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Tuesday 30 January 2018

Amended Cruising costs for 2017.

As we are looking back over the last year's amended costs I thought I would put in a couple of photos from each of the last few years cruising.

This is a rare sight indeed. Helen, or any one, polishing the boat! Mind you now we have had a repaint and the paint doesn't just come off on the cloth, and we have found carnuba polish, I think I will be doing it more to protect our investment. I still think that this will be a rare picture though. We are in Polesworth on the Coventry Canal. Early season 2013

We were back up North for the end of 2013 as we over wintered in Thorne. Here is the Charity Keel 'Sobriety', of the charity of the same name, exiting Pollington Lock on the Aire and Calder.

After leaving Thorne in the spring of 2014 we headed up the South Yorkshire Navigations to Sheffield. The weather may appear dull but it was a great trip there and back, and we will be going again. I think we are somewhere near Spotborough on the River Don here.

Again not much sun in this photo but we are back North once more with Helen doing the honours at Greenwood Lock on the Calder and Hebble. Not far from our winter moorings at Dewsbury, at the end of 2014. I love the Calder and Hebble as it has a bit of everything, and is nice and quiet. Nothing like the Oxford at all. Great.

Once we had got off in spring 2015 this picture wasn't taken far from the start. We moored at Horbury Bridge and had a walk round the area. This was an old colliery railway that led us to a footpath close to the Calder. The bright birch bark certainly lightens up the picture.

For the autumn of 2015 we were aiming for Kings Orchard for our stop over and it is nice to have the sun as we head there from London and points south. We had done the length of the Thames and some of the connected navigations and were heading back to relative sanity (if there is such a thing). I think we are on the Atherstone flight of locks in this picture.

Spring 2016 saw us heading towards Fradley in the above picture. I like cruising early, and late, as there is little traffic and there is nothing better than getting inside to the stove glowing with tingling hands after been on the tiller. The same goes when entering a pub in the dark after a walk down a muddy tow path.

You could be forgiven thinking that we hadn't been very far in 2016 as here we are in the autumn passing through Hopwas Wood. We had a rendezvous with the Little Chimney Boat as Kim was going to replace our stove flue so we could have a double skinned chimney. This was required as we were going to leave the boat at Streethay Wharf for a repaint, and it would be a waste if the chimney leaked tar all mover it. I'm pleased to say that it doesn't.

After a lovely job was done or the painting we were off in March of 2017. This was going to be a 'funny' year as Hull was City of Culture and we would be dashing to and fro a lot. First of all we headed into Birmingham for a while poking about the canals in the area, before heading up North to make journey's easier. This is on the Curdworth flight and it will be interesting to see how soon anything appears here. There has been a lot of protest about the HS2 and you can argue about whether it is required or not, but I'm pretty sure the same protests will have been made about the building of the canals and their scar across the countryside. If you see old pictures of the canals there are hardly any pictures of trees. Things change, people adapt and, with help, the countryside will survive.

We finished the year in October 2017 being blocked from dropping down the Rufford Arm to our winter moorings at Fettlers Wharf by a stoppage at the Top Lock. It was fixed and we were settled in the weekend afterwards. I wonder where we will get to in 2018. I have booked for Liverpool and the Ribble Link so that will do for a start.

After compiling the figures I have had to amend the totals as I had double accounted for a few items. The amended totals are below. It was good to see it made the situation better.

                              2017          2016           2015        2014
Fixed                 1328-17       1668-33      1504-09    1159-57 
Moorings         2148-82      1268-48      1524-55     1297-88
Fuel                     506-51        721-92        824-94     1156-66
Repairs             1698-50      1441-62       321-63      1558-64
Equipment         503-56       556-24       164-22        678-39
Consumables     517-80       342-24      454-58         255-22
TOTALS       6703-62   5999-34   4794-01    5336-56

(Amended once more due to mental maths failure, 1-Feb-18)

So despite everything it didn't turn out too badly at all. Even at nearly £55 a day for the time we were on it makes it a cheap long holiday, especially when you think to hire a similar boat would be around £200 a day. Obviously the shorter time you spend on the boat the more expensive it becomes. I expect that the older the boat becomes that costs will increase too. But as we are expecting to be on the 'Holderness' much more this year as Hull year in the sun has wound down (we are still City of Culture until Coventry take over in 2021!) and so we wont be going home quite so much.

