New Facebook Group

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I have just created a new Facebook group for anyone who is interested in boats and boating.

I have been a member of a few boating groups where abuse of or towards other members is becoming a daily occurrence so I decided to try to establish a group with the common interest but also who respect others who may partake in different types or parts of boating in general.

Here is a link to the group if you are interested in joining, but please keep in mind that this will take some time to become established.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1623770741031212/

Impressive boat handling

Here is a short video taken by a passenger who was waiting to board the Staffa ferry.   Staffa is the small island off the west coast of Scotland where Fingal’s Cave is located.

This little island (0.5 miles long and 0.25 miles wide) looks like it may be from a different planet. Its hexagonal columns were formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions and a vast blanket of lava that spread into the Atlantic Ocean. Years of waves crashing against these columns created the magnificent Fingal’s Cave.

Staffa was hardly known until 1772, when the botanist Joseph Banks highlighted the wild, natural beauty of the island. It soon became a must-see location. Famous visitors have included Queen Victoria, Lord Tennyson, Jules Verne, Robert Louis Stevenson and John Keats; all fell under the island’s spell.

Staffa was placed into the care of the National Trust for Scotland in 1986, a gift from John Elliott, Jr, of New York in honour of his wife Elly’s birthday.

Staffa was designated a National Nature Reserve in 2001.

Stern deck canopy fitted. What a difference!

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You can see my previous post about stage 1 of this project here: http://wp.me/p8eSsZ-nV

Steve from Titan Boat Canopies arrived early yesterday morning (we delayed him from last week due to Henley Regatta making the town very busy) and despite the soaring temperatures, he boldly soldiered on and completed our stern deck canopy.

He has spent a considerable amount of time and effort in helping us get to what we thought we wanted and his enthusiasm to produce a quality product with exacting fit was very impressive.

We are absolutely delighted with the end product.

We have also replaced the wheelhouse and dog box cover to be in the same material/finish.P1020736

The clear plastic window screens can be individually rolled up or removed completely to give a bimini style canopy, or can be replaced with an ivory coloured set of fly screens, which allow air to circulate, whilst giving some privacy and, hopefully, keeping out the bugs when they are around.

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As with most thing when it comes to boats, there is always a compromise.   In our case, due to the Piper 57N having a rising stern deck, it has been necessary to increase our air draught by 250mm.   This is not necessarily desirable but in our case, we consider that the benefits of having the canopy that we wanted outweighed the minor inconvenience of increasing our air draught, which may result ion having to remove the canopy and framework occasionally more often than previous.   However, given our long term cruising plans, we are expecting this to be a minimal downside.

One upside of the increased air draught is that we have gained a valuable new storage area on the stern end of the wheelhouse roof where we can store a couple of lightweight chairs and the canopy sides and doors neatly out of the way.

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A final word about the supplier, Titan Boat Canopies.   We highly recommend them.   They have been very honest and straightforward from the start.  For example, I first called them in February of this year and Steve told me straight away that he would love to manufacture a canopy for us but at that time, his order book was such that it would be May before he could do it.   After some deliberation we accepted that fact and decided to go with them.   We are very glad that we made that decision, for all the reasons mentioned above and simply because we are delighted with the end result.

We have no affiliation with Titan, other than that of a customer.

 

A day at Henley Regatta

We always enjoy spending our time in Henley, its a beautiful location on the river.   Today, we especially enjoyed our day in the Stewards enclosure at the Henley Royal Regatta.

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First time I have worn boat shoes with a suit and Angie with high heels on the boat? 🙂

The first time we have been dressed in smarts for some time and those high heels (Angie’s :)) were not worn on board!

At the Regatta, there was some good close rowing races, some wonderful and some weird sights and overall, it was an enjoyable experience and another box ticked on our list.

Elvis was performing on a platform with an outboard motor on it and he was pretty good too!

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“Elvis” performing on the river

Our friends Tracey and Shaun had secured a premium mooring right opposite the regatta for their beautiful Piper 60 barge, “Ascension”, so we popped up (excuse the pun) and shared a glass or two of prosecco with them which made the day even more enjoyable.

