Friday, 27 July 2018

Speeding & damage

Overall I am fairly blasé about speeding in relation to rocking the boat. I live on a boat and expect the boat to move. I get a bit pissed off where I currently am because my ropes are slack to make allowance for the water level which can vary a foot between early morning and mid evening.  For a week I was actually stuck on the bottom so didn't move an inch after mid-day. Of course having your pins bent like this (pic) is an annoyance. This is the biggest pin Midland Chandlers sell and it was firmly in the ground right up to the ring. Oh and they do cost 15 quid! You’re right I dont have to moor here, but we have dogs and this is a shady, cool place. Pembroke from the College Cruisers stable hit me a good ‘un because he couldn’t control the boat at the speed he was doing.


Many boats seem not to know the rules. In fact they seem not to know that there actually are rules. Ask them if they have read the Boaters Handbook and they look at you like you just spoke Martian.

The rules for not speeding are not about rocking boats and bending pins, however annoying that is, its about the environment. A chap passed me a few days ago breaking wash. Half way down the side of my boat he opened up the throttle!

If I travel on my boat at 1 mph I will do a certain amount of damage to the bank, small but some (lets call it 10). If I travel at 2 mph that damage is quadrupled, 40! So thats double the speed = 4 times the damage or wear. If I travel at 4 mph that 40 is quadrupled again, 160. Now assuming there is no breaking wash, that is a lot of damage. If there is breaking wash (and you don’t have to be doing over 4 mph for that to happen) then the damage is totally unacceptable. Few boaters know this, but it is a standard in engineering. Yes I know you are only washing a very small amount of the bank away, barely colouring the water sometimes but the next thousand boats past will do the same or worse.

Breaking wash can appear when you least expect it. The width of the canal does vary and what is a good speed for this one hundred yards is not necessarily a good speed for the next hundred yards.

Your hull can determine at what speed your wash will break, that you cant change. Also the width of the canal and the depth of the water. On a narrow canal your wash doesn't have enough time to lose its energy before reaching the bank, whereas on a wide canal it does. There are variations, a shallow wide canal as opposed to a deep narrow canal and all points in between.

Breaking wash most often appears where the water is the shallowest, on the off side where there is a slope up to the bank. So not only does normal speed damage the bank, slower speed can when the water is shallow. If you don’t want to break wash, and that is a rule, we should all be spending time looking behind us to see what is happening. It doesn’t happen in front. We should all monitor how our boat is performing in the water.

Something else that also affects affects the wash is this stupid habit people have of traveling with their fenders down and dragging in the water. Side fenders more properly known as ‘mooring fenders’ are for mooring. Almost every boat has a rubbing strake, that’s the ‘D’ section steel strip that  runs down the side of your hull, most often end to end. Its job is to protect the boat from scraping along the sides of locks etc, whereas a mooring fender is to cushion your hull from the piling/bank/etc when moored up. In fact mooring fenders are the most common cause of temporary lock stoppages. They break off in the locks and migrate to behind the bottom gate preventing it opening, or behind the sill preventing the gate closing. Come guys it is not rocket science! I know it wont have any effect on you but I laugh at idiots that think traveling with fenders down is the thing to do. It is a far greater offence than hanging your stern rope over the tiller. I don’t want any responses about this, the rubbing strake is sacrificial just like anodes.

Now then all that aside there is another factor we as boaters should be considering. The Wildlife! So often boaters don’t think about that little bundle o’ fluff sitting in the water three or four boat lengths in front (more often than not they cant even see them), or what is under the boat trying its hardest to get away from their propeller. Believing they can all get away is at best out right stupidity. This year especially I am sick of seeing little floating corpses caused by inconsiderate tiller jockeys.

4 mph is not a target, it is a maximum, but you should always take conditions into account, moored boats, wildlife, width, depth at this time of the year when you can see water has fallen below the level of the underlying silt.

Saturday, 21 July 2018


It is not often we get to see our wildlife really close up. Yes we often see birds, butterflies, maybe a fox, and if we are lucky a Kingfisher, but they are not just an arms length away. They are totally out of reach often needing a pair of bins to see them, but sometimes we get lucky. Circumstances conspire to  give us a surprise and allow us to come into contact really close up.

This happened to me, I think last August, when I was moored on the weir stream at the back of Sunbury lock. I had been moored up only a few hours when a row boat came along side. I said, “Don’t worry about the weir just keep going”. They said, “We are waiting for the heron to move, it might be in trouble”.

I saw something in the water so I took my net and went to investigate. I was fortunate that I could reach the heron from the bank. It was a juvenile and probably landed in the water thinking it was shallow. When I arrived I thought it was dead. Indeed it was lifeless when I took it from the water. I took it back to my boat and wrapped it in a towel, trying to dry it out and keep it warm. I laid it on the sliding hatch and we had an engagement for nearly an hour before it started to perk up.

I sat there watching that very pointy beak and decided to put my glasses on (just in case). Slowly it came round and as I suspected tried to take an eye out. Good thinking on my part. Long story short it came to life and I set it down on the ground where it proceeded to have a go at Molly’s nose. It stood near the boat and bit by bit moved away and eventually pissed off.

I had spent an hour in the presence of this beautiful, almost prehistoric creature. My life would be forever changed.


At last

Well here I am sitting in my office. I have managed to download LiveWriter and with a bit of luck I can up load some pictures from my trip on the Thames last year. I will be off to a friends house in France in a few weeks but I should be able to get a few posts up. Watch this space!

Thursday, 19 July 2018


I live on board the Milly M fulltime. In the last 12 years since I commissioned her I have probably slept off her about 30 nights. Solar panels back then were not common.  Today every twat with solar panels seems to complain about those of us who do not have solar panels. It’s getting to be like the reformed smoker thing (I know this because I am one), I’ve got panels why haven’t you.

If I am not moving my boat I run my engine when I run my washing machine. If I had solar panels I would still run my engine while the washing machine is running. I am sorry if you are annoyed, but I am following the rules, and when my washing machine is finished I will turn the engine off. You could volunteer to do my washing that’s fine by me, but because you are selfish, you don’t, so I have to do it myself. While I am doing my washing I am also charging my batteries.

Yes I know there are alternatives, but unless you want to put your hand in your pocket I think you should shut up. There are rules! The one that applies here is 8-8. It is not anti-social to run an engine for hot water, for battery charging, for washing clothes etc.

It is anti-social to complain like a whinging toddler. If you don’t like it, it is not because I am anti-social, it’s because you are a twat! If you and your wife feel the need to insult people while you are out on your yearly two week jolly don’t do it with me. More importantly do not threaten me, it will not end well for you.

You might ENDEAVOUR to think before you go mouthing off to other people.

Bloody internet

Sorry peeps I have been in Heyford for a few weeks. Those of you that know Heyford will know the signal there is limited to SFA. Those of you who dont know the area will argue that you got a good signal there. I dont care!