Happy cruising for 2018.

Sunday 28 January 2018

2017 Consumables.

As a rest from Hull I am giving you my years collections of animal photos. You will soon see why I haven't been invited to meet David Attenborough!

Who knew that we actually have the have the pink footed geese from Greenland and Iceland, where as those from Svalbard go to Denmark and the Netherlands! For some reason it is rare in France and Ireland and Canada and east coast USA. It seems they are quite fussy. In the UK they have done very well, from 30,000 birds in 1950 to 292,000 in 2004. This one was seen near Minworth on the way into Birmingham.

Surprisingly this wont be the only elephant you see in these photos. This one was filmed on the Dudley Canal No.2 on the way to Hawne Basin.

Are these the ugliest birds in the UK? Muscovy ducks aren't even after Russia for which they are named. They are actually from Mexico, Central and South America and have been domesticated since the pre-Columbian times. In actual fact the wild goose is black in colour.

As we were passing from Birmingham we decided to head up the Wednesbury Oak Loop at Deepfields Junction and have a look at the  Bradley Lock Gate factory. On the way we saw little egrets for the first time (no picture) but did get these swans gracefully flying off.

On the way back we saw these tethered horses with the ubiquitous Canada geese sharing the turf. The Canada goose was introduced into the country, but it has been proven that they have naturally migrated here as well. They don't seem to migrate once they arrive though. They are from Canada and USA and have a life span of between 10 and 24 years in the wild. Here in the UK the oldest recorded has been 31.

Some sort of a long eared owl and a couple of other kinds were patiently sitting on a stand in Wolverhampton Market raising money for an Owl Sanctuary. Helen is a sucker for an owl.

This year we saw more kingfishers than ever before, but always seemed to be when we were cruising so by the time I had picked up the camera, stuck the tiller in the small of my back and aimed, this was almost as good as it got.

2017 Consumables

                                              2017       2016       2015         2014 
5 x 110Ah batteries             395-00
sale of old batteries;  refund 66-55
2 x life jacket gas btls           39-92
2 x Morris K99 grease          10-00
5 lt 15/40W engine oil          15-50
2 x East Yorks. flags               5-98
Carnuba wax                         17-95                                                  
TOTAL                               417-80     342-24     454-58     255-22

I am hoping that I have cracked the battery situation having altered the wiring of them to have a more even charge so they last longer. I had the usual dilemma of what type of batteries to buy. I settled on normal lead acid ones and got them enclosed to even reduce the possibility of over filling them. 

It is always nice to get some money back for the old ones to defray the costs, but it was about £5 less than the last time and just depends on the price of the metals on the market at the time.

One of our four life jackets had got set off by the automatic activation device so needed replacing. I bought a spare. It just shows that they should be entirely dry before storing and they should not be kept in damp spots. Always check well before you need them too.

I had some filters left from last year, and only needed 15 ltrs of oil extra. The grease is for the stern gland.

The carnuba wax is expensive but I must say I have been impressed by it and will no doubt buy more next year. I still have half a bottle left. The flags are to proudly show where we hail from. Holderness, the boat's name is the triangle of land boarded between Hull, Spurn Point and Flamborough Head, and Hedon Haven, our 'port of registry', is the ancient town where we live, close to Hull.

Thursday 25 January 2018

2017 Equipment Costs.

Here are some more photos of Hull as City of Culture, and right away I should warn you that my naked legs appear!

You were warned about the legs! Here I am in the Humber Street area after volunteering elsewhere to see the latest exhibitions.

Hull company G.F. Smith, paper merchants had sponsored many exhibits. There is something very satisfying about a lovely piece of paper or card and it was amazing to see what artists can do with it. This is just made up of card and glue and adds something to the phrase 'cutting and sticking'

I was amazed that that the paper was rigid enough to take the weight of all the paper.

A paper cod!

This art work is in a listed building that is one of the last smoke houses left in Hull and I suppose is to mirror the hanging herrings being smoked.

