celebrate Orchard Delight, the firm that built her, its owner and others involved in her history. 

She was built by Appleyard & Lincoln of Ely and was once the boat of its owner, Harry Lincoln, having first been owned by a Mr Asplin, a solicitor. She was exhibited at the International Boat Show, of which Harry was a co-founder, at Earls Court in 1961.  She was originally called Brouhaha and we have never completely solved the mystery of why her name was changed when she was sold following his death in 1989 except that it was a condition of the sale.

As we talked to the colourful characters that inhabit the various marinas from Ely upriver, mention of Orchard Delight drew blank stares.  But when we said that her original name was Brouhaha people became totally animated and their enthusiasm has helped us piece together some of her history.  We have also gathered photographs, production drawings and artefacts relating to Harry Lincoln, his firm and our boat.

We have been told that in January 1961 the river was in flood in Ely and a bridge had to be removed in order to get her to the waiting crane and onto the low loader to begin her journey to the Boat Show. This may prove to be a trick of someone's memory however as since we said that on this site we have been contacted by the late Hugh Easton, her designer, who doesn't remember that but does know that it happened in the case of another boat, Falcon, in 1954; in 2009 he sent us the pictures to prove it! See also his emails with lots more information about our boat.

His comments and those of others who have contacted us now form our contributors' page. Our original information came from four people; the late Alec Goodge and more recently his wife Betty which included photographs and affectionate anecdotes.  Alan Scarrow was not only one of the boat’s owners but also one of the original team that built her.  It is he who gave us copies of the unique photographs of Orchard Delight under construction one of the highlights of the information we have gathered to date.  Carol Jones of Jones Marina, St Ives, pointed us to additional information, particularly newspaper articles on Harry Lincoln, and photographs.  It was from one of her cupboards that an original ‘Brouhaha’ name plate emerged having been stored there for forty-odd years.

We continue to meet people who are pleased to give us information and anecdotes about Orchard Delight, Harry Lincoln and the boat-yard.  If you can add anything to our knowledge of our boat’s history or contribute any other material or memories we would love to hear from you.  Click here to contact us.

It’s been our good fortune to meet with two of her previous owners and share in their fond memories of our charming boat.  The one person we would love to have spent time with was Harry Lincoln himself.  Sadly this is not possible but we often feel his presence as we share a nightcap on board such is the extent that Orchard Delight retains his personality.

We would like to end with a phrase borrowed from a eulogy at his funeral—‘May the skipper of Brouhaha sail with her in calm waters and the comfort of God’s eternal blessing.’

Denise & Stephen

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