Friday, 30 July 2010

Too Fast or Not Too Fast

That is indeed the question.

It is inevitable that if you use your boat for often enough and for long enough that at some point or another you will be frowned at, shouted at or generally abused for going, in the eyes of the aggressor, too fast passed their moored boat. It doesn’t matter how fast you are going it is too fast.

The one doing the shouting, is almost always the one amongst a line of moored boats who has rigged his lines at 90 degrees to the bank so that any boat going passed his will almost certainly cause his boat to surge backwards and forwards in an uncomfortable manner. They just never learn and seem to take great pleasure in shouting at others for their mistake or laziness.

It is generally accepted, on canals, that if you are creating a breaking wash then you are travelling too quickly. This rule doesn’t really work when on river navigations as you create more wash when travelling upstream as you are pushing a wall of water to make progress. Downstream you can travel much quicker with little wash. Those who moor on river navigations, as a rule, moor with much more care than canal dwellers, as a simple mistake or loose knot when mooring can result in the loss of the boat. Rivers often have strong currents and locks are more often than not accompanied by weirs so a slipped mooring can have disastrous results. You often find that river travellers are also not the ones who moan about others passing “too quickly”. River users are used to the flow of the water affecting the moored boats and also the wash from boats heading upstream.

There is no single answer to too fast or not too fast, but please moor your boats in an adequate fashion not just with two pieces of string at 90 degrees to the bank.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Cruiser or Narrowboat

The waterways are full of a wonderful selection of varied craft much the same as the world is full of a wonderful selection of varied people. So why must the owners of narrowboats be so derogatory to cruiser owners, and cruiser owners be so derogatory to narrowboat owners?

Wouldn’t it be an incredibly boring world if we all liked the same things and disliked the same things? We are all different by our very natures so it stands to reason that, as boat owners, we will all enjoy different boats. Some of us will enjoy GRP cruisers, some of us will enjoy narrowboats, and some of us will enjoy wooden craft. Each has their merits and each has their advantages on certain waterways. This however does not make one any better than another.

We enjoy cruising in our GRP cruiser as it gives us a great combination of outside space and inside living space, in a compact go anywhere (on the broad beam, rivers and coastal waterways) package. We never struggle to find a mooring and she can turn around anywhere we like. Having said that we also like to look at the selection of differing craft on offer at most visitor mooring spots. On the whole the majority of boat owners are the same in this sense, and enjoy their own craft whilst not looking down on others who may not be so well off. Yet there are the minority, who despite being nothing special, insist on being derogatory to all and sundry that may not have such a large or shiny boat as themselves.

Sad really and maybe they don’t understand that some of the smaller boats on the system give their owners exactly the same enjoyment as their hugely expensive and more often than not hugely impractical boat.

Monday, 26 July 2010

A Relaxing Weekend........

Or not...........

What was supposed to be a quiet relaxing weekend getting the boat ready for her imminent journey to York didn’t really go according to plan. We had both had hard days at work on Friday so decided to go to the Pyewipe after dinner for a quiet pint. We were in the end joined by a couple of new friends we have recently met in the marina. We had a couple in the Pyewipe then headed into Lincoln where we stumbled across the Lincoln Boat Club’s bar which was open. So not wanting to be rude we called in for a couple of swift beers and a very friendly lot they are indeed.

Saturday we then promised would be a quiet day. We gave Cal a good exterior clean and then we went into Lincoln to do the shopping before heading off to Torksey for a quiet evening afloat. Or so we thought. In the end we had a lovely evening in the company of a couple from Farndon who are at the beginning of a two week break afloat on their new, to them, boat. So much beer flowed and the BBQ was lit and we drank the evening away before finally retiring to bed in the small hours.

Sunday we awoke relatively early and ate the biggest breakfast we have had for a while consisting of sausage, dry cure bacon, black pudding, mushrooms, eggs and beans. It was just what the doctor ordered and set us up for the day ahead. We had a nice relaxing cruise back to the marina where we met up with friends galore. The place was packed with boat owners a fair few of whom we have not seen in the two years we have owned Naughty-Cal. Finally the dust settled, the pontoons calmed down and the evening brought with it a more relaxed atmosphere as the crowds retreated home. We had a fantastic home cooked curry a couple of swift beers and a much needed early night ready for our journey to work this morning which is a whole story in itself!!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

River Navigation

Whether we like it or not the pastime we enjoy together, boating, is reliant on water levels. The start of this year has been the driest for many years and rivers and reservoirs have been running low. Water levels on canals tend to remain more stable than those on river navigations, however over the dry period the canals have been suffering too, with the closure of a long section of the Leeds Liverpool canal due for closure next month.

