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Advice on help with a boat move please


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Hello, I would like to pick your brains please.

I have just bought my first narrowboat which is something I've been wanting to do for quite some time.   However, it is currently moored up near Whitchurch and I need to get it down to Northampton at the end of the month (yes, a wee bit short notice I know).  Unfortunately I only have a 1 day hire boat experience under my belt (though I am doing an RYA Helmsman course this week).  I think it will be a great experience to bring it down, but I have a limited window of time to do it in so would like to have someone reliable to help if possible.  I have tried many boat movers but they are all booked or away, I did have someone lined up but regretfully it did not work out, and others who have agreed are never to be heard from again. Does anyone have someone trustworthy and reliable the could recommend please?

Many Thanks

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According to the route planner (canalplan.org.uk) it's 78 hours to get from Whitchurch to Northampton (marinas) which isn't impossible in the next two weeks, but is very tight.  I'd suggest relaxing your deadline or considering moving it by road....

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17 hours ago, DaveP said:

According to the route planner (canalplan.org.uk) it's 78 hours to get from Whitchurch to Northampton (marinas) which isn't impossible in the next two weeks, but is very tight.  I'd suggest relaxing your deadline or considering moving it by road....

 

Hi Dave thanks for your response. I think a route I found for exact location to location said 152 miles and 85 locks (it looked like the best as it had fewer locks). I've allowed 10 days but was hoping to do it in 5 and a half (hence the need for someone to take it in turns with). I think however, I might possibly need to manage my expectations 🤣

Unfortunately shipping is rather expensive when you add craning either end, plus it would be a shame to miss out on the experience. Let's just say it's a work in progress, which I'm sure will come good in the end 🙂

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17 hours ago, Athy said:

Have you tried Nigel Carton? He is a member here, and I can recommend him from personal experience.

Hi Athy, thanks for your response. To be honest, I couldn't tell you. I found an old list on canal junction and have called that many people, I can't remember. Not sure how this site works but I might see if I can find him and send a message. Thanks again, much appreciated. 

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6 hours ago, wibbly wobbler said:

Hi Dave thanks for your response. I think a route I found for exact location to location said 152 miles and 85 locks (it looked like the best as it had fewer locks). I've allowed 10 days but was hoping to do it in 5 and a half (hence the need for someone to take it in turns with). I think however, I might possibly need to manage my expectations 🤣

 

 

I'm not sure you will manage to find many volunteers at your planned 17+ hours a day (non-stop)  for 5 days, and , for 'paid' crew at (say) £150 per day, allowing a day each side, thats £1000, add in fuel etc, another £20-£25 per day, + feeding and watering said crew and you may find that road transport is not such an expensive option.

 

If you could average 3mph (which is unlikely) then 152 miles is 50+ hours. Other boaters will 'get in the way', you need to slow down to pass those miles of moored boats, you'll need to stop for fuel etc etc etc.

If you could average 15 minutes per lock (which you won't, as being peak season, there will be other boats and you'll need to wait your turn) 85 locks would take over 20 hours - but in reality you could be as much as double that. 

 

I'm all for using the boat as intended, but if you are working to tight time scales it is NOT the way to go, the way things are, a broken lock gate, an engine problem, an accident etc etc and you are totally screwed.

The boat is new to you, you have no idea if everything works, is reliable and will even start the next morning.

 

Via road, your boat can be collected and delivered within one day - you can then have your 5 days pottering about based around your mooring, get used to it and its foibles  and, if it breaks down its not the end of the world.

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Why does the whole trip have to be done in one go?

 

I've done several long boat moves in the past (e.g. Laleham on the Thames to Bidford on the Warks Avon) on my widebeam which of course necessitated taking the longer Reading to Bristol K&A route and then up onto the Severn and Avon. I couldn't do the whole 14 day journey in one go so I moored the boat in what i considered relatively safe places and went back to work until I could resume the trip some days later.

 

Reading to Bristol on the K&A took me 8 days single-handed but I left the boat unattended in a couple of places en route because I had to get back to work. It may depend on how secure your boat is of course, but leaving it moored for a few days with other boats is usually ok. 

 

Let's face it, if one has to be boating in the ditches then the one big benefit is that you have a continuous unbroken towpath and unlike rivers you can moor just about anywhere and not worry too much about flooding, changes in the water level, irate farmers with riperian rights, etc. So why not use that to your advantage and break the journey up into more manageable chunks? 

