Thursday 28 October 2010


With a little bit of bartering and a few phone calls we have managed to bring forward the delivery date of our new washing machine from next Friday to next Monday. Excellent news, this means we dont have to mess around taking our washing to the marina launderette this weekend.

It will be a little quiet here for a few days now. We have the day off tomorrow to go paint balling with the pirates, the weekend is the usual array of boating, drinking and socialising and monday I shall be awaiting a couple of deliveries. So chances are I wont be back until Tuesday at the earliest.

Be good and dont do anything I wouldnt do.

Wednesday 27 October 2010

The History of Sealine

As the days are getting shorter and boating life becoming quieter I thought it about time I started delving a little into the history of Sealine. So heres a brief look at the companies history so far.

Fibrasonic Marine Ltd, the parent of Sealine motorboats, was established in 1972 by aircraft engineer Tom Murrant mainly because he couldn't find a small family cruiser he liked.Using his experience as an engineer, he designed a boat himself, produced the moulds and then sought out a company called Midland Marine to actually create the GRP mouldings. It was meant to be a straight-up swap - he gets a set of mouldings and Midland gets a free boat design.But it didn't quite happen this way. Midland was a busy company at the time and Tom's moulds started gathering dust. That was until a young worker at the company, Frank Fish, offered, with the help of two work mates, to complete the job in the Murrants' garage.Ltd
The resulting 23ft Continental cabin cruiser so impressed everyone involved that Tom borrowed £500 (£5000 today) against his life insurance, recruited his wife Jane as secretary and set up Fibrasonic in a rented building at Halfpenny Green airfield near Bobbington in Staffordshire.
Then disaster struck. In 1973 the world oil crisis doubled resin prices, a three-day week was introduced as well as 25% VAT. The young company survived by branching into industrial moulding, and produced items for British Rail, road signs and Toby Jugs.
For almost the rest of the decade, Fibrasonic operated as a sub-contractor for other boatbuilders, producing boats for companies like Sunliner Marine and Scorpio Power Boats.In 1978, things began to change, and the company found itself in a strong enough position to refocus on boats of its own. In just six weeks, from drawing board to completion, Fibrasonic produced the 19ft Weekender, which was followed by the 22ft Sport and 22ft Cabin.nder

The boats were grouped under the new name C-Line, and were all displayed for the first time at the 1978 Southampton Boat Show. The same year, the company moved to bigger premises in Kidderminster, the site of the bankrupt boatbuilder Dawncraft.
The following year the C-Line designation was changed, along with the company name to Sealine. The yard stood out from the crowd almost from the start by offering coloured gelcoats where most other boatbuilders were churning out white or brown hulls.Sealine offered blue, yellow and orange options, with the clear intention being to offer something sexier, sportier and more saleable in an evermore-crowded marketplace.
Fibrasonic might have been late on the GRP scene, but some canny marketing and great boats meant it kept within spitting distance of its larger, more established rivals.In the 1980s, the company expanded again with its Ambassadors, Senators and Statesmen - and in the process joined the ranks of the big boys.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Quiet Times

Not much to report at the minute, quiet times all around. Have still been playing with the new phone. The above image is a panoramic view of part of the marina.

Home life is quiet as well, the christmas shopping is done and awaiting delivery, christmas cakes are being baked each evening ensuring plenty of time to mature and be soaked with brandy and we are busy planning the menu for christmas lunch.

The only slight irritation at the minute is the washing machine which decided to bail out.We ordered a new one last friday and the delivery date isnt until next friday. 14 days to deliver a washing machine. Luckily the marina has a nice launderette so we are taking our washing there for now.

So i have not forgotten you all, just having a quiet time.....

Wednesday 20 October 2010

Troubled Waters

If you walk around any marina or stretch of moorings anywhere in the country there will be horror stories and tales about a local stretch of water. Depending on the location of the mooring depends on the severity of the tales.

Burton Waters and the local online moorings are no different. The horror stories all revolving around the River Trent and Trent Falls. The strange part of this though, is that those spreading the rumours have never been to where these horror stories are about. How can this be?

