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Grassman

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  1. When I did it last July I took a screenshot of my certificate using my phone and emailed it to them. I also paid by credit card over the phone. Regarding other points some of you have raised, For there descent of Pamona Lock the lockies were at the pre-arranged time of 8.30am but I'm not sure they'd do a Sunday. I didn't really need my VHF because VTS at Eastham were very helpful and had made the 3 vessels coming towards us aware of our presence so they all slowed right down while we passed each other. The swing bridge at Ellesmere Port was permanently open and I was told it would be for the 'foreseeable future'. However if it is now operational again, the council will usually leave it unlocked for you if you anticipate arriving after normal working hours, and so will the Museum with their chain on the lock.
  2. I echo those comments. We did the return journey in June following behind the Silver Fox Vloggers. Admittedly they did have one slightly scary ,moment when emerging from Savick Brook. The incoming tidal current was very strong and, in their anxiousness to clear the sandbanks at the entrance to the brook they made the mistake of heading straight for the middle of the estuary where the current is at its strongest, instead of turning sooner. This resulted in them being briefly swept sideways towards Preston but within a matter of seconds they were able to straighten up and begin heading in the right direction. They were first out and we were behind them so we made sure we didn't make the same mistake . All those vloggers are understandably going to make things look more dramatic so as to attract viewers. Yes it must have been a bit scary for the Foxes but at no time were they in any real danger. Provided you're boat is well maintained and prepared, and your boat is capable of being on high(ish) revs for 2 hours you shouldn't have any problems. I've been on a lot more dodgy tidal waters than these are.
  3. By 'downstream' if you mean from Manchester to Ellesmere Port then there's no real need to use the ropes through the locks. They only drop about 15ft and there is virtually no turbulence. We had the lock to our self so at sized 600ft by 80ft there was plenty of room for us to just float about freely. It may be different if you are sharing with a large vessel. The OP of this thread recommended using them when ascending though because there is a lot of turbulence. I think 15m length should be fine.
  4. Our marina used to have a little cabin with shelves full of books for moorers to exchange. People used to also leave unwanted gear in there that was too good to throw away. It was a great facility but unfortunately the marina got rid of it as part of their marina 'improvements'. I've seen old red phone boxes in villages put to a similar use which I think is a great idea.
  5. In an ideal world yes, but with limited funds what do you expect them to do? I'm sure they'd be pleased to hear from you with a solution. Would you prefer they reduced the lock repairs/replacement programme with the subsequent risk of more unplanned stoppages due to failure, and instead do more offside vegetation cutting? People can moan all they like but it isn't going to change anything. Unless the government increase their measly contribution, CRT have to prioritise and spend their limited resources where they are most needed. Besides which volunteers obviously do it because they enjoy it and want to do it, so it therefore suits both parties. I do it because it's good to get out in the fresh air, it gives me a day off from the nagging wife, and it benefits me when we're boating.
  6. Yes, all of that. Full training, risk assessments, method statements, lead volunteers, CRT staff on board , full PPE provided, medicals etc,
  7. I take your point, there would be far more progress if more than 2 days a week could be achieved but when their resources are limited it's things like the offside vegetation cutting that doesn't get done because they are using their workforce to do more specialist things like locks and structures etc. So whether we like it or not, without volunteers these things just aren't going to get done. Besides which, I and the fellow volunteers really enjoy doing it, and it benefits those of us who are boat owners and particularly me because I've just had a costly re-paint done on my boat!
  8. We (IWA volunteers) began this years offside vegetation cutting in October, starting at Fradley Junction and working south down the Coventry Canal. Contractors had done as far as the A38 bridge a couple of years ago but it had already frown back over the canal in places. We have now nearly reached Huddlesford. It can be painstakingly slow especially the cutting back of the hawthorn and brambles. We have to finish in early March due to nesting wildlife and because we can only do 2 days a week (CRT lock lockies on Tuesdays and IWA on Fridays) I doubt we will reach Fazeley Junction which we'd like to have done especially as the veg is particularly bad towards that end. We will soon have to start considering whether to skip the less problematic parts and just concentrate on the very bad ones in order to reach Fazeley Junction, or to carry on being thorough and continue next year from where we left off. If we could just get 2 or 3 more volunteers we could do an extra day most weeks, so if anyone is interested let me know. You can always just pop and see us to get an idea of what is involved. It can be hard work but everyone goes at a pace they are comfortable with so no pressure. It's quite rewarding and we all enjoy it, especially the banter. Very little training is required except for the pole chainsaw and wood chipper operation but a lot of it is just passing branches to the chippers, holding the boat into the edge, and scooping smaller cuttings out of the water. CRT provide the PPE.
  9. In a hireboat in 2004 we were passing a small building site at the bottom end of the Oxford Canal when the engine cut out and I discovered we had some metal banding wrapped round the prop. The type that they use to keep bricks together on a pallet. The problem was that it wasn't the springy tensioned banding but a soft tinny type, so as it had wound round the prop and shaft it had virtually moulded itself to it. We bow hauled the boat a few hundred yards to a boatyard. They struggled with it and could only laboriously chip bits off it using a mooring pin and hammer. 5 hours later and he'd removed enough for the prop to turn freely but most of it was still in situ. When we got back to the hire base they had to fetch the boat out of the water to remove it.
  10. Thanks for all your replies. A lot of other places I'd have risked it but with this one I didn't fancy getting stuck in Wolverhampton, hence me asking the question. Anyway, I managed to get hold of a CRT person this morning who confirmed that they were open so we got on fine going through the flight today.
  11. How quickly do CRT update their winter stoppages notices? When a planned one (rather than an emergency one) re-opens do they announce it or just leave it stating it's original dates? If one is going to over run do they always tend to update the fact prior to the stated opening date? I know they update the information when one opens earlier than expected. The reason I ask is because tomorrow we are going down the Wolverhampton 21. The CRT site says Locks 14 & 16 were due to re-open last Friday (13th) so I'm assuming it is now open, but I don't want to get there and find them closed and us stuck in the middle of the flight so I was just wondering from you more experienced winter cruisers how reliable the information usually is please, and do they always just leave the dates as they were? I.e can I safely assume they are now open?
  12. Grassman

