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Peter X

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Peter X last won the day on September 7 2014

Peter X had the most liked content!

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    Crewing on other people's boats; see various topics in the Crew Swap forum.
    Cookery, gardening, carpentry.

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    IT freelancer, retired

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  1. Peter X

    June holiday advice please

    So long as your party won't mind being rather crowded in the boat, I would recommend that you hire one big boat to save the money and avoid having to do each narrow lock twice; after all it's only for a week. On most canals that would mean a 70 foot narrow boat, purpose built for the hire trade with enough berths. On some up north where the locks are a bit shorter the boat would be shorter to match. If you want the space of two narrow boats then hiring on a wide canal makes sense so you can share locks. Have you considered how your group will feel about doing locks? For example, the Ashby has none and the Leeds and Liverpool quite a lot. Given your numbers and ages, you might well be happy to do some locks, it's a part of the canal experience after all. It only requires basic fitness, and you're mob-handed so should manage fine. A hire company will give you a short introductory talk when you pick up the boat, but for an inexperienced crew it makes sense if some of you have read up in advance; there's a good guide you can download from the CRT website: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/boating/a-guide-to-boating/boaters-handbook
  2. Peter X

    Big Boat or Small boat? FAO Liveaboards...

    In so far as it will sometimes enable you to squeeze into a mooring spot that a longer boat couldn't use, yes. Although renting a flat in London is very expensive (depending heavily on location), there are good reasons not to attempt CC'ing in London, as described above by others. Especially if you are hoping to spend most of your time in the ever-popular centre between about Old Oak Common and Hackney; that would consume a lot of time and effort. Finding a towpath mooring spot is less difficult in West London, especially if you don't mind a little walk to the nearest public transport. But you still have to think about getting water and emptying your toilet. It's easy enough to learn to do locks in and steer a full length boat if you can afford it, the main differences are: (1) Keep the boat forwards when locking downhill, beware of the cill. (2) Turning is a bit more sluggish, but that can be a good thing as Alan Fincher describes. (3) If you're out on a windy day, a full length boat is more vulnerable to crosswind. Anywhere that the wind is trying to push your boat sideways and you're not shielded from it by buildings, trees, being in a cutting etc., a steering error can result in being pinned against a bank and struggling to get out again into the channel, especially if you're single handed and don't have a crew member at the bow using a pole to help you.
  3. Peter X

    Unusual Issue

    I don't know much about dogs because I've never had one and wouldn't want one, but aren't they very good at learning things and adapting to their surroundings? People train dogs to cope with all sorts of things, so there should be hope. I don't know much about boat engines either, but enough to suspect that matty40s will be right, converting from diesel to electric must be a big job. If the dog can't be trained, maybe get him a trip on some electric boat and see how he likes it? If he does, sell your boat and buy one purpose built to be electric? Due to the seasonal nature of solar power, I'm guessing electric boats are not good as live aboards unless you spend the winter on a shore line.
  4. Peter X

    Quiet routes

    The Wey and Basingstoke are generally quiet, but getting there in summer you'll encounter traffic, on either the GU or Oxford route. The Thames in summer is full of GRP boats of all sizes up to and including the big gin palace boats, plus lots of rowers and canoeists and some canal boats. It's wide so has room for them all, but you need to keep a good lookout.
  5. Peter X


    He would have lost a lot of blood when someone shoved his head through that glass door, I'm not surprised he's not looking his best.
  6. then: It's a common problem faced by many people buying a boat who have little previous boating experience; the boat is at A and they intend to keep it at B, perhaps living aboard in a marina and not moving a lot, but A and B are a long way apart and they don't know someone with the knowledge to help them get there. In some cases, road haulage or a professional boat mover will be the best solution, but both cost money. With the right attitude, i.e. read about it first, go carefully and learn from other boaters as you go along, it's quite possible for a beginner to move a boat single handed as aracer did. But it's better to have someone along, especially at first, and getting out of some marinas without hitting anything can be a very tricky operation for a beginner. I've helped a number of boat owners with this A to B problem, and it works well; I get a cheap boating holiday, they save the cost of other methods, get help and gain knowledge, and will get along faster than they would single handed. I'd recommend anyone in this situation to write a post in Crew Swap; I'm not the only forum member who does this. Both really! I have my house to live in, but I do like a cheap boating holiday.
  7. Peter X

    A few hints for a future voyage?