When navigating rivers it is important to remember that water levels can go up and down very quickly and allowance should be made for this when mooring up and also when looking at air draft and water draft considerations. The topic is further complicated if travelling on tidal waterways where the water levels vary on an hourly basis as well as a seasonal basis.

As a general rule, when navigating rivers it is usual to stay to the middle of the navigation on straight sections and towards the outside of bends. The insides of bends tend to be shallow and have shoals or sandbanks. Shallow drafted boats can get away with straying further out of the channel than deeper drafted boats and as such should not push deep drafted boats into shallow water. Tidal waters often have navigation charts to accompany them. It is important to follow these very carefully as the channel does not always follow the assumed course. During summer months the width of navigable river channel can vary considerably.

Another consideration of river navigations is where to moor. Unlike canals where you can moor to the towpath where ever you fancy, river banks are under riparian ownership and belong to the adjacent land owners. It is therefore not possible to pull up and moor to the banks. For this reason it is important to check before you leave where possible mooring places are located. Once you have reached your desired mooring spot it is important to moor into the flow of water or the wind whichever is stronger, using the flow or wind to slow and control the progress of the boat. Once up to the bank you should allow enough slack in your ropes to allow the boat to fall with the water should river levels reduce. This can be done in a number of ways but setting spring lines is one of the most common. You should be aware that on river navigations where mooring space is scarce, that rafting up may be necessary, especially if you have a narrowboat and use a large proportion of the available space.

Any boater using river navigations should carry and have ready for use a suitable anchor and chain or rope. River navigations have weirs accompanying locks and often at various spots along the route. Should your engine fail near a weir it is essential that you are able to get to and deploy your anchor both quickly and safely. The anchor can also be used should mooring space be full, to anchor over night or for lunch. Just make sure that you don’t block the navigable channel and make sure the anchor isn’t dragging!!

Lastly, the weather in the UK can be very unpredictable. Be aware that during periods of heavy rainfall rivers can quickly go into flood conditions. If this happens moor up where it is safe to do so and under no circumstances should you attempt to move the boat until the water levels have receded to a safe level. If necessary find somewhere to leave the boat on a temporary basis. Marinas will often have spare berths that can be rented for short periods if need be. British Waterways are also very approachable of you find yourself stranded on one of their moorings. They don’t expect you to move in flood conditions even if you are overstaying.

I hope that has given you a small insight into river navigations and has not put you off venturing out onto the rivers. They offer some excellent scenery and cruising grounds for all to enjoy.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Passage Planning

As a lot of our cruising takes place on tidal or coastal waters, it is important to plan your proposed passage. Unlike canals where you can just get up and go as and when you want to, you have to time your passage on tidal waters around the tide times for your specific area.

Whilst this may sound daunting at first, the helpful lock keepers actually make it very easy. It helps to have to hand a tide table for your specific area also. Ringing the lock keepers to discuss your intended plans a few weeks before the journey will help to plan your journey times. You should aim to run with the direction of the tide as this not only saves time but also saves fuel. Most locks onto tidal waterways have a specific window of time that the lock can be used. Keadby Lock on the tidal Trent for example can only be used 3 hours either side of high water. The timing of your journey therefore is critical so that you arrive within the allotted time.

On top of managing your tidal window there are other points to be taken into consideration especially if travelling with a group of boats. You need to ensure that all boats can travel comfortably at approximately the same cruising speed, that all boats know the actions to be taken in case of emergency and that all boats know the proper procedures for using VHF radio. Depending on where your travels will take you it may also be necessary to arrange berthing requirements in advance. This will not be necessary for our trip to York as we will mainly be using British Waterways visitor moorings.

The planning doesn’t stop there, you also need to plan ahead for unforeseen circumstances. For example, when navigation rivers the water levels can rise very quickly in a short space of time. Where would be safe to moor and possibly leave your boat should the need arise? You cannot predict the weather, so should leave plenty of time for the return journey in case foul weather stops your progress.