    Inverter woes

    Yes there was some welding done. They had turned the battery isolators off and because we had some food in the 240v fridge freezer they kept the FF on by means of an extension lead straight to it. Because we weren't with the boat for much of the time I do not know whether they forgot to isolate the batteries when they were welding maybe. It's something I cannot prove unfortunately.
  13. Grassman

    Inverter woes

    My boat is in dry dock being blacked and having other jobs done and has been hooked up to the boat yard's 240v for some of the time. When we moved back on board a few days ago I connected the landline and all the lights on the inverter (Victron 3000) began flashing and no power was getting to the electrics. This happened with both settings ('inverter on' or 'charger only') . Sometimes when I rock the switch from one to the other all the lights stay out (i.e the inverter is 'dead) and occasionally just the temperature light is illuminated. Initially, after rocking the switch to & fro for a minute or so it began working in the 'inverter on' position and continued to work okay until when I changed it to 'charger only' the same thing happened again and now I can't get it to work at all again. They've now told me it has to be sent to Victon to be repaired. I'm a complete dummy regarding electrics so please excuse my naivety but the boatyard said that being as they are close to the power substation they do sometimes get a stronger current. Could this have been a contributory factor? I thought the inverter was designed to cope with this sort of thing, i.e fluctuations in current. The inverter is out of warranty (6 years old) and I fear it's going to cost me, but I'm arguing that it was working fine when we arrived here but the boatyard are saying that it's nothing to do with what they have done. Any ideas/advice please?
  14. Perhaps they close the link in the winter is because there aren't enough boat movements to justify staffing the link. Although if that is the case I don't know why they couldn't just reduce the number of days a week when it is open.
  15. Ian, If you're talking about the GoWindless you don't have to take it off to change the direction you just flick the catch. Nightwatch said that if the lock mechanism is easy you can use the non ratchet socket (which is higher up the stem), but you don't have to. You merely us it as you would do with a fixed windless (i.e winding it round and round) and just ratchet it back and forth if the lock mechanism happens to be too stiff. Some have commented about how heavy it is. It weighs only a couple of grams more than a standard steel windless does. My wife has had her GoWindless for 18 months and used it on around 500 locks. We feared that the teeth of the ratchet would wear in time but so far this hasn't happened and it is still working perfectly.
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