Edited by blackrose
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It would seem that the shorter timescale is pretty much impossible, ten days or so, doable if everything goes your way, which it most probably won't. Not trying to be a doomsayer but you will hit congestion at this time of year and an engine can fail in a not very expensive but still time consuming way. If a coolant hose splits, do you have a spare to swap over or would you have to wait while you sourced one? If the boat is new to you, it will take a little while for you, and indeed anyone, to get used to the specific way it handles and its little foibles.

 

As we don't know the size of the boat and how it fits into the OP's life, there is also always the possibility of moving it as much as is comfortable and possible over ten days, leave for a week in secure marina, return and move some more over a long weekend. If necessary repeat marina stay until reach final destination. OP may well find that he can find someone to help him for the first few days, at a reasonable pace, then feel confident to do eight says solo at a slow pace, and maybe get some help from friends over a weekend. The practicalities of this will depend on the size of the boat and OP's use for it. If it is a 60' er then road transport is going to be serious. If it's a little 22'er, move it by road and have done. If the OP needs the boat down in Northampton by the end of the month to live on and can't commute from its route then road looks to have the edge.

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6 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Why does the whole trip have to be done in one go?

 

I've done several long boat moves in the past (e.g. Laleham on the Thames to Bidford on the Warks Avon) on my widebeam which of course necessitated taking the longer Reading to Bristol K&A route and then up onto the Severn and Avon. I couldn't do the whole 14 day journey in one go so I moored the boat in what i considered relatively safe places and went back to work until I could resume the trip some days later.

 

Reading to Bristol on the K&A took me 8 days single-handed but I left the boat unattended in a couple of places en route because I had to get back to work. It may depend on how secure your boat is of course, but leaving it moored for a few days with other boats is usually ok. 

 

Let's face it, if one has to be boating in the ditches then the one big benefit is that you have a continuous unbroken towpath and unlike rivers you can moor just about anywhere and not worry too much about flooding, changes in the water level, irate farmers with riperian rights, etc. So why not use that to your advantage and break the journey up into more manageable chunks? 

Managed to cross posts with you. My mention of secure marina wasn't to suggest that being moored with other boats on the towpath isn't okay. I've always been happy to leave a boat for a few days at a  time if it is in an area others are in and seems okay. Only mention of marina to the OP was  as a one-off for the feeling of a bit of extra security as a new owner. They will soon realise that paying by the night or week for a lot of stays starts getting expensive.

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Yes, I agree, the occasional stop in a marina is another option as well as towpath moorings. Nothing wrong with that. When reached the Tesco's mooring on the Thames at Reading I looked around the start of the K&A to see if there was anywhere suitable but in the end left the boat in the rather expensive Thames & Kennet marina for 3 nights. 

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PM sent, but don't know if you can do PMs yet; if not, email me at keeping.up@btinternet.com. I could come with you, and we could do it in the timescale required, if you are reasonably fit & able so we can do long days. With over 50 years experience on the cut, & knowing every inch of that route, it would be easy.

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22 hours ago, Keeping Up said:

PM sent, but don't know if you can do PMs yet; if not, email me at keeping.up@btinternet.com. I could come with you, and we could do it in the timescale required, if you are reasonably fit & able so we can do long days. With over 50 years experience on the cut, & knowing every inch of that route, it would be easy.

Just to say, if you do want to take advantage of my offer, given the short timescale I really need to know by tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon so that I can get all my next week's activities sorted out. 

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I would take up Alan's very kind offer if I were you. He helped me out many years ago with my boat's electrical system. He's completely genuine, trustworthy and he knows what he's doing. You couldn't get a better offer.

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On 20/07/2021 at 09:17, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

I'm not sure you will manage to find many volunteers at your planned 17+ hours a day (non-stop)  for 5 days, and , for 'paid' crew at (say) £150 per day, allowing a day each side, thats £1000, add in fuel etc, another £20-£25 per day, + feeding and watering said crew and you may find that road transport is not such an expensive option.

 

If you could average 3mph (which is unlikely) then 152 miles is 50+ hours. Other boaters will 'get in the way', you need to slow down to pass those miles of moored boats, you'll need to stop for fuel etc etc etc.

If you could average 15 minutes per lock (which you won't, as being peak season, there will be other boats and you'll need to wait your turn) 85 locks would take over 20 hours - but in reality you could be as much as double that. 

