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Old BCN boat navigating through some tight points


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Hi all,

 

this is my first question on CanalWorld, I don't quite own the boat yet but will do soon. She's a little girthy at 7'1" (measured in recent survey). I'm aware maps say she'll not make it up and down Waterford/Foxton, but I've been reading on here that that might not be the case. 

What's the best way to find out definativily, without getting stuck half way up/down? 

 

Cheers! 

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I've negotiated my way around the network with a boat a tad wider than that.

 

Be aware it's not only the width that causes pinch points in locks.

A boat can be measured at 6' 10" at all points on the hull, yet if it's not perfectly parallel it'll jam in a tight one.

A tight one =

Chamber with a bulge

Movement like Rodbaston in the 80s

Lack of maintenance like the extra "narrow" one half way down Cheshire locks.

Rubbish behind a gate.

 

I learnt how to flush in and out of locks and always carried a Tirfor.

It's just part and parcel of old boat boating.

Edited by zenataomm
Rubbish triping
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At 7 ft 1" you should be OK, although it might be a little tight in a few places. Locks do move over the years, and when too many boats get stuck, CRT will eventually get around to doing something about it. Stret Lock on the Chesterfield was signed at 6 ft 10.5 ins maximum, and several ex working boats failed to get through. But it was rebuilt a few years back. Similarly a few boats got stuck at Napton 2-3 years ago, and that has been sorted, and last winter the narrow lock at Hurleston was sorted.

 

If you do get stuck you will soon learn how creative raising and dropping of paddles can enable you to seesaw the boat in or out of a lock.

Edited by David Mack
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1 hour ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Can you get some Silvester's across the gunwales to pull in the hogging? I presume it is the middle that is fat, bow and stern are usually OK.

afraid I don't get you on the silersters part 

1 hour ago, Rob-M said:

We have taken Swift through Watford and Foxton and Swift is probably similar width as it bulged slightly when a cabin extension was added.

The boat I'm getting is only 48 ft, so hopefully if it's the same beam as Swift it'll be an easier fit. 

4 minutes ago, David Mack said:

At 7 ft 1" you should be OK, although it might be a little tight in a few places. Locks do move over the years, and when too many boats get stuck, CRT will eventually get around to doing something about it. Stret Lock on the Chesterfield was signed at 6 ft 10.5 ins maximum, and several ex working boats failed to get through. But it was rebuilt a few years back. Similarly a few boats got stuck at Napton 2-3 years ago, and that has been sorted, and last winter the narrow lock at Hurleston was sorted.

 

If you do get stuck you will soon learn how creative raising and dropping of paddles can enable you to seesaw the boat in or out of a lock.

 

Good to know that others get stuck, but I'll be doing my to avoid that. It's watford and foxton that mainly concern me, but who knows where I'll end up going over the years. 

 

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Afraid you won't know until you try. Your boat was likely to have been built at 7`, possibly even a fraction wider so pulling the sides in by putting chains across the top of the hull and tightening them with a 'bottlescrew' (Other names are available) will only pull it in a bit at the top and if its been  overplated or refooted it could add another half inch. - but then it only takes a bit to make all the difference.  Chances are you won't have anything to attach chains to anyway. Personally I wouldn't worry too much, most locks are wide enough to pass most boats (And that is the sort of statement that leads to all sorts of problems!)

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I took our old butty which gauged 7’2” up watford and foxton many times.

Those locks are quite wide

We used to stick at napton and on the southern stratford, and at the Commandry on the Worcester and birmigham,  but the Northern Stratford, coventry and T and M were all fine.

 
This sounds stupid, if you can avoid becoming stuck, you can often work a way round a tight lock, by judicious flushing, being in the right place in the lock etc, once you get stuck then your problems really start because you didnt for see it so you get stuck fast.

 

Grease, a chain winch , and patience are your friend with a boat that is on the limits of width. We still have to use all three sometimes.

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45 minutes ago, roland elsdon said:

I took our old butty which gauged 7’2” up watford and foxton many times.

Those locks are quite wide

We used to stick at napton and on the southern stratford, and at the Commandry on the Worcester and birmigham,  but the Northern Stratford, coventry and T and M were all fine.

 

Very good to know a 7'2" managed it!

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Beware volunteers, and experts with modern boats. Its your lock your paddles and your speed. If in doubt one paddle going downhill with, constant observation.

we were abused last year on the worcester and birmingham for sticking in a lock. This was after my wife had repeatedly asked another boat owner to leave us alone, and let us sort out the problem first. Once they had stopped swearing about old boats needing banning, and shouting about needing to call crt, we sorted  out the obstruction behind the gate and were off.

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You may struggle on the Southern Stratford. Several of the Wilmcote locks are tight. Lock 44 is the tightest if I recall correctly. 

Although Stret Lock on the Chesterfield has been rebuilt, there are other tight locks further up.

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Our old boat, an ex-butty but not BCN, had a cabin top fitted while slightly spread and got stuck in Napton. The owner removed an internal bulkhead and some trim, then welded a couple of eyes to the inside and winched the sides together using chains and a bottle-screw. He got through the lock (which has since been widened) then removed the chains and carried on with his journey.

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Second lock down from the junction used to be limit for us.

even with a short town class motor that has been up the welsh cut recently we avoid Wilmcote. Its not worth the grief of telling volunteers to leave us alone.

lots of pound balancing, flushing and waiting for things to settle down. Plus repainting rubbing strakes polished to bare steel!!!

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The lock near Napton and possibly others appeared to affect some boats of the same width more than others and this was down to the height of the bows, i would think the lower height of a bcn is an advantage.

 We passed through Watford and Foxton without issue 72' x 7' 1/2".

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On 13/02/2021 at 19:57, spicemouse said:

afraid I don't get you on the silersters part 

 

 

 

I think @Tracy D'arth was talking about a large turnbuckle and chains the working boats had across the hold at gunwale height and used to literally pull the sides in to resist loose cargos forcing them apart. Not sure how practical that would be on a nicely fitted out conversion but if doing the conversion I suppose a provision could be made to allow such fitting.

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8 minutes ago, Tony Brooks said:

 

 

I think @Tracy D'arth was talking about a large turnbuckle and chains the working boats had across the hold at gunwale height and used to literally pull the sides in to resist loose cargos forcing them apart. Not sure how practical that would be on a nicely fitted out conversion but if doing the conversion I suppose a provision could be made to allow such fitting.

They could always use it to practice Limbo dancing or even the high jump or tightrope walking.

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We had the chains in on our converted butty, we had to put them up before boating. If we were on late finish early start, we sometimes didnt bother undoing them before going to bed.

The 0200 am loo trip invariably ended in incident as the chains were painted black. Going and stoking the rayburn mid trip also lead to ducking around the chains.

Different boats different days.

We still have chains and bottle screws permanently up on the current boat. Scars on my head going into hold prove this. They sometimes need a tweak in a narrow lock.

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