Rain Rain Go Away!

We woke to a weather forecast that was dire, 95% rain right through the day and into the evening. Our mooring wasn’t ideal, there were notices warning it’s £8 per night to stay here, plus Rusty found it very difficult to get on and off the boat, as the ‘platform/jetty’ wasn’t big enough for him to jump onto, and jumping from the boat onto the wall was a bit of a stretch for him. We needed to move.

Despite the weather forecast, the rain did dry up. We seized the dry window to get moving – and seeing that no one tapped on our window for a mooring fee, we had a free mooring.

We didn’t have a plan, except to moor as soon as possible. If we’re going to have heavy rain, it might be prudent to find a safe mooring, just in case the yellow boards get elevated to red.

Maidenhead Railway Bridge – the widest, flatest single span brick arch in the world. Known as Brunell’s Sounding Arch – more information

Boulter’s Lock was our only lock of the day, the lockie must have seen us coming as the lock gates were open and ready for us to sail in.

Boulter’s Lock, Sunday Afternoon by Edward John Gregory

We had a lovely surprise as we sailed from Boulter’s Lock, we spied ‘Still Rocking’! We’ve been following Carol and George’s blog for years.  ‘Still Rocking’ was nestled in a lovely tranquil spot, as we approached John sounded Cyan’s horn in the hope Carol and George would hear, and we could say ‘Hello’. Carol and George both came on their deck, and invited us in for a drink. We were a little worried at first because of Rusty. But Carol said they were used to dogs, and welcomed Rusty on board!

We had a lovely coffee/tea with Carol and George on their beautiful widebeam ‘Still Rocking’. George very kindly marked good mooring spots on our map, and we’re so very grateful for your knowledge and the tips.

Thank you Carol and George for your hospitality, and generously sharing your best mooring spots, I’m sure we’ll meet up again soon.

We’re now moored in an absolutely beautiful spot, as per George’s suggestion.  We’re right next to Cliveden Wood, which is great for walks.

Today we cruised 2.5 miles, and through one lock. Finally we spotted our first Kingfisher perched on a bank looking for breakfast, Wow what a beautiful bird!

Stopping Over In Maidenhead

We waited for the rain to pass before we moved from Runnymede Meadow. Passing Queen Elizabeth’s bronze statue in commemoration of 800 years of the Magna Carta.

Weather was rather more blustery than I like for boating, and the wind was a bit chilly too at times, but it was still a lovely day.

Passing the now redundant Anglican chapel last used to serve the bargemen on the Thames, though there has been a church on this site since the Norman Conquest, and fabric from a 12th century church can still be found in the building… more information….

Chapel of St. Mary Magdalene

Our first lock of the day was ‘Old Windsor Lock’, which was luckily for us manned. Once through the lock we were on Her Majesty’s turf.

Crown Estate – No Mooring – No Landing

Windsor Castle in the background

Us leaving Boveney Lock

Cormorant waiting for us to pass

Never seen so many trees with mistletoe (outside of France)

We’re a bit disappointed as there doesn’t appear to be many suitable mooring places, there would be more moorings if boaters moored closer to other boats (it would obviously help them too).

We travelled through Romney and Boveney Locks which were manned by very helpful lockies. Though we did stop for sanny services just before Boveney Lock, except we didn’t stop for water as the water point was just below a weir, and as the flow of water was quite strong, we gave topping up with water a miss (after I pleaded with John!). For the next 30 miles, until we get to Mapleduram, the Thames is still on yellow alerts; “Caution Strong Stream Decreasing”

At (our last lock of the day) the un-manned Bray Lock, we had a sticky moment or two. There were two Caversham boats going into the lock before us, as we’ve shared locks with them before we didn’t think there’d be a problem sharing. Not so, Bray lock is much smaller than the other locks we’d passed through, and it was clear there was no room for us. We realised before we got to the gates we had to reverse back onto the lock landing. Great theory, but in practice with the strong flow coming from the weir, Cyan’s bow started to turn in the wrong direction. It was a bit hairy for a few moments, I managed to jump off from the stern with the centre line, and yanked Cyan’s bow back to the lock’s landing, where she got firmly tied. John made fun of me as I’d wrapped the centre line about 10 times around the bollard – Cyan was going nowhere!

