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GOBA Great Ouse Boating Association

news Summer 2012

In this issue Silence is golden c ectri

The delights of el boating

A real gem


The story of Garn

No fixed abode

ware The history of Up Boat Club

Little Owl’s maiden voyage

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In this issue From the helm ................................................. 2 News.................................................................... 3

Our friends on the river

From the helm

Electric Boat Association Page 5 GOBA Annual General Meeting report .... 6 Special General Meeting notice ................ 7 General Secretary’s Report.......................... 8 Membership & Treasury Report ................ 8 Mooring Matters ............................................. 9 Publicity Report ............................................10

The good ship Garnet 50 years of service and still going strong Page 11 Jubilee Swan ..................................................12 Great Ouse photography competition...13 News from the Environment Agency ....14

The story of Upware Boat Club All you need is a boat... Page 16

The Owl and the pussycats Little Owl’s maiden voyage Page 19 Members Write ..............................................21 Club news........................................................22 Advertising directory ..................................25 Design by Simon Kotz and Marina Povey. ‘Merikala’ – moored at Jones’ Boatyard, St. Ives.


Ian Cox: GOBA Chairman

GOBA’s new chairman, Ian Cox, took over at the AGM in April. But what has he done to the weather? That was some drought! We’ve already had several flood warnings and the river has had at least two Strong Stream Advice notices served on it. According to the National Press, the month of June is unlikely to improve. Indeed, if we are to have a summer this year, it might start about the same time as this issue of GOBA News lands on your doormat. Many boaters I have spoken with have hardly used their boats so far this year, let alone gone through a lock. This year is well on the way to being one of the shortest boating seasons ever. The one weekend that was the exception, was the weekend of the 26th / 27th May, when Hartford Marina held a weekend Gala. GOBA committee members attended the 2-day event along with our marquee and trailer. This sort of event presents a great opportunity for us to meet members, as well as providing information and support to potential new members. It was unfortunate that even with four days of brilliant sunshine the event wasn’t better supported, as

numbers were small on both days. A year’s free membership to GOBA given as a prize in the Marina’s charity raffle was won by Mr Ray Massey of St Neots. Let’s hope the weather improves so we get some sort of summer; if it doesn’t I can well see my wife dragging me abroad in order to find some sun. Substantial increases in expense levels and recent changes in accountancy rules with the FSA mean we have to review the rules of our association in order to bring them up to date with current needs and practices. The committee have agreed a number of changes which will be put before an Extraordinary General Meeting on 14th October 2012. It might be a short summer - make the most of it – go boating! ■

Ian Cox

Thank you, Bob I would like to say thank you to Bob Wells for all his input and effort both as a committee member for many years, and Chairman for the last two. His commitment to GOBA has been immense. Apart from rarely missing meetings of the committee and with other groups, he was always available to man the GOBA stand at various events. As Chairman, Bob proved very adept at holding passions in check so that the committee response to situations as they arose was measured and constructive, rather than clouded with the emotion that some situations evoked.

His leadership proved invaluable in enabling GOBA to become involved in early discussions, at a national level, on the Canal and River Trust. This had the effect of raising GOBA’s profile within the Environment Agency, Defra and other boating organisations. Whilst the growing pains of the Canal and River Trust will not directly affect us at the moment, if the Environment Agency comes under the Trust’s umbrella in 2014, Bob’s input will place us in a very good position to achieve representation on the Trust Council. Bob, may I on behalf of all the members of GOBA, thank you for all your efforts.

Copy deadline for the Winter 2012 GOBA News is Friday 12 October Please send stories, comments or questions to

GOBA News • Summer 2012

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Ken and Deena Mansfield have taken over the marina next to the Lazy Otter and reopened the dry dock facility. Now named ‘Stretham Ferry Marina’ the yard, previously run by Cyril Elbrow, can once again offer hull blacking for narrowboats or dry dock hire for d-i-y. The site has mooring for 30 boats, all of which are taken at the moment. There are two cruisers for hire, a 20ft for day-hire and a 34ft for longer periods. ■

Has Cambridge lost its appeal? It seems that few boaters appear to have paid the new 10% premium on their Environment Agency licences to navigate the river Cam. GOBA News understands that by June, less than 100 EA licence-holders (just 2%) had shown a willingness to pay extra to visit Cambridge. Some may opt later for a visitor licence, more expensive still at 15%. A complete review and report on the new Interchange Agreement was promised by the Environment Agency for June but at the time of going to press there had been no announcement. In a separate blow to Cambridge’s attraction to boating visitors, a former mayor has suggested that all day-trippers should be discouraged from visiting the city. IWA Cambridge branch has announced its intention to be renamed the ‘Great Ouse’ branch and it has to be wondered if this decision is in any way connected with the recent decisions effectively discouraging navigation of the Cam. Meanwhile, Cam Conservators River Manager, Pip Noon, has asked us to remind anyone venturing towards Cambridge that overnight mooring for about 3 large cruisers is available at the Plough Inn at Fen Ditton for £5 a night. If you book a meal at the pub, overnight mooring is FREE. You need to book in advance on 01223 293264. ■

St Neots tap – flowing again? News reached us just as we went to press that the water tap at the Priory Centre at St Neots will be visited by the EA’s plumber in the next few days and the supply finally reconnected. This is great news as no public water supply was available riverside between Huntingdon and Bedford after the facility was removed by the council several years ago. An EA navigation key will be required to access the tap which will be fitted a percussion head to prevent wastage and vandalism. ■

Photo competition offers great prizes Jones Boatyard, in association with Anglia Afloat and GOBA, are offering some substantial prizes in their 2012 Great Ouse Photo Competition. First prize is a £500 voucher, with a Sevylor kayak for second place and free GOBA membership for runners-up. Closing date is 23rd September. More details on page 13

Ouse Fen Wetland Nature Reserve For many boaters the often bleak and windy tidal stretch of river below Brownshill Sluice is best passed through without a moment’s hesitation. But beyond the flood banks on either side of the river an exciting project is slowly gathering momentum. In partnership with Hanson and others, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is transforming a working sand and gravel quarry into a vast nature reserve with open water, grassland and huge reedbed. Just 10-years into the 30-year project, there are encouraging signs with bitterns, marsh harriers and a variety of other wetland wildlife being attracted. Soon, the RSPB plans to place some

Image Copyright Hugh Venables. Creative Commons Licence

Marina back in business

informative visitor signs at Brownshill Lock. In the winter issue of GOBA News we’ll have a full feature on the plans and progess. ■

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant

Boats and crew meet at West India Dock

Members, Simon Judge (NB Scholar Gypsy) and Mike and Fiona Costello (MV Grumpy Bear Too) proudly flew the GOBA burgee at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant on the river Thames. They joined 1,000 other craft sailing in honour of Her Majesty. Our great front cover picture from Mike and Fiona shows Grumpy Bear Too splendidly adorned with bunting. Scholar Gypsy’s bunting was in the colours of Brasenose College, Oxford, celebrating its 400th Anniversary in 2012.

The crews of both ‘GOBA’ boats met up several times before and after the event and they tell us that, despite the weather, it was thoroughly enjoyable and a huge success. Read Mike and Fiona’s story and some great pictures at: and go to Scholar Gypsy’s site for Simon’s tale and even more super photographs: Well done to both crews!

GOBA News • Summer 2012

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Diesel Advice

e d ra a P t a o B d te a in m lu Il A


St Ives - 25th August

uk or download from: Entry forms from: Nigel.H inated_Boat_Parade .php?section=News|Illum ain k/m g.u .or ba .go http://www

Denver silt concern

Still confused about Red/Bio/Fame-free diesel fuel? How can you check what is being supplied? What do all those numbers mean? The RYA has published an authoritative guide to diesel fuel on its website: reddiesel/Pages/FuelSupplies.aspx It explains in detail the specifications for the different grades of diesel available. ISO 8217:2010 is FAME-FREE ‘Marine’ or ‘Red’ Diesel with no BIO content permitted. BS EN 2869:2010 is ‘Gas Oil’, ‘Red’ or ‘Low Sulphur’ fuel with up to 7% BIO (FAME). BIO content is not mandatory. BS EN 590 is ‘Road Diesel’ which contains by law at least 4.25% BIO (FAME). RYA advice is to ask for FAME-FREE diesel wherever possible. It may have the BS EN 2869:2010 designation without the non-mandatory added BIO. If you are using fuel containing BIO content it is important to be aware of the operating and storage risks. “The key is to know what you are being supplied and the solution, to find a fuel source you are happy with. If your usual supplier will not provide fuel which is free from bio-diesel then you have the option to buy your fuel elsewhere.” ■

• • •

The perennial problem of silting on the tidal Great Ouse immediately below the lock at Denver is causing concern again. Although it was reported in early June that strong flows in the previous few weeks had greatly reduced the island of silt, it has re-appeared

in the last few weeks. Boats crossing from Salters Lode to Denver Lock must at present approach well to starboard aiming towards the Hundred Foot, then turn left close to the sluice before making another tricky sharp right-turn into the lock.

Great Ouse veteran Daphne dies GOBA has lost one of its longest supporters. Daphne Hersey, who sadly died on May 8th, had been with us for over 50-years. The association’s archives show that Daphne first joined, with her parents, on 21st February 1961. They came to the Great Ouse after finding the Norfolk Broads was becoming ‘too crowded’. The family had a new boat ‘Curlew’ specially built by Laurie Jones at Huntingdon. Daphne, 79, was well-known and loved in Jones’ Boatyard at St Ives where she moored her current boat, a Norman 20 – ‘Lady Jayne’. She was believed to be Jones’ oldest customer in terms of continuous mooring. Although she had lately given up cruising the river, Daphne was to be seen relaxing on ‘Lady Jayne’ or strolling around the picturesque boatyard most days in summer. A retired teacher, Daphne was well travelled, had many interests besides boating and was an acknowledged expert on river wildlife. Interviewed in 2010 aboard ‘Lady Jayne’ at the boatyard for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, she vividly described how she had watched otters


Boat Safety Scheme advice As we go into summer the BSS office has issued new advice to boaters: Carrying petrol on board: Don’t carry spare petrol on board unless it is completely unavoidable, but if it has to be done, every measure should be taken to reduce the chance of an accident. This advice from the BSS follows the death of two men in boat fire this April. Early indications are that a petrol container stowed in the aft cockpit of the cabin cruiser may have added to the intensity of the fire and may have made it more difficult for the new boaters to escape. Barbeques on board a boat: Never use a barbecue on board a boat. Take it ashore and enjoy it safely. The twin risks of fire and carbon monoxide are ever present and boaters should not ignore the threat. APRAGAZ certification mark: BSS has added an APRAGAZ certification mark to the list of accepted certification marks that portable fire extinguishers must to show to be compliant with the BSS requirements. However, it is easy to confuse the newly accepted mark with other APRAGAZ marks that do not indicate the extinguisher has met the standard. Boat owners should read this information carefully. ■

• •

playing at Hemingford Grey and once seen a huge pike take a complete brood of a dozen moorhen chicks. Daphne’s funeral was at Hemingford Grey on 31st May.

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New deal with anglers In a landmark co-operation deal with London Anglers Association, negotiated with the help of EA Ely Ouse River Inspector, Mervyn Day, GOBA has been granted permission for a mooring at Ten-Mile Bank, just downstream of Denver Cruising Club. Anglers will take priority over moorers at the new site and the GOBA signs have been amended. ■

We report the sad loss of two personalities long associated with our waterway Charlie Fox Charlie, founder of Fox Narrowboats died on Tuesday 28th Feb after a long illness, at the age of 74. He trained as a boat builder in Ely with Appleyard and Lincoln and spent his National Service in Hong Kong working on military craft. Charlie formed his company in the 1950s. Working from a small boatyard in West End, March (now home of the Middle Level Watermans Club), he built wooden dinghies and hired out rowing boats and canoes. It was in 1973 that Charlie built his first canal boat, and in 1980 he built the marina to the west of March, after buying a 22 ton dragline machine to dig out the basin. The marina now has the capacity to accommodate 177 boats including the hire fleet. Charlie had a great sense of community, and served as a retained fire fighter with Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue service for 25 years and was a recipient of the fire service long and good service medal. The waterways were always close to his heart, and Charlie worked on various restoration projects including the re-opening of Well Creek Navigation in the 1970’s and dug the winding hole in Whittlesey for the East Anglian Waterways Association in 1993. In 1997, Charlie handed over running of his company to daughters Paula and Tracey and latterly he extensively cruised the UK inland waterways with his wife Pat on board their narrowboat.

