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OTL

Winter Stoppages and Buying a Boat

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Hello everyone,

 

I was hoping to get some insight into how buying a boat from a brokerage without moorings works in the winter months. As I understand, the Winter Works Programme details which lock gates are being replaced and other such works which may impact where you are able to take your boat after purchase.

As I am looking to buy a livaboard boat in the coming months, I need to know how viable it is to move around in the winter, and also how difficult it is to transition from the original brokerage to a residential marina.

 

To give some more specific details, I am looking to purchase a boat in the Daventry area (golden triangle) and it looks as though the marina I am interested in (Sawley) is along the Grand Union Canal which is subject to multiple lock works from November to February. I have spoken to one brokerage who told me there is a roughly two week holding period (but not more!) whilst survey is conducted and maintenance etc.

 

My questions are:

- Is it very difficult to move to a different marina in the winter months?

- Do the winter closures of locks impact movement to a great extent?

- Are there fewer choices of available boats to buy during the winter?

- What would be the best route to take from Daventry to Sawley marina?

 

...basically:

- Is winter time a silly time to buy a boat?

 

Many thanks!

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No it's not difficult, if you make sure that winter stoppages do not hinder your progress.

Usually, locks or lock flights are only shut for maximum 6weeks, some before and some after Christmas 

Brokerages sometimes struggle to get boats from afar, however, can also advertise from a marina away from the brokerage.

Best route is N Oxford, Coventry, Trent and Mersey. Other way can be affected by flooding. 

No, the right boat could come up at any time.

Edited by matty40s

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In addition to stoppages, Sawley can be flooded by the river Trent, which can stop you getting to it, or away. Can happen at any time of year, but more common in winter. Two obvious ways of going from Northants to Sawley; either along the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union, then the River Soar, then hang a left at the Trent. The Soar can also flood, but tends to do it quickly, then the levels drop fast. The Trent takes a while to go in to flood, but then is up for a while. To do with their respective catchment areas. The other is via the North Oxford Canal, then turn right at Fradley for the Trent and Mersey. If stoppages, or flooding are preventing you from making the trip, then you can probably find a marina, or winter on-line mooring to moor up for a few months. I'd suggest the N Oxford - T&M route if you've not done much boating. Mostly narrow locks and less river navigation. Stoppages depending. CaRT publish their winter stoppage plans on the web site, so you can do some planning. Things can and do break at any time though. The wimpy way out is cranes at each end and a lorry.

Jen

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17 minutes ago, OTL said:

I am looking to purchase a boat in the Daventry area

In which case I'd emphasize even more than usual to get your own survey, DO NOT rely on any sellers survey, doing this has led to several buyers suffering terminal loss (sinking) of their boats after having relied on a survey from a brokerage 'near Daventry'.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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2 hours ago, matty40s said:

No it's not difficult, if you make sure that winter stoppages do not hinder your progress.

Usually, locks or lock flights are only shut for maximum 6weeks, some before and some after Christmas 

Brokerages sometimes struggle to get boats from afar, however, can also advertise from a marina away from the brokerage.

Best route is N Oxford, Coventry, Trent and Mersey. Other way can be affected by flooding. 

No, the right boat could come up at any time.

Thank you for your suggestions - very helpful indeed

The winter stoppages seem to be quite clear. I suppose it will just be a case of careful planning, as suspected. It is reassuring that lovely boats seem to pop up quite consistently - since I've been looking for some time now!

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2 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

In addition to stoppages, Sawley can be flooded by the river Trent, which can stop you getting to it, or away. Can happen at any time of year, but more common in winter. Two obvious ways of going from Northants to Sawley; either along the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union, then the River Soar, then hang a left at the Trent. The Soar can also flood, but tends to do it quickly, then the levels drop fast. The Trent takes a while to go in to flood, but then is up for a while. To do with their respective catchment areas. The other is via the North Oxford Canal, then turn right at Fradley for the Trent and Mersey. If stoppages, or flooding are preventing you from making the trip, then you can probably find a marina, or winter on-line mooring to moor up for a few months. I'd suggest the N Oxford - T&M route if you've not done much boating. Mostly narrow locks and less river navigation. Stoppages depending. CaRT publish their winter stoppage plans on the web site, so you can do some planning. Things can and do break at any time though. The wimpy way out is cranes at each end and a lorry.

Jen

Thank you Jen - I hadn't considered a flooded marina to be an issue yet. It's great to get insight into the conditions of flooding - levels dropping fast etc. and I should keep this in mind.

I've actually just completed an RYA Helmsman course on the Thames river on red boards. Although we should never have been taken out in these conditions, I am somewhat weathered having been exposed to mad river conditions as a novice! It was tough, but hasn't put me off the dream!

 

I imagine that the N Oxford route would take us an extra third of the time than the Grand Union? It would not be a bad trade off if the Oxofrd route is more easily navigable.

Thanks again

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11 minutes ago, OTL said:

I imagine that the N Oxford route would take us an extra third of the time than the Grand Union? It would not be a bad trade off if the Oxofrd route is more easily navigable.

Thanks again

Not necessarily. There are fewer locks and and a higher proportion of narrow ones on the N Oxford/Coventry route, which makes a big difference on time. Plug each route in to canalplan for a reasonable estimate.

Jen

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37 minutes ago, OTL said:

 

 

I imagine that the N Oxford route would take us an extra third of the time than the Grand Union? It would not be a bad trade off if the Oxofrd route is more easily navigable.

Thanks again

To be honest, the N Oxford route to Sawley is probably slightly quicker due to the long lock free sections (hillmorton to atherstone(bar hawkesbury), and Tamworth to Fradley. 

If I was moving a boat at this time of year onwards, that is the way I would go.

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23 minutes ago, matty40s said:

To be honest, the N Oxford route to Sawley is probably slightly quicker due to the long lock free sections (hillmorton to atherstone(bar hawkesbury), and Tamworth to Fradley. 

If I was moving a boat at this time of year onwards, that is the way I would go.

Completely agree. We came that way on our maiden voyage in the summer from Northamptonshire to Newark, with a 2 week stopover in Sawley while Trent Lock was being repaired. It's a lovely route with nothing challenging or scary. A perfect way to get used to handling your new boat. Can I reiterate how crucial it is that you get your own survey done, and don't let any yard try and convince you otherwise. Welcome to the boating world. We've just got home (1 hour ago) after a 4 week trip and I'm missing it already! 😄

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Do boat movers on this forum offer to assist in a move?  What I mean is would a boat mover move a boat with the new (and novice) owner on board to help the novice learn to cruise / navigate?  Not so much formal tuition, but the novice learning by observing and helping out.

If the answer is Yes, some boat movers on here do allow a novice owner to be involved in the move, has that now changed due to the Covid-19 situation?

I'm interested to see how people feel about this.

 

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