We eventually moored, using our ‘new technique’ for mooring, just before ‘Maidenhead Railway Bridge’. The mooring wasn’t at all ‘big dog’ friendly, Rusty had to be encouraged to jump from the boat, over the 2ft mooring platform, and onto a wall. Big dogs have to have ‘landing’ space when they jump. We’d like to move tomorrow for Rusty’s sake, but looking at the weather forecast it’s going to rain all day.

What’s our ‘new technique’ for mooring? Normally when we moor, I jump off the stern with the centre line, holding Cyan steady while John moors Cyan with pins, chains, or bollards. This method doesn’t work on a river, so now I jump from the bow with the bow’s mooring rope, giving us much more control of Cyan, and stopping her bow being pushed out by the river’s flow. I’ve no idea how single handed boaters cope mooring their boat against a river flow, especially with a strong wind blowing.

We’ve travelled 12.25 miles today, and 4 locks.

Runnymede Meadow

The spot where stopped last night was rather posh, going by some of the houses – but that didn’t stop the vandals.

At around 2:30 am, we were woken by a noise; as we were the only boat around, it was a bit disconcerting. The mystery was solved when John stepped off Cyan on his way to taking Rusty for a walk. Someone had dumped a lorry load of rubbish right at the entrance to a lovely woodland walk, and just beside where we were moored. Grrrr! Wished we could have snapped them doing it!

The beautiful Chertsey Bridge

Our first lock of the day was Chertsey Lock. It was manned by two lockies, although one of them was busy cutting the grass. They were really helpful, and generous with advice regarding the area, the lock, weirs, shops, moorings. One rather helpful piece of info, is that the weirs, and the lock’s control unit (he called it a pedestal) are always on the same side.

We were lucky at our next lock, Penton Hook Lock. despite there being no lockie. We managed to sail into a generous place in the lock, while another boater worked the lock.

I’m fascinated with the styles of house boats, this one looks to be fabulous

Love this one with it’s spiral staircase at the back

At our third and last lock of the day, Bell Weir Lock, we found the lock occupied with two boats descending. John climbed up the lock after he’d lashed Cyan’s centre line to a bollard, handing the end of the line to me to steady Cyan in the strong breeze. A very posh cruiser came up behind us, obviously it was going up the lock. There were three men in the boat, but the boat was skipping and jumping on the water in an alarming way. It turns out that two of the men had just bought the boat, and a trainer was teaching them for the day, with Bell Weir Lock being their ‘first’ lock. John joined in with the ‘lesson’ on how to work the locks which was great.

At the top of the lock we called it a day! We moored right next to Runnymede meadow. We might cruise a little further on tomorrow, and have an ‘easy’ day to catch up on domestic stuff.

Today we cruised 5.5 miles, and 3 locks!

Happy St. George’s Day!

Before we left our mooring outside Hampton Court, the ‘Flag of St George’ was erected on the boat hook. Well we were outside an ‘English’ palace, and we are in our capital city, so why not on St George’s Day!

We had a lovely relaxing day yesterday, the weather has been fabulous, and we had a great time soaking up London’s atmosphere.

Our mooring wasn’t far from Molesey Lock, our first lock of the day.  The lock was manned, and the lockie required Cyan to be held both fore and aft with mooring lines over lock bollards to steady her. As soon as we left the lock, we moored by the services to carry out sanny, rubbish, and ‘filling the water tank’ duties.

We cruised for a very ‘windy’ mile, and by Platts Eyot we moored for a short time, while I got ‘granny’s shopping trolley’ out, and dashed to Tesco across from Hurst Park. (Note to self: Must remember to shop according to what I can carry!)

After stashing away the shopping, and drinking a cup of coffee, we pushed off again with St George’s flag flying high. A passing man did say it was nice to see, but some people don’t see the flag the way we do. How sad!

