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Chris Pink

Middle Northwich Re-union?

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Just been on the website for the restoration of Sickle, a middle Northwich motor. There's a mention there of a gathering of the class at the Braunston Boat Show next year. But the email contact gu_sickle@yahoo.com doesn't work.

 

Does anyone have any more information?

 

or the correct email for Sickle's owner?

 

Chris

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Funnily enough, I was looking at a blog called "2ndgo" which is about Sextans, a shortened Middle Northwich. A comment was left by the owner of Sickle, suggesing such a thing. He left his website address, but that didn't work either.

 

Middle Northwich Sickle said...

We are the owners of Sickle, and would like to get in touch about a gathering of the Middle Northwich boats at the Braunston Boat Show 2008. To see photos of Sickle or to contact us, go to www.freewebs.com/gusickle

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Just been on the website for the restoration of Sickle, a middle Northwich motor. There's a mention there of a gathering of the class at the Braunston Boat Show next year. But the email contact gu_sickle@yahoo.com doesn't work.

 

Does anyone have any more information?

 

or the correct email for Sickle's owner?

 

Chris

Tim likes to dedicate the boat show (there's another??) to a particular marque each year (swinging between FMC and Nurser, normally) so he may have picked Northwiches next year, or they may have just decided to all attend.

 

I don't think the 'specialisation' thing really works because all the usual suspects turn up year on year, anyway, happily growing each year too.

 

This is by far the best waterways event on the calendar and, from what, I believe, started out as a reaction to moving the other show to Crick, it has grown into an event far more entertaining and far less commercial.

 

Just boats and boaters doing what they're best at (boating and beer tenting) and something he should be really proud of.

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Sextans, a shortened Middle Northwich.

 

IIRC, Sextans has a MN reunion of its own every day. When it was restored a few years ago it was partially relengthened with hull plates salvaged from shortened Middle Northwich butty, Thea. It also has a rather nice replica Northwich cabin and sympathetic extention by Steve Priest.

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Yep, an absolutely cracking boat. It looked just "right" sat in the water when the boat was left on our moorings for a couple of weeks when the owner had to return home down south.

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I've just had a look at the Sickle website as I was wondering how to distinguish Middle Northwich craft from others and it explains that they have 'V shaped bottoms and rounded bilges'. Was this to make them more sea-worthy (is that the right phrase?) or just as an experiment or what?

 

Also, does their hull shape affect their handling characteristics significantly?

Edited by grunders

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Grunders,

 

From what I can tell from the website, the Middle Northwich boats can be recognised by the strakes, and their differences at bow and stern.

 

Also, according to the website, the reason why most of them were cut down to around 45ft / 50ft was because the Boatman really didn't take to them, I think they were very much prone to rolling and because they had a shallower hold you couldn't carry the same amount as a Large Northwich.

 

I think it was just an experiment which went wrong.

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I've just had a look at the Sickle website as I was wondering how to distinguish Middle Northwich craft from others and it explains that they have 'V shaped bottoms and rounded bilges'. Was this to make them more sea-worthy (is that the right phrase?) or just as an experiment or what?

 

Also, does their hull shape affect their handling characteristics significantly?

 

Difficult to know whether they are better for handling though they swim very well, their underwater profile is very elegant, especially the butties with large castings where the rounded chines meet at stem and stern, and they have an odd little decorative detail in the point where they meet that can only be seen by lying underneath one.

 

They certainly don't roll significantly empty, though I have yet to try one with 25 tons onboard.

 

The picture on the Sickle website of the swim looks to me very 'Yarwoods'. My impression is that the Yarwoods played about quite a lot with the GUCCCo's specification in the 3 classes in a way that Harland and Wolff didn't. Only the middle ones had rounded chines.

 

Maybe it's the other way around; the rounded chine making for a good ice-breaker once it was clear there were too many boats in the fleet.

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Difficult to know whether they are better for handling though they swim very well, their underwater profile is very elegant, especially the butties with large castings where the rounded chines meet at stem and stern, and they have an odd little decorative detail in the point where they meet that can only be seen by lying underneath one.