Another part of the exhibition was of furniture made out of card. In actual fact they looked quite good, and I suppose you could easily blend it in to your decor by altering the colour of the cards. It must have good glue though.

The Humber Street Gallery has the roof bar of earlier post and also houses the recovered 'Dead Bod' Grafitti that became iconic for Hull before the City of Culture year. The pineapples were made out of mesh and then galvanised by a local company and add something to an otherwise bland old fruit warehouse.

2017 Equipment Costs

2 x rubber mats                  50-38
chain for mud weight          7-75
set of screw drivers           10-00
bent nose pliers                   2-90
fire cement                           7-53
new propeller                   425-00                                              
 TOTAL                          503-56    550-75     164-22    678-39

The two rubber mats were to replace to that cover the deck at the back end and one to add to the foredeck for more overall coverage.

The mud weight was a tub filled with cement with a chain passed through it so as to be able to attach a rope so it could be used as a mud weight anchor. I also pushed a hole through so that it could also be used to retain the base of my TV aerial pole. The chain wasn't strong enough so I will have to get some proper galvanised chain if I repeat the operation. I still have the original for the TV aerial.

The fire cement was for the restoration of the flue seal to the stove.

The main item is obviously the new propeller. I thought this very expensive when I compare it with the likes of Midland Chandler's prices. However I bought new as I wanted a much more robust one as in four years it had already cost me hundreds of pounds in dry dock fees etc as the old one had badly bent twice. This one hasn't even got a ding in the edge. There is much more metal in the blades and I have found do difference in the handling of 'Holderness'. I will keep a good eye on fuel consumption this year as it seems to be higher after fitting the new prop. However we have not been cruising as normal this year with much more river and tidal passages than normal. Hopefully that will be the reason.

Tuesday 23 January 2018

2017 Repair Costs.

More pictures of Hull, City of Culture 2017.

This is the Guild Hall, and a very stylish building it is too, from this view point anyway. If you go round the other side it is not a repeat of this side. Canny with the cash in Yorkshire. If you go in the reception (found at this end of the building) there is a side room on the right that has some absolutely fantastic needlework, by the local Guild, of scenes from the history of Hull. They are almost like paintings. 

Until 1936 the column with William Wilberforce atop, a local boy born on the High Street, was found next to Victoria Square, by Monument Bridge. The bridge is no longer a bridge and even the monument has gone, moved in 1936 to make way for traffic improvements. It is now at the end of Queen's Gardens, which was once the first enclosed dock in Hull. He had his scroll gilded for the 2017 festivities and it is now lit up too.

The Hull History Cetre is found behind the New Theatre and has all the City and University Archives held there. There are regular exhibitions and there are lunch time talks. The people here are very friendly and helpful in all aspects of local and family history if you are lucky enough to have any relations from the area.

A hidden gem in the city is the Roman Catholic church of St. Charles de Borromeo. It is like a continental church once you get inside from the plain exterior. It was consecrated in 1829 which just happens to be the year of Catholic Emancipation in England when it became 'legal' to be a catholic.

For the City of Culture the City Council completed four years worth of public realm works in about 18 months. There was chaos and complaints as the whole centre seemed to be dug up at once, but the results have been very good. The fountains is Queen Victoria Square are a hit. The play and dance and give off this steam like smoke. At night they are lit up with various lights. The kids spend hours in the water whilst their Mums sit and watch. I wish I could take a good photograph of it all.

We grew used to seeing such sights as we walked around the city last year.

The city was jammed for the weekend of the National Pride. The concert in Queen's Park was also rammed.

2017 Repair Costs
                                                       2017       2016       2015        2014
Fit new propeller                           50-00   
Oil change and flush                   150-00
Flush and renew anti freeze        240-00
Remove roof collar reseal           258-50
Materials                                       25-00
supply fit 4 low profile anodes   250-00
Remove and check shaft                                                                          
TOTAL                                     1073-50    1441-62    321-63    1558-64

As the boat was in the hands of Streethay Wharf for a repaint I took the opportunity to have them do some jobs rather than. I carry out the normal oil changes but thought I would have a flush out of the system, and likewise the cooling side of the engine. The low profile anodes were recommended as there was quite bad pitting of the hull around mid length. It seems that in fresh water the anodes are not quite so sacrificial as in salt water so they do not cover the full length of the boat if placed at either end, as is the normal practice. Therefore they fitted 2 low profile anodes on each flat side. Low profile so as they do not protrude outside the profile of the hull and catch on locks etc.