For the record the River Trent is not the easiest water to navigate but with the correct charts and some common sense it can be safely navigated with no trouble at all. Many boats travel this stretch of water with ease. The ones that do come across trouble tend to not be prepared or carrying the charts.

Trent Falls has all sorts of tales attached and people are terrified of the place. For what reason I don’t know as all that is there is the confluence of the Rivers Trent and Ouse and the forming of the River Humber. It is a vast expanse of water with shallows galore but again with the correct charts it is perfectly possible to navigate this water with no problems.

Where these tales of horror and woe originate is anybody’s guess, but my advice is don’t write of a stretch of water on someone’s say so. Research the area for yourself and make up your own mind. There are a lot of exciting places to explore on the UK’s waterways, don’t let people put you off trying.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

More Autumn Weather

More shots from the weekend. Here is another misty morning shot of the long term British Waterways moorings at Torksey and private moorings opposite.

And another shot of the long term moorings with the Wheel House Restaraunt besides. The food here is reported to be excellent, however getting a table is somewhat difficult. It tends to be fully booked up constantly!!

A walk over the road to the tidal Trent revealed yet more mist. A narrowboatist who had locked through the previous evening to get an early start with the tide was left stranded due to very poor visibility.

Yet not much more than an hour later the mist cleared revealing a stunning autumn day. Wether the narrowboatist made a break for it we dont know. Hopefully he did.

The evening was rounded off with a cruise into Lincoln aboard a friends Princess 33 Flybridge "Joie De Vivre" A fitting end to a lovely weekend.

Monday 18 October 2010

Autumn Weather

The arrival of my new phone come camera come camcorder last week meant that it had to be tried out this weekend. What better reason to head out for the evening to the local village of Torksey some 8 miles from our home mooring.

The weather was fantastic for trying out the cameras ability in all lights as the morning dawned grey misty and murky.

The basin at Torksey was veiled in a screen of mist and murk for a few hours. The boats barely visible from the lock and lock barely visible from the boats.

However the sun soon broke through the mist to reveal a lovely crisp autumn day complete with wall to wall sunshine. Excellent boating weather and with the boat crews up, fed and ready we had a very steady run back to the marina.

But not before taking just a few more pictures of Torksey looking at its very best.

Then finishing the weekend off with a few quiet beers aboar Naughty-Cal. A fitting finish to a fittingly beautiful day and weekend.

Friday 15 October 2010

Another Year Done

Well it is two years tomorrow, to the day, since we picked up Naughty-Cal and what another exciting year it has been.

This year we have made it through the big freeze, our first lift out, the Humber in March, our first and subsequent excursions onto the salty stuff, the long slog through the canal system to York (never again will we go the long way both there and back), and a variety of other trials and tribulations along the way.

Naughty-Cal has once again proven herself to be a tough little cookie, taking all that we have thrown at her in her stride and she is still proving to be super reliable despite our unusually high usage of her. Hopefully there will be many more years of happy boating with Naughty-Cal to come.

So cheers Cal and here’s to another year of fun and adventure.

Thursday 14 October 2010

The Wash

After our slog to York at the beginning of August we fancied something a little more relaxing for the August Bank Holiday break, however the weather had other ideas. The plan had been to head back to Wells next the Sea for an evening before heading back the day after.

As you can see when we entered to wash it became apparent that want going to be the case!!

Despite the worsening weather and the coastguards worsening weather updates we managed a reasonable four hour tide window before heading back to the shelter of Boston Docks and eventually the non tidal River Witham.

The further back towards the River Witham channel we came the better the wave conditions became. Despite the Wash being shelterd by coast line for the most part, if the wind is in a Northerly or Easterly direction or against the tide some pretty harsh conditions can be found in this area.

Naughty-Cal behaved impressively in some pretty harsh conditions and gave us yet more confidence in her ability to handle some lumpy stuff. Some of the waves we hit, especially on the way back into the Boston channel were large enough to break over the bow and screens. We were both soaked and cold by the time we made it back to Boston. Hot drinks, followed by hot showers and finally hot food were the order of the day by the time we reached out final mooring spot of Antons Gowt.

