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Stourport to Bristol is it possible?


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2 hours ago, jetzi said:

Do you think it's unwise in a narrowboat even if you have a pilot (and are following all the other advice and have all the recommended accoutrement)?

Look up the CE categories for boats and what waters and weather conditions they refer to.

 

My NB is built to Cat 4 as many are, some don't meet the Car C standard, some might be built to that sort of standard but aren't certified. If the conditions were favourable a Cat D might be fine but, personally, I'd want a Cat C for that trip in case conditions don't stay entirely in my favour - the Bristol channel does have rather a reputation! Very few NBs will be Cat C.

 

 

 

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7 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Look up the CE categories for boats and what waters and weather conditions they refer to.

 

My NB is built to Cat 4 as many are, some don't meet the Car C standard, some might be built to that sort of standard but aren't certified. If the conditions were favourable a Cat D might be fine but, personally, I'd want a Cat C for that trip in case conditions don't stay entirely in my favour - the Bristol channel does have rather a reputation! Very few NBs will be Cat C.

 

 

 

 

Definitions:

 

A. OCEAN: Designed for extended voyages where conditions may exceed wind force 8 (Beaufort scale) and significant wave heights of 4 m and above but excluding abnormal conditions, and vessels largely self-sufficient.

 

B: OFFSHORE: Designed for offshore voyages where conditions up to, and including, wind force 8 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 4 m may be experienced.

 

C INSHORE: Designed for voyages in coastal waters, large bays, estuaries, lakes and rivers where conditions up to, and including, wind force 6 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 2 m may be experienced.

 

D SHELTERED WATERS: Designed for voyages on sheltered coastal waters, small bays, small lakes, rivers, and canals when conditions up to, and including, wind force 4 and significant wave heights up to, and including, 0,3 m may be experienced, with occasional waves of 0.5m maximum height, for example from passing vessels.

 

Craft in each Category must be designed and constructed to withstand these parameters in respect of stability, buoyancy, and other relevant essential requirements listed in Annex I, and to have good handling characteristics.

 

For Design Category A, unlimited wind and wave conditions apply as they reflect that a vessel engaged on a long voyage might incur any conditions and should be designed accordingly. The amended Directive now states that this is ‘excluding abnormal conditions’, which was added to make it clear that some extreme conditions need not be considered, such as a hurricane. In practice this still means that a Category A boat should be designed to be able to survive being caught out in gale and storm force winds at sea. Most large sailing yachts that are designed for blue water cruising are, out of necessity, designed to be able survive such conditions and therefore Category A may be applicable.

 

Very few motor cruisers are designed with such conditions in mind and most large offshore motor cruisers are therefore assigned to Category B.

 

For category D the wording has been changed slightly by the amendments to the Directive. The maximum significant wave height is now 0.3m, but allowance must be made for waves of passing vessels up to a maximum wave height of 0,5 m.

 

It is important to note that the design category parameters are intended to define the physical conditions that might arise in any boat category for design evaluation. They are not intended for limiting the use of the recreational craft in any geographical areas of operation after it has been put into service.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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10 hours ago, fatmanblue said:

I would suggest getting to know your boat very well, and acquire more experience yourself, before thinking of attempting this.

 

Many narrowboats spend most (all?) of their time on canals where their engines, gearboxes, cooling systems etc. are not tested to any extent; and when faced with a strong river current more than a few cannot cope.  It is best to find out if this applies to your boat (or you) long before exiting the lock at Sharpness (or, to be honest, leaving Gloucester lock for a passage to Tewkesbury).  There are several lengths of the non-tidal Severn (north of Tewkesbury) that allow for extended periods of high-speed engine running upstream.  Having done this, do the trip down to Gloucester and back a few times.

 

Any engine/propulsion failure out in the estuary is immediately a very serious, potentially life-threatening situation.

 

There is a lot of good guidance in the Gloucester Harbour link above and elsewhere.  It is essential to take a pilot as others have advised above.

 

That's very good advice.

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11 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

CE categories for boats

Quote

A Class A yacht ( boat ) is a vessel that is built to navigate the open ocean and surpass a force 8 on the Beaufort scale and surpass waves higher that 4 meters.   These yachts are constructed to be self sufficient in hostile seas.

A Class B yacht ( boat ) is a vessel built to navigate on the offshore waters (200 miles and less) and can substain UP TO force 8 and waves UP TO 4 meters.

