Friday, 31 March 2017

New Engine

Today we have ordered our new outboard for our up coming Scottish adventure. We have decided to order the ever reliable air cooled Honda 2.3hp.

Our current 6hp Mariner outboard propels the dinghy fantastically but at 25kg it is very heavy for lugging around on the boat and we found that when at sea with the boat pitching one way and the dinghy the other it was a tricky job getting the engine safely on and off the boat and dinghy.

We also needed to save weight for the two up to Scotland. The boat needs to be as light as possible so at 12.7kg the Honda is pretty much half the weight of the Mariner.

We have also found that the long shaft on the Mariner is a bit of a pain to store on Naughty-Cal. It was always in the way. We have bought the short shaft version of the Honda which will stow away easily but is also suitable for the transom of the dinghy.

Hopefully the new engine should arrive next week so that we have plenty of time to refill it with oil and check that all is running ok and then next week we can start the running in process on the dinghy. The first couple of hours look to be the most arduous for the running in process so we will aim to get those in next weekend. After that the next eight hours can only be run to 80% throttle which shouldn't be so bad.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Lugging Loads

We wearily loaded the car this morning with all of the stuff we would need for the weekend. I really need a bigger car as we have stuff all over the back seats now. Mind you that isn't helped this week by the boot being full of diesel cans!

We are making an unexpected stop at Bramley this evening on the way to the boat to pick up 60 litres of red diesel from the petrol station. 

I hate lugging diesel around in the car. This is a practice I thought we had given up for good. It leaves the car stinking of diesel and the extra weight in the boot does the fuel economy no good at all. Yes the diesel is cheaper but it usually isn't worth all of the extra hassle. This time however we have no choice if we want to make this weekends trip to West Stockwith. 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Getting Prepared

This coming weekend we have our first proper outing of the year with a group run to West Stockwith. We have quite a selection of boats coming this time with a decent mix of fast and slow, steel and GRP.

For us this has brought with it a bit of an issue mind. Being in the fast boat crowd we had wanted to use this trip as a chance to stretch Cal's legs and open her up. Why is that a problem you may ask? Well we don't have enough fuel!

Our plan had been to put some in last weekend, however that became a bit of a problem when the fuel berth went up in flames. Our next plan had been to get fuel at West Stockwith, but with ten boats coming in the lock we didn't really want to hold the process up on the fuel berth. So Plan C is for us to now head across to the marina tomorrow evening and take 60 litres of diesel with us to put in the tank. This will get us there and back comfortably enough on top of the 40 or so litres we already have in the tank.

So last night I was busy rustling up a turkey curry to put in the freezer to take with us along with some vegetable bahjis. This makes a nice easy dinner on the boat for us as it only takes 10 minutes to warm everything through and cook some wholegrain rice. It is also delicious. 

The last bit of shopping Liam will do tonight to go and get the beer stock for the weekend and then we are ready to go. An unexpected extra night on the boat this week.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Hoods Up

In between the drama on Saturday we did manage to get a few bits done on the boat. The main job for the weekend had been to scrub up the canopies and remove the winters green from the seams and zips.

We decided to try something different to wash them with this year and it seems to have worked a treat. Daz hand wash powder. Who would have thought something so simple, and cheap, would work so well?

It has worked so well in fact that it is what we will be using from now on. We also treated them with some spray on mould remover which claims to keep mould growth at bay, but we shall have to see about that as we are not overly convinced it will do what it says on the tin.

We are busy this coming weekend but the next dry weekend that we get after that will be spent reproofing the canopies with some Fabsil to keep them nice and water tight which in itself helps to keep the green growth at bay. With this done they are then ready for the up coming year ahead. Thankfully this is only a once a year job.

Monday, 27 March 2017

The Aftermath

There will be one or two insurance assessors who are very busy today clearing up the aftermath of the weekends events at Burton Waters. Amazingly no one was hurt so it is only damage to boats and property that needs sorting out. The two boats are no doubt scrap and the fuel berth needs a complete rebuild and recommissioning. 