As you can see, there is more to this tidal boating lark than first meets the eye. This is just a very basic overview into some of the considerations to be taken and all boaters considering any journey on tidal waters should ensure that they and their boat are adequately prepared. It is also worth checking with your insurers that you are covered for your journey.

Most importantly though stay safe..................

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Getting Ready For The Off

With just a few weeks and two weekends to go until our next holiday aboard Naughty-Cal it is time to start getting here ready for the off. We only have weekends aboard Cal so we have to plan what needs doing and when to get her ready in time.

Now Naughty-Cal is only a small boat at 25ft, however the planning involved is unbelievable. First of all there is the planning of fuel stops. This time it isn’t as critical as we are only going to York, but we still intend to set off from the marina with a full fuel tank. We take our own diesel to the boat as it is cheaper than buying from the marina, so we have to gauge how much she will take at a time. She has a 225 litre fuel tank so we have been taking 60 litres as a time to top her up. We estimate that the 60 litres we intend to take on friday evening, will fill her to the brim, but then we have to factor in that we will be using her this weekend and next. We will have to estimate how much we should take next weekend to top her back up again.

The next thing is food provisions. We generally, where possible, cook meals using fresh ingredients aboard, however there are times where shopping stops are scarce or times where you can be stranded for a couple of days in the middle of nowhere. So, on this basis we carry a stash of emergency rations which consist of canned food, pasta, rice, jars of cooking sauces and flat breads etc. So that we can rustle up a quick meal should the need arise. We shall have to inspect the emergency cupboard and see what rations we need to buy. We also need to stock up the beer cellar. It is often more cost effective to stock up when the supermarkets have good offers on the beer then drink to your hearts content whilst away.

Then we get onto items such as gas cylinders. Are they full? We have two cylinders aboard which are 2.75kg Camping Gaz cylinders. These are not always readily available waterside so we always check we have at least one full cylinder. The only thing we have aboard that uses gas is the cooker, so the cylinders last quite a while. Through the summer we get longer per cylinder as we tend to cook a lot of meals on the BBQ. During the winter months we cook many more meals aboard so the cylinders don’t last as long, only about two months per cylinder. We also set off with a full water tank but this will be sorted on the Monday morning that we leave her before we set off on the Friday evening.

We like to set off with Naughty-Cal looking spick and span both inside and out. On Monday morning, before we left the boat for work, we stripped down the bed and took down all of the curtains and shower curtain to take them home for washing. The washing machine has been working none stop since we got home yesterday evening and the majority of the items are now hanging in the spare bedroom at home to dry. This weekends task is to clean out the inside of the boat removing everything that can move for a good scrub down. Then we will move onto the outside. The exterior of the boat is easy to clean with just a boat cleaner (EVM) and fresh water. The cockpit can all be jet washed out then allowed to air dry.

The final and probably most important thing is a thorough engine check. The engine had a major service in June before our first coastal trip to Wells next the Sea, so will just require the levels checking, water trap on the fuel tank emptying and general visual inspection of the engine. It is important, when travelling in extremely tidal waters to ensure that your engine is in fine working order. In the two years we have owned Naughty-Cal, we have built up great trust in the Volvo lump stuffed under the cockpit floor. It is also important to carry spare parts for the engine should the worst happen and also to know what to do with them. The other essential piece of kit that must be working is the anchor and winch. The anchor locker should be checked to ensure nothing will snag the anchor or chain should it have to be deployed and also the operation of the winch should be checked. It needs to be in working order.

So there you have it. We have a busy couple of weekends ahead of us with plenty to keep us out of trouble and this is before we start planning the journey ahead and where we will be stopping. There are three boats to date heading off on this adventure so planning will be paramount. We will still though, I am sure, find some time to wind down and enjoy being afloat.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Pratice Makes Perfect

Or so you would think........................

I have always been an advocator of practice makes perfect and this weekend has been another example of the truth in this much quoted statement.

A group of us headed off upstream on the tidal Trent with the aim of reaching Newark for a night out on Saturday, before dropping off one of the boats at Farndon Marina a little further upstream and heading back to Burton Waters on Sunday complete with the now boatless crew.

