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stokin'

Length of boats

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Planning on buying a nb in the near future. When the boat's length is referred to in ads does that include or exclude rope/rubber fenders ?

If buying a 70' boat, with fore and aft fenders, there won't be much wriggle room in a 'regular' length canal lock

(Thinking about risk of catching on the cill )

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When selling or describing a boat, they seem to grow a bit.

When paying for licences they seem to shrink a bit.

With moorings, you have to be a bit more accurate if you want it to fit!

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Marinas etc do go for overall length (inc. fenders ) when charging.

When you buy your boat your surveyor will measure it length and width. If it turns out to be close to 70ft then you certainly need to be aware.

 

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Ah !

As I thought. Not black and white topic. More greyish.

Thanks to all for input

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Grand Union boats are 71 ft 6 in long over the hull with rudder and fenders in addition. So any boat described as 70ft will almost certainly be shorter.

 

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There are some locks which are known to be short and fenders have to be lifted to work through them with a full length boat. A couple that spring to mind are the staircase locks at Brades on the BCN and Bishop's Meadow in Loughborough. The latter is a broad lock but its difficult for two 70ft boats to go through together. The good new is that the leaking top gates have been repaired.

 

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5 hours ago, zenataomm said:

When you buy your boat your surveyor will measure it length and width.

 

I've never had a surveyor measure the width. Not properly accurately anyway. They just look at it and say "narrow boat"!

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9 hours ago, Richard T said:

There are some locks which are known to be short and fenders have to be lifted to work through them with a full length boat. A couple that spring to mind are the staircase locks at Brades on the BCN and Bishop's Meadow in Loughborough. The latter is a broad lock but its difficult for two 70ft boats to go through together. The good new is that the leaking top gates have been repaired.

The very shortest locks we did with Flamingo, (gauged at 71' 8"),  in a tour of the BCN last year were one in the Lapworth flight on the Northern Stratford and the top Curdworth lock on the B&F.

As I understand it the first of these was completely rebuilt some years back, whereas the second was a brand new one relocated from its original position.  Both were distictly shorter than original locks in the same flight.s

These required all fenders stowed, rudder right over, and me stood on the counter, clinging on to the rubbing plate on the top gates, and tugging to hold the rudder tight against the cill.  Even then getting the bottom gates open was a struggle.  We had well under a centimetre clearance at Curdworth top.

At quite a few BCN locks with single bottom gates, you could only open them if the bow of the boat was pushed to the opposite side of the lock to the gate hinge - if the boat was against the side where the hinge was, you couldn't swing the gate past the bow.

We haven't tried Brades staircase locks in Flamingo, or going up to Titford.

This is for a boat gauged at 71' 8"though - all those locks should be a doddle with only 70 feet.

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Having been out quite a lot on NBT's pair of Grand Union boats, Nuneaton and Brighton, both about 71' 6", I can say that getting through certain locks is a bit of a squeeze. I'm not an expert on the history, but I think these boats and the Grand Union locks were kind of designed and adapted for each other, and the problems we get tend to be on other canals. I haven't done the North Stratford, but have been along the B&F a few times and don't recall it being too bad. There's one of the locks on Farmers Bridge where Brighton is very tight even with the elum at the best angle tight against the cill, and we use the technique Alan describes of pushing the bow across to make room to open the bottom gate. There are also one or two double locks on the K&A which we can only get through one boat at a time. We know this because we've tried them with the pair, been unable to open the gates and had to refill the lock and pull the butty out.

Essentially, you should find that any narrow boat will somehow get through (other than on some northern canals which weren't intended to take a full length boat). I would hope that no-one's been daft enough to build a narrow boat longer than the GU boats!

Please don't be put off by a boat being full length, think of all the extra space you get! But do take care in locks, and if you have a modern boat going uphill remember that some gate paddles can deliver a lot of water into your front well deck; there's something to be said for having a cratch cover.

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4 hours ago, alan_fincher said:

The very shortest locks we did with Flamingo, (gauged at 71' 8"),  in a tour of the BCN last year were one in the Lapworth flight on the Northern Stratford and the top Curdworth lock on the B&F.

As I understand it the first of these was completely rebuilt some years back, whereas the second was a brand new one relocated from its original position.  Both were distictly shorter than original locks in the same flight.s

These required all fenders stowed, rudder right over, and me stood on the counter, clinging on to the rubbing plate on the top gates, and tugging to hold the rudder tight against the cill.  Even then getting the bottom gates open was a struggle.  We had well under a centimetre clearance at Curdworth top.

At quite a few BCN locks with single bottom gates, you could only open them if the bow of the boat was pushed to the opposite side of the lock to the gate hinge - if the boat was against the side where the hinge was, you couldn't swing the gate past the bow.

We haven't tried Brades staircase locks in Flamingo, or going up to Titford.

This is for a boat gauged at 71' 8"though - all those locks should be a doddle with only 70 feet.