Sunday, 26 March 2017

A Sorry Sight

We have just had a wander around the marina to look at the sorry sight of the fuelling berth and dead boats.

Not a nice sight.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

A bit of Drama

A bit of Drama in Burton Waters.  A boat has caught fire on the fuel berth and well destroyed it!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Breaking Out

We have decided it is time to break out the Sierra again. The weather for the weekend looks good and dry all weekend so there is no time like the present.

The car has been sat in the garage since her Christmas Day run to The White Hart at West Stockwith so as suspected when we came to wake her up last night the battery was flat. A night on the battery charger has sorted that out though and this morning she fired up at the first turn of the key and sprang into life, easing up the driveway and out into the sunlight for the first time in three months.

She was a little dusty, so after a quick dash around the supermarket to pick up the weekends shopping and dropping Liam off at work, we went for a quick wash off at the local car wash. This has highlighted just how much damage the overhanging bushes in Cornwall did last year, there are light scratches all down both sides, but a quick polish one day after work will sort that out.

Hopefully she is in a good mood and will get us to Burton Waters tonight without several breakdown stops!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

A Meeting Somewhere

Quietly behind the scenes of day to day life and weekends on the boat, we are still busy planning our big summer trip to Scotland.

This is by far the biggest trip we have undertaken with Naughty-Cal and is taking by far the most planning, sitting down and trawling through cruising guides, tidal notes and charts. It is turning into a big undertaking. 

Along the way, somewhere in our two week trip we also plan to meet up with Liam's mum and her husband. Even this is proving tricky to pin point exactly where we can meet up with them. 

How do we know where we will be and when? So much is dependent on the weather and sea conditions that we won't know from day to day where we will actually be.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

A Freshen Up

We have decided that it is time we gave Naughty-Cal's shower room a little freshen up. Not that it is bad, after all it is all GRP lined so there is not that much you can do to it, but a small freshen up is in order none the less.

We have decided that it is now time to get rid of the original Sealine shower curtain. It is 14 years old now and just doesn't clean up as well as it should anymore. So out with the old and in with the new. And this time we have opted for a beach hut theme. A nod to our love of coastal cruising and in particular our visits to Wells next the Sea on the North Norfolk coast with its rows of pretty beach huts welcoming you into harbour.

Second on the list was replacing the towel holder. The original plastic affair was really cheap looking and Liam managed to break it whilst we were out of the water so we have bought a replacement chrome hook which looks much more modern and in keeping with Cal's simple lines and modern look.

Hopefully this couple of simple replacement parts should see the shower room freshened up and ready for the main cruising season ahead.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017


With just one spare weekend left before our first group outing of the year to West Stockwith we have this coming weekend down for doing a rash of odd jobs that need sorting out before we go.

The first and biggest job of the weekend will be cleaning the canopies. Not a job we enjoy doing but it has to be done at some point. With the canopies clean we will let them dry before adding a coat of Fabsil to reproof them and keep them watertight for the rest of the year.

We also have some new Canal and River Trust index numbers to add. The old ones are 14 years old now and have been out in all weathers for that 14 years so they are starting to show their age. They are also not in the best location, the hoods hide the last couple of numbers so we will relocate them further into the windscreen as well at the same time. We have opted for a more modern font as well which should look nicer then the original numbers.

Last but not least we need to add a splash of diesel to the tank. We currently have about a quarter of a tank so we will add another 60 litres which will give us plenty for the short trip downstream on the Trent. We have to be careful early this year with the fuel that we add to the tank. We need it to be as empty as possible when we are picked up to be taken to Scotland. It is going to be a fine balancing act.

Monday, 20 March 2017

A Fine Way

On a wet and windy Sunday afternoon what finer way to end a fine weekend other then a warming and hearty slow cooked steak and ale casserole with dumplings?

We have found that since we relaunched the boat that the slow cooker is getting quite a bit of use. On Friday evening it was on to cook some jacket potatoes and then yesterday it was stew and dumplings.