Some of the jobs that were carried out over the winter were paid for in the previous year and perhaps the two should be seen together.

There are no costs of the repaint appearing in this list.

Monday 22 January 2018

2017 Fuel Costs.

Despite the huge expense of being in Hull Marina it was nice to be at the heart of the City and able to have visitors aboard too.

The 'Spider T' and 'HMS Pickle' replica are both owned by Mal Nicholson. 'Spider T' is a 62' Humber Sloop that would have sailed round the East Coats, and further with cargoes from the Humber and inland canal network. HMS Pickle is a 'replica' of the the schooner that brought the news of the victory at Trafalgar in 1805 along with the death of Nelson. It was supposed to be the fastest ship available. It has been found that the original did come and dry dock in Hull and had new cannons fitted.

This picture is included as it shows the red splash of colour of 'Holderness' in the Marina, Humber Street in the new Fruit Market area of the town and is from the roof top bar of the new Humber Street Gallery. Yes I know, a roof top bar in Hull??!! And now, at the end of the year we have three!!

Trinity House School was once located where the picture is taken from. A few years ago it was knocked down, it was off no architectural merit, and the space used as a car park called Zebedee's Yard. No very inspiring a use you may say. But it is often used for shows, festivals etc. In fact it was originaly a buoy yard for the storage of equipment so returned to it's original use almost. It has also freed up this view of Trinity House's Chapel.

Next to the Chapel is this newly created memorial to all the lost fishermen of Hull. It has sounds and is lit at night and is a real wonder. More of the silver bows of vessels can be added as donations come in.

Easter to October there are guided tours of the 'Arctic Corsair' that is the last sidewinder trawler left. It is permanently moored by the Street Life Museum on the River Hull. There are plans to move it into a restored dry dock a little further up the River Hull where it will be dried out and hopefully less corrosion. You can see that a real mud bank has grown round the ship so once removed it will hopefully erode away again and allow faster drainage to help prevent flooding in the Hull valley.

Across the river from the 'Arctic Corsair' is the Listed Trinity House buoy shed that was built in 1901. It also has a very rare tubular crane that is also listed. The lovely plaque on the building is the Trinity House coat of arms with the arm holding an oar at the top.  The motto ' Spes Super Syders' means 'Hope Beyond the Stars'

Here is another version of the Coat of Arms that is often missed as it is high above 'Whitefriargate; or 'Whitef'rgate' in the vernacular. This side of the street is all owned by the House and this was once a very high end coaching in where everybody came to do their shipping business, the Neptune Hotel.


                                     2017       2016      2015      2014
Diesel                        426-34     584-30   730-36    985-79
Electricity                   15-12       83-22      24-74     51-75
Coal                            17-00                      20-00      34-94
Gas                              28-00       54-40      50-04      74-18
TOTAL                     566-51     721-92    824-94  1146-66
Engine hours             307.2        517.6      560.5        686.5
Hurricane hours          67.5          44.0        95.0        148.0
Total Diesel Lt          613.87      730.19    964.79     1062.60
Hurricane Diesel Lt    56.7          38.3        79.8         124.3
Engine Diesel Lt       557.17      699.1      884.79       944.8
Av. Lt/hr                      1.81         1.35         1.58         1.38
Least expensive          56p                           55p          76p     
Most expensive           73p                           99p         100p
Total diesel £'s          426.34       584.30   730.36      985.79
Total diesel Lt           613.87       738.19   964.79    1062.60
av price /Lt                 69.5p         79.2p      75.7p       92.8p

The first thing to notice is the low number of engine hours. We knew this would be so due to us coming home so often. It will also be interesting to see how we 'recover' this year as I expect most people go like a bat out of hell in their first year, and then calm down and be more discerning and take more time over journeys. It certainly seems that way from our figures anyway. 