At Sunbury Lock we found the lock unmanned, with the lock doors wide open. John walked up to the lock, where there was a boater who had also just arrived, wanting to go down the lock. This was great as the lock was our first lock on the Thames where we had to work ourselves, and it was good for John to speak to the other boater who had a lot more experience. I steered Cyan into the lock, and steadied her with the centre line on a bollard.

Lots of workmen working on what looks like a floating platform?

We cruised around Desborough Island, and turned right to approach Shepperton Lock. This lock was manned, and we were under strict instruction by the lockie. We had once again to secure both fore and aft with Cyan’s mooring lines, and this time we had to turn off the engine.

We’re now moored at Dockett Eddy, just round the corner from Pharaoh’s Island.

Today we’ve cruised 6 miles, and 3 locks.

Hampton Court

Our plan this morning was to have a nice gentle cruise towards Hampton Court. After a good old English breakfast, we set off from our mooring at Teddington Lock; the weather promised to be brilliant.

It was lovely to see loads of kids having such fun in the water, many of them were under instruction, learning to sail. The river was very busy, with lots of people taking advantage of the weather, and basically having a great time. There were occasions when it got a little ‘hairy’ as boaters turned, or cut in front of us. We weren’t in any hurry, and quite a few of the speedy types overtook us, on BOTH sides (boats overtaking us should be on our left – towards the middle).

Canoes inside the weir at Teddington, having a great time on the ‘white water rapids’!

Stealth boats moored below Kingston Bridge, sure I saw a guy stroking a white cat on one of them?

Our costly learning curve:

At ‘Raven’s Ait we ‘thought’ we’d found a suitable mooring, it was away from the main stream of traffic, and near a path that’s great for dog walking. As soon as we moored, John climbed up the bank (see pic below) but found the angle difficult (because of his bad knee and foot) – I too found it awkward. When John returned from taking Rusty for a brief walk, he said he’d seen a better place to moor where there were steps, and a picnic bench just along from where we were moored. We untied Cyan’s lines, and slowly motored about 50 yards to the ‘better’ mooring. Just as we approached, we heard that horrible scratching sound underneath Cyan as she dragged along the river bottom.

Cheeky crane, treating the water inlet like conveyor belt of food. He kept popping in and out of the ‘drain’. He obviously had worked out an easy way to fish.

Before John could reverse Cyan away from being ground, this huge pleasure boat passed us. I took a snap of it, just before Cyan tipped at a frightening angle, followed by a loud sound of glass and pottery smashing!

Cyan obviously grounded on a ledge of silt, the boat passed causing a fair amount of water to be sucked from under her, and she tipped, making glasses, and crockery fly out of a kitchen cupboard; breaking around 8 glasses, one cereal bowl, and a small plate – it could have been worse!

Hampton Court

We’re moored adjacent to Hampton Court.

Today we’ve cruised just over 4 miles.

Freedom….. at last!

Such a frustrating day, yet it ended absolutely fantastic!

We didn’t sleep much last night; we were on loose mooring lines as it’s tidal above Thames Lock. I thought my idea of looping the centre line around a bollard, feeding the end of the line through the side hatch was a good idea; it meant a quick pull every now again kept Cyan against the bank. It looked like the water rose and dropped about a metre.

A coot on her floating nest! When it’s high water the nest floats level to the ‘tide mark’!

At around 6:30 am the tide was high, and Cyan had risen to the top of the bank. Within half an hour we were dropping down again, so Rusty got a ‘rushed’ early walk (he was trapped like us and couldn’t get off). I cooked John a cheese omelette for breakfast, then I quickly got ready, and took my place on the bank (before Cyan dropped down too far) ready to release mooring ropes for our ‘escape’ through the lock, and onto the Thames. All was going great, and we were ready!

When the lockie approached us, I thought she was going to give us our instructions. Not so… she was full of apologies and said there was no power in the lock, and by the time engineers arrived to mend the problem, we’d miss the tide, and would have to wait for the evening one! What a bummer! Cyan got her loose lines again, including having the centre line (to control her) fed through the side hatch again, and I (not very elegantly) dropped down from the bank back onto Cyan.