    There are arguments for going upstream or downstream on your first Thames trip, in the end I think you should be fine either way, but shouldn't go below Brentford without someone experienced aboard. Going upstream it's easier to control the boat because against the flow you have more time to think and it's easier to come on to a mooring facing that way. You can moor facing downstream in a flow, but you have to steer in carefully and your crew needs to be on the ball at jumping ashore and getting the stern line around something. In a flow always tie the upstream end first, or the current will catch it and swing the boat round. However when approaching a lock, once you're in the lock channel it's like a canal, the only flow is from filling or emptying the lock. The Thames has many islands in it. Some of them you can go either side of, some you can't. Going downstream you really need your map, because while the lock channel is generally signposted, it isn't always and the signs can get hidden by vegetation. You don't want to be heading for a weir from upstream, they have a lot of water going over them even when the river is on green boards. The main advantage of going downstream is that it's free energy, you will use a lot less diesel. Also, it's easier to get your bow and stern lines round bollards in a lock if it's full, there's a bit of an art to doing it from the boat when your deck is well below the lock side. But lock keepers will usually help you by taking a line round a bollard and passing it back to you, or if the lock is on self service your crew will have got off on the lock landing to operate the gates and sluices, so they'll be up on the lock side to help. And there are (slippery!) steps in the side of the locks.
  8. Peter X

    Tidal lagoon Project Offered £200m by Welsh Government

    No, if we have a lot of sedimentation in the Severn it will cause chaos in measuring land area, for which the area of Wales (along with its smaller cousin the football pitch) is an important standard. The rules of football allow quite some variation in the size of pitches, we can't have Wales getting bigger! Before you know it someone will be changing the height of Nelson's column.
  9. Peter X

    London Gatwick Airport Closed By Drones

    So they are, transferred in 1965. I never knew that, my knowledge is seriously out of date! For centuries they'd used the Thames as a nice sensible county boundary and then someone couldn't resist the temptation to have a tinker with it.
  10. Peter X

    London Gatwick Airport Closed By Drones

    Heathrow is indeed in the London Borough of Hillingdon. Certainly not in Surrey, which overlaps some London boroughs (including my house) but is all south of the river.
  11. Peter X

    Anybody Recognise This Lock?

    So that latest picture, of the boat (Norfolk wherry?) with its mast down shows us how the photo could have had a boat mast in it. As to the date, I have a feeling that the lady is more Victorian than Edwardian, as there was a trend to bigger more elaborate hats after Edward came to the throne. But she might just have been old fashioned!
  12. Peter X


    A friend of my son's had ginger dreadlocks. About as un-Caribbean as you can get, but I don't think anyone felt he shouldn't do it. Big bloke, so maybe no-one dared to say so!
  13. A common response on this forum to someone thinking of buying a boat to live on is to try hiring first to get a feel for what it's like, especially in winter when hiring is cheaper and some of the problems boaters encounter can be more apparent. It's quite good advice, because buying a boat is a commitment which some will regret, but yes hiring does cost money. There is the alternative route to learning about life afloat which I followed; I've never hired a boat. It consists of taking up whatever opportunity you can find to crew for other people, but there is a chicken and egg problem here; the less boating experience you have, the less useful you are as crew! I got started when my brother and his wife (who had previously hired boats quite often!) bought their own and sometimes invited me along for a weekend now and again. Having gained a basic knowledge of operating locks and had an occasional go at steering, I then started crewing for others off the forum, the first such trip being just to do the locks for an older couple who were very experienced boaters but wanted someone more active than them aboard for that purpose. Later I joined the Narrow Boat Trust and nowadays much of my boating is with them, a week or so at a time. I might never buy a boat because I have a nice house to live in. There are other organisations offering crewing opportunities, e.g. some restoration societies run day trip boats.
  14. Peter X

    A few hints for a future voyage?

    Going from Teddington to Brentford a VHF radio and operator is a nice to have, not mandatory or necessary. Below Brentford it's mandatory and necessary, and you should have someone aboard who's done the river down to Limehouse before because there are some big boats making quite a lot of wash down there. If you'll be going in to the GU at Brentford I say just follow the advice of the lock keepers about timing your passage for the tide, plan what you'll be doing and go for it. You need an anchor and lifejackets. You also need to know how to spot the turning into the GU, it's rather inconspicuous! If you do miss it, you will realise it long before reaching Holland, as you pass a series of world famous landmarks on your way through central London. Seeing the Houses of Parliament off your port bow would be a good clue. With some narrow boat experience yourself and a crew member who's reasonable at doing locks you'll be fine on this trip. The Thames locks are automated, electrically powered, often operated by a lock keeper, and if there isn't one present you just follow the instructions, take your time and press the right buttons to operate it yourself. Teddington is always staffed. As to fees, you either need to (1) have an annual gold licence which covers both CRT waters (mainly canals) and various others, including the Thames which is run by the Environment Agency, or (2) buy a separate temporary licence from the EA at the first manned lock you come to on the river, to cover the run from Oxford to Teddington. That can be done on a week's licence, or if you want to take your time I think there's a one month licence? See the EA website for latest prices. For the tidal Thames, from a point just below Teddington Lock, you'll be on PLA waters. It's free.
  15. Peter X


    I ate haggis once, in Portsmouth. Well, I exaggerate, it was in Cosham, 3 miles closer to Scotland but still a long way. I rather liked it. It was August when I ate it, was it out of season then?

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