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Old 14 July 2009, 17:39   #1
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River/Canal Launching Tips

Hi guys,

New 3.1m SIB owner here, based in good old Bristol, UK.

This is our first boating purchase and we're planning to tread carefully by doing a bit on inland waterways this year before attempting the sea next year (and post RWA Powerboat Level 1 as well).

Anyway, we had our inaugural launch at the weekend into the Avon around Saltford, and a trip down the Dundas canal on Sunday. At both locations, we found ourselves considering long and hard how best to get our lovely new SIB in the water off the bank without any nasty scraping or risk to the outboard - the four stroke we've got is a nasty lump to try and lift in or out of a floating vessel.

So, anyone got any golden tips to share on launching off a riverbank or suitable lock moorings ? I know it's not as exciting as getting onto the big blue, but we've all got to start somewhere!

Cheers,

Mike.
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Old 14 July 2009, 18:03   #2
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If you live in Bristol why not get down to Cardiff and launch into Cardiff bay? You get the feel of being at sea without being at sea - there is an awesome big slip to launch from and no speed limit in the bay so you can open her up a bit!!!
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Old 14 July 2009, 18:08   #3
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take an old tarp or heavy sheet so you can use it on the bank for pulling the boat out on also ok for inlfating deflating the boat on ,,stops grit or stones making holes ,then make sure there no grit /stones on crews feet when re boarding ,take a couple of tent pegs so you can moor up on grass banks ,if going to a pub for lunch /[dinner up norf ]a padlock and chain makes the boat /engine secure ,depends on what type of canal river but just a an old brush handle makes a push /fend off pole .rubber glove if you iffy about pulling weed/plaggy bags /dead cats off the prop , oh and i would still wear lifejackets ,regards mart.
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Old 14 July 2009, 19:06   #4
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@Codders: Hmmm, Cardiff Bay you say.... not one that has leapt out and hit me from browsing through the forums, and we've often been out that way despite the immigration tax on the bridge :-)

I like the idea about no speed limit though, as the running in advice for the outboard specifies some periods spent at up to half and three-quarters throttle - which you certainly can't get to in the rivers or canals.

Is this the Channel View slipway you're talking about ?

@Cap'n Chappelow: it's a funny old thing hindsight; we got as far as figuring out the tarp trick for keeping dirt and grit off the boat on our day two inflation experience (when our 100 12v pump blew up and we had to revert to the dodgy looking Zoom foot pump - Aldi/Lidl here we come)... but never made the leap into using the tarp as a buffer when launching.

Genius, I say!

We have got a proper outboard transom cover and lock, though, and having grappled with a slimey canal lock interior, I think the old brush handle is a good call.

Talking of which, (locks, not brush handles) here's something which makes you wonder about the power of the female of the species....

So we kick off from Saltford and motor up the river in a bit of a newbie daze, only to find ourselves quite rapidly at the next lock. Not unexpected as I had done some research beforehand, and we've got the relevant explorer passes from BWA and the increasingly useful charts from their website.

At this point I vaguely mutter something about SIBs being easily portable, so like jungle explorers or Bear Grylls and his film crew plus sherpas, we should just pick the boat out of the water, carry it past the lock, and launch back in on the other side.

Ever supportive, the missus goes with this plan, at which point I discover that it is one thing to lift a 4 stroke outboard on and off the transom on dry land, but quite something else to try and do it on the water; however, after some consideration of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws, the outboard is duly removed, the SIB similarly de-launched and we end up re-assembled on the other side of the lock on our transom wheels figuring out how to get back in.

At this point we pause to let a nice young family launch their kayak, in the vague hope that some launching clues would be forthcoming from their traverse of the metre or so's drop from the lock moorings down onto the river.

Sadly not; they had an empty kayak made of fibreglass that they could chuck over the side with abandon; we had a brand new SIB with a dead weight on the stern and no experience to draw on.

Anyway, after much faffing about, we gingerly dropped the boat in stern first on the slippery grass and managed to steam off without further incident.

So here's the spooky bit...

Coming back down the river, after having done our bit and retrieved an empty vodka bottle and a couple of plastic bags, we arrive at the same lock and the subject of traverse comes up once more. As much as I would like to think I have the makings of a rugged mariner, at this point, given the tribulations of our passage upstream, I was hoping that we could piggyback on some holidaymakers going downstream through the lock. Such a dream was not to be.

About 15 minutes later, when I'd tidied up as much as it is possible to tidy up in a 3.1m SIB, I declared that we could not really hang about any longer, and would have to confront the hard work of getting it all out of the water again to nip around the lock and relaunch on the other side.

At this point, the missus looked me square in the eye, and said "But there's another boat on the other side".

I look around, over the top of the lock, and see no sign of another vessel. "I'm sorry Mrs MikeP, but that's just wishful thinking".

The missus fixes me with that "if you just believe in the universe all will be well" look that every male must roll their eyes over by genetic programming - and b&gger me if a brummie doesn't appear on foot to close the upstream gates prior to draining the lock - at which point we sneak in, let those kind folks do the hard work, and sneak out again downstream with a cheery wave.