 

They certainly don't roll significantly empty, though I have yet to try one with 25 tons onboard.

 

The picture on the Sickle website of the swim looks to me very 'Yarwoods'. My impression is that the Yarwoods played about quite a lot with the GUCCCo's specification in the 3 classes in a way that Harland and Wolff didn't. Only the middle ones had rounded chines.

 

Maybe it's the other way around; the rounded chine making for a good ice-breaker once it was clear there were too many boats in the fleet.

It is often reported that they have a tendancy to roll but that is really only significant with the shortened motors like Sickle and Tycho and that is mainly because they are virtually all swim with hardly any straight side.

 

I was talking earlier in the week to the owners of Radiant and Regulus who have handled their boats empty and partly loaded and they confirm that they don't roll significantly.

 

I think the key drawbacks as far as the coimpany and boatmen were concerned were less space in the hold, steel cabins which were poorly insulated and the fact that the butties apparantly need to be steered on cross straps as they move from side to side more than a conventional boat. And you're right, the big boats were more popular because they could carry more and the cabins were more roomy.

 

And also of significance I suspect is that most of the names were so bizarre no boatmen could ever remember/pronounce them! Good looking boats though.

 

Paul H

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It's all interesting anyway even if it was an experiment. I'd thought about the problems with reducing the size of the cargo hold but thought that they could have just built the boats deeper to begin with. Then I remembered that canals only have a fixed depth :cheers:

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I'd thought about the problems with reducing the size of the cargo hold but thought that they could have just built the boats deeper to begin with. Then I remembered that canals only have a fixed depth :cheers:

 

That reminds me of one of the boaty books I'd read. An old working boat couple had a new boat built fairly later on in the carrying years, and they actually ordered a longer cabin, so they had more bed space. They said if they couldn't carry the load on the canals which were getting shallower they may aswell have the comfort!

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Don't forget that these weren't the first Narrow Boats to have a rounded chine, some of the Cowburn & Cowpar boats did. They had a flat bottom, but my recollection is (I've worked on both, though only odd bits on Middle Northwiches) that the chine radius on the C&C boats was rather bigger.

The Vee bottom, for those who haven't seen them, was actually very shallow to the point where I wonder why they bothered.

 

Tim

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Don't forget that these weren't the first Narrow Boats to have a rounded chine, some of the Cowburn & Cowpar boats did. They had a flat bottom, but my recollection is (I've worked on both, though only odd bits on Middle Northwiches) that the chine radius on the C&C boats was rather bigger.

The Vee bottom, for those who haven't seen them, was actually very shallow to the point where I wonder why they bothered.

 

Tim

Then there's Autherley:

 

Autherley in dock

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Don't forget that these weren't the first Narrow Boats to have a rounded chine, some of the Cowburn & Cowpar boats did. They had a flat bottom, but my recollection is (I've worked on both, though only odd bits on Middle Northwiches) that the chine radius on the C&C boats was rather bigger.

The Vee bottom, for those who haven't seen them, was actually very shallow to the point where I wonder why they bothered.

 

Tim

I am pretty certain that the Matty Boats also had rivetted round chines, some of the tugs certainly did.

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Just for infomation, SEXTANS is for sale in the current issue of the NBOC Newsletter

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Hi Baldock

 

Would also be interested in some more details about Sextant please.

 

Also;

 

it did occur to me today that maybe the rounded chines were to avoid wear on the chine, much less likely to rub than a square corner.

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Also;

 

it did occur to me today that maybe the rounded chines were to avoid wear on the chine, much less likely to rub than a square corner.

 

It doesn't work like that in practice. I've spent many (happy?) hours in the past repairing round chine plating on various narrow and wide canal boats, the wear is always concentrated in certain areas.

I remember replacing one bit of chine plating which had been doubled, and then 'trebled'. All three layers had holes worn through, the holes were just far enough apart that the buildup of rust between the layers prevented any leakage.