The locks onto the tidal Trent are all large manned locks which are only open during their specified tidal windows. This means that the lockies don’t have a specific working calendar. All of the locks are large locks designed to accommodate the larger commercial vessels that still ply their trade on the River Trent. The downside of this is that the mooring dolphins are well spaced apart so British Waterways have installed a number of “sliders” within the concrete lock walls. To navigate the locks safely the lock keepers insist you are roped to a slider at both the bow and the stern of the boat. The sliders are little more than a bar recessed into the lock wall through which you pass the end of your mooring rope. As the water rises of falls the rope slides up or down the bar and the boat is held safely next to the wall.

Now this can be no easy task depending on the shape of your boat. Sea going cruisers tend to be very pointy at the front but a little chubby around the middle. End result the bow will be nowhere near the lock wall when the point amidships is touching the lock wall. Now each cruiser is again a different shape and the technique to rope onto the sliders will vary from vessel to vessel.

We feel that with all the practice we have had over the last couple of years that we have almost mastered the technique with Cal, but as we found out at the weekend there will be times when even the most practised of deck hands get it wrong. Upon entering Cromwell Lock, the biggest of the manned Trent locks at the end of the tidal section of the River Trent, it began to blow a gale. The OH was driving and I missed the slider resulting in the boat landing skewed across the lock. Luckily the lock wasn’t too busy so we didn’t lose too much face and no damage was done as the lock is so huge we managed to recover the manoeuvre and land her safely on the opposite lock wall. This time I managed to pick up the slider first time.

You can’t buy experience and there is only one way to gain it. Get out there and get used to your boat. We all have the good and the bad times and we will all have times when we wonder why we decided to do what we did, but it is all part of the learning curve. Remember, practice makes perfect..............

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Rafting Up

There are a few topics within boating circles that are guaranteed to spark lively debate between different groups of boat owners. Rafting up, or mooring two or more boats alongside each other, seems to be one of them.

Depending on your cruising ground, rafting up may be part of your boat owning experience. It is most prolific in coastal harbours where you are expected to raft alongside, but is also common practice on river moorings. This is due to the fact that unlike on canals, where British Waterways own the land adjacent the canal, on rivers the landowners own the river bank as well. This results in there being very few areas, other than specified visitor moorings, where craft can legally moor to the bankside on river navigations.

Those who cruise mainly on canal navigations seem to have almost a fear of rafting their craft against those already moored up. It is almost as though they are scared of talking to other boat owners and socialising. They seem to view rafting up as an invasion of privacy, when in reality if you choose; you can have very little contact with the boat and owners you are moored alongside.

Regardless of the views of others, we view rafting up as a way to meet new people and forge new friendships. Find out about areas you have not visited before and generally socialise with others around you. Hardly a weekend goes by where we have not rafted at some point, usually outside the pub for a few hours but often over night. On cruisers such as ours, there is no invasion of privacy once down below as there are very few windows in the cabin sides. Sitting in the cockpit is a more social affair and exchanging morning pleasantries over freshly brewed coffee and the morning paper is all part of the boating experience for us as is enjoying a drink on a fine warm evening with our new found neighbours and friends. Maybe we like to socialise more than the average boat owner.

I don’t see the problem but obviously a large proportion of the (mainly) narrowboat owning fraternity do. Strange really when you consider that during the day of the working narrowboats, they were often seen breasted together whilst working.

I don’t know if this is another part of the boating world that is gradually changing as the years go by, whereby people are afraid to talk to others or to socialise with others. But on a waterways system where congestion is becoming an ever growing problem should we really be afraid or unwilling to share some of our time and mooring space with others around us? Maybe it is a minority of boaters who dislike sharing but if it is they are a very vocal minority. Still the time will come one day when they have little choice but to raft up, let us just hope that on that day they find another one of their no thanks group, and maybe then they will see the error of their ways...

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

The River Witham

Following on from the Fossdyke Navigation, the River Witham flows from Stamp End lock to the sea gates at Boston which link the river to the tidal River Witham, the wash and the sea beyond.

At first there is little noticeable change between the Fossdyke and the river with long straights and the occasional bends but soon the river widens and deepens and the flow becomes more noticeable as more and more drainage ditches and dykes flow into the navigation. The river slips past many villages along the way, often turning their backs on the once important river.

The only lock between Stamp End and Boston is the lock at Bardney which has a fall of approximately 8ft during normal summer river conditions. The lock is accompanied by a pretty lock cottage, which is now a private residence and also a swing bridge to give access to the farmers fields. The bridge is usually left open though so poses no navigational problems. Once through this lock the navigation continues on its peaceful journey through open countryside with occasional road crossings and farm buildings on the banks.

