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A Bloody Yankee on the Canals


Greg K

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2 hours ago, IanD said:

This one -- soft cover but The Magna Charter is the last one...

holloway.jpg

 

Yes that is a different one to the one my father had. The cover was a line drawing of Albert poking Wallace with a stick with an 'orses 'ead 'andle on it.

Edited by cuthound
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1 minute ago, cuthound said:

 

Yes that is a different one to the one my father had. The cover wax a line drawing of Albert poking Wallace with a stick with an 'orses 'ead 'andle on it.

There are some excellent Bill Tidy drawings in the one I have...

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47 minutes ago, cuthound said:

 

Yes that is a different one to the one my father had. The cover was a line drawing of Albert poking Wallace with a stick with an 'orses 'ead 'andle on it.

So has mine.

  • Greenie 1
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5 hours ago, IanD said:

I think you need to provide a black pudding as proof, you can't eat a postcode... 😉

Plenty of options from the Armada base, including your suggestion 😉

 

https://armadaboathire.co.uk/routes.html

 

A question for Greg -- do you have *any* boat experience? If you do it might be easier to persuade Armada to hire to you single-handed, especially if you do the appropriate RYA course first -- there are various places which will do this, including ones near Rugby:

 

https://www.rya.org.uk/training/courses/inland-waterways-helmsman's-course-iwhcc

 

https://www.rya.org.uk/wheres-my-nearest/venues?activities=3&lat=52.370878&lng=-1.265032&locationSearch=Rugby%2C UK&useBrowserLocation=false

I've got a fair amount of sailing experience in and around Michigan.  Small craft like Sunfish and Lasers to 16ft. sloops and even crewed a 32ft racing yacht on Lake Michigan.  We did the buoy racing every Wednesday (boring!) and a few offshore races.  Best one was racing across Lake Michigan...at night....from Grand Haven MI to Milwaukee WI.

 

So yeah....a bit of boating experience, but nothing like narrow boats.

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1 minute ago, Greg K said:

I've got a fair amount of sailing experience in and around Michigan.  Small craft like Sunfish and Lasers to 16ft. sloops and even crewed a 32ft racing yacht on Lake Michigan.  We did the buoy racing every Wednesday (boring!) and a few offshore races.  Best one was racing across Lake Michigan...at night....from Grand Haven MI to Milwaukee WI.

 

So yeah....a bit of boating experience, but nothing like narrow boats.

If you tell all that to Armada it might be enough to convince them. If not I think the relevant RYA course can be done in a day (don't know the cost -- does anybody know?) and that might persuade them.

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7 minutes ago, IanD said:

If you tell all that to Armada it might be enough to convince them. If not I think the relevant RYA course can be done in a day (don't know the cost -- does anybody know?) and that might persuade them.

Armanda also offer a "tutorial" of various lengths of time for the hirer to demonstrate competency.

 

So perhaps I could do THAT; may take a half days time and a few extra pounds but well worth both.  I reckon if I can single handedly cast off, navigate, demonstrate knowledge of "rules of the road", navigate  a lock, execute a full 180 turn and tie up a canal side berth that will be sufficient.

 

Also joining the NBT after a generous offer to do so.  Barry from NBT, the sporting chap that he is, even offered me a berth on either the 2022 spring or autumn solid fuel runs which I am seriously considering.  A great group to support, and a fine way to learn a bit about narrow boats.   And what fun ! !   Like taking a step back in time 90 years or more. And I'm one who's more for a working holiday; not into cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts.  When I visit another land I rather enjoy the local experience.  

 

 It's just a matter of getting time for a holiday.  We Americans get FAR too little holiday time.  

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Canal navigation is *exceptionally* easy, rather like steering is on a train... 😉

 

Having said that, I did once meet a boater coming the other way who asked me how far it was to [xxx] because they thought they should have been there by now. As they would have been, if they'd set off from the hire base in the right direction...

Edited by IanD
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Posted (edited)

To those of you fortunate enough to own your own narrow boat and have all the time available to spend of her, how much time would you say out of 12 months you're actually on the boat?  Give it to me in weeks, months, whatever you'd like.