 

I'm all for using the boat as intended, but if you are working to tight time scales it is NOT the way to go, the way things are, a broken lock gate, an engine problem, an accident etc etc and you are totally screwed.

The boat is new to you, you have no idea if everything works, is reliable and will even start the next morning.

 

Via road, your boat can be collected and delivered within one day - you can then have your 5 days pottering about based around your mooring, get used to it and its foibles  and, if it breaks down its not the end of the world.

Ok,  so when you put it like that... It does seem somewhat foolhardy and ridiculous.  I do have a tendency to jump into things with both feet, without actually thinking through the logistics and practicalities of the situation (certainly not the 1st time and I suspect most definitely not the last).  I am not ruling out shipping but it is currently loitering in the back of my mind as a last resort. I am currently getting the boat all serviced, checked and was planning to set off at day break to beat the rush, but yes, a revise in strategy, is definitely required.  Thank you, much appreciated. 

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On 20/07/2021 at 10:09, blackrose said:

Why does the whole trip have to be done in one go?

 

I've done several long boat moves in the past (e.g. Laleham on the Thames to Bidford on the Warks Avon) on my widebeam which of course necessitated taking the longer Reading to Bristol K&A route and then up onto the Severn and Avon. I couldn't do the whole 14 day journey in one go so I moored the boat in what i considered relatively safe places and went back to work until I could resume the trip some days later.

 

Reading to Bristol on the K&A took me 8 days single-handed but I left the boat unattended in a couple of places en route because I had to get back to work. It may depend on how secure your boat is of course, but leaving it moored for a few days with other boats is usually ok. 

 

Let's face it, if one has to be boating in the ditches then the one big benefit is that you have a continuous unbroken towpath and unlike rivers you can moor just about anywhere and not worry too much about flooding, changes in the water level, irate farmers with riperian rights, etc. So why not use that to your advantage and break the journey up into more manageable chunks? 

You know what, that's a great shout! Been so focused on getting it home in that window, can't believe I didn't even think of that 🤦‍♀️ Thank you, much appreciated. 

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On 20/07/2021 at 10:13, BilgePump said:

It would seem that the shorter timescale is pretty much impossible, ten days or so, doable if everything goes your way, which it most probably won't. Not trying to be a doomsayer but you will hit congestion at this time of year and an engine can fail in a not very expensive but still time consuming way. If a coolant hose splits, do you have a spare to swap over or would you have to wait while you sourced one? If the boat is new to you, it will take a little while for you, and indeed anyone, to get used to the specific way it handles and its little foibles.

 

As we don't know the size of the boat and how it fits into the OP's life, there is also always the possibility of moving it as much as is comfortable and possible over ten days, leave for a week in secure marina, return and move some more over a long weekend. If necessary repeat marina stay until reach final destination. OP may well find that he can find someone to help him for the first few days, at a reasonable pace, then feel confident to do eight says solo at a slow pace, and maybe get some help from friends over a weekend. The practicalities of this will depend on the size of the boat and OP's use for it. If it is a 60' er then road transport is going to be serious. If it's a little 22'er, move it by road and have done. If the OP needs the boat down in Northampton by the end of the month to live on and can't commute from its route then road looks to have the edge.

Let's just say that sometimes, my optimistic and unrealistic side gets the better of me. Don't worry, the last few days and certainly here has given me a reality check and prompted my pragmatic side to kick into gear. I think it may just be a case of heading off and getting as far as I can in the time that I have, mooring up, then continuing on my next days off (a great suggestion that I hadn't even contemplated). Thank you for your time, much appreciated.

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On 20/07/2021 at 19:55, Keeping Up said:

PM sent, but don't know if you can do PMs yet; if not, email me at keeping.up@btinternet.com. I could come with you, and we could do it in the timescale required, if you are reasonably fit & able so we can do long days. With over 50 years experience on the cut, & knowing every inch of that route, it would be easy.

Hello, thank you, have PMd you.

5 hours ago, Keeping Up said:

Just to say, if you do want to take advantage of my offer, given the short timescale I really need to know by tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon so that I can get all my next week's activities sorted out. 

Thank you, have PMd you

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4 hours ago, blackrose said:

I would take up Alan's very kind offer if I were you. He helped me out many years ago with my boat's electrical system. He's completely genuine, trustworthy and he knows what he's doing. You couldn't get a better offer.

Thank you.

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