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Naughty Cal

A Thames Invasion for 2018

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We have the makings of a plan to bring a motley crew of assorted boats to the Thames next summer for a couple of weeks. 

The gaggle of boats will include Naughty-Cal, a Bayliner 285 (petrol), two 36ft dutch steel cruisers (9ft air draft 4ft draft), a Sealine F37 and a Cranchi 34. 

Now I know that it is going to be like herding cats trying to get all of these boats in the same place at the same time. But would welcome some advice on where might be a suitable location to get at least the bigger boats launched and how far up river they can expect to get.

The plan is to be dropped in as far upstream as possible and do a one way trip downstream heading down into London for a few days before heading out into the estuary and finding somewhere to pick us all back up again.

They can all sort their own transport and we will use Tony Tugboat again to get us down there so all we need is a slipway. 

We think we will tag a few days extra onto our holiday and get launched in the upper reaches of the river where the bigger boats won't get too.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

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I would think that you would get as far upstream as Osney bridge in Oxford, the big 3 story boats based on the Thames can get that far I think.  Although perhaps 9ft would get under there, it must be around that sort of clearance.

edited to add, it looks to be lower than I thought 2.28m.

Edited by john6767

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Yes Osney bridge is low enough that I managed not to duck enough when stood on the back of a modern narrow  boat, and cracked my head on it severely.

We have also witnessed what looked a not very tall boat jammed under the arch, albeit that it had managed to not go through the highest bit.

The nature of the Thames changes once west of Osney, and much of this is because none of the tall monsters can access it.  I have to say I vastly preferred Oxford to Lechlade, but it sounds like your fleet could only travel Oxford to London maximum.

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Have a look at Benson Waterfront.  I have used them on 2 trips to slip in and out.  Very helpful outfit with a large slipway.  About 6 miles below Osney bridge. 

Edited by Grumpy Bear

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5 minutes ago, alan_fincher said:

Yes Osney bridge is low enough that I managed not to duck enough when stood on the back of a modern narrow  boat, and cracked my head on it severely.

We have also witnessed what looked a not very tall boat jammed under the arch, albeit that it had managed to not go through the highest bit.

The nature of the Thames changes once west of Osney, and much of this is because none of the tall monsters can access it.  I have to say I vastly preferred Oxford to Lechlade, but it sounds like your fleet could only travel Oxford to London maximum.

That's why we are planning to add two or three extra days on so that we can get launched further upstream and explore the parts they can't reach.

Tony had already suggested we get launched at Lechlade and wind our way downstream from there. 

Would two or three days be enough to do this stretch justice?

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If I'm reading an old blog post correctly, it looks like we have done Lechlade to back onto the Oxford canal as a singl4e long days boating

http://chalicecruises.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/start-of-thev-journey-home.html

That was in the days when we were always trying to pack as much as we could in around Cath's work as a teacher, and was undoubtedly faster than most would chose to do it.

I would have thought 2 or 3 days Lechlade to Oxford would be quite an attractive prospect.

Note however that much of this stretch is incredibly rural, with some locks miles from the nearest village.  Pubs I recall as being fairly few and far between, though it was a while ago.

If you are going to drink in lots of Thames side pubs all the way to London, you may need to take out a loan.  If you are used to Sheffield prices, you will be in for a shock!

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18 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

That's why we are planning to add two or three extra days on so that we can get launched further upstream and explore the parts they can't reach.

Tony had already suggested we get launched at Lechlade and wind our way downstream from there. 

Would two or three days be enough to do this stretch justice?

I would say yes that would be long enough.  You may want to spend a day in Lechlade though, it is quite pleasent, you if you had 3 days total that would work.  As Alan said it is very different above Oxford, much quieter, the locks are manual, and probably not all manned.

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Sounds like a possible option then. We would spend our first night at Lechlade anyway after travelling down with the boat.

It's surprising how long it took to get it all sorted out again after it was unloaded off the trailer!

We don't mind rural. It will give us a few days break before we catch up with the reprobates further downstream. 

And we will start saving beer tokens now!

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3 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

Sounds like a possible option then. We would spend our first night at Lechlade anyway after travelling down with the boat.

It's surprising how long it took to get it all sorted out again after it was unloaded off the trailer!