A Class C boat is a vessel built to navigate inshore such as lakes, rivers, bays and close to the shore and can sustain UP TO force 6 and waves UP TO 2 meters.

A Class D boat is built for protected or sheltered waters such as canals, rivers, small lakes and sustain a force 4 and waves UP TO .3 meters (less that 1 ft).

Thanks for the tip. This is what I found, I can't imagine how a narrowboat could navigate waves up to 2 metres. 2 metre waves would go over my roof! I would imagine in that kind of weather there is a very real risk of capsizing in such a narrow craft.

 

(I don't know anything about sea conditions).

 

Is it possible for OP to encounter 2 metre waves in the Severn??

 

Out of interest, I'd love one day to get a boat (and the training) that could allow me to navigate in offshore waters. Is it possible to for an inland waterways boat (I assume not a narrowboat, and probably not a narrowbeam of any kind) to meet Cat B and still have a shallow enough draft and small enough dimensions to cruise the UK canals?

Edited by jetzi
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2 hours ago, jetzi said:

Do you think it's unwise in a narrowboat even if you have a pilot (and are following all the other advice and have all the recommended accoutrement)?
 

 

 

No, not at all. As long as your boat is up to it and you've done the necessary preparations

1 hour ago, Rob-M said:

We see a few narrowboats each year in Portishead marina but having chatted to a local pilot in the pub one night he thought narrowboaters were mad to do the journey.

 

 

But there are plenty of other local pilots doing the journey on narrowboats every year.

1 hour ago, ditchcrawler said:

But what does that say about the pilots who take them

Exactly

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7 minutes ago, jetzi said:

Thanks for the tip. This is what I found, I can't imagine how a narrowboat could navigate waves up to 2 metres. 2 metre waves would go over my roof! I would imagine in that kind of weather there is a very real risk of capsizing in such a narrow craft.

 

(I don't know anything about sea conditions).

 

Is it possible for OP to encounter 2 metre waves in the Severn??

 

Only if you went out there in those conditions without a pilot. A qualified pilot isn't going to take you out there on a narrowboat with 2m wave heights.

 

I can't help thinking some people are being a bit too alarmist.

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9 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

My NB is built to Cat 4 as many are, some don't meet the Car C standard, some might be built to that sort of standard but aren't certified.

Having reread my earlier post after being quoted I realise it's typo tastic! My NB is Cat D (not Cat 4) and "Car C" above should also read Cat D. Doh! :rolleyes:

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14 hours ago, NB Alnwick said:

It all depends what the boat was designed to do. Our boat was designed to cruise on the River Severn as well as on other inland waterways so our trip down the Severn Estuary was an acceptable risk. Would we do it again?

Probably not!

We experienced an injection pump failure on the River Thames in 2006 that stopped the engine until we could fit a replacement, if that had happened in salty water we would have needed a lifeboat or a salvage tug. The inland rivers can be pretty dangerous but there is some comfort in being close enough to the sides and bottom to facilitate use of the pole or get ashore with a rope. The prospect of being swept out of the Severn Estuary with nothing in the way until one hits the coast of Venezuela can be a tad daunting . . .

yea - the Trent, Severn and Thames can get scary enough for us! Limehouse, Keadby, Gloucester can all get 'interesting' at times, usually without warning.

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On 10/01/2021 at 23:09, Keeping Up said:

Definitely it's possible and it's a wonderful trip, but you really really really need to take a pilot from Sharpness to Bristol. It's over 16 years since we went, you can see our account of the trip here.

 

 

 

 

Nowadays it's mandatory to have a pilot for the journey between Sharpness and Bristol, and even if in a convoy, each boat must have it's own pilot unlike years ago when you could have one pilot looking after several boats.

 

Most people seem to do the trip starting at Sharpness rather than Bristol. Is there any reason for this? I appreciate that going the other way would be traveling upstream but I thought that with an incoming tide it wouldn't be much of a difference.  Also, somebody mentioned having to wait a month in Sharpness for the conditions to be right, which shouldn't be a problem there, but if you did it from Bristol and had to wait that long would you incur mooring charges?

 

 

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While on the subject of estuaries has anyone gone down the Humber from Goole or Keadby to Hull? I would like to visit the River Hull and the Driffield Navigation. I've read the Tuesday Night Club blog of their trip so it is obviously possible.

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40 minutes ago, Grassman said:

Nowadays it's mandatory to have a pilot for the journey between Sharpness and Bristol,

 

Says who?