We had a great weekend in great company and were both happy that Naughty-Cal was in fine fettle after her winter break and a good shake down cruise on Saturday afternoon blew away the winter cobwebs. Acceleration was smooth and easy and she jumped up onto the plane with no fuss settling down to achieve a very respectable 30 knots.

Back to the hard work next weekend though before out first group outing to West Stockwith in just a couple of weeks.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Locked Out

We had a great day yesterday in the company of Sea Jay and her crew. First up we had a run to Torksey, followed by their first time in a lock and their first time on the tidal waters of the Trent. After half an hour we headed back through the lock and had a nice coffee in the tea rooms before heading to The White Swan for a nice bite to eat.

A great confidence building cruise. Today it is back to the marina. But we are in no rush.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

On the Way

Here we are on the way to the confidence building run on the Trent.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Moral Support

We have agreed this weekend to act as a bit of moral support for our new neighbours at the marina. 

They bought their boat late last year and have up until now been getting used to her on the safe and sheltered waters of the Fossdyke Navigation. They want to come with us on a group cruise to West Stockwith in a couple of weeks, so we have decided that it is time that they ventured into the unknown and through their first lock this weekend.

So with this in mind we are heading to Torksey tomorrow morning and will head through Torksey Lock and out onto the Trent. Their first time on tidal waters and their first time through a lock. We won't spend much time on the Trent, the whole idea of this trip is to get them through a lock and to gain a little confidence in doing so.

To hopefully celebrate their success we have a table booked in the White Swan for Saturday evening, so that we can sit down, chill out and hopefully relax.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Canals and Rivers

A couple of years ago we set up a Google Earth map that showed us all of the places we have visited with Naughty-Cal. Everytime we visit a new place we stick a pin in the map, and over time we have covered a far amount of ground.

So far the list of canals, rivers and navigations that we have visited as a team reads as follows:

  • Fossdyke Canal
  • River Witham (Tidal and non tidal)
  • Old River Witham
  • River Trent (Trent Junction to Trent End)
  • Nottingham Canal
  • River Soar (Trent Junction to Loughborough)
  • River Humber
  • River Ouse
  • River Ure
  • Ripon Canal
  • Selby Canal
  • Aire and Calder (Goole to Leeds)
  • New Junction Canal
  • Stainforth and Keaby Canal
  • River Bure
  • River Yare
  • River Ant
  • River Thurne
  • River Chet
  • River Waveney
  • River Blythe
  • River Great Ouse (Tidal and non tidal)
  • 100ft Drain
  • Old River West
  • River Lark
  • River Little Ouse
  • River Tyne
  • River Esk
We always enjoy a foray into the unknown and adding to both the map and the list and this year will be no different. Hopefully by the end of the year we will have added another navigation or two to the list and ticked off another place or four on the map.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Charged Up

We had chance over the weekend to test out the new batteries further. You may remember that last weekend we were not at all impressed with their performance and found them to be slightly lacking.

Well I am glad to say that they were performing much better and seemed much happier when put under loads such as the electric kettle on Sunday morning. We were told to expect them to be sluggish for the first few cycles and then they would start to get better after they had run a few cycles but we were starting to get a little worried that there may have been something amiss with them and they would have to go back to the supplier. Given the really very awkward location of them in the engine bay though we had rather hoped that this would not be the case.

So hopefully over the next few weeks we should see some further improvement and should hopefully have the capacity we require for a summer of battery trouble free cruising.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

It Pays

We discovered at the weekend that sometimes it pays to be a bit lazy. We had not drained the water out of the dinghy which had collected in the last couple of months and look what we found.

It didn't grow us anymore over the weekend though unfortunately!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Pumped Up

We have had a fairly productive weekend on the boat as well as being out and about and meeting up with friends old and new.