I am a little surprised to see the increase in the average litre per hour. We did have to put in a couple of high rev. passages, but also we were cruising with the tide astern for much of the tidal passages. We were fitted with a new propeller over last winter so I wonder if that has anything to do with it. It is good to see the cost per hour for diesel has come down over the period.

A reduction in the number of hours on the Hurricane heater seems to have a correlation with an increase in the costs of the coal, gas and electricity.

Saturday 20 January 2018

2017 Mooring Costs.

Here are some pictures from around Hull, City of Culture.

On Bowlalley Lane, (yes there used to be a bowling green here) close to the Land of Green Ginger in Hull's Old Town is Samman House. It is no apartments but was built to house the Deddington Shipping Company that was set up by Henry Samman and named after his home village. It only about 3 miles from Aynho Wharf on the South Oxford Canal. He came to Hull and soon had a successful shipping business having ships built for the company and never keeping them more than 10 years. He sold up after WWI as he foretold the shipping slump. He gave the building to the Chamber of Commerce and Shipping and dedicated himself to good works etc. He left a fund to assist people going abroad to study business or languages. He became Mayor of Beverley too.

Another of the Amy Johnson Moths.

By the Marina Lock is this sculpture that depicts a family arriving from Continental Europe or Scandinavia. about 2 million passed through Hull up until WWI as they came looking for a better life. Most were entrained for Liverpool to continue to Canada and the USA.

Albert Dock, close to the centre of the City is still a working dock. Unfortunately these vessels are currently laid up due to the slump in the oil price so lack of exploration in the North Sea.

Princes Street has lovely Georgian Houses along it in the heart of the Old Town. One end is almost at the Marina and the other is in Trinity Square looking over the Minster.

Just off Trinity Square, on Trinity House Lane, stand Hull's Trinity House. There is no connection with the Trinity House of London and the south, other than the name and the nautical connection. The building is a treasure trove of objects and valuable but they are rarely seen. Last year they opened their doors to tours every week and every one was filled. They are mainly a charitable outfit these days and they own a lot of the Old Town and these rates keep their charities going.

The main front of Trinity House.

Mooring costs for 2017 were much higher than previous years, largely as we have moored for longer periods due to the City of Culture!

 Mooring Costs                                  2017         2016       2015         2014

Hawne Basin 15 nights (7 free)          32-00
Sherborne Wharf 7 nights                 106-00
Venitian Marina 7 nights                    80-00
New Islington 5 nights (2 free)          30-00
Viking Goole 7 nights                        55-17
Blue Water, Thorne 5 nights              50-00
Hull Marina,  10 nights                    565-29
Selby Boat Centre18 nights             180-00
Driffield Nav. Society Donation        30-00
Pocklington Canal A.S. Donation      50-00
Beverley Beck Barge Donation          60-00
Selby Boat Centre 12 nights             120-00
Reedley Marina 17 nights                 170-00
Streethay Moorings 30 days             163-80
Fettlers Wharf winter to 31st Dec    456-06                                                      
TOTAL                                           2148-82     1268-48    1524-55    1298-48
Days moored                                    104             38             31              27

It can easily be seen why our mooring costs were much higher this year as we have spent three times as long as the average of the last three years (33) on moorings. That is not counting the winter moorings at each end of our cruising. Even so the stand out figure is for Hull Marina!! We knew that it was expensive and we could have avoided it, but we chose to moor there and had lots of visitors. We did not use any of the facilities, other than water and free parking in the centre of town, that probably save us about £10 at the most. The Marina is geared for cruisers and as such the cost per unit length is very high to make up for them being shorter but wider. In actual fact we had over £100 discount too as we belonged to an affiliated Boat Club!!

We made donations to Driffield, Pocklington and Beverley waterways out of courtesy. The Barge Preservation folk were very kind to us (and we did have free electricity during our stay) and they loaned us the proper equipment for working the Driffield Nav locks. We moored for a few nights at Frodingham Wharf, and had assistance from the Pocklington Canal Ameneties Society so felt it only right to further their causes to keep the canals open and promote more use of them.

I am pretty sure we wont be repeating the moving backwards and forwards between home and boat as it is quite disruptive, and of course not only is their the cost of moorings but getting backwards and forwards too. Whilst closer to home I was able to get back and pick the train up, but we did hire a car and as we have the cat and budgie it makes it a little awkward. Mind you it was all part of the design for our city's year in the sun.

