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News article created on 4 December 2015

Boaters' Update

The Trust's Council elections, making your boating passion pay, how to moor your boat and how you can interrogate the boating team can all be found in this edition of Boaters' Update.

Winter on the canal Winter on the canal

The clock’s ticking. No, I don’t mean until we all find out if we’ve been good or bad this year. I mean the Trust’s Council elections. There’s now just a week left until voting closes.

If you’re a 12-month boat licence holder you should have received an email from the Electoral Reform Services (ERS) or a letter if we don’t have your email. The email contains a link, specific to you, which directs you to the voting portal (you won’t find it by Google!). If you haven't seen it, have a look in your spam folder, if you still can't find it then please email onlinevoting@electoralreform.co.uk or call 020 8889 9203. Your vote counts!

Elsewhere in this edition you’ll find lots to read:

If there’s something you’d like to share with the boating community via this update then please drop me a line.

Happy boating,

Damian

Last week, this week

Over the last week or so you may have heard, or seen, that:

Before the next edition is published you might like to take a look at some of the following:

  • All Dec – Fancy basking under the glittering northern lights or maybe dressing up as a polar bear or penguin family? If so, and you’re in or around the capital, then you should get along to the Floating Festive Photobooth.
  • 5 & 6 Dec - We're repairing the lock gates in the centre of Banbury. Come and visit us and take a free tour into the drained depths of the lock and ask the experts what we’re up to.
  • 5 Dec – Bring your friends and family along to our free open day in the heart of Wolverhampton. We're going to replace the lock gates and carry out some repairs to the 200-year old brickwork. While the canal is empty we'd like to give you a tour around it. This is a rare opportunity to see what a lock looks like from the bottom up.
  • 6 Dec – This entry is actually to remind you that the Goytre open day has been cancelled as the site could not be made secure for visitors. It's a 200-year old structure and unfortunately it's not up to receiving visits at the moment. We hope you can make it to one of our other open days above. Do also keep an eye on the website as we will be arranging another event at Llangynidr in the New Year.
  • 11 to 13 Dec – Looking to avoid that last minute dash round the shops on Christmas Eve? Head to Birmingham to an especially festive Floating Market. Among a very broad range of merchandise you’ll find the country’s (perhaps the world’s?) only floating Santa ‘Paws’ Grotto.
  • Dec – Are you going on a Santa Search? Well, look no further than your nearest canal. Santa will be zipping around the country over the next couple of weeks and making guest appearances at the Anderton Boat Lift, Stoke Bruerne, Burscough and Bootle, Ellesmere Port, Chesterfield, Gloucester and Fradley Junction among others.

Of course, there are plenty of other activities around the network so please visit the events section of the website to find the perfect one for you.

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 An opportunity to make your passion pay

Wake up, get dressed, battle through the morning commute and plough through the 9 to 5. That’s the reality for many boat owners before they can escape to their boats for an all too brief respite.

What if you could turn the above on its head? Imagine your working days waking up on your boat and then going to work… Except you don’t have to leave the boat.

Wandering DuckThis is exactly what’s on offer. For the second consecutive year, the Wandering Duck has been awarded the Tourism Experience of the Year 2015 at the Manchester Tourism Awards but now owners’ Mark and Ruth have put the business up for sale – a candid blog explains why.

Mark is flexible as to his approach in assisting the new owners:

“The priority for us is finding the right people for the job.  So the model would be tailored to their needs. Somebody with less money to invest may prefer to lease a boat from us. Someone with limited marketing experience may prefer a franchise so that we continue to assist with the SEO and social media.  It’s whatever works for the individuals.”

Watch the video below, which explains more about what the Wandering Duck does, and then, if you’re interested to learn more, drop Mark a line.

 

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Property professional gives the Trust’s investment performance a clean bill of health

When cruising around you’re better placed than most, if not all, to see the monumental scale of work that’s needed to keep canals and rivers navigable. One of the bigger sources of money used to help pay for this work is our investment and property portfolio – contributing £46.4m in 2014/15.

To ensure that this much-needed income continues we, and the Secretary of State for the Environment, jointly appointed an investment expert to oversee our investment strategy. The expert’s second annual report has been published.

The investment property expert’s formal title is the ‘The Protector’ but some of you will know him better as boat owner Malcolm Naish who’s had a career advising major corporate and public bodies on their property investment.

Variety of boats moored in front of buildings in London DocklandsThe Protector’s formal report to Defra, covers the financial year ended 31st March 2015. It states that our investment assets have been managed in accordance with policy and that investment performance during the year was strong as Malcolm comments: “In my opinion the Trust has continued to manage the investment portfolio in accordance with the terms of the Grant Agreement. The total value of the investment assets increased during the year, with the total return ahead of the market average and very significantly above inflation.”