Ken Wenn Founder of Bridge Boatyard at Ely, Ken sadly passed away on 20th May. He had a long association with Great Ouse boats and boatbuilding. As foreman laminator at Appleyard Lincoln and Co. he was instrumental in the development of the company’s fibreglass craft. With his wife Jean he had previously been landlord at Ely’s riverside Cutter Inn. Our condolences go to Jean and sons, Philip and Chris.

Our friends on the river Electric Boat Association One of the pleasures of attending river events is meeting like-minded folk from other boating organisations. At the Hartford Marina open day in May the GOBA marquee was right beside the Electric Boat Association stand. Their Secretary, Barbara Peniall, told us all about their association and the almost silent joys of electric boating. Many GOBA members will remember seeing an interesting variety of electric craft when an EBA fleet cruised the Great Ouse in May last year. Barbara sent in a lovely account of another recent exploration of the Wey and Arun Canal and although space prevents us publishing it full, we do have a delightful picture. There is a wealth of information on the EBA and electric boating in general on the association’s website:

On the Wey and Arun Canal – Picture

Ian Rutter

GOBA and EBA member, Jeffrey Hide tells us more about electric boating on the Great Ouse My wife, Jacquie, and I moved to the Great Ouse from the Medway and sold our estuary cruiser in 2010. We installed various forms of ecological improvements in our new home and all this pointed towards a more green form of replacement boat. Electric power was the obvious choice and also for economy in the middle of a recession. On the website of the Electric Boat Association (EBA) we found our ‘eye catcher’ and bought it from the builder. Electric power was a mystery to us so that is what we called it – “Mr.E” (mystery)! At 14 feet long, 5 feet beam and a draft of only a Stressless and delightful!

foot it tows well on a 17 foot trailer. It seats six people comfortably. Being secured at home there are no mooring fees, the insurance through the EBA is only £85 and the EA river licence only £58. Added to these advantages there is no need for expensive crane lifts, no antifouling, no mechanical servicing, no need for a BSS certificate and no worry about massive depreciation on large capital. Yes, there are some expenses; just three of them. Batteries needs a top up after a day’s cruising (pennies!) and probably need replacing after about 5 years; the use of private slipways cost up to £15 but you get a secure place to park the car and trailer. We could have called the vessel “simplicity” because it really is so simple to use. The electric motor, the rudder and propeller are all in one unit under the rising arch of the hull towards the stern with control by a tiller arm from the rear seat. In other words, an outboard fixed inboard. The 24v system is powered by 6 x 12v leisure batteries through a splitter switch allowing for either or both of the two banks of batteries to be operated or turned off. Continual cruising for up to 8 hours is possible. Finally, there is the emotional consideration. With no sound, no vibration and no smell even swans and other birds do not flee upon our approach but often travel with us giving a feeling of quiet serenity difficult to achieve with petrol or diesel. You can talk without shouting and people on the river bank comment upon how we can move without an engine. - A stressless and delightful experience every time.

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GOBA Annual General Meeting 29th April 2012

Fifty-two members attended the 2012 AGM at the Cambridge Motor Boat Club. Many stayed on after the conclusion of formal business to enjoy an excellent lunch at this fine venue beside the river Cam.

Opening the meeting, retiring chairman, Bob Wells, expressed thanks to CMBC and gave us his report covering membership, moorings, GOBA News, liaison with the EA and the new Cam Conservancy/EA Interchange Agreement. He announced that he had decided to stand down early as chairman. Due to family commitments he could no longer find the time the position required. He said it had been a privilege to serve, thanked the committee for its support and wished his successor well. Our Financial Statements for the yearended 31st December 2011 were presented by Treasurer, Mike Mackay. He gave a detailed summary of the accounts, which showed a healthy position with a net operating surplus for the year of £10,146. We needed to rebuild a reserve so that we were ready to meet any challenges that the future might hold. There were no questions from the meeting and the Financial Statements were approved unanimously. In the absence of General Secretary, Alistair Reid, his report was given by Nigel Handscombe. Four main issues had dominated the committee’s time during the year: the new EA licence fees, mutualisation of the waterways with the establishment of Canal & River Trust, problems with lock closures and maintenance issues and, not least, the controversial new CC/ EA Interchange Agreement and charges. There had been disagreement over the increase in the EA licence fee by 6.4% but just when we were getting used to that it was announced that we must pay a further 10% to navigate the river Cam. This meant a total increase of over 17% just to navigate the same waters as last year. There had been lack of consultation on the part of the EA and we were puzzled why the EA should be retaining 5% of the 10% extra charge. By late April, only about 40 boaters had paid the extra 10% to navigate the Cam. There would be further meetings with the EA. The new waterways charity, Canal & River Trust, had now been established and would take


over from British Waterways. Our river and other EA-managed waterways may join the charity in 2016. We understood that 5 positions on the board would be left open for representatives from EA waterways if and when they are incorporated. Alistair reported concerns that almost every work programme on the river is running over its stated completion time, citing particularly St Ives, St Neots and Bedford locks and the Cardington landing-stages. We believe there are basic flaws in the planning and project management of works on the river. Some things had gone to plan. New ‘Strong Stream’ warning lights had been successfully installed at Cardington and would be installed at other locks. New slacker winding gear, first trialled at Houghton, had been installed at other locks reducing the number of turns required by up to two-thirds. The EA had agreed to our request to place ‘Switch off your engine’ signs in locks. Our moorings officers had made great progress in negotiations with the London Anglers Association, assisted by the EA, in securing a new mooring at Ten-Mile Bank. GOBA would be attending various river events during the coming year and our successful ‘Illuminated Boat Parade’ would be repeated, organised again by Nigel Handscombe. There was a new link on the GOBA forum to minutes of committee meetings so members could be

kept better informed about the work carried out on their behalf. Alistair’s report concluded with thanks to outgoing chairman, Bob Wells. “It has been a pleasure working with Bob”. He looked forward to working with the new chairman. The new officers and committee members were elected: Chairman Ian Cox Treasurer Mike Mackay Company Sec Sid Fisher all elected unanimously. Our auditors, C.J. Dyke and Co. were reappointed for the coming year. A discussion of topics raised by members followed, dominated not surprisingly by the Cam Interchange Agreement controversy.

Presentation to Bob Wells (right)

New chairman, Ian Cox, presented Bob Wells with the traditional knot board gift before closing the meeting at noon. A full copy of the AGM minutes and 2011 Accounts are on the GOBA website. ■

The Committee

John Hodgeson

Stuart Turvey

Mike Mackay

Roy Wood

Alistair Reid

Sid Fisher

Beverly Jenisis

Geoff Parrish

Ian Cox

John Bevan

Nigel Handscombe

David Mercer

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Notice of a Special General Meeting Notice is hereby given that a Special General Meeting of the Great Ouse Boating Association Ltd. will be held at the Cambridge Motor Boat Club, Clayhithe Road, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire on Sunday 14th October 2012 at 11am. AGENDA

Why must we change the rules?

To approve proposed changes, deletions and additions to the Association’s Rules as specified in the ‘Rule Changes 2012’ document annexed herewith. There is ample car parking at the club and the map right shows its location.

NOTES Any member entitled to attend and vote at the Special General Meeting is entitled to appoint a proxy to attend and vote in their stead. Forms for appointment for a proxy are available from the General Secretary, Alistair Reid at: 15 Willow Green, Needingworth, Huntingdon, Cambs, PE27 3SW. Completed proxy forms must be returned at least 48 hours before the meeting. They cannot be accepted at the meeting. Rule 46 is a fundamental Rule of the Association and requires a three-quarters majority to approve changes. Other rule changes require a simple majority.

Increased levels of expenditure, especially with regard to production of GOBA News and the revision of FSA rules relating to small organisations, require us to update our Association rules in order to meet our future needs and bring them into line with current practice. It should be noted that there is no proposal to change the current membership fee, only to provide for future changes. If we change the rule requiring an annual statutory audit, members will retain the opportunity to elect for such an audit at each Annual General Meeting.

RULE CHANGES 2012 The current Association Rules are published on the GOBA website and the changes we require to make are as follows. Rule 9

1st line insert after forward – “by mail or electronic means”

Rule 46

Add “The accounts examiner or” before the auditor.

Rule 15(b)

1st line delete ‘G’– insert “the Association”

Rule 47

Line 1 – Remove “duly audited and signed by the auditor and”

3rd line delete ‘on’ – insert “one”

Line 2 – Remove “auditor” replace with “account examiner”

Rule 17(c)

delete ‘audited’

Rule 48

Rule 17(d)

Replace “To appoint the auditor” with “To either approve an accounts examiner or to appoint an auditor”.

Add “either that described in paras 48(a) and 48(b) or in the case of an accounts examiner paragraph 48(c)


Add “A copy of the accounts statement and balance sheet made during that period”

Rule 49 (a)

Replace “auditor” with “ accounts examiner or auditor as applicable”

Rule 49 (b)

Replace “auditor” with “ accounts examiner or auditor as applicable”

Rule 57

Delete 10p – insert “£5.00”


Remove all and replace with the following words and table: Upon application for membership one year’s subscription for the membership class applied for and the joining fee shall be payable. The classes of membership referred to at Rule 12(b) shall be as follows:

Rule 26(d)

3rd line – insert after ‘each’ “account examination or”

Rule 27

delete ‘£1000’ – insert “£6000”

Rule 31

add “These may be kept electronically”

At heading Audit Replace with heading “Examination of Accounts / Audit” Rule 45(a)

Delete complete paragraph. Insert: “The members shall vote annually as allowed by the Deregulation (Industrial and Provident Societies) Order 1966 at the Annual General Meeting to have, when necessary in law or where the membership requires, the accounts to be examined by a professionally qualified accountant, or an audit to be carried out by a registered auditor” If a full audit or a report is required a person who is a qualified auditor under Section 7 of the Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1968 or Section 36 of the Friendly Societies Act 1974 shall be appointed.



Rule 45(b)

Delete – retaining sub-paragraphs (i) to (iii). Insert “None of the following persons shall be appointed as an account examiner or auditor for the Association.”

Single Member

A member who does not qualify for any other class of membership

Rule 45(c)

Add before auditor “account examiner or”

Rule 45(d)

Add before auditor ”account examiner or”

Trade Member

Rule 45(e)

Add before auditor “account examiner or” Add “/examine or” before audit.

A member who by way of business hires or lets motor cruisers on the river Great Ouse or its tributaries

Rule 45(e)(iii)

Add before auditor “ accounts examiner or qualified

Rule 45(e)(iv)

Add “as accounts examiner or” before auditor

Rule 45(f)(i)

Add “as accounts examiner or” before auditor –

Rule 45(f)(ii)

Add to lines 1, 5 and 10 “ accounts examiner or” before auditor.

A member who operates a commercial marina Affiliated Member

Any member (or nominee thereof ) operating a Boat Club (This does not confer membership rights upon the members of the club affiliated)

Maximum Subscription

Maximum Joining Fee



£50.00 plus £30 per cruiser in the fleet.