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Ascension moored at the regatta site

Finally, we returned to the Stewards enclosure and enjoyed afternoon tea along with hundreds of others, before retiring to the stern deck of Steel Away for a well deserved glass of vino.

Here’s a few scenes from the regatta

An interesting lock chat on our way to Henley Royal Regatta.

We are heading to Henley for a few days to spend a couple of days at the Henley Royal Regatta.

We left Caversham and headed downstream and as we approached Sonning lock, we came up behind one of the many “Le Boat” hire boats that are on the river at this time of year.   She had a two man crew on board.   The lock was ready for us to enter as we approached so we felt this was going to be a quick trip to Henley.   We entered the lock  and the helmsman was obviously a bit wary of our 32 tonnes of steel being behind him in the lock (how dare he even think that I could be a danger to him!) 🙂

Soon after leaving the lock we negotiated Sonning bridge

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Sonning Bridge

As we were approaching Shiplake College, the hire boat pulled to the port side of the channel and indicated that he wanted us to pass him, which we duly did.   We asked him if he was continuing on to Shiplake lock.   He replied that he was and we told him we would hold the lock for him (saving water!).   Having negotiated Shiplake lock, we proceeded on to Marsh Lock, where we had to wait for some rowing skiffs to leave the lock before we could enter.

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Waiting at Marsh Lock
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Skiffs and a dinghy leaving the lock

We soon entered and again waited for the hire boat.   Whilst the lock was being worked, I casually asked the crew of the hire boat where they were going to today.   “Benson” he replied.    I smiled and said “ha ha…where are you really going to today?”.   “Benson” he replied.   You can imagine his face when I told him that he was going the wrong way (and had been for the past two hours!).

Then came the reply “You are joking aren’t you?”.   Answer “No”.   He told me that he was sure he was heading in the direction of Oxford.    I explained that he was heading in the direction of London.   I then proceeded to tell him in my most sympathetic manner possible that he needed to turn round and head back the other way.   His put his head in his hands when I added that there was now nine locks between where we were and Benson Waterfront.   He then went to tell the helmsman the news and he was equally distraught!

We left the lock and watched as they turned around and headed back into the lock for what I am sure they would feel would be along journey back to Benson.

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Le Boat turning around at Marsh Lock
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Heading back!

We then headed to the public moorings in Henley where we had pre-arranged a timed departure (to coincide with our arrival) by our friends Mick and Jan on their widebeam “The Afterglow”.   They had been at Henley for a few days and had a nice spot where we could also get satellite reception.  We had helped them move their car downstream earlier in the day and it all worked like a dream.

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WB “The Afterglow” leaving the mooring

So now we are alongside at Henley, “dressed to the nines” and looking forward to an exciting couple of days or spectating at the Regatta.   Only problem is that as I write this blog it is absolutely pouring with rain!

Happy Days!

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“Dressed to the nines” for Henley Regatta

Canopy manufacture under way

The manufacture of our stern deck canopy is underway.   It is being made by Titan Boat Canopies, based in Cambridgeshire.

Steve, the owner of Titan provided us with a very good quote and we subsequently placed our order.   He came to discuss our detailed requirements and to take measurements for the stainless steel frame.   Once the frame was made, they fitted it to the boat.

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and then produce a great piece of equipment to take detailed measurements for the manufacture of the canopy.  The simplest description I can give is that it was a computer with and extending wire attached and a pen attached to the end of the wire.

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Steve then began to touch the frame in lots of places and as he was doing so, the computer was designing the basis for the canopy cover.

If you look closely, you can see the result in the shot below (unfortunately my shadow is on the screen).

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So now, Steve has taken the digitized plan back to his workshop for the production of the canopy to be started.   The next step is to “first fit” the new canopy and make any necessary adjustments before taking bit back to the workshop for final finishing and then fitting it to the boat.

You can see my article on the completion of this project here:

http://wp.me/p8eSsZ-r9