I don't think anyone can legally compel you to take a pilot. Of course your insurers may require it, but I don't think you are legally required to be insured on the Severn Estuary.

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24 minutes ago, Alway Swilby said:

While on the subject of estuaries has anyone gone down the Humber from Goole or Keadby to Hull? I would like to visit the River Hull and the Driffield Navigation. I've read the Tuesday Night Club blog of their trip so it is obviously possible.

Several times but in a 'sea worthy' boat but not a 'sewer tube'.

 

You will need a suitable anchor and chain, a VHF (and keep a continuous listening watch) and cannot go singlehanded.

There are exclusion for 'small vessels' (less than 12 metres on o/a length) and big fines for non compliance.

 

 

Screenshot (233).png

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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On 11/01/2021 at 09:41, Bee said:

We've done it, many have, and I can't think of more than 1 narrowboat that came unstuck, think it might have struck a buoy but you do need to be sure about the engine and stuff. The shaft coupling on Bee failed in Bath, it was a clamp coupling that had been used before and the thing was worn. Think the clamp element cost £12 to replace but if it had failed above the Severn bridges it would have been dangerous, no anchor will hold in that current. Clean fuel and check the nuts and bolts. You will overnight in Portishead marina and get the incoming tide up to Bristol and probably by yourself .Definitely take a pilot and bring lots of biscuits, the pilot ate all ours and we couldn't deduct the cost from his fee.

Pringles? 

I must admit, having been  a salty water sailor, I miss 'adventures', but when I want to push the envelope with my NB, I will have to weigh up the pros and cons, we don't need to take unnecessary risk, if I employ a pilot, it will be so he can add to my knowledge base, and fun, not so much my boat handling, its a tin box, not designed for lumpy water. 

Edited by LadyG
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12 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Pringles? 

I must admit, having been  a salty water sailor, I miss 'adventures', but when I want to push the envelope with my NB, I will have to weigh up the pros and cons, we don't need to take unnecessary risk, if I employ a pilot, it will be so he can add to my knowledge base, and fun, not so much my boat handling, its a tin box, not designed for lumpy water. 

are you still in Kansas (or was it ArKansas by any chance)?    Lots of salt in Utah, is Kansas / Arkansas also full of salt?

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1 hour ago, Grassman said:

Nowadays it's mandatory to have a pilot for the journey between Sharpness and Bristol, and even if in a convoy, each boat must have it's own pilot unlike years ago when you could have one pilot looking after several boats.

 

Most people seem to do the trip starting at Sharpness rather than Bristol. Is there any reason for this? I appreciate that going the other way would be traveling upstream but I thought that with an incoming tide it wouldn't be much of a difference.  Also, somebody mentioned having to wait a month in Sharpness for the conditions to be right, which shouldn't be a problem there, but if you did it from Bristol and had to wait that long would you incur mooring charges?

 

 

It may be a condition of your insurance to take a pilot but I don't think it's otherwise mandatory is it?

 

Yes if you have to wait in Bristol you may incur massive mooring charges, which is indeed why most people start at Sharpness.

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16 hours ago, Keeping Up said:

and we had been contemplating crossing from Liverpool to Ellesmere Port in 2021 - the current situation has made us rethink our timings but not our ambitions! 

Russell Newbery Register members made 2 convoys across from Ellesmere Port to Liverpool in 2014. Stewart Wood was our pilot on both crossings, which were made only when he said it was safe to do so. It is a good 4.5 hour trip[mooring to mooring] punching the incoming tide but we thoroughly enjoyed it.  Probably a bit quicker in reverse as running with the tide. One of our members was so keen to do it, he swopped his single cylinder for a twin pot.  Needless to say, preparation and a safety plan were vital to the success of the voyages.

 

In 2013, we also went from Limehouse to Margaretness with a pilot from St .Pancras cruising club, back to Teddington, then onwards to Lechlade over a glorious 3 hot weeks in July.

 

At 70ft, the Ribble link is out, just as well as SWMBO has promised divorce if she can't touch the sides!!

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1 hour ago, Alway Swilby said:

While on the subject of estuaries has anyone gone down the Humber from Goole or Keadby to Hull? I would like to visit the River Hull and the Driffield Navigation. I've read the Tuesday Night Club blog of their trip so it is obviously possible.

The 'Minimal List' youtube people went out of Goole and turned left a while back.