The Kyme Eau navigation, which will eventually be navigable all the way through to Sleaford, joins the River Witham at Chapel Hill. Here there are visitor moorings available at the caravan park and facilities are made available to visiting boat crews. The Kyme Eau is however currently only navigable to shallow drafted boats with low air draft.

About 2 miles from Boston is the lock and visitor moorings at Antons Gowt. The lock gives access to the Navigable Drains, a drainage system that during the summer months is open to navigation by boat. As the main priority is drainage the navigations are purely on an as found basis with no guarantee of navigation given. Navigation of the drains is only advised for shallow drafted boats with low air draft, however low bridges will give problems on some sections.

After the long sweeping bend at Antons Gowt the river settles into its final run into Boston with another long straight. The Stump comes into view to herald your arrival in Boston. The slight disappointment here is the state of the visitor moorings, which have seen better days and are often too short for Naughty-Cal, who is only 25ft long!! Make sure you have plenty of spare fenders to avoid damage to your craft. Still they are located very close to the town centre, yet offer a peaceful evening aboard should this be your requirement.

Visitor moorings on the River Witham:
Washingborough: 24 hour visitor mooring
Fiskerton Fen: 24 hour visitor mooring
Bardney Lock: 72 hour visitor mooring
Bardney Village: 72 hour visitor mooring
Dunsten Fen: 24 hour visitor mooring (moorings also at Southrey opposite)
Kirkstead Bridge: 24 hour visitor mooring
Tattershall Bridge: 24 hour visitor mooring
Chapel Hill: £5 per night (includes use of facilities on caravan site)
Dogdyke: 24 hour visitor mooring
Antons Gowt: 24 hour visitor mooring
Boston: 24 hour visitor mooring (longer mooring available on request)

British Waterways Facilities:
Bardney Lock: Toilets, showers, water point, refuse disposal, electric points
Boston: Toilets, showers, water point, refuse disposal, electric points

There are far too many pubs and villages along the River Witham to name them all, so i wont even attempt to, but a couple of our favourites are The White Horse, Dunsten Fen (currently closed down), and The Little Peacock, Boston. Boston as you would expect has a huge range of shops, supermarkets, pubs and other facilities. The Maud Foster Mill Tea Rooms is also well worth a visit.

So there you have it. The low down on our local waterways and Naughty-Cal's local places to visit.

The Fossdyke Navigation

As Naughty-Cal’s home mooring is on the Fossdyke Navigation we spend a lot of our time at weekends cruising the local area. The Fossdyke runs from the Lincoln City centre lock at Stamp End, where it then joins the River Witham, through to the lock onto the tidal River Trent at Torksey.

From Wikipedia:

“The Foss Dyke, or Fossdyke, may be the oldest canal in England that is still in use. It was long thought to have been constructed by the Romans around 120 AD, though this is now considered doubtful. Kevin Leahy points out:

The first record we have of it is that of
Simeon of Durham who records its construction by Henry I in around 1121 (Historian Regium ii 260). Even if the Fossdyke had been built by the Romans it needs a high level of maintenance and after a few hundred years of neglect it would have been difficult to find, let alone navigate.

The canal connects the
River Trent at Torksey in Lincolnshire to the River Witham at Lincoln, and is about 18 km (11 miles) long. It possibly follows an earlier line of the Trent, which emptied into the Wash in prehistoric times. Together with the 90 km (56 miles) of Car Dyke it formed part an important transport route from Peterborough to York.

It was reputedly used by the
Danes when they invaded England and by the Normans to carry stone to build Lincoln Cathedral in the 11th century. During the reign of King Henry I the canal is recorded as having been scoured out to increase its depth in 1121 but it deteriorated until by the 17th century it was virtually impassible. Katherine Swynford, who lived in the area, is credited with having organized a protest to repair it, in 1375 King James I transferred ownership to the Corporation of Lincoln and acts of Parliament were passed in 1753 and 1762 for straightening and dredging it. It received further work in 1840 but with the coming of the railways its use declined. The Great Northern Railway bought the lease in 1846, and offered tolls on the railway which were significantly cheaper than those on the canal, with the result that the traffic declined quickly, although grain traffic continued to use the waterway until 1972.”