We don't mind rural. It will give us a few days break before we catch up with the reprobates further downstream. 

And we will start saving beer tokens now!

And remember the Thames has an 8kph speed limit  :D although the criusers seen to largely ignore it.

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What is you air draft? I have never seen an S23 above Oxford which makes me wonder if you will get through Osney bridge.

Edited by billS

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13 minutes ago, billS said:

What is you air draft? I have never seen an S23 above Oxford which makes me wonder if you will get through Osney bridge.

6'6"

 

1 hour ago, john6767 said:

And remember the Thames has an 8kph speed limit  :D although the criusers seen to largely ignore it.

That's not a problem. Any quicker than that and she will be trying to climb onto the plane!

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I'm surprised you've not posted on the Other Place  forum which you used to frequent. I'm sure you'd get a welcome from TB and B1 to mention but two...

You'll go like a bat out of hell downstream at tickover. Lots of very windy (as in twisty) bits - but no problem as you're not long (pushing even 60 ft round the corners takes a bit of effort. It's very isolated so you'll have to plan pub stops but delightful. Be careful with your stern gear as the margins are quite shallow. 

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1 hour ago, Naughty Cal said:

6'6"

You should have about a foot to spare then at normal river levels

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1 hour ago, Tonka said:

you will need to consider Windsor bridge for the flotilla as it is low but obviously not as low as osney

The lowest bridge they have to negotiate here is 10'3" which they just scrape under.

Is Windsor lower then that?

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1 hour ago, Naughty Cal said:

The lowest bridge they have to negotiate here is 10'3" which they just scrape under.

Is Windsor lower then that?

According to Wikipedia it is 13' 2", but presumably that is to the centre of the arch.  Here is a rather poor photo that shows the narrowboat in front of us going under the bridge.

IMG_1120.JPG.1df908b2a6d98d01a08a261042e120d7.JPG

 

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9 hours ago, Naughty Cal said:

That's why we are planning to add two or three extra days on so that we can get launched further upstream and explore the parts they can't reach.

Tony had already suggested we get launched at Lechlade and wind our way downstream from there. 

Would two or three days be enough to do this stretch justice?

We're at Lechlade right now. We left East Street moorings in Oxford on Tuesday morning and reached the bridge at Lechlade this morning (Saturday). So that's 5 days but we have taken it very easy. In fact checking my engine hours I see we've done just 13.7 hours since setting off from East Street. Tomorrow we will do the half mile or so up to The Roundhouse at Inglesham and then turn to head back to Oxford to leave via the Sheepwash Channel Wedesday afternoon (the last day of our licence).

It has been very enjoyable but my main observations are how twisty it is at this end, how shallow it is in places, how isolated it feels, how much weed there is growing in the water in the last few miles and, most of all, how few mooring places there are in parts.

Good spots we found (heading upstream) are next to a field on the left upstream of Swinford bridge, on the right immediately upstream from the pub at Bablock Hythe, another field on the left just upstream from Rushy Lock, and another field (£5 per night I'm told although the farmer has not been round yet) on the left on the approach to the bridge at Lechlade.

Shame about the weather!

So windy yesterday in fact that when we moored at Kelmscott (also good) our initial aborted attempt ended up with an unintentional winding due to the wind. I initially tried to fight it then gave up and st it turn as it was easily wide enough at that spot for our 45 foot and then we just turned back upstream when setting off this morning.

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, MrBeethoven said:

We're at Lechlade right now. We left East Street moorings in Oxford on Tuesday morning and reached the bridge at Lechlade this morning (Saturday). So that's 5 days but we have taken it very easy. In fact checking my engine hours I see we've done just 13.7 hours since setting off from East Street. Tomorrow we will do the half mile or so up to The Roundhouse at Inglesham and then turn to head back to Oxford to leave via the Sheepwash Channel Wedesday afternoon (the last day of our licence).

It has been very enjoyable but my main observations are how twisty it is at this end, how shallow it is in places, how isolated it feels, how much weed there is growing in the water in the last few miles and, most of all, how few mooring places there are in parts.

