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cuthound

March of the Widebeams

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Alan, many thanks for the response. Yes, I have sea-going experience; I am an RYA Offshore Yachtmaster and have sailed a big schooner, a large motorsailer ketch, and several catamarans. I've sailed a to Ireland, the Isle of Man and Scotland, and have crossed to Brittany and the Bay of Biscay several times. Having been a maritime law lecturer until I retired a month ago, fortunately I know the collregs and I'll do the CEVNI exams. I wouldn't dream of crossing the Channel in a barge till the spring or summer, and with the support of Dover Coastguard. The barge is class D (ie "rivers, canals and small lakes" only) so I have to prepare the bow well to make sure no waves come aboard.  Yes, I'll have the fuel tank cleaned; presumably one can use red diesel for heating in Europe? Are separate tanks required? I've got paperwork, thanks. I want to do some navigation in England to do any troubleshooting in home waters. My main issue is whether the K&A is deep enough and whether the bridges are too low (my barge has a fold-down wheelhouse).

Edited by Trevor Lyons

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7 minutes ago, dmr said:

As long as you don't behave in an arrogant way and regard yourself as superior ...

Why would I do that? I am an experienced boatman, and I'm not a snob!

Edited by Trevor Lyons

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2 minutes ago, Trevor Lyons said:

Why would I do that? I am an experienced boatman!

It still amazes me that people want to live on the cut because they believe its a lovely gentle place with a sense of community, then do there best to upset everybody :)

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5 minutes ago, Trevor Lyons said:

I am an RYA Offshore Yachtmaster and have sailed a big schooner, a large motorsailer ketch, and several catamarans.

If its not a catamaran its only 'half a boat' !!!

 

(We keep our Cat A Catamaran in Plymouth)

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

If its not a catamaran its only 'half a boat' !!!

I agree completely. With the obvious exception of my river barge, I would never choose to navigate in a monohull vessel again. I am utterly converted to multihulls, having sailed an Iroquois, a Fountaine-Pagot Maldives and a Brady 45.

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1 minute ago, Trevor Lyons said:

The Iroquois wasn't mine. I think it was probably a MkI.

You are a brave man:)Crossing the channel should be a breeze (though hopefully not too much breeze).

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On the K&A you may find problems not so much from NBs but other wide beam vessels. We lost a day due to a couple of fatties jammed against each other under a bridge

 

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22 minutes ago, Clodi said:

On the K&A you may find problems not so much from NBs but other wide beam vessels. We lost a day due to a couple of fatties jammed against each other under a bridge

 

 

Or not so much the vessels as the owners.

 

A small but significant proportion of widebeam owners seem to genuinely believe because they have a bigger boat, they and their boats are superior to NBs, NBs should always get out of their way and they navigate (and moor) accordingly. Not common but one meets this attitude occasionally, and more frequently these days as more and more widebeams are launched onto the system.

 

This is what leads to the anti-widebeam sentiment really. 

 

<Awaits incoming>

 

 

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1 hour ago, Trevor Lyons said:

Yes, I'll have the fuel tank cleaned; presumably one can use red diesel for heating in Europe? Are separate tanks required? 

 

1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

No.

 

Alan, can you not use red diesel for heating if it is in a separate tank?

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1 hour ago, Trevor Lyons said:

I wouldn't dream of crossing the Channel in a barge till the spring or summer, and with the support of Dover Coastguard.

 

I think Alan also meant the first part of your trip (Avonmouth to Reading, or Reading to Oxford) is best not undertaken in winter. Not that we think your boatmanship skills are lacking, more that both The Thames and the K&A are generally subject to closures in multiple places for weeks at a time for engineering maintenance. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Trevor Lyons said:

Rather than Reading, if feasible, I'd prefer to take it to Stourport or Gloucester, and then navigate via Sheerness, Avonmouth and the Kennet & Avon to the Thames. 

 

I think Sheerness would be a bit of a detour between Gloucester and Avonmouth. I think you would be better advised to go via Sharpness!

 

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

 

 

Alan, can you not use red diesel for heating if it is in a separate tank?

Specific Advice for Boaters visiting France:-

The Customs Attaché of the French Embassy in London has confirmed that:

1. If the owner is a British resident and the vessel is in French waters on a temporary basis (holiday), the vessel may arrive in France with red diesel in its tank, refuel with correctly taxed diesel during its stay in France and return to Great Britain without a problem.  

2. If the vessel is to remain in France for an extended stay, invoices for diesel purchases should be retained for three years to demonstrate that duty paid fuel has been purchased since the boat’s arrival in France. Your fuel invoices, should be kept on board to demonstrate you have acted in good faith, should your boat’s fuel be subject to inspection.  

