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Everything posted by IanD

  1. I'm telling you that many boaters -- especially hire boaters who are most likely to run into trouble -- don't do this. If they did there would be far fewer breakdowns and sinkings on the canals. I doubt if one hire boater in ten checks fan belts or looks for oil leaks, at best they might check the cooling water and oil levels -- but after a couple of days with no change they'll stop doing that too. Much as you might like to think the opposite, they're not interested in learning from experienced sailors, they're interested in having a good time on holiday. Now you could say that anyone reading this forum is more likely to be interested in the technical qualities of anchors and you'd be right, and they're more likely to want something better than a Danforth for very good reasons, and the information you've provided will help them do this. This doesn't change the fact that for the vast majority of boaters who are less painstaking (and who probably don't read this forum) it's a good choice...
  2. Alan, the dispute is not about the technical issues -- nobody would try and argue that the Danforth is an excellent anchor, because it isn't. But people coming back and saying things like "any sailor would prepare..." is still missing the point entirely -- yes you would, because you're an experienced sailor who is aware of the risks (and things like anchor performance). Regardless of the OP's experience -- we don't know if he's like you, or hasn't got a clue, or is somewhere in between -- people on narrowboats are very like drivers, or people in many other walks of life, they aren't aware of or underestimate risks, and if something is a pain to do (like assembling an anchor) they're less likely to do it and more likely to die as a result. So for most people a not-very-good anchor that is ready-to-use in times of need is better than a great anchor that would be available if only they'd spent the time and effort to put it together. It's why cars are fitted with lap-and-shoulder seatbelts (or lap only in some countries) instead of full harnesses which are much more expensive and cumbersome to put on. I'm not saying that people with more experience or risk awareness have to use a Danforth, they can take the time and use a better one and be safer as a result. But trying to persuade other less-well-educated (in safety) people to behave more safely like you -- seatbelts, drink-driving, smoking -- has always been a losing battle, because they don't see why they should have to do what you want them to do. The OP can decide which he prefers without disclosing which category of sailor he falls into... 😉
  3. Nope, didn't read it... Fit an average narrowboat with an anchor that has to be stowed away disassembled and put together before going onto a river, and I guarantee you that even if being told they ought to do so at least 90% of people simply won't bother. Doesn't matter if it's their fault if they drown, that's the way people think. For these people -- the majority, or the dumb majority as you'd probably call them -- a poor anchor ready to use is better than a great anchor which isn't. Or would you rather they drowned so that you can then tut and feel superior because you'd have known better?
  4. An anchor that's sitting in bits in a locker isn't even a mud weight. Did you actually read a word I said, or are you just doing the same as Alan? In an ideal world every narrowboat would have an excellent anchor, and crew who knew how to use it and how important it was to have it prepared before venturing out onto a river. In the real world this isn't the case for most people (even if it is for you and Alan) and never will be.