 

Tim

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Just for infomation, SEXTANS is for sale in the current issue of the NBOC Newsletter

 

As I recall it was for sale on Boatfinder about 18 months back, I thought it a fair price at the time round about £70k but the interior needed upgrading in parts. It was moored at Preston Brook dry dock for a while in Sept when mine was in for blacking, engine sounded wonderfull

 

Charles

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Hi I'm the owner of Sickle, the Middle Northwich Icebreaker. Sorry about the email links being incorrect, hopefully i've sorted it now. My email address is gu_sickle@yahoo.co.uk

 

I have now had confirmation off Tim (Braunston Marina) that we can hold the Middle Northwich Re-union. The plan is to get as many of the eight original pairs of MN boats as possible to attend, but some are proving difficult to trace. All eight motors and six of the butties are still in existence.

 

If anyone knows the contact details of any of the following boats, please let us know:

SCALES, SARPEDON, TRIAGULUM, THEOPHILUS, TAURUS & ZODIAC.

 

Kind Regards

Matt Parrott

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Hi I'm the owner of Sickle, the Middle Northwich Icebreaker. Sorry about the email links being incorrect, hopefully i've sorted it now. My email address is gu_sickle@yahoo.co.uk

 

I have now had confirmation off Tim (Braunston Marina) that we can hold the Middle Northwich Re-union. The plan is to get as many of the eight original pairs of MN boats as possible to attend, but some are proving difficult to trace. All eight motors and six of the butties are still in existence.

 

If anyone knows the contact details of any of the following boats, please let us know:

SCALES, SARPEDON, TRIAGULUM, THEOPHILUS, TAURUS & ZODIAC.

 

Kind Regards

Matt Parrott

 

Hi Matt,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

Theophilus is on a residential mooring in London and should have a postal address.

Try "Houseboat Theophilus," Blomfileld Road, London W9

but as it doesn't look to have moved in 30 years I doubt if it will make it to Braunston.

 

Zodiac is owned by the daughter of Iris Hewitt of Union Canal Carriers at Braunston so should be easy to get hold of and won't have to come far!

 

Triagulum (as you know) was renamed Kestrel (by Willow Wren) and is on the K and A. It might be worth seeing if info@nbalmighty.org.uk still works.

 

Scales was also on the K and A when it sold earlier in the year.

 

I thought all the butties survive except Thoth (although Thea is now a tug.) Which other one do you think is missing?

 

Paul H

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Hi Matt,

 

Welcome to the Forum.

 

Theophilus is on a residential mooring in London and should have a postal address.

Try "Houseboat Theophilus," Blomfileld Road, London W9

but as it doesn't look to have moved in 30 years I doubt if it will make it to Braunston.

 

Zodiac is owned by the daughter of Iris Hewitt of Union Canal Carriers at Braunston so should be easy to get hold of and won't have to come far!

 

Triagulum (as you know) was renamed Kestrel (by Willow Wren) and is on the K and A. It might be worth seeing if info@nbalmighty.org.uk still works.

 

Scales was also on the K and A when it sold earlier in the year.

 

I thought all the butties survive except Thoth (although Thea is now a tug.) Which other one do you think is missing?

 

Paul H

 

Thanks Paul,

 

I thought all the butties except Thoth still existed but Mike Turpin (Radiant & Regulus) believes Leonids and Thoth were scrapped. I emailed "info@nbalmightly.org.uk" last week, no reply yet. I'll have a go at sending a letter to the owners of Theophilus.

 

Kind Regards

Matt Parrott

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Thanks Paul,

 

I thought all the butties except Thoth still existed but Mike Turpin (Radiant & Regulus) believes Leonids and Thoth were scrapped. I emailed "info@nbalmightly.org.uk" last week, no reply yet. I'll have a go at sending a letter to the owners of Theophilus.

 

Kind Regards

Matt Parrott

I actually had a pint with Mike and Cath last week and he said that he thought Leonids was a houseboat in the Rickmansworth (Springwell?) area. So some confusion somewhere. I remember it on the limejiuce run so it certainly existed up to 1980 when I think it then went to Malcoilm Burge (Captain Cargo/South Midland) until he started his Josher thing.

 

Paul H

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