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General Secretary’s Report Alistair Reid: GOBA General Secretary The new boating season is well under way. Well, it would have been if the weather and river levels had been suitable for boating. Regrettable Following on from my last report there are still under 100 boaters who have taken up the option to pay the extra 10% to navigate on the Cam. I have had contact from one member who has done so and went up to Cambridge only to find that the City Council mooring was full of boats which appeared to be there on a permanent basis. Various communications have been made with the Conservators of the River Cam and Cambridge City Council. The conclusion of these discussions appears to be that Cambridge City Council couldn’t care less if visiting boaters come to the city or not. That is regrettable especially when other towns and cities on the river are actively to encouraging visiting boaters.

Restrictions re-think A number of meetings and contacts with the Environment Agency regarding navigation restrictions and closures have led to GOBA and the E.A. agreeing some actions to improve communications and improve the service to the boating community on the Great Ouse. These are: 1. To limit the number of closures during the boating season by starting works earlier as close to the 1st November as possible and finishing by Easter. 2. During the summer to only carry out work which requires navigation restrictions but not closures, except for essential emergency work. 3. A time float will be built into work which necessitates a navigation closure. Before the work site is handed over to a contractor extra time will be allotted to identify and tackle any problems before work commences. These details will be published in advance. 4. Previously sites have been handed over to contractors and locks closed before any set up is started. In future the contractors will be

asked to do the set up work before a closure is put in place. I.e. if work is scheduled to start on the 1st November and preparation will take 2 weeks that preparation can begin in the middle of October. 5. Significant changes of plan will be notified to GOBA with reasons why as and when they happen.

Reducing Hazards A number of areas have been identified where trees are growing across the navigation or have fallen into the river partially blocking it. The most serious situation has arisen upstream of St Ives where the trees are now so far out into the navigation that they have created a potential hazard to the rowers of St Ives Rowing Club. They expressed fear of danger of colliding with other boats where their vision is blocked and the navigation area is greatly reduced. This has now been taken on board by the E.A. who have passed it to their operations team who will carry out the work in the next few weeks. Firm dates are being sought. There are further tree problems just upstream of Dimmocks Cote on the River Cam and downstream of the guided bus bridge at St Ives. Work will also be carried out on willow trees at Hemingford Lock after the bird nesting season. At least one boater has had a problem getting into St Ives Lock from the downstream end. The width is stated in the Imray guide as 4 metres while the E.A. figure is 3.35 metres. Measurements taken in June by a GOBA member show that the guillotine gate width is 4.03 metres and width at the mitre gate slightly less with the vertical timbers at 3.93 metres. Although the dimensions of the lock have not changed, the effective width available to long craft has been reduced slightly by the addition of new plastic fendering on the ‘curved’ steel piling downstream. Feasible plans to transport sewage in barges from Ely to the Tail Sluice have been identified.

Holding tanks would be built at Ely up river of the railway bridge. The sewage would then be pumped on to barges which would travel on the Relief Channel to the tail sluice where the contents would be pumped ashore. Good news on the mooring front. The new mooring at Ten Mile Bank is now open and we hope to hear soon that the E.A. is able to hand the repaired mooring at Padnal Fen over to GOBA.

Red Cross The red led cross at locks means that Strong Stream Advice is in place and the lock is not to be used as it is open for flood discharge. This light comes on automatically when the lock is reversed and goes off when the lock is put back to normal operation. The only other time it would automatically come on is if there is a power cut. We hope the recent strong stream we have seen is the last time the red crosses need to be illuminated this boating season. All boaters are encouraged to register for the FREE Strong Stream Advice which lets you know when SSA is issued or cancelled. To do this contact Mandy Doolan at Environment Agency, Waterside House, Waterside North, Lincoln, LN2 5HA Telephone 01522 785943 or email mandy.doolan@environment–

Rule Change New regulations from the FSA could lead to a substantial cost to GOBA in the future under our current rules which state we must have our accounts audited by a registered auditor. So we need to change them. The committee has decided that an overhaul of the rules generally is overdue. Rule changes have to be approved by members at a General Meeting. As this year’s AGM has already come and gone we will need to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting to implement any changes. The proposed changes appear elsewhere in this issue of GOBA News. The required EGM will be held at Cambridge Motor Boat Club on Sunday 14th October 2012 at 11.00 am. ■ Alistair Reid

Membership and Treasury Report Mike Mackay: Membership Secretary & Treasurer It’s a funny old world in the membership/treasury ‘department’, or what goes around comes around. In 2002 the then membership secretary was bemoaning the fact that “many visitors to our river system ask for temporary membership”. The subs in 2002 cost £10.00 with the joining fee £2.00. He carefully pointed out that the annual membership was not expensive and was therefore worthwhile, even for a short stay of two weeks. Today, I’m still being asked for reductions ...“we’re only coming for a fortnight”... ...“June is


our annual holiday and we thought a visit to the Great Ouse, this year, would be nice”... get the trend! Clearly in answer I have to point out the absolute value of providing 25 maintained riverside moorings, the hard work the committee does on our members’ behalf and the thrice annual in-house magazine... ...“Oh, all right.” As of June 2012 our current membership

stands at an impressive 1842 and statistically we should just about reach 2000 by season’s end. The 2001/02 season saw us with some 1311 members. The then membership secretary, and this seems to be a common cry, also complained about late paying of subscriptions. Reminders are sent out with the Winter GOBA News to pay subscriptions during January and of course the Direct Debit run is carried out on 15th February. This year seems to be no exception, I have been inundated with renewals during March to June, some 314 in fact. Add to this new members

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Mooring Matters Roy Wood: Moorings downstream – Stuart Turvey: Moorings upstream It doesn’t seem to have stopped raining since we came back from Australia at the beginning of April. When the sun has come out, there has been ‘strong stream’ warnings and uncertainty about lock openings. Let’s hope that summer will soon be with us and we can concentrate on some serious boating. Our moorings seem to be in reasonable shape although our contractors have had some difficulty in cutting some of the moorings due to weather conditions. I went out to cut ‘Little Paxton Pits’ and nearly got marooned due to the soggy conditions. With the help of Tony Digby from Crosshall Marine, I managed to tidy up the mooring but it was touch and go getting back. My first stop, on the way home, was the car wash. The rickety stile at the Brampton mooring has been replaced by a new kissing gate which I obtained with the assistance of Huntingdon Council. The old stile, which gave access to the lane and pub, had become dangerous and I am indebted to the Sewell family, who own the field, for putting in the new gate.

I have had to renew a couple of GOBA signs which had been damaged by cattle; they seem to like using them as a scratching post. If you see any of our signs which have been damaged, please let me know.

The owner of the ‘Railway Bridge’ on the Wissey has had problems with motor bike and quad bike riders using his land as a cross country track and had to put in a new gate. This prevented our contractors from gaining access but the gate problem has now been resolved and things should be back to normal. I had a couple of complaints about long grass and losing pets! New moorings are still thin on the ground but with the help of the EA River Inspector Mervyn Day, a new mooring on the Ten-Mile Bank has been established. It is just down river from Denver MBC, on the right hand side. It is a long mooring and very peaceful. This bank is owned by the London Anglers Association, who have the rights over a great deal of river bank on the Great Ouse. We have been trying for several years to obtain permission to moor and this mooring is the first they have agreed to. The only proviso they make, is that their angling members have priority over moorers. The mooring is quite a distance from any roads, so I don’t think there will be very many anglers. The GOBA signage has

joining paying by cheque, direct debit or through paypal and you can see that this has been another very busy year. Mind, the weathers been so bad as to put a block on boating, but that’s no compensation. What can you do? If remaining a member and paying by cheque or PayPal, consider using our Direct Debit facility. (Form on page 30). If you wish to continue with your current paying preference please try and pay during January. If you decided to resign from membership only Direct Debit payers need to inform me and

to inform me before 1st of February, this then enables me to NOT collect on the DD mandate. Some members have asked how to change their details on line and if not members of the Forum, how to join. When you logon to the website you can view and edit your PROFILE. You can enter a change of address or change or select the special services offered by GOBA. If you have forgotten your password, simply email: and ask for a reminder, but please remember to include your membership number.

Stop for a kiss at Brampton.

been changed, on this mooring only, to reflect this proviso. Our thanks go to Mervyn for his help in finding this excellent spot and to the LAA for their co-operation. We all need to make this arrangement work well so that with a bit of luck and persuasion others may be in the pipe line. We are still short of moorings in the upper reaches. I have identified a couple of spots and am in the process of trying to trace owners. A spot has been identified near the ‘Mailers Meadow’ but I cannot find out who owns the bank. I have enlisted the help of the EA but they can’t discover who owns this bit of bank. I shall persevere and hopefully have some success to report soon. Roy Wood is also looking at spots on the lower river and working closely with the EA to indentify new moorings. The Hockwold enquiry has come to a halt, the owner refusing his permission. With the ever increasing volume of narrow boats and cruisers, more moorings are needed. Please don’t forget to send us any details of ideas for suitable moorings. Roy and I will always investigate. It would make the job much easier if owners of the bank could also be indentified. From somewhere down river, Roy adds: The eroded bank on our mooring at Brownshill Sluice has been brought to my attention. Unfortunately there is not much we can do here as I am sure the owners would not be prepared to spend large sums of money to repair the damage. As this mooring is little-used and as we have several other sites close-by we would not consider it a good use of your GOBA funds. Please take extra care if you use this mooring. I would also like to echo Stuart’s thanks to Mervyn and the London Anglers Association. This marks a real breakthrough for us. Here’s to future goodwill and co-operation on the river. Happy boating. ■ Stuart Turvey Roy Wood

If you are not a member of the forum and wish to be, email your request to membership and I’ll add you to that database. Unlike the membership database which automatically closes a resigned member’s record, members of the forum who have resigned from GOBA are eventually manually removed from that database, this includes late payers who become deemed to have left. Let’s hope the weather improves. ■ Mike Mackay

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12/07/2012 11:16

Publicity Report Beverly Jenisis: Publicity Officer Since being introduced to you in the spring issue as a co-opted committee member, I have now been formally elected as a committee member, at the recent AGM, and have taken up the position of publicity officer. First call of duty – coordinating the boat clubs’ contributions to GOBA News - has been fabulous because of the stories emanating out of them. For, in spite of the disastrous summer so far, they have struck me with their sheer determination to out-do the weather. I am also picking up quite a lot about each club and how they function. During the past six months I’ve been developing GOBA’s publicity, which has been an active job. First, there’s getting to know and understand each of the committee members and be guided by the wealth of experience and knowledge they possess. Secondly, there is listening to the current issues raised. Hopefully, this will be reflected in my publicity work as a whole, by coordinating various communications with the media and supporting the committee on various issues. I have also attended the Bedford River Valley Park workshop, where information was gathered from GOBA and various stakeholders to develop a long list of potential projects. An initial list has now been sent out and is being

assessed as part of the master planning process. The local authority and consultants’ aim is to develop a shortlist of proposed projects to be taken forward as opportunities/ resources allow. It is now hoped that they will be in position to share the resulting draft master plan and shortlist with us and the other stakeholders, for comment in the early autumn. One of the biggest opportunities for GOBA members is that there may be the availability of increased moorings. I will get back to you on that.

