Stately Broads cruiser captures boating from bygone era
PUBLISHED: 06:44 09 March 2018
She’s known as one of the stately old lady cruisers of the Broads.
And now Spark of Light, an original Herbert Woods wooden cruiser, has launched into the day hire market.
Built in 1927, Spark of Light captures the old-time cruising fashion of idyllic motor boating from that era, but now with all the mod-cons you would expect to find in a modern fleet of hire boats.
The classic cruiser was originally available to hire out for longer periods, but is now only available for day charters in order to protect this rare piece of Broads boating history.
Spark’s detailed restoration work was recently recognised when the vessel was short listed in the Powered Vessel Restoration category in the Classic Boat Awards 2018.
She was described as having “kept all her original charm, despite the modern comforts and demands of a hard life”.
“No other charter boat on those fabled waterways turns heads like this.”
Winners will be announced in May.
After having gone through numerous name changes and changes of ownership since it was built, Spark of Light returned to the company named after its creator in 2011.
Every effort was made to preserve or replicate the interior in its original style and a rear cabin features twin beds with en-suite while a further two single berths are located upfront.
There is also a fully equipped kitchen and toilet facilities so you can comfortably spend the day afloat.
She is powered by a Perkins 44bhp diesel engine, which was fitted in 1955, while the wood in the hull used to the waterline is Siberian redwood and Russian archangel pine for the rest.
The classic cruiser is the perfect way to discover the magic of the Broads on a day charter while a skipper navigates the waters of the Rivers Thurne, Ant and Bure.
She operates within a three-hour cruise time returning to Potter Heigham by 4pm and the itinerary is flexible so you can take your time exploring the Broads.
Destinations include Ludham and Womack Water, Thurne, St Benet’s Abbey, South Walsham Broad and Fairhaven Gardens, Malthouse Broad and Ranworth, How Hill, Upton, Acle and Stokesby.
•The cost of hiring the piece of Broads history for the day with a skipper for up to six people is £300.
Many names, same Spark of Light
Originally christened Spark of Light in 1927, the stately wooden motor cruiser built by Herbert Woods has undergone several name changes over the years.
At some point before April 1934 her name was changed to ‘Spot of Light’ and in 1947 she once again underwent a name change, this time to ‘Shimmer of Light’.
After Herbert Woods died in 1954, new chairman Lindsay Cutler took ownership.
She underwent significant refurbishment, including a refit that made her seaworthy.
When Cutler died the boat, now known as Cherrie, was sold in 1971 to John Whitaker, the father of current Herbert Woods partner Michael.
In 1999 Cherrie was again sold but an accident in which a tree fell across her front deck led to lengthy repairs and modifications.
Cherrie was not seen afloat again until 2005, where she was renamed ‘Shimmer of Light’.
She was relocated to Broads Edge Marina in Stalham and it was here that in 2011 she was reunited with Herbert Woods.