After our Friday evening out in Lincoln we headed back to the marina so that Liam could fit the new pressure switch to the water pump. We had taken a flier on this being the problem with the pump and it turned out to be the right choice. With the new switch in place the pump works as good as new again. In hindsight this switch has been on its way out for some time as it had started taking longer to build up pressure, now with the new switch in place it is pretty instant.

We also got a few other bits and bobs sorted out. Mostly cleaning jobs and Liam has removed one of the helm seat back rests to carry out a small repair at work this week in readiness for the new cockpit upholstery which should be getting done in the next week or so. I also retreated the cockpit teak. It probably didn't need it but we had the stuff to hand so did it anyway.

In between jobs we did have time to enjoy ourselves as well. We had a lovely evening in Lincoln and then on Saturday evening had a lovely evening in Saxilby followed by a chilled out and relaxed day yesterday at the Pyewipe and on our home berth in the marina, where we finished off the weekend with a really very nice slow cooked chicken served with carrots and purple sprouting broccoli. 

Sunday, 12 March 2017

It's a Mystery

We had a wonderful day yesterday in good company finished off with a nice meal in Spice Mystery.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Meeting Up

We had a great night in Lincoln last night. Not an hour after saying we should meet up with some old friends from Lincoln we stumbled across them and had a great few drinks with them. Just like old times.

Friday, 10 March 2017

A Night Out, or Two!

It has rolled around to Friday pretty quickly again. This week at work seems to have flown by, an no I have not been having fun either!

This evening we plan to have a run into Lincoln again. We do enjoy a night out in the city in a few of our favourite pubs. This time though we plan to moor through the Glory Hole outside the Waterside Centre rather then by the student digs, we learn't our lesson there last Friday night. Although we should know by now that the students like to party!

On Saturday we will have a potter around in Lincoln. I need to do a bit of food shopping in the markets and we need to pick up a new towel holder for the shower room on the boat, Liam managed to break the current one last week. And Liam needs to have a tinker with the domestic water pump and see if he can get that working properly again.

Saturday night brings with it the promise of a curry for a friends birthday meal. We are not sure where the location will be yet but it will more then likely be at Spice Mystery in Saxilby. It has been a while since we have been with spending the winter out of the water so we are looking forward to that.

Hopefully after a week on charge our new batteries will be a little less sluggish then last week. We had been warned that they will take a few cycles to get up to full capacity, so hopefully they will be a little better this weekend. Fingers crossed anyway.

Thursday, 9 March 2017


Spring has most definitely sprung, or started to spring at the very least.

The mornings are getting lighter, in the week at least it is light when we get up to go to work. There is still a couple of weeks or more before it will be light for us to come to work on a Monday morning from Lincoln.

The flowers are making an appearance after they long winter slumber. The banks of the Fossdyke are awash with a sea of yellow daffodils, one of the first true signs that winter has relaxed it's cold grasp.

And with these first tempting glimpses of spring comes the realisation that summer is just around the corner and our cruising will soon step up a gear. Bring it on.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

The Next List

Despite having spent all winter grafting on Naughty-Cal we still have a fair old list of jobs that need doing before our big summer trip to Scotland.

The biggest job is servicing the engine. This is ready for a full service to include oil and filter, two fuel filters, crankcase filter, supercharger oil and the fours belts, as well as changing the power steering fluid, the trim ram fluid and changing the coolant.

The other big jobs that need doing are scrubbing the canopies and reproofing them with Fabsil, trial fitting the tonneau cover we bought last year and seeing what modifications if any it requires, running in the new 2.3hp Honda outboard, cleaning up the dinghy and making the new solid floor before taking the dinghie (both our old 6hp Mariner and the new 2.3hp Honda) and outboard home so that they stay clean and tidy for the big trip.

No doubt there will also be other jobs that crop up along the way, like the domestic water pump we need to have a look at this weekend. But for now we plan to have a few more relaxing weekends before the hard graft starts again.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Continuing Losses

Both Liam and I have continued to gradually lose the pounds since before Christmas. We are now both on the verge of having lost two stone since just before Christmas.