  5. You're proving my point exactly, Alan 😉 As an experienced sailor you're well aware of anchor issues, and (as you said above) if you're going somewhere that might need it you'll spend 5 or 10 minutes assembling your wonderful drag-resistant expensive anchor, after which you'll be confident that you know how and when to deploy it, and can bask in the glow of a job well done. All of which is alien to 99% of people on narrowboats who occasionally venture out onto rivers confident that nothing will go wrong and unprepared for it if it does. In this case having an inferior anchor like a Danforth ready and waiting to be chucked over the side -- even if it might drag sometimes -- is still better than the alternative of no anchor at all, following a quick internal discussion on the lines of "I've never had a problem, I can't be bothered to lug that complicated hunk out and put it together". This is called human nature... You seem unable to put yourself into other people's shoes and think what they -- without your experience and knowledge -- would do. And if they made the wrong decision (in your view) and drowned as a result, no doubt it would be their fault for not being properly prepared. Which literally speaking it would be, if everyone was an experienced sailor like you. It's the equivalent of an experienced photographer telling a novice that to get absolutely the best pictures they should really get a Hasselblad 500... 😉 [correct for them, but not for the person they're advising]
  6. Not wanting to further stir up the mud on the relative merits of different anchors in setting/holding power, I'd have thought that there's a crucial difference between a narrowboat and most boat anchor applications -- it's only likely to be needed in an emergency which by definition is unexpected. In this case having a fantastic anchor which has to be stored dismantled like the one in the photo further up (because there's nowhere on the boat to fit it assembled) is of little use, unless you have the foresight -- before the unexpected disaster -- to have got it out and put it together. It's the same as the smartphone camera vs. digital SLR debate -- there's no doubt which takes better pictures, but the best camera is the one you have with you when the unexpected photo-worthy event happens -- a great camera sitting at home is useless. Of course you can say "you should assemble the (Rocna, whatever...) whenever you're going into any circumstance where it might be needed" but human nature is generally not like this, especially for people who spend most of their time on canals and little on rivers. For most people in this situation it's probably better to have an anchor like a Danforth that can be stored assembled and attached to chain/cable, ready and waiting to be chucked overboard in an emergency than one which they're still assembling -- assuming to know how to do this -- as the boat goes over a weir. Experienced mariners may disagree (and they're much more likely to anticipate the possible problem and have the anchor assembled and ready for action), but such people are in a tiny minority on the canals, and expecting most people to have their expertise and foresight is unreasonable...
  7. Don't know if they've finished yet but last year there were building works around the locks down towards the bottom of the Nine which meant you couldn't walk from one lock to the next. Two of our crew set off to walk ahead and set the next lock but never got there, we met them several locks later...
  8. Have travelled the Rochdale 9 (and the Ashton) in both directions several times over many years, and never had any bandit problems -- but some of the locks can be very hard work, especially if it's raining (which it often seems to be). Also no issues the time we went from there up the Rochdale a couple of years ago, there were bridge trolls enveloped in clouds of sweet-smelling smoke but they were all friendly 😉
  9. IanD


    Anyone (like me) who wants to know which noisy little b*gger is waking them up at dawn, there's an excellent app called BirdNET from the bioacoustics lab at the University of Chemnitz -- it records birdsong, you can then select a section from the recording and submit it to their database which tries to match it against a couple of million recordings. Seems to work very well, knows which birds are likely to be in your area. Of course anybody wearing a tinfoil hat won't want to give away data like this 😉 Fascinating to sit in the garden for half an hour and figure out what is what. Wrens certainly make a disproportionate racket for their size... Oh yes, the wakey-wakey bird was a great tit 🙂
  10. I recognise Goldfinch I/II from Gregory's Canal Cruisers, we hired one of them. Not sure which because the signwriting said "Goldfinch I" on one side and "Goldfinch II" on the other -- I assume the signwriter painted both boats next to each other and then turned them round to do the other side... 😉
  11. The Thai food is excellent. Son and GF had recently got back from a self-organised tour of Thailand, staying in cheap hotels and eating at street food stalls and local restaurants. They asked if they could have a papaya salad (not on the menu) -- sure, no problem. They said it was as good as anything they'd had in Thailand, it certainly blew my head clean off... 😉
  12. Given that a quarter of the population of Todmorden has signed a petition to keep the (extremely popular!) Golden Lion golden, and it was painted other colours previously, you'd think the council would show some common sense. But maybe the jobsworths haven't got any... 😞 Great pub by the way, fab (and great value!) food and beer, friendly atmosphere -- assuming you like sweet-smelling smoke and reggae, the night we stopped there... 😉
  13. Yes it's very likely fast-tracking and taking shortcuts is a good idea if the result is many more lives saved than waiting for something (almost) proved safe and effective. But even the fast-tracks and shortcuts need some genuine evidence that there's a good chance they'll work and a small chance that there won't be horrible side-effects -- for example increasing numbers of heart attacks, which may cancel out any positive effects on Covid-19 death rates. Excluding the people who died (or couldn't be retested because they were in intensive care) from a study and then claiming the treatment was a success for the rest -- with a small sample size and no control group -- is self-serving publicity-driven bullsh*t, not science. It doesn't show in any way that the treatment works, or that any positive outcome outweighs any negative side-effects. It could just as easily kill more people than it cures when properly investigated, or do nothing.