Commenting on the latest report Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: “Canals and rivers have gone from being the arteries of the Industrial revolution, to treasured rivers of beauty and tranquillity in our landscape. They are loved by millions - as places for boats, for walking, for cycling and for wildlife. ‎

“We are so proud of the work of the Canal & River Trust and its volunteers, and are delighted to support our waterways as places we can all continue to enjoy and of which we can be very proud.”

Malcolm’s appointment is for an initial term of five years. The position is unpaid and requires a commitment of between five and ten days per annum.  The Trust and Government jointly meet any expenses of the post.

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Highlights of the year

As has become customary over the last few years, in the final edition of the year I look back on the preceding 12 months and pick out some highlights. This year it falls on 18 December.

What’s always been enjoyable about the final edition (apart from, while drafting it, looking forward to some serious over-eating) has been the contributions from you, dear reader.

So please do drop me line by 15 December with your favourite boating moment from 2015 and I’ll try to include it in the next edition.

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Question time for the boating team

As if our December diaries aren’t hectic enough, we’re hoping you could make room for one more little happening.

On the afternoon of the 18 December the boating team will be taking to the internet to answer any questions you may have.

We may also try out something new – a live Q&A session. We know you’re interested in what our boating team gets up to and what’s in store for 2016 so we’re going to ask for your questions in advance and then live broadcast our answers. Fingers crossed!

Keep an eye on the Facebook Boating page to find out how to take part.

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Oi! Slow Down!

We all have our bug bears but, certainly in the inland boating world, one of the most common refrains I hear is ‘…going too fast past moored boats…’

Well, long-time narrow boater Nick Roberts, reflects on the problem and offers some advice:

“As a narrow boater of 40 years who is also a retired Master Mariner, on ships from ferries to supertankers, I’d like to take a deep intake of breath and suggest that we don’t have this problem properly addressed on the cut.

“Is having all boats passing all moored boats at tick over desirable or necessary? I think not. That said, any boat passing a moored one must, of course, show respect for the moored craft - especially in narrow and shallow canals. It must also slow down appropriately by judging the backwash the boat is causing. In the worst conditions that may mean tick over but it should also be incumbent on the moored boat to be… well… safely moored!

“At the risk of telling some what they already know, consider these two principles:

  • Tension: A slack mooring will always allow the boat to move – and gain momentum – until the slack is removed! Or, put another way, if the mooring has no slack then the boat can’t move.
  • Direction: A mooring rope (even a tight mooring rope) will only prevent movement in line with its direction of pull (its 'lead').

“It’s probably best if I elaborate on that second point. A rope at right angles to the boat keel (a breast line) will do well at stopping the boat from moving off the bank, but it will do very little to stop the boat moving along the berth if another boat goes by.

“A rope running along the length of the boat (a spring line), on the other hand, will stop the boat from moving along the length of the berth (you need one from each end and in opposite directions!), but won’t keep the boat alongside.

“The ropes at 45 degrees to the boat (a head line and stern line) such as most boats are tied up to on the cut and are fine in tranquil conditions, will allow the boat to move when another passes if there is any backwash at all.

“If the ropes are slack, or fixed to a pin that can easily pull out or move, or taken to/from the boat at a steep angle, or even too elastic, then they will significantly contribute to the passing boat problem… potentially even if that boat is on tick over.

 A boat moored in the snow on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal“A common scene? - Ropes out at both ends and centre.

“But the only thing that will stop the boat in the picture on the right from moving along the berth will be when it hits the boat in front or astern. The same four ropes rigged, tight, as a breast line and spring from both ends would keep her safe.

“Maybe we need to give a little more thought to those moorings and see avoiding a moored boat surging along the bank as a shared responsibility – we all slow to reduce backwash and we all moor safe and securely.”

Do you agree with Nick? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll follow this up in future editions.

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Bits and Bobs

  • Don’t forget that now we’re in the full swing of the winter restoration and repair programme there’re likely to be more temporary navigation closures out on the cut – before you untie those mooring ropes, have a quick check of those in your area.
  • As a boater you’ll know that the majority of our lock gates are made of oak. With each one coming in at around three to four tonnes it takes a lot of wood just to make one pair. With many species, some endangered, growing on and around our canals we’re particularly vigilant when it comes to sourcing the materials for all our restoration and repair projects. With this in mind we were especially pleased to have this recognised in the latest World Wildlife Fund annual report for the UK Global Forest Trade Network (GFTN).
  • And finally, just a gentle reminder to those of you with a boat licence – you can use the online licensing website to manage all of your contact and boat details. So, if you’ve just changed your address, email or otherwise, then do please update your details to make sure we can get in touch with you should we need to. Thanks!

Happy Boating!

Damian

About this blog

The boaters' update

Think of this blog as your one-stop shop for up-to-date boating news. It's packed full of useful information about boating on canals and rivers as well important safety announcements and upcoming events

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