Saturday, March 02, 2013

Bright idea for avoiding a tough choice

Sometimes when I’m thinking through an issue, writing it up as a blog post helps me get my thoughts straight.  Let’s hope it works this time.  It’s all about where we should have our mooring base.  The other day an idea came to me which I need to think through.  First let’s describe the problem.
We like Herbie’s present mooring.  The marina is good, well kept , very reasonably priced and the people are friendly.  Also they’ve allocated us a very nice spot near this bench
There is also some good cruising to be had from there as we can reach various parts of the midlands through a choice of routes.  Not only that, we can take advantage of a lot of single locks rather than the bigger heavier doubles down south.
On the other hand, there are things about our old moorings  on the Slough Arm that we miss. 
Miss the Slough Arm?  “Surely not” –many would say.  Well we liked it.  Our banner photo at the top of this blog was taken on the Slough Arm.  It’s quite nice in Autumn too
It had a couple of advantages for us.  First it was only a half hour drive from home which for the odd day doing the odd job was ideal.  Secondly it had a one day lock free cruise into Paddington. For a short winter break a week up in London is ideal, and generally speaking no locks means no winter stoppages, so you can cruise out of season without hindrance.  In other parts of the year we could cruise up the Grand Union over the Chilterns, which to our mind is one of the nicest bits of canal we know. Or down and onto the Thames in a day and a half.
Just recently we received our invoice for the next year for our present moorings, so it is make yer mind up time and our dilemma was which do we like most.  Midlands or back down south. Then the other night it occurred to me that the answer was staring us in the face.  Why not have our cake and eat it?  South for the winter, further north for the summer, and a very pleasant cruise between the two either via GU or Thames /Oxford canal when we swap over.  The more I think of it the more I like it.
Everything has a down side of course, and I can think of two.  First, expense.  Moorings are always cheaper if you book and pay a whole year at a go. However when you think of the cost of us driving up to the midlands and back three or four times over the winter, and take into account that we would have a few weeks during the changeover when we had no mooring to pay for, it might work out to be cost neutral.
The second drawback is that the dear old Slough arm, if that’s where we went is quite prone to icing up in hard winters.
 slough arm winter for blog_edited-1
Often it is frozen solid when the GU end of the arm.  Having said that, I don’t think our present moorings are a lot better.  This next picture was taken recently in only a slight frost.
The third thing (Oh dear, Spanish Inquisition syndrome) is that  if we keep moving back and forth we can’t be choosy about which spot the boatyard owners allocate to us.  Our current spot at Crick is perfect.  We might not get such a good one next time. Should we go back to our old moorings near Slough we would be on a linear mooring breasted up against a residential boat.  That’s OK if your neighbour is a good one.  Also the moorings are  a long stretch.  We could end up a good ten minutes walk or more from the car park.  A pain if you have a lot of gear to carry from car to boat.
The fourth thing (Oh dear) is that we can’t guarantee to get a mooring at either place.  The odds are that we would be OK, but there’s always a chance that there would be no room at the inn.  I guess that we would improve our chances by making a firm booking a long time in advance.
All in all though I think the upsides are better than the downsides.  We haven’t decided yet, but what do you think?


Captain Ahab said...

I suspect that it will be the fifth thing which tips the balance!

Halfie said...

If the downsides are better than the upsides, then the upsides must be really bad!

Neil Corbett said...

Whoops! I need a proof reader. I'll amend it. Thanks john.

Jaqueline Biggs said...

Better the devil you terms of boat neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Would you consider continuously cruising for the summer then go into a marina for the winter?

That saves some cost and you only have to decided on one marina!

Of course, you'd need to cruise at least every other weekend but there are worse things :-)

Sue, nb Indigo Dream

p.s. You could buy a winter mooring at, say, Black Horse or similar - not too far out but still on the lock-free pound...

Neil Corbett said...

Jaqueline - that sounds like the voice of experience! Actually we had two different neighbours when we were breasted up on the Sough Arm and they were both lovely.


I don't think we'd manage your tick of moving every couple of weeks. We tend to do our boating in big chunks with long gaps between. As for the Black Horse, I suspect it wouldn't be a lot cheaper that High Line Yachting on the Slough Arm where we would have security and facilities.