Cutting the story of our frustrating day short, we made several phone calls to C&RT to ask what was the problem, with a reply someone would call us back – eventually someone did (at about 4:00 pm) and explained there was an all day staff meeting being held in a Camden hotel (so not a lot of staff was on duty), and that someone would be out to mend the problem shortly. Just as we were giving up ‘hope’ at 5:00 pm a lockie appeared, and he opened the lock gates….. Magic! We quickly prepared Cyan, and John scrambled up the bank to release her lines; he jumped back onto Cyan, and we sailed into the lock.

It appeared the power problem was caused by a workman on a construction site nearby, cutting through a power cable! Just wish C&RT could have kept us informed!

So long C&RT, promise we’ll be back soon!

So this is the ‘Mighty Thames’!

We took a right turn, and headed for Teddington.

We left just after 5:00 pm, high tide (or high water to use the correct term) was due at Brentford around 6:30 pm, which meant we had the ‘tide’ behind us, pushing Cyan on. Cyan appears to just love the deep water!

What a journey we had….

The sunshine certainly makes people more sociable and friendly. Lovely to see everyone enjoying a very pleasant Friday evening.

 

Twickenham Bridge

      

We didn’t need to go through Richmond Lock, as the Thames water was ‘level’ both sides of the lock – this was good as it saved us paying the London Port Authority £8.

Going through Teddington Lock was a breeze, think we only rose (or did we drop?) about a foot. As soon as we moored beyond the lock, John walked back to the lock to pay for our license to the ‘Environment Agency’; paying £182.30 for the month, and £9.50 for our mooring. When our C&RT licence is up at the end of September, we really must get a ‘Gold License’ this time, which will allow us to venture on other rivers and canals:

From C&RT’s website:

“The Gold Licence is for people who wish to spend time cruising on a combination of Canal & River Trust and Environment Agency (EA) navigations. EA navigations include the River Thames, Anglian waterways and River Medway.”

A Day Of Close Calls!

This morning we left our mooring at the bottom of Norwood bottom lock. It was a lovely mooring, and we did think of staying here for a day or so. Right by the towpath there’s a playing field which was brilliant for Rusty. He had a great game of ball, and a good run around.

After phoning the duty Harbour Master at Teddington Lock, asking for his advice on getting a River License, and to book a passage through Teddington Lock; his reply was pretty straight forward. There’ll be someone on the lock to lock us through, and after we moor up, we’ve to visit the office to obtain a license.

We then phoned C&RT for advice regarding exiting onto the Thames via Thames Lock 101. Passage through the lock is regulated by the tide. Today we could go through the lock at 4:00pm today, or at 8:30am tomorrow. We decided on the morning transit, thinking we’d be tired by the time we’d gone through 9 locks on a lovely hot day like today.

So…. at about 10, we pushed off for our first lock of the day. Luckily we’d paired up with another couple who were going down the flight; sharing the work.

We had intended to moor for lunch after the last Hanwell lock as we were flagging in the heat, but unfortunately, where we chose to moor, the canal was silted up badly, and we couldn’t get into the side. Before we knew it, we were dropping down Osterley Lock, and Clitheroe Lock.

Just before Brentford Gauging Lock our locking partners needed to top up with water, and we needed to dump a bag of rubbish. While they topped their tank, John started filling the electrically operated lock with water, he was soon assisted by two lockies, who had helped us through Clitheroe Lock (more of this lovely couple later).

From inside Brentford Gauging Lock – going down…

Approaching Brentford Gauging Lock – under Heathrow flight path

Staff from Glaxo Smith Kline taking their lunch in the sunshine

We approached Thames Lock, with the view to moor just before the lock as we’re ‘early doors’ tomorrow, going onto the Thames for 8:30 am.  We knew this end of the Grand Union / River Brent was tidal, but we didn’t realise just how much. The bank where we were to moor was a good three foot higher from Cyan’s gunnel. John managed to scramble upwards, to tie Cyan. But now we were faced with getting Rusty off for a piddle. He’s not brave at the best of times, but to make life a bit easier for him, we dismantled the ‘pram hood’ and got him to jump onto to Cyan’s roof, and then onto the bank. Getting him back on board wasn’t easy either. Little did we realise, if we’d waited just a couple of hours, Cyan would have risen level to the bank!