Starting at Torksey, which is often used as a non tidal safe haven for craft navigating the tidal waters of the Trent, the navigation flows on towards Lincoln in a series of long straights with wide sweeping turns occasionally breaking the monotony. The first place of interest along the way is the village of Saxilby, which provides picturesque visitor moorings and the usual array of village provisions. The route of the navigation both into and out of Saxilby is closely followed by the A57 set high up on the flood banks. Through Saxilby the navigation continues its arrow straight progress towards Lincoln passing along the way, The Woodcocks family pub, Burton Waters and The Pyewipe Inn.

The navigation as you enter into Lincoln is flanked on one side by long term and residential moorings, with a huge variety of craft on show, from retired Norfolk Broads hire boats, to fishing vessels, keels and the usual narrow and wide beam canal craft. Once through the road bridge which carries the dual carriageway over the navigation, the water widens out into the vast expanse locally known as Brayford Pool. The pool is surrounded by modern and old buildings alike, many of these now home to pubs, clubs and restauarnts.

Its isnt at first, to the visiting boater, obvious where the navigation then leads. But navigating the pool to the far end reveals a series of low bridges and a narrowing navigation creating some interesting water flow conditions. The second of these bridges, the glory hole forms an arch over the navigation atop which is a building of some considerable age. Shops and shopping centres line the narrow navigation at this point and the sight of craft negotiating the low bridges always draws a crowd. Visitor moorings are avaliable along this stretch of river, however some of the larger craft that traverse this section need the full width of navigation. Once through the bridges you are faced with the guillotine gate of Stamp End Lock which takes you onto the River Witham below.

Visitor Moorings on the Fossdyke Navigation:
Torksey Lock: 72 hour visitor moorings (longer times avaliable on request)

Saxilby Village: 72 hour visitor moorings
The Woodcocks: 14 day visitor moorings (rafting up may be necessary at busy times)
Burton Waters: £12 per night
The Pyewipe: 14 day visitor moorings (rafting up may be necessary to busy times)
Lincoln: 24 hour visitor moorings (rafting up maybe be necessary at busy times)

British Waterways Facilities:
Torksey Lock: Toilets, showers, pump out, water point, refuse disposal
Saxilby: Toilets, water point, refuse disposal
Lincoln: Toilets, showers, pump out, water point, refuse disposal, elsan point

Pubs along the way:
Torksey Lock: The White Swan & The Hume Arms
Saxilby: The Bridge Inn (waterside with own moorings) & The Sun Inn
Burton Waters: The Woodcocks & Yots Bar and Bistr
The Pyewipe Inn: Waterside with own moorings.

Home Sweet Home

Now that you know a little more about Naughty-Cal and some of the places she has been, let me introduce you to her home marina and home berth.

Burton Waters, Lincoln is a large, modern marina and private gated housing estate situated a couple of miles outside Lincoln on the Fossdyke Navigation. The site covers approximately 140 acres with a mix of water, housing and public open spaces. The marina is home to approximately 200 boats with another 100 or so, to date, on the private moorings belonging to the home owners. The marina has been open for some nine or ten years and in that time has grown into a flourishing boating community with a wide and varied client base from across the country. Development is still ongoing at the site with further housing, retail, and commercial units to be constructed.

The marina is the centre piece to the development with a large family pub, bar and bistro, “floating” restaurant built out over the water, and shops surrounding the waterside. The landscaping has been designed by an award winning landscape architect, and over the years has become more established, softening the modern lines of the surrounding areas and providing a haven for a whole host of wildlife from waterfowl and fish to marine mammals and their woodland counterparts.

Each of the berths in the marina is fully serviced with a 16amp power supply, water supply (heated in the winter to prevent freezing) and use of the excellent shower and toilet facilities around the marina. 24 Hour security is also provided to both the marina complex and the housing development. The moorings within the marina are of the floating pontoon type, as the water levels of the Fossdyke Navigation can rise and fall very quickly. The whole development is protected against flood by a pair of flood gates across the entrance channel and flood banks surrounding the boundaries adjacent to the navigation.

The sales office and chandlery shop offer the usual, gas, diesel, visitor moorings and pump out with elsan facilities available to moorers and visiting craft. The variety of craft available for sale ranges from small outboard powered river cruisers, to narrowboats and large flybridge sea going cruisers. The yard also offers the usual array of repair and service facilities with the ability to lift craft of 40 tonnes.

