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Monday, March 26, 2018


The boats trapped on the Wardle lock side of the breach in the Middlewich Canal have been released.

Canal & River Trust pumped water up from the Trent & Mersey to refill this section of the pound and were able to get the boats out through the lock and on to the T&M. 

One of those released was Jenny Wren, managed for her owners by Carefree Cruising.  She was back at her base at Kings Lock on Friday afternoon.

Carefree Cruising commented, "C&RT were brilliant in getting the boats out so quickly." 

The 58ft, semi-trad stern Jenny Wren is one of the boats booked in to be on view at the National Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April.  Admission and car parking for the Show are free.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Update on the Middlewich Canal breach

Portadam' in place ready to take water.
(Photo Ruth Chalmers, Carefree Cruising)

There's a new video report on what C&RT have been doing at the Middlewich Canal breach here but there is no more information about getting the stranded boats re-floated and out onto the T&M.

The plan was to pump water from the T&M, starting on Thursday, with the hope that the boats could be re-floated today. 

The picture shows pipes laid out alongside Wardle lock in preparation for pumping water up to refill the section immediately above the lock.  (Phote: Ruth Chalmers, Carefree Cruising)

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

£500 could be the first step into shared ownership

Spellbound has a 1/24th share available
for just £500. (BCBM photo)
The 58ft narrowboat Spellbound has a 1/24th share on offer for just £500 and will be available to view and get on board at the National Boat Share Show at Braunston Marina on 21st & 22nd April. A full list of shares available on boats at the Show is here

The Show opens at 10am on both days.  Admission and car parking are free.

Spellbound is also the oldest boat in the Show having been originally commissioned by Ownerships in 1997.  She is currently managed for her owners by BCBM, who will have a number of other boats on view at Braunston. 

View from Spellbound's galley
towards the bow. (BCBM photo)
With a semi-trad stern, Spellbound offers 6 berths with a conventional configuration having the main saloon near the bow, a central galley and the fixed double bedroom at the stern.  The bed can be pulled out to kingsize.  The saloon has a solid fuel stove and the central heating is powered by an Alde 2928 Comfort boiler. 

Spellbound had a new Nanni 4200he engine fitted in 2008. Monthly contribution to costs for a 1/24th share is about £70.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Consequences of the Middlewich breach

It is inevitable that some owners of shares in boats stuck on the drained section of the Middlewich Canal will lose part of their planned boating holiday following the breach there.  That may be less of a problem for a managed boat, as the management company may be able to make special arrangements, such as using weeks allocated to unsold shares on another boat.  I'm sure many syndicates would also be happy to help with that in these circumstances.

Ownerships used to have a scheme whereby 'spare weeks' on most of the boats they managed could be used to cope with such emergencies and allow owners to have their holiday even if their own boat was out of commission.  When this possibility was raised at syndicate meetings following the collapse of Ownerships, most of the ones I attended did not support the continuation of such an arrangement.  Some boat insurance policies may provide for the cost of a hire boat in such circumstances.

Picture from Canal & River Trust website.
There is no quick fix for the Middlewich breach, so some share owners are going to have to re-think their trips to avoid it.  Of the 240 shared ownership narrowboats on the canal network, more than a third have their bases on or near the Four Counties Ring and they will be the ones most directly affected.

Changing the planned trip may well be easier for shared ownership boats, as a 'remote exchange'  - handing over the boat to the next owners somewhere other than at their base mooring - is quite a common occurrence anyway.  It's one of the ways share owners can extend their trips and avoid having to turn round and come back over the same stretch in order to reach their base.  It involves reaching an agreement with the owners on board immediately before and after and it requires moving cars from base to base, but it is not difficult to find a boatyard or marina that's used to doing turnround checks on shared boats.  It's always best to arrange this in advance - and it may be necessary to do the handover on a different day, especially if the marina is already helping to facilitate turnrounds for hire boat fleets affected by the breach, as we know some are.

The latest updates from the Canal & River Trust are here.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Another casualty of the breach photo
Kinver - a self-managed shared ownership boat - has also been caught in the Middlewich breach.  I've heard that C&RT are looking at daming the pound near the breach in order to float boats out, but I can't find anything about that on the C&RT website.


Friday, March 16, 2018

Breach on the Middlewich Branch of the Shroppie

There has been a serious canal breach on the Middlewich branch which will prevent any boats from using it for some time.  There are more details on the C&RT website here.  There are 15-20 boats trapped in the drained section and one of them is Jenny Wren, managed by Carefree Cruising. She is due to be at the Boat Share Show in Braunston in 5 weeks time, so hopefully she can be rescued and make the trip south.

Jenny Wren in happier times
We've also heard that Rowington (BCBM) and Kingfisher (Carefree Cruising) are stuck the wrong side of the breach, so will have to take the long route home.  There are likely to be a few more remote handovers as a result of the breach.

If your holiday is yet to come and you had intended cruising the Four Counties Ring, that's definitely a non-starter at the moment. The Trent and Mersey and the main line of the Shroppie are not affected, but the only link between the two is along the Staffs & Worcs from Great Haywood to Autherley Junction.  You may need to alter your plans.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Can you help fill in the blanks?

Have you come across - or do you own a share in - any of these boats:

Beaufort, Charlton No2, Co-Operation, Copperkins II, Damsel, Dream Weaver, Great Escape, Greenberfield, Indomitable or Valour?

We know they are - or were - self-managed shared ownership narrowboats, but we haven't heard anything about them for quite a while and our database has hardly any details of them.   We would love to hear what's happened to them and where they are now.

There are a number of others for which we have incomplete information in our database.  They're all shown in our list of shared ownership narrowboats.  It's easy to send us an update to fill in the blanks - just click on the name of the boat in the list, and you will get an update form which will be emailed to us - with a copy to whoever sent in the update.  Your email address remains confidential and all updates will be acknowledged.

If you know that the boat is no longer in shared ownership, please just drop me an email to let me know - - and I'll remove the boat from our list.

We don't want the details for any other reason than to provide the best possible information for anyone interested in shared ownership narrowboats. If you're able to help - thanks  lot.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

New boat to be launched at Braunston

Carefree Cruising will again be launching a new boat at the National Boat Share Show in Braunston Marina on Saturday & Sunday 21st & 22nd April.  The boat has yet to be named and members of the new syndicate are currently voting to choose the name they want for their boat.

Otter being craned into the basin at Braunston Marina
ready for the 2017 Boat Share Show.
The new boat will be craned into the Marina basin a couple of days before the Show.  Carefree Cruising have launched new boats at the last two Shows. The  2017 boat (Otter) and 2016 boat (Happy Days) were craned into the basin in the same way.  Happy Days will be at the Show again this year.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Jolly boating weather!

Thank goodness this isn't the Boat Share Show weekend.  We would have had a repeat of the 2013 event*, when people were advised not to travel because of the weather and most heeded that advice.

As I recall we got just a dozen or so visitors over the whole weekend - and we all got very cold indeed!

The only places to get warm were on boats with their stoves going or in the marquee.  This year's Show is at Braunston Marina on Sat and Sunday 21st & 22nd April - and we've booked a heater for the marquee just in case.

(*The event then was the BCBM Show.  This was later replaced by the National Boat Share Show with all the management companies participating.)