Thursday, 21 April 2011

Easter Break 2011

Well folks the time has finally come around. It seems like months since we booked the time of work but eventually the first holiday of 2011 has arrived. You can expect a quite week or so as internet reception is very much hit and miss waterside.

The beer is ordered, 120 bottles of Bud should see us through a fair part of the week before we need to find more supplies and the food cupboard is fully stocked. Tonight we will pick up 60 litres of diesel on the way to the boat and a few fresh food items for the fridge. On arrival at the boat we will load up, put the diesel in the tank, fill the water tank and set sail into the sunset.

Our original plan has been foiled by the recent warm and very dry weather. Water levels on the Trent are really quite low so we have taken the decision to head in the opposite direction down the River Witham towards Boston. There will be plenty to keep us occupied during our week off as we are dragging the dinghy down with us. This means we can explore the ditches, dykes and smaller navigations that run into the Witham. It will also mean we get the chance to visit the annual river festival at South Kyme. We have missed this each year so far due to Naughty-Cal being too deep drafted for the Kyme Eau. This year we will moor Cal at the entrance to the Kyme Eau and dinghy it to the festival. Could be interesting on the way back down river to get back to Naughty-Cal!!

Updates of our progress will be few and far between and will be reliant on finding good internet access, which isn’t always available on the waterways. Where ever you head this Easter stay safe but have fun.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


It hardly feels like two minutes since we were talking of winterising Naughty-Cal, however last weekend we felt that it was definitely time to dewinterise Cal and get her back into summer cruising mode.

First up the cockpit carpets were removed and banished to the garage for the summer. The fresh white cockpit floor gives the boat a much lighter and brighter feel, ideal for the summer months. It is also a cooler feel for walking around bare foot. The white GRP keeps cool even in the blazing sunshine and is much easier to clean than the carpets. A quick sweep and mop out are all that it now takes to keep the cockpit clean.

Next the cabin heaters and the engine bay heater have been removed. There is now little need to provide heat to either the engine bay or the cabin area. Any frosts are slight and the daytime temperatures are well above freezing keeping the temperatures in the engine bay and cabin well above freezing during any frosty evenings. No point wasting electricity heating an already warm area. We do of course have a Webasto diesel heater installed on Naughty-Cal; so on the cooler evenings we can still apply a quick blast of heat to warm things through should we need to.

After our Easter break the engine will be fully serviced with an engine oil and filter change, change of air and fuel filters, new supercharger oil, and new impellor. This on top of the stern drive oil and oil seal change earlier this month should see Naughty-Cal through a few months of cruising and will have her in fine fettle for the trip to Wells next the Sea at the end of May.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Weekend

Just a few photos for you today taken over the weekend in the glorious weather that we have been blessed with. Hopefully the next couple of weeks will be just as fabulous weather wise.
A peaceful scene on the River Witham

Fiskerton Fen Nature Reserve moorings.

Naughty-Cal on the Fiskerton Fen mooring (the towels are hanging out to dry after we had both showered. Neither of us had fallen in!!)

Sunday morning breakfast stop at Washingborough (We travelled from Fiskerton Fen to Washingborough to ensure we had hot water for washing the pots. Not before we had bought loads of lovely free rang eggs from the farm at Fiskerton)

Finally anchored in Brayford Pool with friends at the end of another great weekend afloat.

Monday, 18 April 2011

A Failure?

Well it depends how you class failure I suppose. We didn’t manage to complete any of the tasks we intended this weekend but we did instead make the most of the fabulous weather we were blessed with.

Saturday saw us set off in the general direction of Lincoln. We needed some shopping so we moored right in the centre of the city and made the most of the great value butchers in Lincoln Market. £6 saw us with plenty of meat for a BBQ on Saturday evening, sausages for breakfast on Sunday and a huge haggis for dinner on Sunday. £2 spent in the greengrocers saw us with plenty of fresh vegetables for the weekend and £1 in the bakery bought four huge brown bread cakes. It is nice to support local business rather than use the supermarket chains when possible.

After a spot of shopping we set off for Fiskerton Fen Nature Reserve, a peaceful mooring in the middle of nowhere, great for a quiet evening afloat. After an evening BBQ we settled in with a few beers before hitting the sack.

Sunday dawned another scorcher of a day. So we set off for a wander around the reserve before heading to the local farm to stock up on fresh free range duck and chicken eggs. The prices were very reasonable and the quality second to none. The yokes of the chicken eggs are a great array of yellows and the taste is super. On our return to the boat we set off for Washingborough, where we would stop for breakfast. With a mammoth breakfast filling us up we set of back through Lincoln and Stamp End Lock. We had no need to rush so took our time negotiating the lock before ambling to the Pyewipe for a few quiet drinks, or so we thought.