  14. I really don't see what you're getting at here -- did you actually read what I wrote, which clearly explained why more men are dying? People are more likely to die from Covid-19 if they're more likely to be exposed to it (crammed housing, poor social distancing), they're then more likely to become critically ill if they're in poorer health (old, male, BAME), and they're then more likely to die of they have poor healthcare access (poor people especially in the USA, who are in turn more likely to be BAME). All these factors combine together, which is why more males die everywhere, and more BAME people die in first world countries including the UK because of health/poverty/crowding -- all of which is why the figures for the UK show a lot more BAME people in critical care even though the NHS gives them the same treatment as others. On top of this -- and the fact that the social factors leading to infection are much worse for BAME people there -- the USA has a terribly discriminatory health system which is heavily skewed towards the rich and against the poor (not just my opinion, I talk to US colleagues every day who share this view), which is a triple whammy for the poor. This is why the BAME death rates in places like Chicago are far worse than even in the UK, a combination of even worse social/health depredation and *much* worse access to healthcare for poor people -- and this is what the US should be ashamed of. None of this should come as any surprise; taken as a whole (outcome for the whole population) the USA has one of the lowest healthcare ratings in the developed world, and certainly the most expensive by far -- it spends more money than anywhere else on healthcare (17% of GDP compared to 8% in the UK?), and the majority of this is spent on (extremely high quality but ludicrously expensive) care for the rich (and billing, and advertising, and defensive medicine, and lawyers -- the whole system is rotten); for the poor the standards and outcomes are worse than many third world countries. This is not "fake news", it can all be found in multiple impartial reports and analyses about healthcare across the world -- and don't ask me to find them, go and look yourself, it's not difficult 😉
  15. They should be ashamed if their grossly unequal healthcare system is killing even more poor and BAME people than would die otherwise, which still seems to be the case -- it's basically segregation by health care...
  16. Dr Wossname claimed a 100% success rate, unfortunately this was only in the patients that didn't die which was about 20% of the total IIRC but were excluded from his analysis. By the same criteria, even if 90% had died he could still claim a 100% success rate for the survivors. To me this looks like junk science from a publicity-hungry American looking for fame and fortune...
  17. Having said earlier that the USA ought to be ashamed of the massively higher death rates for BAME people, it doesn't look like the UK is much better... 😞 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52219070 If you crunch the numbers, the fraction of the population critically ill in intensive care in the UK is higher by 2.2x (Asian) 5.6x (Black) 9x (other) 2.5x (mixed) or 2.5x for BAME overall, compared to non-BAME people (i.e. white). This isn't as bad as in the USA, but it suggests that health/lifestyle/isolation differences are responsible for a large part of this difference, not just grossly unequal access to healthcare (like in the USA). This could also be one reason for the higher death rate in men that women (about double from the last figures I saw), because generally older men smoke more and are less healthy than women, and it's this group with poor lung function where the majority of the deaths occur. So if you want to have the lowest chance of dying from Covid-19 it really helps if you're a young white woman -- not that there's much you can do about it if you're not, having a sex change or bleaching your skin ain't gonna help you... 😉
  18. I would take those predictions with a huge pinch of salt. In spite of the USA delaying taking any precautions for ages, having very patchy health coverage and lockdown across the country, and 5x the population of the UK, they have only a third more deaths predicted. Something doesn't add up, especially when you look at the trajectories for the daily fatality rates in the US compared to the UK. It also seems odd that the total deaths predicted for the UK are so high compared to countries like Italy, and that the US isn't much higher still. I guess we'll see in a few weeks if they were right; for the sake of everyone in the UK, I hope they're wrong...