Thursday 18 January 2018

2017 Fixed Costs

Here are a few more gratuitous pictures from Hull City of Culture 2017, but hopefully with a bit of a maritime feel as it is supposed to be a boat blog. Bear with me as the breakdown of fixed costs does appear and comparison with past years.

This sculpture is called 'Rebas Godwit' by Jason Heppenstal. It seems to be largely made of old anchor chain. It is close to the ferry terminal and is part of a sculpture trail that was created when the public right of way along the Humber front was closed when the new Siemen's turbine blade plant was built. It is a good walk with plenty to see along the way.

On the fence that separates the board walk along the River Hull from the Museum Quarter are a number of these fantastic images of industries of the City. The board walk allows you to walk from The Deep to North Bridge, which was, in the beginning, the Port of Hull and not so many years ago was jammed full of lighters and barges.

In the distance is Drypool Bridge. The board walk runs alongside the 'Arctic Corsair' which is moored outside the museums. To the right of the bridge the white building is where they make shot gun cartridges by dropping what ever it is that has replaced lead pellets, in a molten state from the top of the tower. It forms droplets and are cooled when they land in the pan of water in the bottom. Simple. The brick built building has now been demolished. It was Rank's Mill and has made way for a hotel, that hasn't been started yet!!? The low brick building is the  Listed Trinity House buoy shed along with the crane, one of very few, that you can just about see to its left.

The Humber Bridge is an iconic and beautiful bridge that was the site of one of the events for the City of Culture. It was called the 'Height of the Reeds'. This was a 'sound journey' across the Humber Bridge. You were fitted up with headphones and a recording. As you walked across the bridge you were regaled with modern music by some Norwegian musicians, the orchestra and chorus of Opera North, poetry and natural sounds of the bridge itself. By the time this happened in April maybe we had already become 'cultured' as it sounds sort of rubbish, but as the headphones cut out most of the traffic noise you were left with evocative noises that certainly made me look more closely at what I was seeing.

The Humber Bridge has been usurped as the longest single span suspension bridge in the World, but actaully still holds that title for one that you can walk across! When we came under it in 'Holderness' in June it made you realise just how big the bridge, and estuary are.

I love this photo as 'Holderness' brings a little colour into the dull world of the white cruisers. Humber Dock, now Hull Marina, was the second enclosed dock in Hull.

The tidal barrier in Hull is used about 30 times a year to prevent flooding of Hull during spring tides and tidal surges. For the City of Culture year it was also an installation. By the Marina was a rusty old box that if you talked into it your words would be shown on the barrier. There was a delay so the computer could cut out all undesirable words or phrases. You can see the start of our boats name 'Holderness'.

Thanks for you patience .

                                                2017           2016        2015        2014
C&RT Licence                       892-18      870-42      856-70     833-38
Insurance, Towergate            177-75       212-91      232-64     198-19
Extra Insurance for Severn                                         30-00
RCR Bronze                          142-50       126-00      126-00     126-00
Licences                                                   294-00        68-75
Pilotage                                                                      190-00
BSS Certificate                                        165-00                                 
TOTAL                               1212-43     1668-33     1504-09  1157-87

As can be seen this year has been pretty straightforward so far as fixed costs go. As can be seen the C&RT licence has increased but using the Consumer Price index the £833-38 of 2014 should now be £898-75, so on that measure we haven't done so badly.

It is pleasing to see that the insurance premium has reduced. I have had one claim for a new propeller in the past so that will be working out of the system. That will be coupled with an increasing no claims discount and the worth of the boat falling too. Along with increased competition on prices.

River Canal Rescue premiums went up this year for the first time since we have had the boat. We did call them out this year when we just couldn't start the boat. It turned out to be the main isolation switch for the starter system had been chattering and eroded the connection. hey were quite quick to arrive and did a through job of system checking before coming to the switch. He was able to tighten it all up and we were off. They did have their premises burn to the ground too, so maybe rebuilding bigger and better.

As you can see we had to pay no extra for licences to use waterways, or pilotage so this year has been not too bad at all for the fixed costs.