Ray Massey receives the GOBA goodies at Hartford from Chairman Ian Cox

I helped man the GOBA stand at the two-day event at Hartford Marina Open Weekend, where GOBA donated a year’s free membership, rugby top and burgee as part of a prize draw. Asked to bring my camera, I took many pictures that can now be seen on the Marina’s website. I had a lot of fun at this event, meeting members of GOBA and other groups related to the Great Ouse. It was also memorable for me and my partner, as we were able to navigate our boat to the event, over a two-day period, in what seemed to be heatwave weather - making that our second voyage on our boat. My next port of call will be at The Cambridge Community Magazine Awards for 2011, in July, where GOBA News has been entered for an award - and the Ely Aqua Fest, also in July, where we will have a stand. I’ve again been asked to take photos, so I’ll be able to share all of them with you in the next issue of GOBA News. Wish us luck at the awards. Do you have a story for GOBA News? Why not share it with fellow members? Don’t be afraid to put pen to paper and send it to us, we’d welcome contributions. Don’t forget, this is your magazine! ■ Beverley Jenisis:

Bulletin Points Ever wondered how those GOBA bulletins magically appear? GOBA Bulletins enable us to provide members and visitors to the system with as up-to-date information as possible at key points on the river. They are posted, usually monthly in the season, at over 70 sites – locks, marinas and club notice boards. The latest news on lock closures and restrictions, navigation hazards and moorings is always included together with details of forthcoming riverside events and a useful Contacts section. The notice boards at locks (designed by our own Sid Fisher) were donated by GOBA to the old National Rivers Authority nearly twenty years ago and have served us well in passing vital topical information to boaters. Production and distribution of the bulletins, a key but little-known and rather unsung GOBA task, is now handled like a military operation by ex-chairman, John Hodgson. John recently took over the job from John Pridmore who had done a magnificent job for us over many years. Each month, John collects the latest information from a variety of sources, checking the finer details with a series of phone calls, then types up the new bulletin. It is laser printed the same day at John’s local church, at almost unbelievably low cost. John then


has to individually laminate all the bulletins to protect them from the weather – a very time-consuming task. How they have needed such protection this year! Next, they are quickly posted off to over twenty gallant volunteers - committee members, club officials, marina owners, lock-keepers and the EA river inspectors. Within days the bulletins will be in place to keep us all informed. Posting the notices at the more remote spots on the river can sometimes be a challenge, especially out of the main boating season or in poor weather. Typically, it may involve a wet and windy trek along the bank - or worse. At Brownshill Sluice, for instance, our volunteers may have to take a mile-long detour on the bumpy roads through the quarry. Well done, John, and a big thank you to all our volunteers who play a part in keeping us up to date. If you have information for the bulletin,

or you spot a bulletin seriously out-of-date, then John would be pleased to hear from you. Contact John at:

GOBA News • Summer 2012

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12/07/2012 11:17

The good ship

Garnet I much enjoyed Roy Woods’ article, describing his 60 years on our waterways. Also, it was a joy to see a picture of “Garnet” taken, I am sure, from one of the old Banhams’ brochures, sent every year to prospective customers. My own history in boating dates back to the early 1960’s when I joined a crew of footballing pals to sample the Fenland waterways. Like Roy, my first experience was on the boats of H. C. Banham and Co. of Cambridge, starting first with “Amethyst” and then moving on to the “Opal,” a luxurious four berth cruiser, which we hired for a few years. These were glorious holidays for us, very much pub-topub by boat, with fishing taking more and more prominence as time went by. Sadly, our efforts usually went unrewarded (nothing up to Roy’s standard) but the best part of fishing, we decided, was spent in the pub, talking about fishing! These trips inevitably led to the desire to buy a boat, and I persuaded my brother, Roy and my brother-in-law Alan to join in partnership. Our first boat was purchased on the Thames and proved to be a real headache – nearly everything was wrong with it. Also, the yard where the boat was moored was very unfriendly, and boating then seemed a bad move for us. Luckily I remembered the happier times on the Fens, and I suggested we approach Banham’s to see if we could transfer the boat to Cambridge. This was agreed and the boat was moved shortly afterwards. From then on our futures changed, as we found the staff at Banham’s extremely helpful and informative. The likes of Ossie Hawtree, Bernard Constable and Cyril Elbrow gave us valuable advice in rescuing our treasured wreck and, with much effort on the part of brother Roy, the boat blossomed into a very nice cruiser, renamed the “Fleur de Lys,” after the pub nearby where we spent hours planning the next stage of the reconstruction. Surely the best part of repairing

boats is spent in the pub discussing it! After six happy years with the “Fleur” we received news that the Banham’s hire fleet was to be sold off and we made enquiries, leading to the purchase of “Garnet” in 1973 – this was luxury indeed! Over the intervening years we have made some changes (a new diesel engine being the main alteration) but the boat remains the same vessel that toured the Cam and the Ouse from its first launch in 1962. Derek, late-brother Roy, brother-in-law Alan and Even today, we get the occasional sister Jean comment from fellow boaters that they had a holiday on the old tub way back of these lovely rivers and have never considered in the days of their youth. moving away from the Fens or, indeed, from the Our association with the “Pike and Eel” goes Pike. How little has changed! More boats on the back to the boating holidays with “the boys” – we river certainly, and pubs open or close down but could not pass by such a delightful watering hole the gentle rivers wash the banks very much as they without an occasional pint or two, even though our did in my youth. first pints were consumed shortly after a healthy Very sadly, one of our founder members, my breakfast! When our own boat became a reality brother Roy, died in October last year. He will be we secured a mooring at the Pike, and we have greatly missed, not only as a fine companion but remained there ever since. We were lucky initially, also as the person to whom we would all turn if the as this was before the marina was developed, and boat needed repair or maintenance. It is a great scarcely less than ten boats were given a mooring tribute to him that the boat looks as good as it space. Inevitably we became involved with the has ever done, with the mahogany superstructure “Pike and Eel Boat Club” and many happy years gleaming as it did in days of yore. We will keep the were spent in that gallant company. I was elected boat going in his honour for this year at least. Commodore in 1980 if my memory serves me With the other members well into their dotage right. Sadly, old friends die and others move to (Alan is 86, my sister Jean 81 and I am 75, still moorings new and, in the end, we were offering feeling slightly miffed that after all these years I am apologies for non-attendance at events, leading still classed as cabin boy!), we must soon face the us to withdraw from membership. However, many possibility of writing the final chapters in the ship’s happy memories remain of evenings in the Chalet log. What memories we will have! And I think I can Bar, with the place rocking with music and laughter. say with hand on heart that we are surely the oldest Where have all the years gone? It hardly seems crew on the river, if not the wisest. ■ possible that this will be our 45th year on the river, with the “Garnet” celebrating 50 years of service. Derek Cousins We still find great pleasure in cruising the waters

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12/07/2012 11:17

Jubilee swan In early April, a pair of elderly resident swans in Jones’ Marina decided for the second year running to build their nest at the bottom of an old slipway. It was a sparse nest due to the lack of nesting materials in this area of the marina. Shortly after the nest was built the first egg appeared only to disappear overnight and on the third day another egg was laid only to disappear again. Mick Jones decided this was enough and we fenced the swans in but with full access to the slipway eggs still went missing. There was nothing for it but to further secure the nest. Weld mesh was fixed on the sides, the top and down into the water so that the culprit had no way in, other than to swim. This did the trick and eggs stopped disappearing. Once the pen had a clutch of five eggs she sat tight to incubate them and now appeared to be safe and sound. Little did we know what was around the corner.

With little else to do her husband, the resident cob, decided to pick a fight with a newcomer on the centre spit. On three separate occasions I was forced to separate them and, had I not done so, the resident cob would certainly have been killed. He could just not compete with the younger newcomer who was almost twice his size. On each occasion the larger younger and stronger cob had the old boy pinned on the ground and was using his beak to slowly but surely strangle him. With assistance, I literally pulled them apart and placed the old boy back into his own territory. I think he finally realised that he could not win and gave up. It was very interesting to me that it was always the old boy that was the aggressor, but then he has always been aggressive. Alas, more traumas. On Sunday 29th April, after a few days of heavy rain, water levels on the river Great Ouse and in the marina began to rise very rapidly. As we arrived back from the GOBA Annual General Meeting at around 3.30pm the


water level was near normal but in just two hours it rose over 3 ft. A quick change of clothes and we moved our boat ‘Destiny’ to a mooring where the staging would stay above water. We then helped Mick Jones and other marina staff to loosen a lot of ropes to ensure that all moored boats would remain safe. Many were secured to the staging and not to the sliding rings provided. Some were tied with very short ropes and the rising water had tightened some ropes to the extent that a small jemmy bar was needed to release the knots. In some cases extra bodies were needed on the deck to weigh the boat down enough to release the ropes. There is a lesson here, never ever tie your boat up tight if you are unsure when water levels will go up or down. Back at the slipway, the water was starting to overwhelm the swans’ nest and they were clearly becoming more stressed by the moment. Should we leave the nest to be destroyed or move it? You’ve guessed it; we could not stand by and watch as it drowned, so despite the obvious dangers we decided to act. First move back the cage, second move the nest up the slope, a process that was repeated five times in the coming hours. We did on each occasion explain to both Mr and Mrs Swan that we were only trying to help but their aggression clearly indicated that they did not understand English. Initially, neither Mick nor I spoke Swan, but we learnt as time went by and by nine in the evening, the last time that the nest was moved up, were both fluent in Swan talk. Clearly this impressed the swans who became much less aggressive. From start to finish the nest was moved some thirty feet up the slope. On one occasion the Pen did have an accident and due to over exuberant egg turning managed to roll all the eggs out of the very sparse nest into the cold water. She was pleased to have them returned and I deepened the nest to prevent further accidents. With the final move completed my wife Sylvia and I set about supplying some much needed nest material that had been washed in on the flood. The material was just placed in the cage for them to help themselves and it was truly fascinating to watch the cob passing material over his shoulder to his mate and the pen slowly building up the

nest profile. Two full barrow loads of material were all used up in less than twenty four hours and with the nest height increased by some eight inches it was made safe with the flood just lapping at the very front edge. During the next few days I set up a wildlife camera on the cage. It was visited regularly by a fox as shown in the infrared photo. I suspect this fox was the egg thief but he did no more damage, clearly not wanting to get wet feet. It was now late May. Would there be any cygnets? When the eggs were rolled out of the nest into very cold water this was a concern but the fact is that had we not rescued the nest there certainly would not have been any. Then, on 29th May, a very talkative pen indicated that a cygnet or two may be present. Spoken to in my best swan talk, which she clearly understands, I persuaded her to stand up just enough to reveal one cygnet. Great, will there be more? We watched very carefully over the next three days but alas, there was only the one, the other eggs are rotten. Under the circumstances, for these very elderly parents to have one cygnet is and achievement, but a small disappointment as we would have liked at least three or four. Now we just have to keep it away from the foxes!

The cygnet has been christened ‘Jubilee’.

I am maintaining night watch in the marina with a wild life camera and will report again should any interesting pictures and stories materialise. So far I have quite a lot of wildlife videos of birds and mammals. Let’s see what other wonders of nature I can come up with. ■ Nigel Handscombe now known as the ‘Swan Whisperer’.

GOBA News • Summer 2012

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12/07/2012 11:35


£500 Jones ty Boatyard ard Jones Boa


Sevylor Colorado kayak, pump & paddle

£5o0u0 cher

Gift Voucher Gift V

Send in your photographs, taken along The River Great Ouse. Selected entries (1MB min size) will be placed on the Interactive River Great Ouse Map. Entrants must own rights to the images and grant Jones Boatyard and Anglia Afloat the right to publish their entries in any digital and print promotional material.

r The Rive

Even if you dont win the River Great Ouse competition you can still ... a Sailing Holiday for two in Turkey, worth £2,000. All photos also entered into this years Anglia Afloat competition where you could win a holiday in Turkey.




eat Ouse


Email your photos along with name and address and the location of the photograph to with the subject Photo Competition. Closing date 23rd September 2012. Terms and conditions are on our website www.

“Navigating the Future” For boaters, 3 runners up will win 1 years GOBA membership and burgee.

Help judge the entries! Visit us on facebook, where all the the entries will be uploaded each week for you all to view.

Just click on the “Like” button to help us judge the best photographs.

Entries to be exhibited on the Interactive Map of The River Great Ouse. Visit

GOBA News • Summer 2012

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12/07/2012 11:17

Slipway refurbished

Water relief!