  19. We can't. But football fans complaining that players are overpaid only have themselves to blame, they're the ones pouring the money into the game while complaining how expensive it is -- they're basically hooked on the football drug, and FIFA is the biggest drug dealer in the world...
  20. Formula One has a single unified worldwide organisation which can set the financial rules as well as the rules for racing. Football has separate organisations in each country which set the financial rules (and make *lots* of money from it), the worldwide organisation (FIFA) only sets the rules for the game and worldwide tournaments -- and is itself famously corrupt. The chances of local football governing bodies giving up financial control to FIFA are less than zero. Since their teams compete for players and the organisations (and teams) make vast sums from this, they're not going to change -- it's just like companies, if one country does "the right thing" and caps players salaries they'll just move to uncapped teams elsewhere. Restrictions only work if everywhere applies them, and this isn't going to happen until all the countries get together and do the equivalent of closing down tax havens. As was said earlier, the real problem is that there's far too much money sloshing around in sport, and it's all being competed for by organisations worldwide, and none of them are going to shoot themselves in the foot by being the first "Mr Nice Guy".
  21. As you say, it's likely to be "the weekend effect" which screws up so many attempts to do day-by-day analysis of *anything*...
  22. I don't think this should come as any surprise, it's well known that delays between death/analysis/reporting mean that day-to-day figures can't be relied on, they really need a running average over a week. Whether all the deaths (especially new ones) in China are being reported/tallied correctly is an interesting question, there have been reports of officials suppressing or misreporting Covid-19 deaths because this conflicts with the official party line of "there are now no deaths in China". Or of course this could be yet more unsubstantiated anti-Chinese fake news, who knows...
  23. Me too -- maybe Covid-19 will be a bit of a shakeup when people realise they can live without footballers but not without nurses... 😉 BTW if you want to see what happens in a segregated country without the NHS, there are some truly horrifying figures here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52194018 Chicago: 72% of deaths are in 30% of population which is black, 28% of deaths in 70% of population which isn't Milwaukee: 80% of deaths in 26% of black population, 20% of deaths in the other 74% That's 6x and 11x the death rate in the black population, all linked to poverty, poor health, and poor healthcare. The USA should be ashamed... 😞
  24. I agree that it would be great to find a way to fix all this. The problem is that without turning the entire world of commerce upside down (end of free movement of goods, tariffs, trade and work restriction) it's difficult to do, and there are *lots* of very rich people and politicians who are doing very well out of keeping things the way they are, and measures taken by one country don't work so long as there are tax havens willing to shelter rich people who don't want to pay taxes to finance the fairer society that many of us would like to see. If you have any ideas how to fix this that would work in reality, I'd genuinely love to hear them 🙂
  25. Any link between contribution and receipt in Scandinavia is far outweighed by the fact that their system is simply much more generous to people in need regardless of their income -- the worst-off beneficiaries there get more than the best-off ones in the UK. This "I've paid in so I deserve to get more back" is brought up all the time but it ignores the fact that the purpose of a state welfare system (all aspects of it) should support people according to their needs and be financed by people according to their abilities and income -- in other words people who need more (e.g. expensive healthcare for severe illness) should get more, and people who can afford more (the well-off) should pay more, and the two are independent. Some healthy rich people will pay in a lot and get little or nothing in return, some poor sick people will pay in little or nothing and get a lot in return, most people will both pay in and receive benefits in differing proportions at different times of their lives. The difference in attitude is -- generally speaking, obviously -- that most Scandinavians see people like this as unfortunates who've fallen through the cracks in society (often through no fault of their own) and need support, but many English see people like this as welfare scroungers who've never paid a penny of tax and expect a free four-bedroom house to house their slew of illegitimate kids while they smoke fags and watch TV. There's a lot of truth in that, unfortunately...
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