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About mikedel

  • Birthday 02/25/1955

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Previous Fields

  • Occupation
    Ship's Captain
  • Boat Name
  • Boat Location
    Bill Fen Marina

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  1. I bought a Shoreline last year and it is a perfectly adequate fridge with a small freezer compartment in the top and a salad drawer. Draws around 3 amps. The electrical hook up at the back has an extra spade connector for a fan so I cut a hole into the adjacent hanging locker and fitted a computer fan. This switches on whenever the fridge starts up and sucks all the warm air out from the fridge recess - which used to get quite hot. The fan uses only 0.3amps. I shopped around and Jones Boatyard had it for £80 cheaper than Midland Chandler but they matched the price when I called them. It was very convenient to pull up to their dock at Braunston and have it wheeled out to the boat.
  2. Yes at times we were doing 10knts over the ground. Approaching Trent Falls the flood was just starting to push up the Trent but when we rounded the hairpin bend between the two rivers the ebb was still running quite fast out of the Ouse and it was a slow push against it for about half an hour until slack water. From then on it was a rapidly accelerating ride up on the flood all the way to Naburn. Fair enough - on a good day it is an enjoyable experience - but I wouldn't want to be there with a strong wind against the tide.
  3. If you are really keen to get there then the Trent Falls route allows you to cover a lot of ground - fast. You have to time it right with the tide and the weather and a VHF is required but you could get from Cromwell to Selby in one day. We left Torksey in our 46 foot narrowboat and caught the ebb tide to Trent Falls and the flood to Naburn without stopping - a distance of 84 miles (about the same as Cromwell to Selby) in exactly 12 hours.
  4. Well that changes things - I would be happy to pay for the Gold Licence if it does cover the ML as well. We usually cover a fair bit of ground over the summer on CRT and EA waters so it would simplify the whole exercise.
  5. We are in exactly the same situation - spending six months over the summer out of the Middle Levels. It is starting to look like a bit of an expensive exercise - even with the discounts offered for this year.
  6. I noticed those little orange pushers last time I went past the MLC base - very smart indeed. Will this licence apply to vessels in marinas or just on the cut?
  7. Yes - it was a last refuge for the rare and endangered 'freedom' boater.
  8. I edited my post as I realised I had not quite understood it correctly. You are right - the Gold Licence is not needed on ML and EA waters if that is all you are cruising on.
  9. If you do any cruising outside the Middle Levels it looks like the CRT Gold Licence is the way to go. However on reading it again I see that if you are based on the Middle Levels then you are required to buy an extra licence to cover those waters and the Gold Licence only covers boats based outside of the ML
  10. I have found mud weights very useful on rivers and particularly the Fens where there are few bankside moorings. Handy when you want to stop for a cup of tea or lunch and also for mooring overnight if you have no need to go ashore. I use a 22kg weight at the bows and an 18kg on the stern and keep them in position ready to deploy until I get back on the canal system. As the name implies they sink in the mud - and often when hauled back up are covered in evil smelling black muck - so it pays to have a system to secure them at the waterline while you scrub them off. Painting them with a high gloss finish helps with this cleaning process and stops them leaving rusty marks on your deck paint.
  11. Remove all loose rust and treat with Vactan or whatever your favourite rust treatment is then pack the cavity and coat any screws or bolts with Lanocote and reassemble rails. Wipe off any excess Lanocote that squeezes out and you should be good for a considerable length of time as it also prevents the ingress of water. I use it whenever mounting fittings - especially with dissimilar metals - as it is good at preventing electrolysis and corrosion. Non staining and user friendly - made from the grease off sheep's wool.
  12. Well that takes me back! Last time I used a sun compass was in Antarctica when I was surveying the uncharted Balleny Islands in the Ross Sea. The South Magnetic Pole was only two hundred miles away so the steering compass spun in lazy circles. Mostly we used the GPS but the sun compass was our fall back navigational tool. I agree that mostly the Wash crossing is a visual pilotage exercise although there is a lack of useful landmarks when you are out in the middle. We left Wisbech at 0200 so it was dark until we cleared the Nene. In some ways that makes it easier as the buoys and beacons are much easier to identify by their flashing sequences.
  13. Don't throw away that handheld compass yet. Although it is highly inaccurate for compass bearings on a steel vessel it is very useful for taking numerical bearings from buoys and beacons as you transit a channel influenced by tidal streams that may be running across your intended course. You need to be able to maintain a straight course over the ground between the buoys while the water - and possibly the wind - is working to push you sideways out of the navigable channel and potentially onto a sandbank. To stay on course once you have rounded a buoy and have lined up with the next one you (or more practically your co pilot) take a bearing of the last buoy over the stern. By continually checking that back bearing and adjusting your heading so the bearing stays the same you will follow a straight line to the next buoy, even if the boat is crabbing across the piece of water. In this case you are not worried about magnetic variation or deviation as you are simply using the number the hand bearing compass gives you as you point it at the buoy. This is particularly useful when you cannot rely on GPS - in this case when exiting the River Nene - where the channel moves regularly and the vector charts in the GPS are highly inaccurate to the point that if you followed them you would end up on a sandbank. It is definitely visual pilotage at this stage.
  14. We have the Candy 4kg and run it with a 2000w pure sine wave low frequency inverter which can handle the motor start up loads with ease. I plumbed hot and cold together with a mixing valve so can select any temperature from very hot to cold to feed in and set the machine to cold wash so it is not using the heating element. On a sunny day I can run it on solar but usually do the washing when cruising to have endless hot water. Seems like a good machine and certainly beats trudging to the laundromat.
  15. Coming down the Northampton flight in September last year I had a bit of a run in with Leon as I was letting water down to get us through the next pound. He started yelling at me to stop as he reckoned that wasn't the right way and that I was wasting water. Now the pound I was letting water out of was full and the spillway from the next lock up was running freely so there was plenty of water available but boats ahead of us had drained the lower pound before the M1 bridge. I politely declined to follow his advice at which point he threatened to throw me in the cut. After calming him down and carrying on to the successful conclusion of reaching the next lock I left him on good terms - but with him still insisting I was doing it all wrong. To those of you who know Leon ( and most of you who use the Northampton flight will) can you shed any light on why he might have got so excited and was there perhaps something that was not correct about my procedure?
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