The slipway in Isleham has recently reopened after we completely refurbished it in early Spring. The work was managed by operational colleagues to improve access to the water for our weed boats and other maintenance craft. The slipway now provides an excellent facility to launch small day boats. A security barrier has also been installed, this can be opened using your Environment Agency ‘navigation key’. If you use this slipway please ensure the barrier is locked when you leave it to help stop ‘unregistered’ boats entering our river system. ■

Since April we’ve received record rainfall across most parts of Anglian region. The rivers, reservoirs and levels in the aquifers have improved dramatically, so much so that we are no longer officially in a drought. Due to the record rainfall Anglian Water lifted the hosepipe ban on 14 June. However some areas still have low groundwater and rivers and wetlands are still at risk of environmental stress this summer/autumn. With recent rain, the areas at risk have significantly reduced showing a much more positive picture for water supplies and the environment this summer. Our drought teams are closely monitoring this and are ready to manage any impacts on the environment or agriculture. We haven’t seen a full recovery yet and with rainfall expected to become more unpredictable in the future we are still encouraging everyone to use water wisely.

We have improved the slipway in Isleha


Be prepared when river conditions change

Houghton lock, April 2012

The recent high flows in April and June are a timely reminder of the risks of navigating on the River Great Ouse when flows and water levels are above normal following periods of heavy rainfall, even during the summer months. At certain flows we ‘reverse’ the locks with guillotine gates: an operation that pins back the pointing doors and uses the guillotine gate like a sluice, which for safety reasons closes the affected locks


to navigation. The lock is then isolated or padlocked to stop any unauthorised use whilst it is ‘reversed’. Red warning signs are displayed and LED warning lights are also activated at many of the locks. Red flags are also displayed at various sites on the river and at some marinas. When we ‘reverse’ the locks we issue our Strong Stream Advice message informing river users that locks are ‘reversed’, flows and river levels are above normal and we strongly advise against attempting to navigate. We will call your landline/mobile phone (or both) free of charge informing you via an automated messaging system when Strong Stream Advice has been issued or cancelled. Text and email facilities are now also available. We strongly recommend all river users to sign up and receive this free service for the rivers Great Ouse, Nene and Ancholme (or all three). If you would like to receive our Strong Stream Advice message please contact Mandy Doolan on 01522 785943 or email Further information can be obtained by telephoning our Floodline Information Service to hear a recorded message, which will inform you if Strong Stream Advice is issued by following these three simple steps: 1. Call Floodline, on 0845 988 1188 – You will be welcomed to Floodline and offered different touch-tone options. 2. Choose option ‘1’ to ‘listen to pre-recorded information for flood warnings currently in force and information for boaters’. 3. Then simply enter one of the following quick dial Strong Stream Advice numbers: River Ancholme 031212 River Nene 032112 River Great Ouse 033211

Bedford Lock looking as good as ever

Refurbishment of Bedford Lock guillotine gate.

Bedford lock was re-opened in April following a major overhaul of the guillotine gate. Improvements were also carried out to improve the operation of the vee doors. Electricity has now been connected to the site making it the final guillotine gate on the Great Ouse system to be powered. To mark this special achievement the ‘capstan’ wheel removed from the gate will be mounted next to the lock with a special commemorative plaque. The headroom under the guillotine has also been increased – a recommendation made by the award winning Bedford Waterspace Study. ■

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12/07/2012 11:17

News from the Major work completed at St Ives lock

New landing stages installed Boaters using Cardington lock will notice that the old timber landing stages have been replaced. The new landing stages have been designed to have a lifespan in excess of 50 years with galvanised frames and steel piles. This will help to reduce the cost of maintenance. Non-slip mesh decking has been installed to help reduce risks to boaters. The decking is topped with reinforced glass-fibre plastic mesh impregnated with silicon. A new recycled fender has also been fitted to make it boat

friendly. The upstream stage has also been specially designed to enable you to safely ‘walk’ your boat into the lock pen. Waterways Team leader Nathan Arnold said: “We have been planning to replace these landing stages for several years now. I am really pleased we managed it in time for this year’s Bedford River Festival. They are top quality and will be here for many years to come. I would like to thank river users for their patience while the works were taking place.”

Landing stage designed to walk boats into the lock.

Waterways projects make a splash at awards St Ives lock during refurbishment.

St Ives lock re-opened in time for Easter following a major refurbishment of the lock pen, vee doors, guillotine gate and downstream landing stages. The new floating landing stages were installed to provide additional temporary mooring space at the lock when river levels and flows are above normal. These were quickly put to good use during the high flows experienced in April and June. We have also taken the opportunity to improve the downstream approach to the lock pen by re-aligning the ‘in-stream’ fenders. We have also installed additional fendering to the sheet piling.

Swap a book at the lock After you have locked through Hermitage Lock why not moor up and come and view our collection of books. The lock keepers are starting a book exchange scheme for boaters where you can swap that finished novel or unwanted book. ■

The Environment Agency and its partners are celebrating after three waterways projects were recognised during a national awards ceremony. Bedford Waterspace Study, Spalding Waterspace Study and the River Nene Infrastructure Improvements project received accolades during the 2012 Waterways Renaissance Bedford Waterspace Study Project team receiving the award Awards. Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway Trust, won Erin Witcomb-Vos, Environment Agency runner-up in the Strategy and Masterplanning Waterways Team Leader, said: “We are delighted category. The study is a catalyst to improve, that the efforts of both the Environment Agency encourage and enable more people to use and our partners have been recognised nationally. the River Great Ouse and help to shape future “All three of the projects were developed development along the river. jointly and were great examples of how, by The Waterways Renaissance Awards is run working together, organisations and individuals by The Waterways Trust. In the 10 years since it can help to improve our waterways for now and was launched, it has recognised more than 100 for future generations.” exceptional projects that use canals and rivers to The Bedford Waterspace Study, a partnership enrich people’s lives across the UK. ■ project with Bedford Borough Council and the

GOBA News • Summer 2012

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12/07/2012 11:18

GOBA News – Featured Club

The story of U

All you need is a boat! It all began, as many things do, in a pub! Several moorers at Upware Marina (which itself had only been established a few years earlier) used to meet regularly at weekends in the Five Miles Public House conveniently situated next to the Marina, and decided it would be a good idea to form a Boat Club, as the nearest existing clubs were some distance away at Cambridge and Denver. It was November 1985, and a meeting was held in the Five Miles to discuss the project with all those crews interested. The result was a Committee being voted in and a Constitution approved. Thus the “Upware Boat Club” was launched. At the helm were its founder members Sid Fisher and Maureen Taylor. Sid became the First Commodore and is still active as the Club’s Life President. Maureen became the General Secretary and the driving force behind the Club, but she has long since given up boating. The only criterion for becoming a member was simple - you had to have a boat!

Sid and Maureen.

A Commodore’s Welcome in March 1986 in the Five Miles Pub became the Club’s first function. Following on was a programme of events including a Regatta and Laying Up Supper, with various cruises around the Great Ouse and its tributaries in between. During the early years this became a successful formula and through word of mouth many crews interested in active boating came from far and


UBC Blues Band at early Regatta

First Regatta 1986

First asset.

Skeleton Crew 1990 .

wide to moor at Upware and “join the club”. Membership peaked in 1989 with 49 member boats, 48 of whom moored within Upware Marina. The Laying up Supper and the Regatta, with Boat Handling and keenly contested Boat Dressing competitions, became the main events. Also featured at the Regatta was the Club’s first asset, an old oil drum converted into a B.B.Q.! A marquee was hired from the local scout group, Francis Pope (a local farmer) loaned us a trailer of straw bales which were adapted as seating and tables, and it all took place in the gardens of the Five Miles, with the pub providing a mobile bar. The Laying Up Supper was more of a party and took place in Wicken Village Hall, with party hats, a balloon net, pea shooters, a paper plane aeronautical display and anything else we could think of. An amazing 114 people attended our fourth laying up supper which remains a record. It is worthy of note that the Caterers whom Sid Fisher introduced still provide the catering at the Laying Up Supper.

Right:Winning Team including 4 past Commodores

High Aspirations and Friendly Rivalry As the stature and reputation of the Club grew, so did links with the other boat clubs on the Fens. These associations flourished particularly with Cambridge, Denver and the Pike & Eel, and these links are as strong today as they have ever

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12/07/2012 11:18

f Upware Boat Club “Upware Boat Club’s base is wherever members want it to be on any chosen date.” been, producing great friendly rivalries during inter-club activities. None of these more so than an epic tug-of-war at the Pike & Eel Regatta in 1998 when, level at one tug each, the third and final tug lasted nearly ten minutes before Upware finally triumphed! An essential pillar of club life has always been the Newsletter and this reflects the huge change in society over the past quarter century. Initially produced as typed and stencilled, during this middle period it became more complex as cut and paste ... literally, with scissors and glue, to its now computer generated format with colour photographs. It is no longer copied and posted to members in printed form, but accessed via the club website. The club’s website itself was set up by Committee Member Dave Foster in 1999, making Upware Boat Club the first motorboat club on the Fens to sign up to the electronic age.

Portable club house when new .

Pirates at an early regatta.

In spite of not having a club house, aspirations were high right from the start and now, during this middle period, the annual list of events had expanded and become far more organised, with themed events; a sports day (the egg and spoon race being the equivalent of the 100 metres

sprint, to give you the idea). One of the highlights was an annual cruise into “The Wash” (weather permitting - when the sea-going boats would take the river-based crews, who conversely would take the sea-going crews when on the narrow/shallow areas of the river system) and of course there were the ever popular visits to

various riverside towns, villages and pubs. All this resulted in a total of some 12 organised events a year! At this time a number of crews had young children, and a “Youth Development Fund” was set up to encourage the youngsters to attend courses with a view to improving their boating skills and safety. Although dormant of late, this fund still exists and awaits members with families to enjoy the training opportunities it is able to offer. Also at this time the Club adopted as its theme tune “Living next door to Alice” by Smokie, but it became more appropriately known as “Living next door to Upware”, or after Closing Time: Upware, Upware, where the **** is Upware! This song is still sung with great gusto at club events. By this time the club B.B.Q, whilst still homemade, had become more sophisticated and was now stainless steel with adjustable cooking shelves, WOW! A number of other mobile assets had been added to the club’s equipment, including a hi-fi system, a flag pole, which was erected wherever “The Upware Boat Club’s continued over...

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...from previous page clubhouse” happened to be, and most notably a marquee, which ensured that club functions were no longer at the mercy of the weather. The marquee was rather cumbersome, but stored and transported by road to the various club functions (and still is) by former Commodore Gary Hartwig, to whom the Club owes a huge debt of gratitude. A “Winter Cruise” was introduced in February 1998 organised by former Commodores John Dodsworth and Bob Wells. The first was a weekend ferry cruise from Harwich to Hamburg. It has since become more land based, with long weekends booked at various hotels and holiday camps around the East and South Coasts, although the occasional sea trip, such as to Bruges, still takes place. It continues to be on the events list during February each year and is well attended. During the early 2000’s although the Club still maintained a healthy and active membership it went through a bit of a lull. Enthusiasm for the Boat Dressing and for events with Fancy Dress opportunities was in decline and was replaced by a more sedate atmosphere, possibly fuelled by the recession at the time. There was even difficulty finding anyone prepared to take on the role of Commodore; however Philip Baker took over the reins 2002 and 2003, steering the Club through this difficult period and giving it the new lease of life which it enjoys to this day.

Resurgence of Interest A few of our members have left for pastures anew on the Broads (and even the Thames), but they have maintained their membership and kept in

Somewhere on the river with UBC.

touch via the Newsletter. They even occasionally turn up at functions – by road! There has been a resurgence of interest in Fancy Dress at themed events and an “illuminated boats” display at the Regatta has replaced the boat dressing


UBC Fleet at Denver Lock.

competition. New burgees have been designed and there is a range of clothing available bearing the club’s badge with your own logo added if desired. Even a club tie has been introduced. Members come and members go, but the Club is as prolific and active now as it has ever been with a current membership of around 40 boats and healthy attendances at all events. On most weekends you will see a group of Upware Boat Club members somewhere on the river.