And the moral of the story ? Well, if you're playing around in your SIB near locks, probably best to spend a few quid and get a BW Windlass so that you can go through them like the narrowboats and cruisers; it may feel a bit silly in a SIB, but I'd favour that against the overland traverse any day, unless you're Bear Grylls and have a film crew to help you.

Similarly, don't diss the missus when she has good news; whether it happens via coincidence or witchcraft, the outcome is what matters,

Cheers,

Mike.
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Old 14 July 2009, 22:19   #5
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Yup Channel View is the one!!!

And if you really want an awesome day out from Bristol head down to Pembroke - the river is fantastic and perfect for all boats. The slip at East Llanion is great and free.
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Old 14 July 2009, 22:47   #6
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Do you do have pneumatic launching wheels? If not this needs to be priority #1 for launching and recovery.
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Old 15 July 2009, 16:49   #7
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New boat etc

Sounds like you had a good time on your first outing. What engine do you have?
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Old 15 July 2009, 17:49   #8
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What engine do you have?
Profile says 4Stroke Mariner 4hp
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Old 15 July 2009, 18:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeP View Post
@Codders: Hmmm, Cardiff Bay you say.... not one that has leapt out and hit me from browsing through the forums, and we've often been out that way despite the immigration tax on the bridge :-)

I like the idea about no speed limit though, as the running in advice for the outboard specifies some periods spent at up to half and three-quarters throttle - which you certainly can't get to in the rivers or canals.

Is this the Channel View slipway you're talking about ?

@Cap'n Chappelow: it's a funny old thing hindsight; we got as far as figuring out the tarp trick for keeping dirt and grit off the boat on our day two inflation experience (when our 100 12v pump blew up and we had to revert to the dodgy looking Zoom foot pump - Aldi/Lidl here we come)... but never made the leap into using the tarp as a buffer when launching.

Genius, I say!

We have got a proper outboard transom cover and lock, though, and having grappled with a slimey canal lock interior, I think the old brush handle is a good call.

Talking of which, (locks, not brush handles) here's something which makes you wonder about the power of the female of the species....

So we kick off from Saltford and motor up the river in a bit of a newbie daze, only to find ourselves quite rapidly at the next lock. Not unexpected as I had done some research beforehand, and we've got the relevant explorer passes from BWA and the increasingly useful charts from their website.

At this point I vaguely mutter something about SIBs being easily portable, so like jungle explorers or Bear Grylls and his film crew plus sherpas, we should just pick the boat out of the water, carry it past the lock, and launch back in on the other side.

Ever supportive, the missus goes with this plan, at which point I discover that it is one thing to lift a 4 stroke outboard on and off the transom on dry land, but quite something else to try and do it on the water; however, after some consideration of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws, the outboard is duly removed, the SIB similarly de-launched and we end up re-assembled on the other side of the lock on our transom wheels figuring out how to get back in.

At this point we pause to let a nice young family launch their kayak, in the vague hope that some launching clues would be forthcoming from their traverse of the metre or so's drop from the lock moorings down onto the river.

Sadly not; they had an empty kayak made of fibreglass that they could chuck over the side with abandon; we had a brand new SIB with a dead weight on the stern and no experience to draw on.

Anyway, after much faffing about, we gingerly dropped the boat in stern first on the slippery grass and managed to steam off without further incident.

So here's the spooky bit...

Coming back down the river, after having done our bit and retrieved an empty vodka bottle and a couple of plastic bags, we arrive at the same lock and the subject of traverse comes up once more. As much as I would like to think I have the makings of a rugged mariner, at this point, given the tribulations of our passage upstream, I was hoping that we could piggyback on some holidaymakers going downstream through the lock. Such a dream was not to be.

About 15 minutes later, when I'd tidied up as much as it is possible to tidy up in a 3.1m SIB, I declared that we could not really hang about any longer, and would have to confront the hard work of getting it all out of the water again to nip around the lock and relaunch on the other side.

At this point, the missus looked me square in the eye, and said "But there's another boat on the other side".

I look around, over the top of the lock, and see no sign of another vessel. "I'm sorry Mrs MikeP, but that's just wishful thinking".

The missus fixes me with that "if you just believe in the universe all will be well" look that every male must roll their eyes over by genetic programming - and b&gger me if a brummie doesn't appear on foot to close the upstream gates prior to draining the lock - at which point we sneak in, let those kind folks do the hard work, and sneak out again downstream with a cheery wave.

And the moral of the story ? Well, if you're playing around in your SIB near locks, probably best to spend a few quid and get a BW Windlass so that you can go through them like the narrowboats and cruisers; it may feel a bit silly in a SIB, but I'd favour that against the overland traverse any day, unless you're Bear Grylls and have a film crew to help you.

Similarly, don't diss the missus when she has good news; whether it happens via coincidence or witchcraft, the outcome is what matters,

Cheers,

Mike.
I really enjoyed this read,i might have a go in inland waters myself.
Good write up .
Thanks Mike

Pete
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Old 16 July 2009, 03:45   #10
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Engine

Oh yeah of course it's right there in your profile. Never thought to look at that. You have pretty much the same rig as me. My first outing was yesterday (Wednesday) on the canal and although we didn't encounter any locks we did have a similar struggle to get the boat in/out of the water. I think the plastic sheet is a great idea.
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