Thames Lock both gates open. The Thames and the canal was at the same level for a short time.

We’re surprised to see a colony of parakeets

Now for our ‘close calls’!

At one of the Hanwell locks, I took Cyan into the lock, and steered her to the side so I could jump off to hold the centre line, stopping her from bumping our ‘lock companions’ boat. She was going too far forward so I put her into reverse, and I jumped off; while Cyan was still in reverse! Thank goodness the guy from the other boat saw what I’d done, he jumped onto our boat from his, and put her into neutral.

John’s close call… at Clitheroe lock John slipped while walking over the lock gates (think it was a fault of his shoes), luckily he was holding onto the railing and only got one wet foot. ‘Jennifer’ the lady lockie, helped him back onto the gate by grabbing his safety jacket. He’s now nursing a bruised knee!

Rusty’s close call… I sailed Cyan out of the Brentford Gauging Lock, with the view to pick up John who was walking down the ramp. Rusty had stuck his head out of the boat looking for John. In a split second I realised he would get his head trapped between the ramp and the moving boat, I pulled him back just in the nick of time!

Think we’ll get a good nights sleep, and thank our lucky stars for today!

Today we’ve travelled 3.25 miles, and through 9 locks.

Almost At The Grand Union’s End

We’ve not really moved for a week as the Thames had red ‘Caution Strong Stream’ warnings signs all along the river.

This bright and sunny morning, on the Environment Agency website there were ‘No Stream Warnings’ up to Sunbury Lock, with ‘Caution Stream Decreasing’ warnings further upstream.

Great! The pressure is off, and we can continue our journey again.

Leaving our mooring at Yiewsley.

While waiting, we’ve been busy. I’ve been wanting to paint Cyan’s ceiling white, to reflect light into the boat, but I’ve been worried as to what it might turn turn out like. So while we were moored next to the shops, I bought a pot of off-white wood paint for the bathroom, as a sort of experiment.

We’re quite pleased with the result, so I went back to the shop to buy enough paint to for the length of Cyan’s ceiling. On a nice dry day somewhere; Cyan will get her ceiling painted.

Our new life jackets arrived without a glitch from Ebay, picked up from Argos.

John also ordered from Ebay some ‘Montmorency Cherry’ supplements, and they also arrived promptly.

John’s foot has been hurting him for a couple of weeks now, he felt he’d sprained his ankle but couldn’t remember when, or how. His foot’s been strapped up, and he’s not really been walking far on it. After a bit of self-diagnosis, we think John’s had a bout of gout! In the past he’s had medication for a high uric acid count. Basically his blood is too acid, and this is where the Montmorency Cherry supplement comes in. Montmorency Cherry is highly heralded on the Internet for reducing the acidity of blood, and relieving gout. I’ve also been using ‘Lo Salt’ in cooking to provide extra potassium (low potassium another symptom of gout), and it looks like our self-medication appears to be working, at least according to the extra time John’s been walking Rusty.

What a fantastic day it’s been today! A First Class Boating Day!

Thought the heron might have flown off when we passed…

The terrapin (?) looks like he wants to get out of the canal?

Terrapins are in C&RT”s ‘Rogues Gallery‘.

We also saw our first duckling brood, sadly though the newly hatched ducklings were trying to swim in a cruddy filthy area.

Houseboats are two story high here…

We hadn’t planned to go down the two Norwood locks, but we were getting short of water. We had planned to fill up at Bull’s Bridge Junction. The waterpoint is on Tesco’s mooring, except there was a boat on the waterpoint when we arrived. It was annoying as the boater wasn’t filling with water, he was busy eating a sandwich (probably waiting for his wife to return from Tesco), and couldn’t have cared less where he was moored.

At Norwood top lock our water tank was brimmed, and when sanny/rubbish duties were completed, we entered the prepared lock. There were two very nice lockies on duty, and they couldn’t have been more helpful. We locked ourselves through the bottom Norwood lock, as it was lunch time for lockies!