Floating around in the Wash you soon understand how it catches out many an unwary mariner. The weather very quickly brews up and it isnt a place for the inexperienced to be out alone. Luckily we had the company and experience of friends to help us along the way.

Wednesday 13 October 2010

York 2010 2

Navigating on tidal waterways often means an early morning to catch the tide right for your journey. It does however make for some stunning photograph oppurtunities.

This one was taken early morning at Keadby with the sun just making an appearance.

Some of the locks along the way Aire are a little on the heavy and leaky side. This one was no exception. Some work to the gates wouldnt go amiss.

The Selby canal was the shallowest water that we encountered along the way. The average depth of this canal being about 4ft and we have a draft of 3ft, even so at times we were trawling the bottom. Each time we met a boat coming the other way we had little choice but to move over into the shallower stuff and beach the boat. The bridges are not very high either.

Thankfully at the end of the Selby Canal is the Tidal River Ouse. Another early morning saw us up and about waiting for the incoming tide. The tide rises very quickly here and within 30 minutes of this picture being taken the water was half way up the lock wall and the mud banks had been lost from view. You need to know what you are doing to navigate this stretch of water safely.

Safely in York and in the boat crews favourite bar The Stone Roses Bar. Time to enjoy some well earned rest and beverage. A trip to remember and one im sure we will all complete again. Next time we really need to convince the pirate ship that Trent Falls is the way to get to York though!!

Tuesday 12 October 2010

York 2010

We had not intended to go to York this year as we visited the city by boat last Easter, however when our friends on the pirate ship Wish You Were Here asked if we would go with them, how could we say no?

Here is Naughty-Cal awaiting instruction from the lock keeper at Keadby.

After a lively night in The Old South Yorkshire, Keadby, we had an early morning start to cover as much ground as possible through the canal system. Wish You Were Heres engine problems meaning we couldnt risk the trip around Trent Falls this time around.

Once back out onto "proper" waterways the sun shone and the boats were much happier. Here is Naughty-Cal gliding up the Tidal River Ouse in the morning sunshine. She is much more suited to these waterways than the canals we had travelled to get to this point.

Still in the morning sunshine we reached Naburn with plenty of time to spare and moored up to wait for the narrowboats on their way upstream. The lock keeper as always here likes to hae a full lock before penning up or down. He certainly wedged us in this time around. We just managed to squeeze Naughty-Cal into the last avaliable space in the lock.

Early afternoon and we reach York. The riverside pubs already serving their early customers and what better place to moor than right in the heart of the city with everything avaliable on your doorstep?

Monday 11 October 2010

A Weekend and a Half

We said last week that this weekend would have to be pretty good to beat the last one. Well it most certainly was one to remember.

It started off early on Saturday with a 6.30am drive from Lincoln to Newark. A few of us were to bring a stranded Burton Waters boat back from Newark Marina to Burton Waters. The owner had been taken ill around about a month ago and was still too ill to bring her back, so we jumped at the chance to bring her home. It was a very successful trip with the boat being delivered back to her own berth with no damage and a very happy owner. Shortly afterwards the drinks started to flow and saturday evening hides behind an alcohol induced fog.

Sunday dawned and what a glorious day. The task for sunday was to measure the bridges through Lincoln city centre to find out if we could fit a friends boat through with a few modifications to the radar arch. So we strip off the canopies, fender up well lower the arch and head off for Lincoln and the Brayford Pool. Dark Star lowers anchor in the pool we pick up the bridge measuring crew and off we head.

The first few bridges we measured fine, before the remaining crew of Dark Star ring up to say they are dragging anchor and the boat has gone behind the island and is now sitting on the bottom. So we head back to tow Dark Star from the shallows ensuring that Naughty-Cal isnt grounded in the process. Finally she is extracted from the mud and moored to the viewing platform due to an abscence of any visitor mooring space anywhere in the pool. Naughty-Cal is then put back on bridge measuring duty.

