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Old 16 July 2009, 14:39   #11
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Thanks for the comments, guys. @codders, thanks for the Pembroke tip - you're selling Wales as a good venue away from the Devon crowds, that's for sure....

As you've noticed from my profile, we've got a baby 4HP Mariner, and we did get some transom launching wheels, which - whilst inflatable - are only about 8" across. Whether this will cause us problems in the future I'm unsure.

We also have to remove the wheels once launched, as if they are flipped up, they interfere with the left/right movement of the outboard. This isn't a big deal at the moment, and was mainly because they were mounted making use of the two holes where the official (and much more expensive) Zodiac wheels were supposed to go - the Zodiacs being removable by design, but apparently a real PITA to do so in practice.

Looking at it, if we find that we need massive jumbo wheels to deal with - er- the sorts of situations that you need massive jumbo wheels for - well, a little DIY project and a trip to the local hardware shop.

I've attached a picture of our SIB tied up prior to getting hauled out at Dundas - aww, ain't it cute ;-) The only thing we're really missing is a couple of rings at the back for tie-ing up. I'm loathe to tie anything to the handles, but I guess that is what we are going to have to do long term.

On a side note, I've just got a BW windlass at a 'make me an offer' price of 7.99, just in case anyone else needs one...

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...m=110405613982
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Old 16 July 2009, 14:57   #12
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dont you still need a square drive key to unlock it in the first place ,the handcuff type lock and chain .most bridges and locks do up our way ,regards tying up and not using handles you could tie off to the engine or put some stainless u bolts or eyes in the transom
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Old 16 July 2009, 17:39   #13
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Well, it's a bit more dodgy up north, innit, so they'd need the handcuffs :-)

Funnily enough, the British Waterways website says in their shop, and I quote :-

"Handcuff keys are essential for operating locks in many urban areas, especially Birmingham and the North. They are sometimes known as 'water conservation keys' or 'anti-vandal keys'."

So I guess anarchy rules from Brum upwards - either that, or it rains less ;-)

Aside from a few hours experience, our info comes from the frankly hilarious "Boaters Handbook DVD", which is advertised as follows :-

"The Boaters' Handbook Video is a 40-minute film, available on DVD. It follows the progress of two real-life families on their first trips on the inland waterways and provides useful advice on handling both narrowboats and cruisers on canals and rivers."

It's only 2.50, and possibly a major cash-cow for British Waterways if they could market it to the 'ironic post-war public information film' crowd.

Having said all that, I'm sure that we'll turn up on our next adventure, properly be-windlassed, and bereft of a handcuff or general BW key.

PS: They also sell playing cards with individual safety messages on them. I think we're in the wrong demographic.

PPS: Cap'n Chappelow: thanks for the tips, although I'm currently viewing the transom as the only thing between us and the deep, dark blue. I'm sure with some more experience, I'll be bolting rocket launchers and all sorts to it...
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Old 17 July 2009, 16:54   #14
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Those tyres look huge - really huge!!!
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Old 17 July 2009, 17:37   #15
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Those tyres look huge - really huge!!!
i bet they take loads of room up in a small boat,lol,,,,most canals up norf are broad canals designed for wide humber sailing barges and not narrow boats , so most locks are wider hence more water wastage eg leeds / liverpool if kids start to mess about with them ,but with most swing bridges you can get under with a small boat /outboard without opening them .
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Old 17 July 2009, 18:15   #16
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.. The only thing we're really missing is a couple of rings at the back for tie-ing up.
And a couple of fenders to keep the black marks from those tyres off your nice clean white toobs.
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Old 17 July 2009, 18:34   #17
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We decided to weight the transom wheels down with gravel before we left to disguise them as a permanent feature of the boatyard. Worked pretty well, they were still there when we got back :-) Obviously too heavy to put in the baby SIB.

For future searchers through these threads, the downside of going down a canal is the dramatic speed limit (4mph - ie, a fast walking pace). However, this is also a plus point if you're just after a relaxing cruise.... and certainly if you're navigating a busy canal waterway, I think it probably helps hone your low speed skills. I found it pretty tricky and a bit nerve wracking when you've got a trip boat full of tourists coming your way down a channel only wide enough for one boat at a time.

Where's this Cardiff Bay I hear so much about ;-)
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Old 17 July 2009, 18:37   #18
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And a couple of fenders to keep the black marks from those tyres off your nice clean white toobs.
One person's black marks are another person's badges of honour...
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Old 17 July 2009, 18:56   #19
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Canals

On the canal do you pass on the right/ keep right, the same as on the Norfolk Broads? This may sound like a daft question but I really don't know. On my first trip I did not encounter any boats.
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Old 18 July 2009, 17:28   #20
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supposed to pass on right head to head as you said ,,might be 4 mph speed limit but even canals can get rough, i have known 3 foot waves on certain parts of canal where there is a long stretch with a strong wind coming down a valley ,,,,,and even narrow boats can have there fatal accidents near where i used to live ,4 persons drowned in a lock when a narrow boat got its bow fender caught in a lock gate and a few falling into props with fatal results,,,,and theres nothing wrong with practising a few low speed manouvers ,even practice man overboard with a fender and coming along side though i think your tyres with the gravel in may take some recovering single handed ,lol, mart
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