Tomorrow we’re heading down the six Hanwell Locks, and I understand they’ll be volunteer lockies on duty! We’ll also phone the lockey at Teddington Lock, asking when is the best time (tide-wise) to go through the lock.

I’m pleasantly surprised at how lovely this area is, we imagined it would be built up, and surround with grime. It’s lovely to be surprised!

Today we’ve travelled 7.5 miles, and through 2 locks.

Prepping For The Thames

After a really soggy Sunday and Monday, we were pleased to move on this morning. The place where we were moored was very secluded, but it was quite busy on Saturday with walkers, and joggers enjoying the ‘Spring-like’ weather, plus there was a half marathon involving the towpath. Sunday and Monday when we had heavy rain, we felt we were the ‘only people left in the world’. With all the rain, the towpath became horribly muddy. But despite the grey and wet day, the birds were busy singing, and the sounds they made, especially at 5:30 in the morning was fabulous – just wish I could identify the birds singing (this needs to be corrected).

We were moored not far from Denham Deep Lock, our first lock of the day. Though it wasn’t raining, it was pretty miserable weather, and we wondered where our Spring had gone.  It didn’t help our mood when the lock gates were stubborn, and it needed both of us to push the gates open. As soon as Cyan was in the lock, a small ‘working’ boat with two strong guys appeared, and joined us in the lock. We worked the next lock together.

At the bottom of the Uxbridge Lock, the little boat left us as we’d planned to top up with diesel, and visit the chandlers in Denham Marina. But… we couldn’t moor anywhere!  Never mind we thought, we’ll stop at Uxbridge Boat Centre’s chandlery. We need a chandlers to buy either a recharger set for John’s life jacket, or buy a new one before we hit the Thames. A few months ago I ‘exploded’ John’s life jacket when I got the toggle caught in the cabin doors as I went ‘below’.

At Uxbridge Boat Centre, the same thing happened, we couldn’t moor.

Approaching Cowley Lock, we dumped our rubbish. What a mess the rubbish area was. Basically all we could do was to lob our rubbish over the fence! Obviously we’d have loved to have used the bins, but they were full, with piles of rubbish stacked on top.

We sailed under the bridge, to use the sanny and top up with water. The lock was in front of us, with two lockies in attendance (our first lockies this year).  As we approached they opened the gates for us. Must admit I felt guilty ignoring their help while we moored at the Sanny Station; when we had a minute I legged it to the lock, to thank the lockies, and to explain we needed water.

While waiting for the water tank to fill, a C&RT guy recorded Cyan’s number on his tablet. John took the opportunity to mention the mess at the rubbish area. Basically the guy said; “You’re in the middle of a rough part of the canal, and that is the  ‘norm’!” (He didn’t really say ‘rough’ he used another word.)

The water tap was running so slow, by the time we’d topped up, the lockies had locked two other boats down the locks, and had again set the locks for us.

We moored just after the lock.

When we were settled John phoned ‘High Line Yachting Chandlery’ which isn’t far from where we’re moored (didn’t want to chance not being able to moor near their premises), to enquire about recharger sets. It appears they don’t stock them, but they do have new life jackets in stock. They could order us a recharger set, but it would cost about £35 – an amazing amount.

In the end we ordered two new life jackets (for us both) from ebay, to be delivered to Cowley Argos store which is next to the canal, just after ‘Packet Boat Marina’ by the Slough Arm. Delivery is expected on Friday, as with 2 other items we ordered: ‘River Thames Book’ by Chris Cove-Smith, and a set of digital bathroom scales (yes, this has to be done!).

So again we’re ‘playing for time’, but that doesn’t matter because the Thames is still on ‘Red’. We did get a bit excited yesterday, when Teddington Lock went ‘yellow’. Unfortunately it went red again this morning.

Over the weekend we’ve been preparing for our journey on the Thames. John gave Cyan’s engine an ‘oil change’, while I dug out our summer gear (ever the optimist!). Did anyone else hear the BBC weatherman say that Spring arrives next week? I’m certain I heard him say those long awaited words!