The remaining bridges are measured successfully without any damage being sustained to either structure or vessel however we did cause quite a stir with the sunday shopping fraternity who wondered what the hell we were doing. Finally finished we head off back to Dark Star to clean up and have a well earned drink. Upon reaching Dark Star our friends on the pirate ship Wish You Were Here have arrived rafted to Dark Star so we raft beside them as well. It wasnt long before Dream On and Devocean made it five boats rafted and finally Banjo arrived to make it six boats on the viewing platform. Why we have left it so late in the season for such a gathering is unknown but it made quite a sight. We settled on a take out from the Mexican waterside restaurant for dinner and had a few drinks before we all set off for the Pyewipe Inn for a final drink and to round off the evening.

With a flurry of untied ropes and lifted anchors the gathering disappeared as quickly as it arrived and soon regrouped outside the pub where the same shuffling of boats and rafting ensued to get us all in again.

Its a good job we dont mind rafting..................

Friday 8 October 2010

Wells next the Sea 2

The harbour at Wells is ideally situated to snap some cracking sunset pictures with the sun setting over the marsh land opposite the harbour quay.

For a small fishing town, the harbour at Wells is always very busy with both boat owners and holiday makers enjoying the pretty scenery and beautiful weather.

As you can see from this picture, the entrance channel to Wells dries out at low water and beach walkers can venture out to the navigation markers.

Many of the locals have their own small dinghies so that they can explore the creeks around the marsh land. The marshland is home to many different species of birds and mammals.

Even the dinghies dry out at low water though. The tide in and out of Wells travels very quickly and seems to be out for an age!!

Thursday 7 October 2010

Wells next the Sea

Our trip to Wells next the Sea in June was our first chance to take Naughty-Cal to sea and find out just how she handled the stuff she was designed for. After a few days holed up in Boston due to bad weather we took to the high seas under glorious blue skies. We were not disappointed with her performance either, as usual she was foot perfect and well mannered, just what we needed to build up our sea going confidence.

Wells next the Sea is a small harbour town with a resident fishing fleet and numerous sailing boats of various types. It was a little odd to see a group of five sports cruisers among the traditional boats and we certainly kept the crowds entertained with our antics aboard.As you can see from this photo the channel dries out at low water so entry to the harbour has to be timed correctly. .

The fishing fleet at Wells next the Sea reside in the inner harbour next to the newly built fish processing plant. The boats work around the tides and leave or enter the harbour whenever the tide allows them to trade. It is nice to see a thriving trade from these small fishing fleets around the country.

The navigation channel into Wells next the Sea is narrow, shallow and winding. It is however well marked with port and starboard markers. The entrance channel takes you over the dreaded Wells bar which is a shallow sand bar at the entrance to the channel. The shallow water pushes the water upwards creating big waves which at times have to be taken beam on which makes for interesting times aboard!!

The town of Wells next the Sea is very pretty and very old world. The whole town is set around the harbour and beach. The quay head during the day is full of holiday makers catching buckets full of crabs. The place is very well kept and the local community are very proud of their town and rightly so.

Next year we intend to make a return visit along with several members of the Sealine Forum. It should be interesting to see if Wells is ready for another invasion of Sealines.......

Wednesday 6 October 2010

It Passed!!

Somehow, depsite our fears the Sierra managed to pass its MOT with no warnings at. Which is pretty amazing to say it has sat around in the garage for 18 months untouched.

Old Fords were never reknowned for their ability to withstand the test of time or the metal munchies. We are starting to get a little concerned that our Sierra may be a modern day equivalent of Christine!!!

Tuesday 5 October 2010

The Bangers MOT

After 18 months of deep sleep and with a new insurance certificate it was time to wake the banger up from her snooze this morning and take her for an MOT test.

She didnt come out of hibernation without a fight though, obviously prefering the warmth and comfort of her garage to the cold october morning outside. We had to jump start her from my trusty Nissan but that meant threading the Nissan down the driveway (the Fiestas old home) she only just fits into too, to reach the bangers lair.

Eventually the banger coughs and splutters into life and squeezes up the narrow driveway onto the freedom of the open highway, well the estate road anyway. After a bit of encouragement she rides again and continues her trait of never passing a petrol station by entering the first one she sees enroute to the MOT Centre!!

So we have left her in the capable hands of the MOT Centre. What will they find after an 18 month break? Who knows this is a 25 year old car after all.