 

Because I had this absolutely barmy notion that when my day job ends in a few years, I buy myself a narrow boat.  Small, 45ft max, nothing fancy, nothing elaborate.  Good hull, decent engine, toilet lavatory shower, solar power, boatman's stove,  gas stove/oven/, that's about it. Doesn't need radiator heat.  Just another system to maintain and repair.

 

Maximum amount of time the UK will tolerate a Yank like me is 6 months out of 12 on a tourist visa, so I pick my 6 month window.  The rest of the time the boat is up on blocks in a boatyard.  So THAT for a several seasons, then sell the boat.

 

Edited by Greg K
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3 minutes ago, Greg K said:

To those of you fortunate enough to own your own narrow boat and have all the time available to spend of her, how much time would you say out of 12 months you're actually on the boat?  Give it to me in weeks, months, whatever you'd like.

 

Because I had this absolutely barmy notion that when my day job ends in a few years, I buy myself a narrow boat.  Small, 45ft max, nothing fancy, nothing elaborate.  Good hull, decent engine, toilet lavatory shower, solar power, boatman's stove,  gas stove/oven/, that's about it. Doesn't need radiator heat.  Just another system to maintain and repair.

 

Maximum amount of time the UK will tolerate a Yank like me is 6 months out of 12 on a tourist visa, so I pick my 6 month window.  The rest of the time the boat is up on blocks in a boatyard.  So THAT for a several seasons, then sell the boat.

Until you're in that "two way" tunnel.

 

😁

I meant navigation as in "steer 270 degrees for 3nm, then turn onto 200 degrees" 😉

 

From experience, tunnels aren't the only place where errant boats coming the other way might collide with you...

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Just now, IanD said:

I meant navigation as in "steer 270 degrees for 3nm, then turn onto 200 degrees" 😉

 

From experience, tunnels aren't the only place where errant boats coming the other way might collide with you...

Understood.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, Greg K said:

To those of you fortunate enough to own your own narrow boat and have all the time available to spend of her, how much time would you say out of 12 months you're actually on the boat?  Give it to me in weeks, months, whatever you'd like.

 

Because I had this absolutely barmy notion that when my day job ends in a few years, I buy myself a narrow boat.  Small, 45ft max, nothing fancy, nothing elaborate.  Good hull, decent engine, toilet lavatory shower, solar power, boatman's stove,  gas stove/oven/, that's about it. Doesn't need radiator heat.  Just another system to maintain and repair.

 

Maximum amount of time the UK will tolerate a Yank like me is 6 months out of 12 on a tourist visa, so I pick my 6 month window.  The rest of the time the boat is up on blocks in a boatyard.  So THAT for a several seasons, then sell the boat.

We've had our boat (which matches your description right down to the 45' length!) for 6 years. Before Covid we spent between 90 and 120 nights per year on the boat. Would probably have been more but for grandparenting commitments. Due to lockdown etc that dropped to 50 last year and has just passed 50 for this year. With many months left, and being on it at the moment, I hope to get to about 75 by the end of the year.

 

It sounds like I might have the boat you want. I would say make me an offer but I suspect Mrs LR would kill me!

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2 minutes ago, Lily Rose said:

We've had our boat (which matches your description right down to the 45' length!) for 6 years. Before Covid we spent between 90 and 120 nights per year on the boat. Would probably have been more but for grandparenting commitments. Due to lockdown etc that dropped to 50 last year and has just passed 50 for this year. With many months left, and being on it at the moment, I hope to get to about 75 by the end of the year.

 

It sounds like I might have the boat you want. I would say make me an offer but I suspect Mrs LR would kill me!

Would enjoy it if you posted a few pics of the fine Lily Rose.  Thanks for the reply!

 

Right, I figured folks who owned and didn't have day jobs would spend a lot of time on the boat, but perhaps not 180 nights.  So being a Yankee narrow boat owner might not be that far out of the realm of possibilities.  One thing that is CLEAR to me about owning a boat (being born and raised in Michigan you cannot help but learn and know boating in some small way) is the cost of a slip.  Boat in, boat out, and dry storage at the boatyard isn't so bad, it's the slip that'll cost you.  So if my mind ever did escape me and I did purchase a narrow boat, I don't see myself leasing a slip; simply arrive, put the boat in the water, do the P.M. tasks, and off we go for many months, up to six if I wanted.  And the window of those six months could slide allowing me experience just about any period encompassing that time.  April - September, May-October, whatever.  With a proper stove and enough solid fuel I don't mind chilly weather, rather prefer it to the blazing heat of summer.