Our anchor was retrieved from inside the bowels of the bow. Which set us off researching how best to use it. It’s highly sensible to find out now, rather than wait until we’re in a pickle! Our research didn’t come up with anything clear.

Therefore, John wrote to Steve Vaughan at Willow Wren Training asking for advice. We both took a ‘RYA Inland Waterways Helmsman Two Day Course’ with Willow Wren when we first ‘took to the water’. The course has been invaluable to us, and would thoroughly recommend it.

John wrote:

  1. “We have a river anchor, it came as part of the boat’s equipment. Can you give guidance as to how and where it should be connected and carried on board?”
  2. “In the event of needing to secure the vessel, how best to deploy the anchor?”

Steve promptly wrote back:

“As with a lot of aspects of boating this is another grey area but let me tell you what I can to help.

A Danforth anchor should have a chain connected nearest to the anchor and then a rope from the end of the chain to the boat. Strictly speaking, the rope should be connected to its own fixed anchor point on the boat but most people don’t have one so they connect it to the normal mooring “T” stud at the bow or the stern dolly aft.  This isn’t totally safe because the T stud and dollies are really only strong enough for mooring but if it is all you have then it is better than nothing. The options are that you have a proper anchorage fitted or you look for the most secure point on your boat and connect the line to that. It is best to use proper shackles not just a loop of rope that can be cut through under pressure. Knots by the way, actually reduce the breaking strain of a rope.

Ref Deployment:

The anchor should be positioned upstream. I.e., if you are going up river then it needs to be tied on at the bow, going downstream and it should be at the stern. However, if you are on your own and can’t get to the bow to throw it over the side then it is best kept at the stern. If you are on tidal waters, as with the Thames below Teddington, then you will be going with the tide so although you are going upstream, it is best kept at the stern. Unless you are in really slack water, if you have an engine problem then don’t waste time trying to fix it, just put the anchor over the side to secure the boat then look for the fault.

Unlike sea going craft where the anchor is used to secure the boat every day, when it is used in an emergency on a narrowboat it is usually “single use only” and it is left behind on recovery. The last thing you will be thinking about when you are rescued is trying to get the anchor out of the river bed.

There are many other elements to consider but don’t let this spook you. Providing you are not trying to cruise on flood conditions you shouldn’t have a problem with a standard narrowboat anchor setup.

One other thing I should mention, have you checked your insurance covers you for tidal waters? Some don’t but if you speak to them they are usually okay with Brentford to Teddington. If it is Limehouse then they might impose extra conditions such as a second bilge pump, nav lights or life jackets which you already have.

More info can be found at:

https://www.thefitoutpontoon.co.uk/external-equipment/anchors/

http://www.waterwaysworld.com/questionspost.cgi?post=39

Hope that helps.”

Great advice – Thank You Steve! Absolute Top Man!

Today we’ve travelled 2.75 miles, and 3 locks.

AGM Batteries ‘Depth of Discharge’?

Since purchasing and installing four new ‘AGM’ batteries for our domestic bank I have been puzzling as to what their level of charge, or discharge is. They came with a 5 year warranty, but I suspect that is conditional on how they are maintained, or abused!

Firstly at what point are they requiring to be re-charged, or in other words ‘How Low Can You Go’…?

The supplier states that:

AGM Leisure batteries can be drained using 80% of their capacity. They can also be re-charged almost 3 times as fast as a conventional standard wet flooded leisure battery.”

But what is 80% capacity, and how is it measured?

The state of charge is measured by the voltage of the battery bank, and this chart shows battery condition vs voltage reading.

We are recommended to:

Remain in the ‘Green’ zone to maximise the batteries life although occasionally dropping down to 11.66V is permissible.” 

Secondly what is the maximum rate of charging they will accept…?

Fast re-charging is very useful, but at what rate? I am advised to set the charge controller as follows:

  • Max charge current 30A
  • Max voltage 14.30V
  • (set charge controller to AGM or GEL batteries)

That’s all there is too it… so I am told.

Since their installation our battery overnight voltage, has been held above 12.10V; despite demands from lighting, TV, water pumping, and fridge freezer.

Long may it continue.