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Like most things – It’s all in the planning!

Since my last post we have done the deed and Shirley Anne (soon to be Shangri La) is ours. Karen collected the keys last week.

And now we are planning how to get her from Windsor on the Thames to near Devizes on the Kennet and Avon canal.

Canal Map - Windsor to Devizes
Canal Map – Windsor to Devizes

There is a saying that BOAT stands for “Break Out Another Thousand”! Well I am certainly proving that point. But some things just need to be bought.

The 2 most expensive items right away are insurance and licencing, which between them account for about GBP 1500. The boat is currently on the River Thames, so I have bought a 30-day licence from the Environment Agency at GBP 360, as well as the annual Canal and River Trust licence for the Kennet and Avon at GBP 1115.

For the insurance I am using the same company that I used to insure our last boat, so I have a good no claim reduction!

Now to planning the trip itself.

Waterway Guide
Waterway Guide

I have bought the Nicholson Guide No 7 which covers the Southern Waterways, including the River Thames and the Kennet and Avon canal.

Nicholson Guide page
Nicholson Guide page

I have to say, I am not wildly impressed with these Nicholson guides. Yes there is plenty of good and useful information, but why they did it on A5 size paper, and show minute detail of streets in the town, I have no idea.

It should be on A4 size, and concentrate on the relevant waterway information. Add to the fact that at my tender age I struggle to read the info!

I have utilised a canal planning site as I am not at all familiar with either the River Thames nor the Kennet and Avon. Very useful – and from this I have produce a planning spreadsheet. It will take us 2 days boating to get from Windsor to a marina near Reading on the Thames, and then another 6 days to get to where we want to be.

We have to fit this all in around my and Karen’s work schedules! Fortunately several friends have offered to help.

Work-Inflatable lifejackets
Work-Inflatable lifejackets

I have also purchased 2 auto inflating/work lifejackets. Always advisable to wear these when negotiating locks, and often obligatory.

And 2 hand-held radios! It’s hard enough trying to talk to someone 60 ft away over the engine noise, let alone when in an enclosed wheelhouse, so these will be invaluable.

Hand Held Radios on charge
Hand Held Radios on charge

There are also a whole lot of extremely necessary bits of equipment. Quite a few of these are either not on the boat, or I have not found them. And where I work has all this stuff! So, to be sure, I have borrowed from them for the time being: Hose-pipe, mooring pins, hammer, winch handle, a couple of mooring ropes and a BW key for accessing water taps and sometimes swing bridges or locks.

Boating stuff!!
Boating stuff!!

We start the first part of the journey, from Windsor to Reading next week!

And here is a pic we got from the original builders –

Shirley Anne - Original Launch Pic
Shirley Anne – Original Launch Pic

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