We were soon joined by more friends and set off back for Brayford Pool in Lincoln centre. We anchored up in the pool and set off to explore in the dinghies. The river Witham joins the Fossdyke canal in the pool but is no longer navigable by larger vessels due to a number of low bridges that restrict navigation height. The dinghy isn’t so restricted but even so head room was short at times. The Upper Witham looks to be a very interesting river and is certainly on our list of waterways to explore. We didn’t get very far up river yesterday due to time constraints but in the near future we will see how far we can go.

With time against us we set off back to the marina, canopies refitted we had a few more beers whilst the haggis, neaps and tatties cooked on the stove. Another cracking weekend and even though we didn’t finish the jobs we intended it was worth not working hard. Let’s hope that this weather continues long into the year.

Friday, 15 April 2011

A Weekend of Work

It’s getting towards the weekend again and boy will it be a busy one. We only have this weekend left to get Naughty-Cal ready for the Easter holiday.

First up will be installing the snap davits. This will be by no means an easy task and will involve gaining access to the transom of the boat, right behind the engine. Still it needs to be done so there is no point complaining. Secondly we will have to attach the davit pads to the dinghy. Again no easy task as they have to be positioned correctly to keep the dinghy central about the stern of Naughty-Cal.

With these tasks completed the OH can then install the outboard bracket. Again this job needs access to the transom right behind the engine. The outboard for the dinghy will then be locked to the bracket with and outboard lock for safe transporting and also whilst moored on our home berth to deter any potential thieves, not that we have a crime issue at the marina mind you, but better to be safe than sorry.

Whilst the OH is doing battle with various bits of stainless steel I have plumped for the job of hand polishing the topsides. The machine polisher we used on the hull sides won’t physically fit into the available gap between the bow rails and coach roof so it’s a manual polish for this area. A once over with T-Cut to remove the stubborn staining, then a once over with Autoglym Super Resin Polish to bring back the shine and finally a good coat or two of Carnauba Wax to lock in the shine and protect the gel coat. This should then finally be the last of this year’s polishing.

Next the canopies are in desperate need of a good clean up. This will be my job again as the OH will still be in battle with some piece of stainless steel or another. Over the winter period the canopies have started to get a little green around the edges, so a mild solution of EVM and a scrubbing brush will sort them so that they look respectable again. Hopefully the canopy maker will eventually get around to finishing our hood repairs and we can get Cal looking almost as good as new again. The canopies will require a good dose of Fabsil but that can wait until we come back from our Easter break.

Lastly the cabin interior will be ready for a quick once over. With fresh bedding and clean curtains, bathroom fettled, galley gleaming and a quick vac just to ensure she is looking spic and span, ready for the off. Can’t be setting off with a dirty boat that would never do.

It would be nice if at some point this weekend we can actually get out and use Naughty-Cal, even if it is just a small run to the pub for a quick beer. We shall see I suppose. No great loss if we cannot as we have a whole eleven days afloat starting next Thursday evening after work, hooray......

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Snap Davits

As we have now purchased a more suitable dinghy for Naughty-Cal we need to think about mounting it to the stern of the boat for our journeys further afield. The dinghy will be useful for exploring smaller waterways, creeks and ditches than Naughty-Cal is too large or deep drafted to navigate herself.

The only real choice we have are stainless steel snap davits due to Naughty-Cal’s smaller proportions. These are small brackets that bolt to the bathing platform and you then attach pads and hinges to the dinghy to snap onto the davits hinging it skywards from the bottom. A pair of standoff arms then hold the dinghy at 90 degrees to the boats transom, to still allow easy access to the boat and to also hold the dinghy safely at high speed. This will be vital for us as the dinghy is as wide as the boat!

As a stroke of luck the chandlers we bought our old dinghy from have taken it back in return for a set of snap davits and stand off arms for the new dinghy. Not a bad deal considering the davits and arms are almost £350 ordinarily.

We want to take the dinghy on our Easter cruise up the Trent so will have to work hard this coming weekend to ensure that the davits are installed in time. We scoped out the plan last weekend and will remove the rear bathing platform grab rail then utilising the mounting points for the rail to fit the snap davits to the transom. This will involve a bit of a squeeze into the engine bay forcing yourself around the engine before hopefully successfully extracting oneself in one piece. It should be an interesting job to complete.

Next up is mounting the outboard bracket. That will also be an interesting job!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sausage Bake

We tried this excellent dish for the first time last night and it is yummy. Not quite as easy as some of the other recipes I have posted but still not difficult.

So for this one you will need:
A pack of Cumberland sausages (about 3 per person)
4 rashers lean back bacon, cut into pieces
1 leek sliced
600 g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
A handful of mushrooms sliced
1 can of cannellini beans
200 g Philadelphia Light with Spring Onion & Black Pepper
120 ml chicken stock
25 g Cheddar cheese, grated

As always start by preheating the oven to 200 degrees.

Cut each sausage into bite-sized pieces. Fry along with the bacon, mushroom and leek in a non stick pan for around 8 minutes, until browned. Then add the beans to the mixture

Meanwhile cook the potato slices in a large pan of boiling water for around 8 minutes or until just soft. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Once the sausages are cooked add the chicken stock and Philadelphia and stir gently until the cheese has melted and created a smooth rich sauce.