Awards Competitions require prizes, and over the years successive members have very generously donated a range of trophies which are presented annually. Today members compete for eleven awards covering success in a wide variety of activities, however, at the start there were only two: one awarded to the winner of the Boat Handling Competition and the other to the person considered to have made the most significant contribution to the life of the club and these really summarise what Upware Boat Club is all about.

balance to replace/ repair its mobile assets. Over the years at various club events members have provided generators, gazebos and a variety of other equipment, which typifies the spirit of the Club and its members. Only two original crews remain from the Club’s inception, only two members’ boats still moor in Upware Marina (others mooring at Tiptree, Ely, Denver, etc.). There have been 16 Commodores, 10 of whom are still members, and there has been only one lady Commodore, Peggy Drage in 1992/3.

Committed boaters Well, a short article hardly enables more than a snapshot of a club such as UBC. However, those of you who have met us out and about on the river know that we are committed boaters who know how to have a good time.

Statistics and Spirit Upware Boat Club was and remains unique on the Fens Waterways in that it has no permanent base, no club house, land, or any valuable fixed assets. All its gatherings were, and still are, held out and about on the river; the Cam, Old West, Great Ouse and its tributaries. Upware Boat Club’s base is wherever members want it to be on any chosen date. Having no fixed assets means the membership fee is low and effectively only provides a working “float” to fund any advance expenses on the events. In the early days of the club any money remaining at the end of the year was spent on the Laying up Supper. In some years this enabled some very extravagant events indeed. Unfortunately this is no longer done, as the Club needs to maintain a working bank

A great life with UBC.

What of the future? Who knows, but if the next 25 years is as good as the last 25 years then current and future members have a lot to look forward to! ■ Co-Authored by Sid Fisher (Warrior), President of UBC and “Dick” Dickinson (Blues Legend) Edited by Philip Baker (Aquila), Secretary of UBC and reprinted from the Upware BC Newsletter.

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The Owl

and the Pussy Cats

Waiting at the Waits, St Ives

Leading up to our early retirement, in June 2011, we had come to the conclusion – after a few years of thinking, research and debate that boating was something Bev and I would both like to do. Having eventually decided on the style of boating we wanted, we found a boat that was in its very early stages of being fitted out, in April. It was a 35ft, Reeves hull, narrowboat, called ‘Little Owl’. We fell absolutely head-over-heels in love with her and from that point on we were involved with every stage and finer detail of her fitting. Insisting she wasn’t to be delivered to her mooring berth, our demob happy days were spent dreaming of taking her out on her maiden voyage - in particular, to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the River Great Ouse. Five months into retirement, we finally picked her up one wet Monday evening, in November to start our navigation upstream to Bedford with no ‘solo’ experience of boating whatsoever. Berthed as we are now, at Priory Marina, Bedford, we underwent something of a ‘baptism of fire’ when we picked her up from St Ives. The Monday night spent on the boat prior

to our trip was slightly tinged with anxiety as to how we would manage the twelve locks between the museum mooring at St Ives and our Bedford berth. We kept saying, and thinking, to ourselves that Little Owl is much easier to handle than the 60-footer in which we had had a couple of invaluable practice runs with friends. And so, a cooked breakfast on Tuesday morning and the maiden voyage began at 10:15 – with a successful U-turn as our first manoeuvre. First up, Hemingford Lock - got the gates the wrong way round, so it took a bit longer than we had hoped. First real test of ‘patience’ passed with flying colours as there were no tantrums or foul language – just a bit of a laugh, a theme that

was to run throughout the next few days, even if sometimes a touch manic.

Hysterical with laughter We got into a bit of a muddle at Houghton Lock by trying to be clever with ‘reverse’. We really didn’t realise that directional control is almost impossible at our level of competence. From Bev’s point of view, she said she turned around to look at me and the boat after hearing the revving engine and all she saw was me with the tiller at full lock to starboard, a wake behind the boat trying to make a full circle and my face like nothing she had seen before. From my point of view, when I glimpsed her through this very brief chaos, all I remember seeing was her eyes and opened mouth. Immediately settled, we were verging on the hysterical with laughter, trying to think what on earth happened. Godmanchester next and it went okay. Beginning to think this is not quite as difficult as we thought. Our smug complacency was short lived. Brampton Lock was looming and for the first time we tested the horn as we navigated the continued over...

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...from previous page left-hand narrow channel that bends to the right and takes you broadside. Fortunately, the lock was open, so at least Bev didn’t have to disembark – which was just as well because there seemed to be some sort of undercurrent trying to spin us back downstream. Those of you who know the lock will know what I’m talking about, but I do find it almost impossible to describe. All we know is that we experienced our first buffeting of the hull against concrete as we stumbled, unceremoniously into the lock. Good job it wasn’t fibreglass! By the time we got through, it was beginning to darken with some ominous looking clouds gathering. The rain started around 15:00 hrs and I was holding an umbrella over my 2IC, as she steered the boat to Buckden Marina where we decided to berth for the night. We had a good meal at the club house and back to ‘Little Owl’ for a night-cap in front of a roaring wood burning stove that became so hot we ended up back at the stern to get away from the heat - something, else for us to learn to gauge.

Peace and Tranquility Wednesday was again a bit of a late start and Offord Lock was in our favour, so that was picturesque and quite simple. There’s a lovely four-mile run to the next lock at St Neots and as the morning went on, so the weather became better and better. The trip upstream between

Offord and St Neots was the sort of experience that river cruising is all about. The sense of peace and tranquillity is almost impossible to describe, as you progress through calm waters along a seemingly endless avenue of foliage to the accompaniment of exquisite birdsong. St Neots Lock was very slow, but its approach was easy enough. It was only when we got into it that we got a bit battered against the steep walls. There was a lesson to be learned here, but we were unsure of what it was? We got to the town mooring just before St Neots bridge by 13:00 hours and decided that we should enjoy the unseasonal good weather and moor up for the afternoon and evening. If truth be told, we were feeling a little knackered and fancied a pub meal and a few drinks – with an early night to follow. And so it came to pass! A good night’s sleep meant a comparatively early start on Thursday, another promising morning weather-wise. We are determined to do the remaining six locks to take us to Priory Marina in time for tea. Our confidence boosted by our experience to-date, allowed for a lot more attention to the beauty of our river as we chugged upstream at a very sedate three to four mph. I suppose most of us have driven around the countryside of Bedfordshire – and even taken walks along the river’s edge. But nothing can compare with the view of our county from the river. The flowing Weeping Willows, the twisted Elms and the majestic Oaks full of bird-life even in

November – with cormorants and herons a more common sight than we had imagined, even the odd darting glimpse of a kingfisher or two. The rest of the locks from Eaton Socon through Roxton and Great Barford and on to Willington, where the coffee house at the Danish Camp was still open and considerable human activity in evidence between there and Castle Mill Lock. The lock at Castle Mill was quite an imposing sight and seemed to be very deep-sided, looking at it from the inside – or if you suffer from vertigo, from the towpath looking down. But we cracked it by finding our own technique to deal with it. Cardington Lock was a breeze and then on the home stretch to Priory Marina. We arrived at about 16:00 hours, just as it was beginning to get dark. After three attempts, we moored up, shut down the boat and went home to reminisce on the pleasures, excitement and sheer good fun of the previous four days. It probably told us a lot about ourselves and our relationship as well. We had been advised that, initially, there would be fallings out and even tears before bedtime! But this didn’t happen. Instead, we laughed a lot, ate well and slept well and had a thoroughly good and memorable time and looked very much forward to a Spring and Summer time of cruising our wonderful river and its tributaries at leisure. ■ Peter and Bev, Little Owl

Sedate beauty of the river upstream


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. . . e t i r w s r Membe

Your page to share Great Ouse news, views and pictures with other members

Isleham disappointment

Tail Sluice Plea

I recently wrote to Isleham Parish Council suggesting that they provide a length of river frontage for boaters to moor and visit the village pubs and shops. They replied ‘The Council rents out both the little wash and the big wash and it would be in breach of their agreement both with the tenants and with Defra as the area is in the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. The Council suggest you contact the owner of the Isleham Marina as there should be plenty of moorings on that side of the river.’ I have now left the Ouse and leave it to others to try to get some help from the marina. Readers may now appreciate how GOBA has had difficulties acquiring moorings hereabouts. One positive note - having been recently trapped on the Middle Level with wind and weed and without even the smallest mooring to pull over and clear the weed hatch, I’m very grateful for GOBA for providing moorings up and down the Great Ouse. Thanks, GOBA!

Intrepid boater Dean (Silver Gem) copied his letter to Anglian Water to GOBA News: I recently have seen a quote in the boating press regarding the movement of sludge barges from Ely to Kings Lynn. Perhaps you may be able to help? There is a mention in the quote about the possibility of opening up the Kings Lynn end of the Relief Channel to navigation. I would like to add a little background in support of this idea. I am a leisure boater who generally cruises the Great Ouse and connected rivers. My friends and I make regular trips to sea via this route, both to access other waterways such as the Broads and the rivers beyond Boston and also to visit places like Wells-next-to-sea and Burnham. The section of tidal river that Anglian Water have found difficult to navigate with barges between Denver and Kings Lynn is also difficult and at times dangerous to navigate for pleasure cruisers too. There have been a number of accidents over the years on that stretch of river with at least one resulting in a death. It has been recognised by boaters that the simple, although not without significant cost, addition of a lock at the end of the Relief Channel would make access to the sea not only much easier, but also far safer. It would be great if the needs of Anglian Water and the desire from the boating community could open up a dialogue between the Environment Agency, the Great Ouse Boating Association (GOBA) and other interested parties.

Duncan Grey – NB ‘Patience’

St Ives – Statistically speaking Hi guys. Listen very carefully as I shall say this only once. St Ives lock width at guillotine is 4030mm or 13 feet 2 and five-eighths inches. Width at mitre gates is 3930mm or 12 feet 10 and five-eighths inches due to the vertical timbers on the gates reducing the total width. How do I know this, I hear you say? ‘Cos I’ve just measured it! P.S. There are 27 cows in the adjacent field of which 34% are brown. Can you tell I am retired? Best Regards.

Dean E Rayner GOBA Chairman, Ian Cox comments: It is pleasing to see individuals taking the time to express their ideas. GOBA has supported the idea of a lock at the Tail Sluice for some time now. Over the last few years Kings Lynn has been looking to re-develop the whole area at the end of the Relief Channel. GOBA was represented at all of the discussions but finally the plans were dropped last year through lack of funds. We have already had one meeting with Anglian Water regarding the sludge barge traffic so we understand that a lock at the Tail Sluice is still a possibility. This is a line we will continue to explore .

Not what it seems!

Dave Mole – ‘Latest Flame’

{Stop Press...} That sinking feeling River Inspector, Mervyn Day, tells us that he is receiving many helpful calls from boaters about several sunken boats on the river. He is aware of the abandoned vessels downstream of Holywell, at the EA Little Thetford mooring and at the Fidwell Fen mooring on the Cam. “The legal processes are under way to enable us to remove these craft, so no need for further reminders” says Mervyn. The boat reported sunk at Isleham has now disappeared.

Above: Andy Clark’s Northerner

I thought our activities on the river this weekend may be of interest to GOBA News readers. As you can see from the photo, we had two ‘water skiers’ towed behind us on the Ouse just north of the Ship Inn at Brandon Creek. I must add that this was not behind a speed boat, no rules were broken here! My boat is a Colvic Northerner, which won’t break the speed limit even flat out but it had enough grunt to pull two of my friends (Karl and John) along on their surf boards. Karl (on the right) is a GOBA member, I will be soon. Andy Clark – ‘Iskandir’ Ed: Proper water-skiing is, of course, banned under the byelaws everywhere on the river where any speed limit is in force.