Did you go through Smethwick Locks, I find one of them particularly tight when taking Scorpio through, I think it is the middle one where all fenders have to be lifted, hard back against the cill and push the bows over.

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7 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

Did you go through Smethwick Locks, I find one of them particularly tight when taking Scorpio through, I think it is the middle one where all fenders have to be lifted, hard back against the cill and push the bows over.

No haven't yet been through Smethwick with Flamingo, I think.

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Greyfisher  measures 62ft without fenders .. Salters lode is a tight squeeze at 62ft ,but can just get in , crossways , with lifted fenders . Bunny

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3 minutes ago, Bunny said:

Greyfisher  measures 62ft without fenders .. Salters lode is a tight squeeze at 62ft ,but can just get in , crossways , with lifted fenders . Bunny

We've been through salters lode a number of times in our 69 ft:unsure:

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Was it level water . ?..Had a hell of a squeeze getting us in the lock last time , almost didnt make and would of had to wait for level water ,  we are definitely  62ft . Bunny 

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Of the four alternatives for getting the pair down from the old to the new main line, I haven't yet done Brades or Smethwick and don't know whether NBT have in the past.

The boats' length fitted fine down the Factory Locks and Spon Lane, although the latter took a while for other reasons. It involved a tricky tight turn to get round into the top lock, then letting water through because the next pound was very low, and there was a shallow patch below the bottom lock which made the left turn into the old main line difficult. I suspect Spon Lane doesn't get used often.

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4 minutes ago, Bunny said:

Was it level water . ?..Had a hell of a squeeze getting us in the lock last time , almost didnt make and would of had to wait for level water ,  we are definitely  62ft . Bunny 

Yep.

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We are 70 foot and 9 inches and have never had troubles on the BCN,have done Brades and Smethwick, but last year we had to assist a hire boat who was stuck in Smethwick, I think it was the middle lock. Once we showed them that the fender could be lifted it was fine. I was surprised as I had always assumed that hire boats are limited to 68 or 69 foot to prevent problems. Pretty sure the tight lock on the North Stratford is the unusualy one with the hydraulic paddles at the top.

The real tight locks are at Evesham on the Stratford Avon. We had to do these backwards and turning above the lock is not always easy. We were lucky as low flow had caused the hydro generator at Evesham to be turned off.

................Dave

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10 minutes ago, dmr said:

We are 70 foot and 9 inches and have never had troubles on the BCN,have done Brades and Smethwick, but last year we had to assist a hire boat who was stuck in Smethwick, I think it was the middle lock. Once we showed them that the fender could be lifted it was fine. I was surprised as I had always assumed that hire boats are limited to 68 or 69 foot to prevent problems. Pretty sure the tight lock on the North Stratford is the unusualy one with the hydraulic paddles at the top.

The real tight locks are at Evesham on the Stratford Avon. We had to do these backwards and turning above the lock is not always easy. We were lucky as low flow had caused the hydro generator at Evesham to be turned off.

................Dave

Yes I think it is that one as well, 6th up from the junction just before the visitor moorings at the Boot.

16 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

I've never had a surveyor measure the width. Not properly accurately anyway. They just look at it and say "narrow boat"!

I did not know they normally measured the length either, certainly when we bought ours neither the length nor width was measured.  Was that just me being green not asking for that to be done?

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My first post on this site.

Got to say, I'm totally made up with awesome replies/posts.

So, if going on the L&L, I would need a nb no longer than 57' plus movable fenders, hmmm ?

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1 hour ago, stokin' said:

My first post on this site.

Got to say, I'm totally made up with awesome replies/posts.

So, if going on the L&L, I would need a nb no longer than 57' plus movable fenders, hmmm ?

All fenders should be movable so they flip away if you catch them

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I know Brades are short because many years ago we took Star class Auriga up them and had to lift the fenders to get through. We also stuck exiting Camp Hill top lock - Auriga had spread a bit at a point where tightening up the chains had no effect. She had stuck in the cast iron guards on the exit to the lock going up hill. With the help of BW we eventually got her out by dint of going as far back as possible in the lock, going as fast as possible and rocking her as far over as we could. She came out like a cork out of a bottle. I think we managed to get one rubbing strake above the guards and one below. There is nowhere the winch from at the top of this lock.

Bishop's Meadow is a local lock to us and is the shortest on the Soar by several feet.

Edited by Richard T

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3 hours ago, stokin' said:

My first post on this site.

Got to say, I'm totally made up with awesome replies/posts.

So, if going on the L&L, I would need a nb no longer than 57' plus movable fenders, hmmm ?

62 ft boats should fit over the L&L, although you may have to use the middle of some of the locks. 57ft 6ins is the limit for the Calder & Hebble and Huddersfield Broad, although these can be navigated, with care, by a boat up to 60 ft (but not a fraction longer).

http://www.penninewaterways.co.uk/Calder/Locks.htm

 

Edited by David Mack
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