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There are a number of boaters who do just what you're planning Greg, or at least did until the pandemic. There used to be a boat moored on the Bridgewater canal that had Bridgewater and LA on the side of it. We met a couple a few years ago who spent the Northern Hemisphere Summer on a narrowboat and the winter back home in Nelson, New Zealand.

 

The vast majority of boaters would leave their boat in the water over Winter if not cruising. That will of course cost in mooring fees.

 

On how much we use our boat we have two sons in their 30s both keen to use it as well as us so it spends most of the time between about Easter and the end of October away from home base. So far this year it's been out for about 16 weeks and has spent 5 of those on various towpaths not moving. My wife and I have had about 5 weeks on it, my younger son similar and my eldest who is stuck with school holidays has had a week and has just started a 3 week trip. And there's plenty more time yet.

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2 hours ago, Greg K said:

I've got a fair amount of sailing experience in and around Michigan.  Small craft like Sunfish and Lasers to 16ft. sloops and even crewed a 32ft racing yacht on Lake Michigan.  We did the buoy racing every Wednesday (boring!) and a few offshore races.  Best one was racing across Lake Michigan...at night....from Grand Haven MI to Milwaukee WI.

 

So yeah....a bit of boating experience, but nothing like narrow boats.

In my experience any boating experience helps. It is knowing how a boat steers, and accelerates and stops (i.e. not like a car), that helps you, even if all your boating has been on other types of boat. My American daughter-in-law grew up with boats - canoes, dinghies, waterski towboat, fast cruisers (also on Lake Michigan, out of Port Washington, WI) but had never been on a narrowboat. Yet within minutes of taking the tiller of a 70 ft ex-working boat, and with minimal instruction, she was doing fine. She messed up her first tight bend (and it was a pig of a bend), learnt from her mistake and took the next bend beautifully. A couple of days later she was steering into narrow locks without touching the sides.

Edited by David Mack
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2 hours ago, Greg K said:

Maximum amount of time the UK will tolerate a Yank like me is 6 months out of 12 on a tourist visa, so I pick my 6 month window.  The rest of the time the boat is up on blocks in a boatyard.

 

1 hour ago, Greg K said:

One thing that is CLEAR to me about owning a boat (being born and raised in Michigan you cannot help but learn and know boating in some small way) is the cost of a slip.  Boat in, boat out, and dry storage at the boatyard isn't so bad, it's the slip that'll cost you.

Narrowboats generally spend 12 months of the year in the water, so you don't need to worry about cranage costs. Boats are docked every 3 years or so for reblacking and to replace anodes if necessary. If the boat is older than about 25 years, many insurers also require an out-of-water survey every 5 years or so, which you would normally do when out for blacking anyway.

 

There's been a few overseas folk on the forum who own a boat here and spend half the year on it and leave it in the care of a local boatyard for the other half of the year. You just need somewhere that will keep an eye on it, check batteries are charged, bilges are dry etc. from time to time, do any necessary maintenance while you are away, and perhaps open up the  boat for your return.

 

Edited by David Mack
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14 minutes ago, David Mack said:

In my experience any boating experience helps. It is knowing how a boat steers, and accelerates and stops (i.e. not like a car), that helps you, even if all your boating has been on other types of boat. My American daughter-in-law grew up with boats - canoes, dinghies, waterski towboat, fast cruisers (also on Lake Michigan, out of Port Washington, WI) but had never been on a narrowboat. Yet within minutes of taking the tiller of a 70 ft ex-working boat, and with minimal instruction, she was doing fine. She messed up her first tight bend (and it was a pig of a bend), learnt from her mistake and took the next bend beautifully. A couple of days later she was steering into narrow locks without touching the sides.

Forgot to mention canoes, rowboats, and kayaks, done them too.

 

And yes, it's knowing how a watercraft responds (or doesn't).  Think two or three steps ahead at all times.