You should however be aware that it is prohibited to purchase rebated diesel for recreational boating in France.

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20 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

We're not really often unpleasant to anyone, unless they're unpleasant to us first!

In my narrowboating days, thirty years ago, I never strayed beyond the narrow canals of the central and north-west midlands. Now, having become a widebeam owner, it's really disappointing to discover the animosity between groups of canal boaters. This forum topic has run on to 57 webpages!

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7 hours ago, Trevor Lyons said:

 

In my narrowboating days, thirty years ago, I never strayed beyond the narrow canals of the central and north-west midlands. Now, having become a widebeam owner, it's really disappointing to discover the animosity between groups of canal boaters. This forum topic has run on to 57 webpages!

 

Firstly let me say I am a 'double' widebeam owner, with one at 23 feet (the catamaran) and a river/canal cruiser at 14 feet beam

 

 I have had a number of 'Narrowboats' over the years so understand both 'camps'.

 

Much of the animosity to widebeams on the canals is due to the owners attitudes and philosophy which can range from

 

"My boat cost £250,000 so get out of my way", to

"My boat is bigger than yours, so get out of the way - might is right", to

"I've paid for it, so I'll use it on any waterway I choose", to 

"We are all boaters, lets work / live / play together"

 

Unfortunately the 1st three way outnumber the last one.

 

A widebeam boat on a waterway that is SUITABLE for its size has no trouble at all, unfortunately many of our canals (even those classed as 'wide') can no longer support two widebeams passing - some struggle with a widebeam and a narrowboat - the lack of vegetation cutting back, dredging width and depth and general maintenance means that the canals are actually getting narrower.

 

The target dredging figures (of which compliance is unfortunately rarely achieved) for many of the canals is (channel width x channel depth) 5.3m x 1.1m

 

BCN  5.3m x 1.1m

GU Buckby to Berkhampstead  7.6m x 1.1m

GU Leicester line Buckby to Foxton 5.3m x 1.1m 

GU Leicester line Foxton to Leicester 6.0m x 1.1m

Oxford Canal 5.3m x 1.1m

Shropshire Union 5.3m x 1.1m

Trent & Mersey 5.3m x 1.1m 

 

As you can see even canals with locks wide enough are not always suitable for widebeams - imagine a 4 metre (14 foot) widebeam meeting (even) a  7 foot narrowboat in a channel width of 5.3 metres - one of them is going to be forced into the shallows and grounded.

 

Unfortunately 'many' widebeams owners spoil it for the 'few' widebeam owners who want to 'fit it'.

 

  • Greenie 3

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This may have been mentioned elsewhere, but whilst perusing the Nicholson "Inlands Waterways Map of Great Britain"

I noticed a note saying "No wide beam craft should moor online between Berkhampstead and Braunston"

Thats a long one day trip!!

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9 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I have had a number of 'Narrowboats' over the years so understand both 'camps'.

Once again, you have made some very helpful points.  Thanks!

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19 hours ago, Trevor Lyons said:

 

In my narrowboating days, thirty years ago, I never strayed beyond the narrow canals of the central and north-west midlands. Now, having become a widebeam owner, it's really disappointing to discover the animosity between groups of canal boaters. This forum topic has run on to 57 webpages!

The problem is many naroowboat owners are also narrow minded. Narrow boats are an abomination that we all have to put up with due to poxy narrow locks if we wish to move freely north to saarf. Widebeams are immeasureably nicer in every way, especialy to live on. Main problem is with plonkers who put widebeams on inappropriate waterways.

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11 hours ago, mrsmelly said:

The problem is many naroowboat owners are also narrow minded. Narrow boats are an abomination that we all have to put up with due to poxy narrow locks if we wish to move freely north to saarf. Widebeams are immeasureably nicer in every way, especialy to live on. Main problem is with plonkers who put widebeams on inappropriate waterways.

Not just north to south...having a fat boat means you miss out on such gems as the Huddersfield narrow & peak forest. I like narrowboats and have no desire for a floating skip masquerading as a fat “narrowboat”....if you have a suitable waterway why not have a proper replica that suits eg L & L short boat?? 

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mrsmelly said:

Widebeams are immeasureably nicer in every way

 

Except to look at. 

 

Just my opinion but they are fugly things I would be embarrassed to be seen steering, most of them. As Frangar says, once you have the width to make a boat-shaped boat, why not make one instead of copying the shape of a narrow boat, which itself has all the grace and pleasing lines of a skip? 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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