Some weeks it is only the odd pound we lose, others it is no loss but more importantly neither of us has had a weekly gain. And so the slow but steady losses are now mounting up to bigger totals and we are both feeling the benefits and feeling much better in ourselves.

We are still eating food that we like and we are still enjoying ourselves at the weekends but a few simple changes have made all of the difference and we are looking forward to going on holiday this year feeling much fitter and healthier.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Afloat Again

It was nice to be back on the water once more with Naughty-Cal. We had missed the gentle lap of the water on the bow, the way she sways with the wind and water and the feel of being on the water again.

OK we didn't get far, the weather sorted that out for us, but we didn't need to go far. We were afloat again. Anywhere would have felt good.

One or two small jobs have cropped up over the weekend but nothing major. The domestic water pump has started playing up and is now refusing to build pressure and switch off. We suspect that the pressure switch is dodgy so have ordered a new switch and will also clean the pump and filter whilst we are at it. The pump is in a very awkward location so instead of stripping bits out of the boat to then rebuild it again once bits have arrived we have taken a flier and ordered the new switch anyway.

The new batteries worked far better then the old ones as you would expect but they were a little sluggish in performance when compared to what should be expected. We had been warned to expect this and they will improve considerably with a few discharge and recharge cycles which is good news.

So now we can start to plan our next few weeks of cruising and fitting in the odd little jobs around our plans.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

A Favourite Spot

We spent yesterday moored on one of our favourite moorings in Lincoln right in the heart of the city.

After a few beers in Brayford Pool we headed back to the boat for a supper of salmon, wholegrain rice and kale.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

New Batteries

Last night Liam fitted our new domestic batteries. We now have a pair of Bison deep cycle batteries.

After fitting these we headed into Lincoln for a few beers but decided to head back to our berth afterwards as the students in the halls of residence next to the visitors moorings were in full party mode and we fancied some sleep!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Slipping Away

It was a hive of activity in the boat yard this morning. No chance of a lie in. But that did mean that by 9.00am they were ready to slip Naughty-Cal back into the water.

Settled in the wet stuff she quickly sprang into life with a turn of the key and then it was off for a quick run around the marina to check all was well mechanically before heading back to our berth where we are now sat planning the course of action for this mammoth clean up task.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Stocked Up

Today is Naughty-Cal's last day ashore for this winter, well we are into Spring officially now so it is time she went back in looking fresh as a daisy.

Last night Liam went to the supermarket to stock up on beer and whisky and this morning we have been to another shop to get in a few bits for dinner tonight and breakfasts for the weekend. The remainder of the shopping will be carried out over the weekend at Lincoln markets. We have missed buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the markets at weekends.

So the car is now crammed full with a weekends worth of stuff. Tonight we will head across to the marina and while Liam is in the engine bay checking what batteries we currently have, (he needs to confirm something to the supplier before out new ones arrive tomorrow afternoon,) I will be busy in the cabin fitting the fresh bedding and then moving outside to fit the freshly cleaned fenders and ropes. 

And then all will be ready for tomorrow mornings launch in the rain according to the current weather forecasts!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Still Cleaning

Considering we said that we had finished the boat there have still been plenty of little odd jobs to keep us busy so far this week.

Yesterday it was mostly paperwork but last night after work we also set about washing the ropes and fenders.

The ropes are easy enough we just put them in pillow cases and put them through the wash with a load of washing. They have already had one wash shortly after the boat was lifted but had a second one last night to make sure they are extra supple for the up coming season.

The fenders took slightly longer, they were really very grubby and stained. But with some EVM and some magic sponge they soon came up looking like new again. Excuse the dark shadows in the picture I am not sure what they are but the fenders are bright white again, you will just have to take my word for it. They will receive a coat of wax tomorrow evening after work before they go back on the boat on Friday morning.

We are now pretty much ready to relaunch. We have just a couple of very minor bits to sort out tomorrow evening and Friday morning. We are now very much counting down.