Place the sausage mixture in a greased oven-proof dish with a layer of potatoes on the top. Finally sprinkle with the grated cheddar.

Bake at 200⁰C for about 25 minutes or until heated through and golden and crisp on top. We serve this dish with warm crusty garlic bread. It really is quite filling so you won’t need too much to accompany it.


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Perfect Weekend - Part 2

The Fleet on Kirkstead Bridge Visitor Moorings

Naughty-Cal at Kirkstead Bridge
The River Witham approaching Washingborough

Naughty-Cal anchored in Brayford Pool

The Fine Fleet rafted up in Brayford Pool

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Perfect Weekend?

The weekend is over all too soon and what a cracker it has been. Heres hoping it is the first of many great weekends for 2011. Here is a small selection of photos covering our adventures this weekend.
Bardney Lock

Kirkstead Bridge Visitor Moorings
River Witham

Anchored in Brayford Pool

Rafted up in Brayford Pool

Friday, 8 April 2011

Almost Ready To Rock

So after a second weekend of hard graft, Naughty-Cal was finally ready to be launched again. On Monday the marina staff launched her and took her back across to E Pontoon and her home berth. Here are a selection of pictures from last weekend.

Taped up ready for a fresh coat of antifoul

Untaped, freshly painted and look good as new

Polished and waxed and looking very shiny

New ropes, new fender ropes and clean fenders. Ready to launch

Celebratary BBQ and then the heavens open!!

So now Naughty-Cal is almost ready to face the long summer boating season. We now just need to clean out the cockpit, fit the snap davits to the transom and the outboard engine bracket, hand polish the topsides and she is ready to rock. This coming weekend it is the cockpit that is getting a good going over. It has suffered on the hardstanding and is looking loppy. We are of course going to make the most of the glorious weather we are having and are going to hopefully have a more successful BBQ.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Salmon and Broccoli Quiche

This recipe really couldnt be any easier to make. It takes litterally minutes to knock up and about 25 minutes to bake in the oven, buit the results are simply amazing. A perfect light evening meal or simply served as part of a summer buffet or party.

So for this quiche you will need:
1 pack of short crust pastry, 2 fillets of salmon flaked, a handful of broccoli florets, 3 eggs, 200 ml low fat crème fraiche and 200g Philadelphia Light with Chives

So to begin preheat the oven to 180C. Then add the broccoli florets to a pan of boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes. Remove and strain the brocolli before it is completely cooked through.

Whilst the broccoli is cooking add to a bowl, the eggs, crème fraiche, Philly and salmon and mix together. The Philly will remain lumpy but that is ok. Roll out your pastry and use it to line a suitably sized tin. Arrange the broccoli evenly on the bottom of the pastry, then pour over the salmon and cheese mix. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden on top and cooked right through.

So simple, yet so tasty. Great picnic or party food but equally as good served with salad and chips for a light summery main meal. Enjoy...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011


Every once in a while a singer pops up who makes you sit back and really listen. This weekend it was Adele with her ne album "21". So much so that we have had to purchase it.

Luckily Amazon have once again proven that they are one of the best places to buy CD's at a reasonable price.
We have just had confirmation that the item has been dispached so hopefully we will have it in time for the weekend.

It will be a good album for listening too whilst cruising along the river. Relaxed, chilled and really easy listening.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Antifoul and Chest Infections

Naughty-Cal was finally finished at the weekend. The weather did its best to stop us, but we carried on regardless.

She is looking fantastic and we cant wait to get her out on the river looking her best. We now need to fit the snap davits for the dinghy and we are ready to rock come Easter week.

Next weekend will be a thorough clean up of the cockpit area which has bore the brunt of the dirt over the last couple of weekends and now really needs a good going over.

We had a surprise visit from a couple of Sealine Forum friends on Sunday. They had brought their boat to the marina for servicing, so the party began. Dinghy racing, drinking and an inpromptu BBQ followed, again the rain tried to stop play but we wouldnt let it beat us and we quickly relocated to the undercover fuel berth.

The only downside is that I have developed a pretty nasty chest infection which now means I am on a seven day course of antibiotics and the weekend is only four days away....

Friday, 1 April 2011

Favourite Meals Afloat - Part Two

Following on from yesterday’s selection of our favourite meals aboard, here is another small sample of our favourite nautical, or should that be Naughty Cal, meals. The criteria for meals making this list are quite simple. These meals should be quick and easy to cook on the limited facilities (i.e. two gas rings and a gas grill) that we have aboard.
Roast Dinner

(We might only have a grill and two burners but you can still rustle up a Sunday Lunch!!)

Thai Green Curry & Rice

Steak with all the trimmings

The Great British BBQ (not afloat but bankside!!)

Hot Dogs (For when we are feeling lazy)