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Cambridge Motor Boat Club We have slipped from Spring into a Summer that, at the moment, feels more like winter. There are boats stuck past St Ives, due to the

high river level, yet we are in a drought! Such are the joys of boating. I hope by the time you read this, the weather will be more in keeping with the time of year! At Cambridge, we have had a great start to the year with some lovely events; the best so far was our open weekend. We had a fancy dress themed evening, a Falconry display, folk dancing with a Maypole! Chris and Margaret Rolfe brought along a model T Ford and took people out and about in it. So along with Sarah Smith’s great organisation - we had a superb weekend! Sadly, we did not have as many visiting boats as usual due to the new river licensing which precludes boats without a Cam Conservancy or top-up EA licence for visiting us. This is a great sadness to us all.

In June, we have our Summer Ball and a Strawberry Tea and Brass Band. On a completely different theme, in July we have a Rock Night with fish & chips! We like a bit of diversity. We now also have a new marquee giving us extra space for our events, or just for relaxing in. We used it for a party to celebrate the Jubilee, as the weather was not up to being outside. On the Jubilee Tuesday, we had a roast beef lunch and a film of the Coronation was enjoyed by all. So there is plenty going on in Cambridge and there is yet most of the boating season still to go. Let’s hope the weather is better by the time you read this. Steve Fell Dream Weaver

The Seamaster Club – Fens & Great Ouse I hope between the sunshine and the showers we have had over the past few weeks, you have been able to enjoy some time on the river. Our first event this year was the pre-season Luncheon at The Wheatsheaf, Tempsford, on Sunday, 25th March. Twenty-three members joined us for this lovely meal, including our President, Jane Wall. It was nice to see members after the long winter break and to catch up with all their news. The Seamaster Club, along with other exhibitors, were invited to attend the Hartford Marina open weekend on the 26th & 27th May. The weather was very kind to us and the event was deemed a success. The club’s first afloat rally was then held over the weekend of the 9th & 10th June, at the GOBA moorings adjacent to The Lazy Otter,

where we celebrated our Seamaster Club’s 20th Birthday. Despite the poor weather, members enjoyed the weekend. A birthday cake, complete with candles and adorned with edible photographs of previous rallies, was enjoyed by all - as was the food and drink for the weekend. As usual the moorings were well manicured and we would like to express our appreciation to GOBA for their upkeep. Our next Club meeting will be our Annual Garden Party in the grounds of members Sylvie & Mike Chase’s home, on the banks of the Great Ouse, at Little Paxton over the weekend of the 7th & 8th July. Members can arrive either by boat or by car to this always ‘well-attended’ annual event. A further afloat rally will take place in late summer, on the GOBA moorings at Brampton.

We will advise members of the date nearer the time. Following this, we will again host a pre-Christmas meal for everyone to wind up the 2012 boating year – date and venue to be advised. Sandra Woodham Area Co-ordinator

Fun at the Lazy Otter

Whitehouse Boating Club

Diamond and Tiara Night Fun With the Spring weather not quite as good as us boaters would have liked, we’ve still managed to get some really good turnouts. The ‘rock the boat’ DJ, Clive, put on a quiz night which went down well, while our ‘Crosshall’s Got Talent’ night went


down well with our fellow boaters. We put on a great show for Jubilee, holding our 50’s themed street party which included games for the children and an excellent soul singer named Vcheke, so fun was had by all on the Queen’s big day. Our Traditional Easter Monday was just as enjoyable, an all-round great family day but obviously it was a shame about the weather. Nevertheless it didn’t bring us down. This was the same for our Diamond and Tiara night; there was wind and rain, yet another excellent turnout which saw all of our ladies and gentlemen looking as smart as ever. We’ve made the most of the Spring Season, but a great deal of hard work has gone into the

club. I’d personally like to thank the Committee at Crosshall for the work put into spring cleaning the club inside and out. Along with this we’ve also set up our website which is now running for our yearly events. So GOBA readers feel free to look us up online, or feel free to pop in and meet our friendly members and committee. WHBC wish all you fellow boaters a safe and good season. For us, hopefully the next few months will be as good as, if not better than the last. Sally Taylor Commodore

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Pike and Eel Boat Club Spring came and went and here we are, nearly the middle of June, with the wettest drought in history. Has global warming missed the UK? It seems to me that for us fair-weather boaters the ‘closed’ season hasn’t yet ‘opened’! Our early May Bank Holiday plans had to be changed with our annual cruise to Five Miles being substituted for a possible trip to Hartford Marina, but due to the flooding and poor weather conditions, we had to completely abandon the trip. However, as always, the Pike & Eel boat club members are resilient to the elements and carry on regardless. The June Jubilee weekend saw our members entering into the spirit of things for our Headline event - the Regatta. Despite the damp, cold and wet conditions of the weekend everyone enjoyed it and completely threw themselves into being ‘Back at School’. Our good friends from Upware & Cambridge Motor Boat Clubs joined us in the usual fun, games and friendly competition not sure who were the bigger kids! Following a general assembly, all of the pupils joined their respective teachers in 1 of 4 Classrooms: Domestic Science, Pancake Tossing (Debbie Kidde), Art - face painting and paint your boat (Julie Webber), Music – play an instrument & sing ‘London’s Burning’ (Janette Coulson) and last but not least, PE - in

slow motion to ‘Chariots of Fire’ (Dave Lindley, aka 118). Worryingly, some of the ‘Pupils’ liked the idea of being caned, but I am sure I read somewhere that corporal punishment isn’t allowed anymore. So we resorted to water pistols and catapults and good old fashioned hopscotch. A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who participated and especially to all of the organisers who worked tirelessly throughout the whole weekend and made it a huge success. Let’s hope that July will be the start of a real summer of sunshine, and we can all look forward to two or three months of fair-weather boating.

Julia Lindley Assistant Secretary

School Photo

Pike and Eel Boat Club – Calendar of Events Summer 2012 August 18th

Hemingford Weekend, BBQ & Dinghy Trip

September 8th & 9th

Cruise to Ely

October 27th

Halloween (Fancy dress) & Fireworks – Chalet Bar

November 10th

Laying up Supper – ( Venue to be confirmed )**

November 25th

AGM & Lunch –Olivers Lodge **

December 16th

Christmas drinks – Pike & Eel Hotel ** Denotes Blazer & Club Tie functions

Ouse Valley River Club To kick off the season, we held our Open Cruiser Meeting on one sunny Sunday in March - just before the hosepipe ban came into force. I remember our new Vice Commodore, Brian ‘Jonah’ Lamb, telling the assembled members how we wouldn’t be able to get down river this year ‘because there won’t be any water about’. Well, he was partly right. At the OVRC, we have persevered and tried not to let this torrential drought prevent us from pursuing planned activities. But with the river in full flood, we had to cancel the cruising element of our Cruising Weekend that was planned to take place at Brampton. Despite that, our Rear Commodore, Dean, and his team organised a fantastic weekend with a 1950’s theme. Spirits were not dampened and the planned team games, street party and evening entertainments all went ahead, albeit in the warmth of the Clubhouse. Well done to Dean, who also managed to organise an hour of sunshine during our Commodore’s Sail Past and Lunch, a couple of weeks later. Apart from our scheduled calendar of social and boating events, we have enjoyed a flurry of ad hoc social gatherings. Some of these have been organised by members celebrating milestone birthdays. Congratulations to them all. In addition, twice a year, Carole’s line dancing

practice sessions culminate in a line dance evening where we are expected to eat pie, chips and cake and then try to get up and pulverise the floorboards for a few hours. It’s a bit of fun and increasingly popular, although my ‘kick ball change’ needs work. Responding to the wishes of members, the Committee - and in particular the Vice Commodore and his team - have completed a project to replace our main entrance gate. The old gate was heavy and tended to follow you like a donkey up a hill, if there was any sort of wind blowing. So it always had to be handled carefully. In contrast, the new gate is fully automated. We don’t even have to get out of the car! And there is a pedestrian gate to make life easier too. A fantastic job has been done and I am sure all members will join me in thanking Brian for the considerable investment of his own time to research the options and oversee the installation. The Committee have also been paying attention to their duty of care and to Health & Safety generally. This has included the provision of additional lifebuoys. The positions of fixed ladders in the marina are now also clearly marked and a mobile ladder has been made available to aid the retrieval of those taking unplanned swims. We have also invested in a defibrillator

and given members instruction in its use. Let’s hope we never need to use any of this equipment - but it is a credit to the Committee for listening to the feedback of its members and addressing these issues as priorities. I wonder how many proprietary marinas are as forward thinking or as well equipped! This weekend we are holding our ‘Club Day’ and this year we are trying something different. The usual tombola and coconut shy have been replaced with our own version of the Olympic Games - the planting of a tree to mark the Jubilee; a barbeque and a bit of a concert in the evening. Let’s hope we can hold it all out in the fresh air. Its mid June now, the river is in flood again but the sun is out and my trench foot is clearing up nicely, so maybe things are looking up. Inevitably, there have been fewer boats around, which means we haven’t seen as many visitors to our moorings, but if you do manage to cast off, do come and visit us. For membership enquiries, call 01480 210131, or visit Martin Wilcox, ‘Moonshine’ Hon Secretary OVRC

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Looking back over this year’s spring weather, it has given us a mixture of hot and cold temperatures and rain with flooding on some parts of our river system. It has been problematic for our members with all the recent downpours of rain and the fluctuating water levels. Denver Lock has been on full alert and let out as much water as possible in April and May. Depending on the state of the tides, this meant we ended up with either hardly any water at all, or too much. Strong flows of water also made it difficult to get our boats out from the moorings. Over the May bank holiday, the rise and fall on the Relief Channel was about 3ft during the day. We had to phone the EA, to inform them that the Clubhouse was listing over, that our

Denver Cruising Club boats were on the bottom and could they stop letting the water out. After a few hours the water level started to rise. The Club’s Fitting out Supper in March started off our boating season. Our members enjoyed the evening meal, with some time left over to catch up with all the news from friends that had not seen each other over the winter months. April’s Social weekend was another wet one. Some of our members finished off the work party jobs that were still outstanding on the Saturday and Sunday morning. With most of the jobs finished, this has left us with plenty of boating time. At this Social, we were all tired from a good day’s work but went back to the boats happy and content after another

excellent meal. By contrast for our May Social, the weather, what can I say? It was HOT, very HOT. We all had to have a drink to keep cool. The food was up to our very high standard. Most of the members present dressed in red, white and blue. Some went as far as wearing hats to match. Everyone had a good time, with lots of laughter and good cheer. Our next event is a Barbecue, on the 30th June. I do hope the weather will be kind to us. If any of you wish to come to any of our events, you would be most welcome. Carol Warburton Captain Simon

Bedford Boat Club It’s mid June. The summer solstice is but a few days away. The only way of knowing it’s almost summer is by consulting the calendar! Little boating has been attempted as yet from the Bedford Boat Club and the few who set off last week end are currently stuck down river as there is another “strong stream advice” notification in force and locks are once again unusable. I’m sure all boaters are hopeful of an early improvement in conditions. It has also been awkward to navigate as the first lock (Cardington) from the club has been without proper landing stages for months! The upstream version was promised to be completed by Easter and its downstream partner by three weeks after Easter. As I write, just before the said June solstice, neither is

complete. The boating season has started but the club season started with another excellent meal at the Fitting Out Supper on March 10. Those attending feasted royaly and danced afterwards in an attempt to work off the extra calories! The first boating event was the cruising weekend over the bank holiday of 2 to 5 June. Again the weather intervened and, unsurprisingly, only about a half a dozen boats braved the elements and ventured to St Neots common. It was cold and windy and so the event was cut short although the brave souls did make an attempt at a social gathering on the Saturday evening which, despite the conditions, was successful even though their

number was low. We all look forward to some good cruising this year which will be further enhanced by the Bedford River Festival over the 21 / 22 July weekend. I confidently predict that BBC will again win prizes in the procession competitions! I hope everyone enjoys a good summer on our magnificent river with improved weather and river conditions. There is only so much water up there! As always, do keep an eye on our web site at: John Hodgson – ‘Otters Way’ 01234 344884