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10 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

Narrowboats generally spend 12 months of the year in the water, so you don't need to worry about cranage costs. Boats are docked every 3 years or so for reblacking and to replace anodes if necessary. If the boat is older than about 25 years, many insurers also require an out-of-water survey every 5 years or so, which you would normally do when out for blacking anyway.

 

There's been a few overseas folk on the forum who own a boat here and spend half the year on it and leave it in the care of a local boatyard for the other half of the year. You just need somewhere that will keep an eye on it, check batteries are charged, bilges are dry etc. from time to time, do any necessary maintenance while you are away, and perhaps open up the  boat for your return.

 

Thanks!

 

This is why a message forum such as Canal World and its great community is SUCH an asset.

 

Sure, I won't be buying a narrowboat anytime soon, yet it's good to learns basics such as how the boats are stored year round.  I simply assumed it was like it is around these parts; in the winter, the boats come out of the water lest the hard freezing water cracks the hulls.  After all, ice on the Great Lakes can reach several feet thick as you know, and would shatter pleasure boat hulls like eggshells.

 

Makes sense if affordable space is available not to pull the boat out.  I can see long term narrowboat storage, many boats rafted out at long term dockings..... 

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Although even the most southerly part of Great Btitain is further north than the most northerly parts of the continental United States (Alaska excepted), the warming effect of the Gulf Stream means that we do not have the extremes of temperature that you get in the Great Lakes area, so freezing of  rivers and canals is rare.  

 

In the 1970's a friend got a job inthe UK with a Canadian company and ended up working at their head office in Canada. He said he couldn't believe how cold it got in winter, and that motorists not only changed tyres between winter and summer  types every 6 months, but also had to exchange engine oil between summer and winter motor oil grades too.  Here, there is no need for different summer and winter oils, while winter tyres are not normally necessary other than in hilly / northern  areas. 

 

Edited by Ronaldo47
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On 27/07/2021 at 08:04, John Wareing said:

One thing to bear in mind is that if you select the 4 Counties are that area in general and Chas Hardern in particular is that you should plan on flying into Manchester not London - it will be much more convenient and the boatyard may well organise a direct transfer for you.

 

Under normal times there were a number of direct flights from the US into MAN and they may well be back by next September. But, even if not, a one stop through Dublin would work very well with the added advantage of pre-clearance for the US at Dublin on the way back.

Dunno if Birmingham is in the realm of possible airports; I can get a flight from Detroit to Birmingham w/ a 2 hr layover in either Paris or Amsterdam for a reasonable rate.  Haven't checked flying in to Heathrow; could probably score a direct flight, Detroit to Heathrow, on Delta Airlines BUT American air carriers, well.....not the best.  I go for non-American carrier any day of the week first choice.

On 27/07/2021 at 09:14, zenataomm said:

 

 

 

Don't forget to pack your cases with chocolate and chewing gum to throw to the urchins.  Silk stockings and parachute silk still goes down well with the local wenches too.

Finally, even if only talking to yourself try and lose the word "quaint!

 

Good luck, enjoy and have a happy time.

 

Zenataomm

English humor escapes me.......

 

🥰

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Posted (edited)
On 29/07/2021 at 11:40, IanD said:

Canal navigation is *exceptionally* easy, rather like steering is on a train... 😉

 

Having said that, I did once meet a boater coming the other way who asked me how far it was to [xxx] because they thought they should have been there by now. As they would have been, if they'd set off from the hire base in the right direction...

What was the look on their poor faces when you broke the news?

 

But then there's always canal guides....and maps....and sign posts along the canal.  Those always come in handy.

 

 

Edited by Greg K
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6 hours ago, Greg K said:

What was the look on their poor faces when you broke the news?

 

But then there's always canal guides....and maps....and sign posts along the canal.  Those always come in handy.

 

 

They definitely weren't happy, especially when I told them how far it was to the nearest winding hole where they could turn round and go back -- the other side of several locks... 😞

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8 hours ago, Greg K said:

 

English humor escapes me.......

 

🥰

It's a reference to American troops in Britain in World War 2. They could get items which were unobtainable here such as silk stockings, chocolate etc. The more impressionable sort of English girls liked this, as the Yanks were generous with such goods.

 

An expression used, somewhat sniffily, about the U.S. forces in Britain was "overpaid, oversexed and over here".

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