 

As for narrowboats and waves, perhaps someone who knows where it is could repost that video of the SPCC trip to the Medway where the weather took an unforecast turn for the worst off Southend?

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And even longer ago 'NB Holderness' wrote a blog about going out of Keadby to Hull. He quoted the lockie as saying "He'd never known a narrowboat turn left out of the lock before" But I think the writer (Tony?) used to work as a Humber pilot.

Edited by Victor Vectis
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5 hours ago, Victor Vectis said:

And even longer ago 'NB Holderness' wrote a blog about going out of Keadby to Hull. He quoted the lockie as saying "He'd never known a narrowboat turn left out of the lock before" But I think the writer (Tony?) used to work as a Humber pilot.

Thanks Sam. A good afternoon spent reading an interesting blog.

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19 hours ago, Victor Vectis said:

The 'Minimal List' youtube people went out of Goole and turned left a while back.

 

As for narrowboats and waves, perhaps someone who knows where it is could repost that video of the SPCC trip to the Medway where the weather took an unforecast turn for the worst off Southend?

The video requested is below, from this blog from NB Herbie: http://nbherbie.blogspot.com/2016/05/extreme-narrowboating-part-1-how-we.html

 

While I am about it, here are links to 

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21 hours ago, David Mack said:

 

Says who?

I don't think anyone can legally compel you to take a pilot. Of course your insurers may require it, but I don't think you are legally required to be insured on the Severn Estuary.

I haven't helped with the way I've worded it. What I meant was that at one time a pilot would happily accompany  2 or 3 boats,  whereas nowadays they will only take responsibility for the boat that they are actually aboard. But I suppose there's nothing to stop anyone else tagging along behind or even doing the trip in isolation, although as others have said, there'd probably be an issue regarding insurance.

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1 minute ago, Grassman said:

I haven't helped with the way I've worded it. What I meant was that at one time a pilot would happily accompany  2 or 3 boats,  whereas nowadays they will only take responsibility for the boat that they are actually aboard. But I suppose there's nothing to stop anyone else tagging along behind or even doing the trip in isolation, although as others have said, there'd probably be an issue regarding insurance.

I know of three boats that did this trip with one pilot between them, last summer. They would have all been careful about their insurance etc.

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Thanks for posting that Simon.

It's a tad scary!

Narrowboats aren't designed for that sort of thing but, to quote Marriot Edgar, it would appear that 'There were no wrecks and no one was drownded'.

 

We went across the Wash, Boston to Wisbech, a few days before you in 2019. Four boats, one pilot and one apprentice pilot. The most difficult part being the 180° turn to face the incoming tide prior to mooring at Wisbech. I never feel comfortable when the boat is going sideways! I know the boat will come round but I feel it won't. Things weren't helped by one of our convoy getting in the way. He didn't heed the pilot's instructions to hang back and give me space to turn.

 

We had planned to make a piloted crossing from Eastham Locks to Liverpool this summer but like everything else that got knocked into touch by the wretched virus.

 

Can I ask those who have undertaken the Sharpness - Bristol passage or the Mersey crossing how they compare with the jaunt across the Wash, the tidal Thames out of Limehouse or the Trent from Keadby (Turn right on leaving the lock NOT left)

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What can possibly go wrong? Well its unlikely to roll over, narrowboats are a skinny things but you'd be unlikely to get broadside on to waves. It can bury its nose but you would be unlikely to start pitching uncontrollably. You can get water over the stern. Unlikely but the odd shape of narrowboats means that the stern has little 'lift' . You can get rolling waves along the side, that is possible and side hatches and windows are weak points. Its flat bottomed, well yes but many sea going boats are, not great in a small boat though, it will slam when it pitches. The biggest fear is crud in the fuel, no engine means you drift, I really, really, would not want that. Mechanical failure, again, this is proper emergency stuff, as I said earlier, a coupling failed on the Bristol Avon shortly after the Severn trip. That was not fixable at sea. it was also not readily diagnosable before the trip either. Would I do the trip in a narrowboat? Yes, but with a clean tank and a back up of plastic hoses and a container of clean fuel that I knew could be connected to the engine in a minute and the tools to bleed it at hand. I had to change the filter on the river Vecht in Holland. The Vecht is a pussycat of a river. The Maas, which we had been on a few weeks earlier is certainly not so being able to do that job quickly is an absolute essential so always carry spare filters,

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