Naughty-Cal is currently moored on E pontoon which is located in the central of part of one of the basin arms. Her mooring is directly opposite the “floating” Chinese restaurant where we get fantastic displays as the resident chef juggles knifes, eggs and flaming food for his hungry guests. E pontoon has a reputation for being the party pontoon with regular arranged parties and many more spontaneous gatherings amongst the very sociable boat crews. Never a weekend goes by without a gathering of some description, although there is never any pressure to join in if you don’t feel inclined.

We have an ever growing group of boats and like minded owners, from both the marina and the housing development, that partake in regular outings ranging from local meets at the pub to tidal and coastal trips further afield. Again hardly a weekend goes by without an excursion to the local waterside pub, The Pyewipe.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

The Story So Far

During the latter part of 2008, we got to know Naughty-Cal and how she ticks on the easy to navigate Fossdyke Navigation and River Witham. At the beginning of 2009 we finally decided to navigate the tidal River Trent and explore some more of the local waterways. At first the trips onto the tidal Trent where taken with some trepidation as most people we had met have a horror story or two to tell.

Our first major trip aboard was Easter week 2009 when we took Cal to York and Ripon. This entailed a trip all the way along the tidal Trent and then back up the tidal River Ouse after rounding the dreaded and much feared Trent Falls!! In practice Trent Falls is nothing to worry about if you have a properly prepared and maintained vessel and you get your tide times correct.

Following on from the trip to York we quickly gained confidence in Cal and her ability to cope with some slightly lumpy water. Further trips in 2009 included numerous trips to Newark, Farndon and Nottingham and the River Trent as well as longer trips including Loughborough. We did however learn our lesson with timing tides correctly and timing holidays to be taken when the tides are good. We booked a week off work in August of 2009 only to find that the tides where very low (Neaps) for the week and we wouldnt be able to get over the cills in Torksey lock (There are two of them as it is a double lock.) This wasnt a problem as we had a chilled week along the Fossdyke and Witham visiting places we other wise wouldnt have seen.

The beginning of this year was the first time we had to lift Naughty-Cal for antifouling, servicing and polishing. We did this early in the year (February and into March) to ensure we didnt lose out on valuable crusing time during the better weather. We used Cal all through the winter as our retreat (as we do every weekend) even when we where frozen in for six weeks. Soon after she was relaunched we embarked on the most adventurous trip we had so far attempted. In the company of friends we set off onto the Humber and down to Hull Marina for a few days. We had planned to go to Spurn Point, however the weather turned typically British so we stayed safely moored in the marina hoping for a gap in the weather to get us home.

This almost brings us upto date. Between March and now we have successfully completed several trips along the Trent and in early June we attempted our first coastal trip with journey in company with three other boats to Wells Next The Sea on the North Norfolk coast. To access the sea from Lincoln you have two choices, either along the Humber or as we chose, along the Witham and out of the sea gates at Boston. This trip was again a roaring success and gave us even more confidence in the boat and her abilities.

So to the present day. We have numerous trips in the pipeline for the rest of this year. The next week away aboard Naughty-Cal is to be a trip to York in August with friends who have not been by boat before. However prior to this trip we have to escort them this weekend along the tidal Trent to Farndon Marina where their boat is booked in for some work to be carried out. Normally not a problem trip but their depth sounder has given up the ghost and the Trent is very short on water at the minute, so they will be closely following us and hoping we find the correct channel. More updates on this after the weekend.

Hello from us

After almost two years of adventure aboard Naughty-Cal, we thought it about time we started a blog of her own. First of all let us introduce her.

Naughty-Cal is a 2003 Sealine S23. She is currently moored at Burton Waters just outside Lincoln on the Fossdyke Navigation. Here she is the day we picked her up from the brokerage yard at Burton Waters on a beautiful October morning in 2008.

Naughty-Cal is designed as a sea boat for coastal use, however she has turned her hand to river and occasional canal use with relative ease and with a few minor modifications she has been adapted to enable her to cruise on rivers with low air draft restrictions. The windscreen now being the highest point at 6 foot 6 inches when the radar arch is folded down.

Naughty-Cal was originally sold through Burton Waters, Lincoln with her original name being I Dunno. To date she has always been moored with her home berth at Burton Waters, Lincoln, with the occasional month away at Naburn Marina, York. Her previous owner changed her name to Naughty-Cal shortly after purchasing her in 2005.