Good spots we found (heading upstream) are next to a field on the left upstream of Swinford bridge, on the right immediately upstream from the pub at Bablock Hythe, another field on the left just upstream from Rushy Lock, and another field (£5 per night I'm told although the farmer has not been round yet) on the left on the approach to the bridge at Lechlade.

Shame about the weather!

So windy yesterday in fact that when we moored at Kelmscott (also good) our initial aborted attempt ended up with an unintentional winding due to the wind. I initially tried to fight it then gave up and st it turn as it was easily wide enough at that spot for our 45 foot and then we just turned back upstream when setting off this morning.

 

 

 

13.7 hours doesn't sound too bad for a stretchlike that.  Sounds about right for a couple of days for us.

Thanks for the heads up on the moorings.

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Another one to add, 'cos we're there now and it's very nice, is a meadow on the right hand side (heading downstream) just after the line of private moorings just downstream of Radcot bridge.

The 13.7 hours was taking it very easy, as we do. I think Canalplan estimates less than that.

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12 hours ago, MrBeethoven said:

Another one to add, 'cos we're there now and it's very nice, is a meadow on the right hand side (heading downstream) just after the line of private moorings just downstream of Radcot bridge.

The 13.7 hours was taking it very easy, as we do. I think Canalplan estimates less than that.

We are leaving a couple of days for that part of the trip. Well a bit more actually as we will have the afternoon of the day that we get dropped off as well. Should cover it comfortably then we will meet the other boats near Oxford somewhere.

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On 29/07/2017 at 08:23, Naughty Cal said:

We have the makings of a plan to bring a motley crew of assorted boats to the Thames next summer for a couple of weeks. 

The gaggle of boats will include Naughty-Cal, a Bayliner 285 (petrol), two 36ft dutch steel cruisers (9ft air draft 4ft draft), a Sealine F37 and a Cranchi 34. 

Now I know that it is going to be like herding cats trying to get all of these boats in the same place at the same time. But would welcome some advice on where might be a suitable location to get at least the bigger boats launched and how far up river they can expect to get.

The plan is to be dropped in as far upstream as possible and do a one way trip downstream heading down into London for a few days before heading out into the estuary and finding somewhere to pick us all back up again.

They can all sort their own transport and we will use Tony Tugboat again to get us down there so all we need is a slipway. 

We think we will tag a few days extra onto our holiday and get launched in the upper reaches of the river where the bigger boats won't get too.

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

It will be hard to find places that sell petrol on the Thames, and places that do sell it are very expensive.

With a 9ft air draft you can only go below Oxford and with 4ft draft you will be very close to the bottom in places.

Butcher Marine at Reading has a 50t traveling hoist for the bigger boats. 07860191981.

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8 hours ago, F DRAYKE said:

It will be hard to find places that sell petrol on the Thames, and places that do sell it are very expensive.

With a 9ft air draft you can only go below Oxford and with 4ft draft you will be very close to the bottom in places.

Butcher Marine at Reading has a 50t traveling hoist for the bigger boats. 07860191981.

There are plenty of petrol powered sports boats on the Thames so somewhere must sell it!

Not really our problem anyway as we are diesel powered. Fuel stops are down to the individual boat crews.

The gaggle of boats is changing as we speak. The F37 and Cranchi are probably not coming now in favour of the two couples hiring a boat at the same time as we go down. But in their place we potentially have another dutch steel cruiser and a Fairline 33. 

The dutch steelies are used to dragging the bottom. With their 4ft draft they are close to the bottom of the Fossditch most of the time anyway. So shouldn't really cause them a problem. 

We have already been given the details for Butcher Marine thanks on another forum, It does seem like the sensible place for the bigger boats to be craned in.

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14 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

 

The dutch steelies are used to dragging the bottom. With their 4ft draft they are close to the bottom of the Fossditch most of the time anyway. So shouldn't really cause them a problem. 

 

Kindly avoid dragging your dirty northern bottoms on the bed of the lovely undespoiled Thames.   Thanking you in advance for your co-operation.

 

PS ................  the bottom is very close to the surface as you go under the road bridge at Sonning, just downstream of the lock.

PPS ..............  please bring billhooks and scythes to cut down your share of the Himalayan Balsam that lines the river for miles downstream of Lechlade.  It has become quite tedious.

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