Upware Boat Club The Upware Boat Club (UBC) boating season started with the Commodore’s welcome which was again held at the Masonic Hall, in Ely. Several members made their way by boat to Ely over the weekend to support the event. On Friday evening some had a meal together and the Commodore’s welcome was on the Saturday evening. We held our annual Ten Pin bowling competition on the Sunday. Our next event, to Brandon Town, was cancelled due to bad weather. The Cambridge Motor Boat Club (CMBC) invited all members from our club to their open weekend, which always proves to be a fun-packed event - this year was no exception. There was Falconry, Fancy dress, Fender throwing and a formal dinner. On the extended Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend, UBC were invited to the Pike and Eel


Boat Club (PEBC) Regatta. We merged Club activities at St Ives to celebrate the Jubilee. Some of our members (nine boats in total) spent the weekend partying and taking up the challenge to win back the annual ‘It’s a Knockout’ Trophy that was robbed from us in 2011. The effort was to no avail - they robbed us again! Whilst the weather was miserable, there were lots of smiling faces and it did not dampen anyone’s spirit. All activities went as planned and we all enjoyed the hospitality received at St Ives. Despite the wet weather on the Sunday, we all made our way upstream to Nobles Field at St Ives where we were joined by four more boats from our club to make a total of thirteen hardy seasoned boaters. The evening was spent drying out (drying out from the rain - not the alcohol consumed at the PEBC Regatta) in the local Chinese, celebrating the UBC Commodore’s lady’s

50th birthday. In true UBC style, on Monday, out came the gazebos decked in bunting and balloons to match our boats and out came the BBQs and of course the alcohol. We all had a meal and talked away. We then all walked through the street market in St Ives and found a cheap designer clothes stall, which the ladies pounced on. In the evening some of us walked to the church to see the lighting of the Beacon. We still have many events to look forward to this year and I am sure they will prove to be just as much fun, if not more, than the previous river events. Keep your eyes open for the UBC Burgee - we are everywhere! Terence Read Commodore –Upware Boat Club

GOBA News • Summer 2012

GOBA Summer 12.indd 24

12/07/2012 11:20

Surveying properties in the Ouse, Nene, Cam and other local areas for boat and homeowners alike

Get a Home Survey now! Kindly note - Boat surveys NOT undertaken Chartered Surveyors

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JG Property Consultants The Estate Office, Abbotsley Country Homes Drewels Lane, Abbotsley, St Neots, PE19 6XF t: 01480 474704 � m: 07973 187884 �


With over 35 years experience in the marine industry Available for all types of work from servicing to rebuilds For a reliable and affordable service call TOM HEENEY on

07754 526803 J

Jones Boatyard


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160 premium moorings in a natural setting Boat Sales - over 170 boats sold in 2011 Chandlery - well stocked at competitive prices Specialists in engineering, GRP, and boat building

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Inboard and Outboard Servicing - Boat repairs in GRP, Wood - Antifouling and Blacking - Accessories supplied and fitted - On Site 20t Mobile Crane - Heated Workshop for Craft up to 30 feet - Slipway with Towout Facility - Professional Marine Engineers with over 60 years combined experience at your

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Special SpecialOffer Offer

C aOasmall UT Bquantity OA R RD D Sofof We WeA have have small quantity GOBA GOBAClothing ClothingininStock Stock

����������������������������������������� Rugby Rugby Shirts Shirts Short Short Sleeve Sleeve £20 £20plus plusp&p p&p �������������������������������������������������� TTShirts Shirts £8 £8 plus plus p&p p&p �����������������������������������������������������������

First Firstcome come first firstserved served ��������������������������������������������� ���������������������������� ����������������������������������������

Call Call Mike MikeMcKay: McKay: ���������������������������� 01353 01353 664229 664229 ���������������������������


News • Summer 2012 �� ��GOBA ���� ���� ���� ����� ������������ �����������


GOBA Summer 12.indd 26

Special Offer

We have a small quantity of GOBA Clothing in Stock

12/07/2012 11:20

Need time out of boating? � ���������������������� � ������������ Reduce costs by up to 50% using our Have a look around our used ����������������������������������������������� boat sales Long Term storage offer (River license not required)

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Cruisers, Widebeam, Dutch Barges and Narrowboats on display

Bow Thrusters Fitted WANTED - MORE BROKERAGE Heating Fitted �������������� BOATS �������������������������������������������������� Engine Servicing Outdrive servicing ������������� ( Mercruiser-Volvo-Enfield-Sonic etc ) ��������������������������������������� GRP Hull / Superstructure Repairs Electrical services � ���������������������������������������������� Cranage Book Early - Due to the very high �������������������������������������������� demand for winter dry storage we are Antifouling now taking reservations for 2012. ������� Slurry blasting Reservation forms are available to ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Compound and polishing download at

������������������������������������� - Buckden Marina, Mill������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Rd, Buckden. Cambs PE19 5BH

Tel : 01480 812225

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WESTVIEW MARINA Moorings • Floating pontoons • Electricity • • Chandlery • Diesel and gas • • Cranage • Boat repairs • Refits • Repaints • • Blacking and Antifouling • • Welding and engineering services • • EA pump out and water • Westview Marina, High Street, Earith, PE28 3PN Tel 01487 841627 / 01487 740900 ��������������������������

GOBA News • Summer 2012

GOBA Summer 12.indd 27


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GOBA News • Summer 2012

GOBA Summer 12.indd 28

12/07/2012 11:21



RP, Wood

nd fitted raft up to l Marine at your



All you could want 92 acres of unspoilt, tranquil countryside Extensive cruising options 240 berths with new narrowboat moorings Secure site Full boatyard services First class facilities – wifi access, gym, pool, café & bar Just 20 minutes from Cambridge

River Great Ouse

For more information T: 01480 812660


GOBA News • Summer 2012


GOBA Summer 12.indd 29


12/07/2012 11:21

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INSTRUCTION TO YOUR BANK ������������� � Ouse Boating Association Great Ltd ���������������������������� ��������� �������� OR BUILDING SOCIETY TO PAY PO BOX 244 ����������������������������������������������������� ���������������� INSTRUCTION TO YOUR BY DIRECT DEBIT Huntingdon Great Ouse Boating Association Ltd ���������������������������������������������������������������������� BANK OR BUILDING SOCIETY Cambs PO BOX 244 Instruction to your Bank or Building Society PE29 6FE PAYOuse BYBoating DIRECT DEBIT Huntingdon PleaseTO pay Great Association Ltd Direct Debits from the Name(s) of Account Holder(s) account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards assured by the Cambs Direct Instruction Debit Guarantee. to your Bank or Building Society �������������� PE29 ������������� � 6FE ���������������������������� ���������

Please pay Great Ouse Boating Association Ltd �������� I understand thisfrom instruction may remain Direct that Debits the account detail inwith this Great Ouse Boating Association Ltd and, if so, will be passed to my ����������������������������������������������������� instruction subject to details the safeguards assuredelectronically by Bank/Building Society account number Bank/Building the DirectSociety. Debit Guarantee. Name(s) of Account Holder(s) ����������������������������������������������������������������������


Originators Identification Number I understand that this instruction may remain with Branch Sort Code Great4Ouse1Boating 4 Association 2 5 Ltd7and, if so,�������������� The Boathaven, Low Road, St. Ives, Cambs, PE27 5ET. Tel: details will be passed electronically to my 01480 494040 ������������� � Reference Number. Your membership number Bank/Building Society. Name and full postal address of your Bank/Building Society �������� �

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Bank/Building Society account number To The Manager Bank/ Building Society

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Originator’s Identification Number Signature(s)







Reference Number

Your membership number

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The Boathaven, Low Road, St. Ives, Cambs, PE27 5ET.A Tel: O B – 01480 494040 Date G

Postcode Society Name and full postal address of your Bank/Building To the Manager The Bank/Building Society

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Great Ouse Boating Association subscribes to the Direct Debit Guarantee scheme


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Post Code 2011) Date 30 GOBA NEWS (WINTER The Boathaven, Low Road, St. Ives, Cambs, PE27 5ET. Tel: 01480 494040

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GOBA News • Summer 2012

�� ���� ���� � ����������� GOBA Summer 12.indd 30

12/07/2012 11:21

Seamaster 28 from £52,000

Standard specification; Hot and cold water, full galley facilities, shower, cassette or sea toilet, 240V shorepower, stereo CD, folding windscreen, canopy. 6 + 2 berths.

Viking 20 From £18,995

Viking 24 From £29,495

Full Viking and Seamaster range available. Starting at £17,995. Prices correct as of 1/1/12 For further information and viewings contact;

Riverside Marine and Leisure Ltd

Pike and Eel Marina, Overcote Lane, Needingworth, St Ives, Cambridgeshire PE27 4TW.

Tel: 01480 468666 Email:

GOBA News • Summer 2012


GOBA NEWS (WINTER 2011) 31 GOBA Summer 12.indd 31

12/07/2012 11:21

Kings Lynn Bouys

Moorings – conditions of use

• • •

The use of GOBA moorings is free to members and hirers of craft owned by members of GOBA There is a maximum stay of 48 hour. Boats take priority over fishing, for which you need a licence. Moor as close as possible to other boats and close up gaps if necessary. Help fellow members to find space or raft onto your boat at busy times. Keep children and animals under proper control. There are often farm animals where moorings are on fields Do not light ground fires. Pick up litter and dog mess. Do not tie ropes to GOBA mooring signs. Members are reminded that the use of GOBA moorings is at ‘own risk’ and you are advised to have third-party liability insurance.

• • • • •


12 7



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1 3

1 2 3


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Midde Level Denver Sluice




Stoke Ferry


River Wissey Hundred Foot Drain

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Little Ouse (Brandon Creek) 22

22 21 18


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Old West River




Judes Ferry

Wicken Lode 11 19


Burwell Lode

Reach Lode





River Lark



River Cam 20






24 28







GOBA Moorings

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

L: 97ft 5in W: 10ft 9in D: 3ft 7in H: 6ft 8in L: 93ft 6in W: 10ft 3in D: 4ft 11in H: 9ft 0in L: 96ft 9in W: 13ft 11in D: 3ft11in H: 14ft 1in L: 96ft 9in W: 13ft 1in D: 4ft 3in H: 13ft 3”in L: 96ft 9in W: 13ft 1in D: 3ft 11in H: 14ft 9in L: 85ft 4in W: 13ft 1in D: 3ft 9in H: 8ft 10in L: 103ft 4in W: 10ft 9in D: 5ft 2in H: 8ft 10in L: 107ft 11in W: 10ft 9in D: 3ft 5in H: 12ft 3in L: 100ft W: 11ft 1in D: 3ft 11in H: 8ft 2in L: 104ft W: 11ft 1in D: 4ft 10in H: 9ft 2in L: 100ft W: 13ft 1in D: 3ft 5in H: 9ft 6in L: 90ft 3in W: 11ft 11in D: 4ft 11in H: 9ft L: 91ft 10in W: 11ft 11in D: 4ft 11in H: 9ft L: 91ft 10in W: 12ft 7in D: 4ft 11in H: 9ft L:101ft W: 13ft 1in D: 4ft 7in H: 9ft 10in L: 100ft W: 13ft 1in D: 4ft 7” H: 11ft 1in L: 61ft 3in W: 14ft 1in D: 4ft 2in L: 97ft 7in W: 14ft 7in D: 4ft 11in L: 104ft 9in W: 14ft 1in D: 3ft 9in L: 104ft 9in W: 9ft 8in D: 4ft 5in L: 87ft 9in W: 14ft 9in D: 3ft 2in L: 40ft 6in W: 12ft 1in D: 4ft 5in L: 96ft 7in W: 17ft 7in D: 6ft 6in L: 98ft 4in W: 15ft 0in D: 6ft 5in H: 9ft 0in L: 62ft 5 in W:12ft 6in

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Bedford Cardington Castle Mills Willington Barford Roxton Eaton Socon St Neots Offord Brampton Godmanchester Houghton Hemingford St Ives Brownshill Hermitage Upware Bottisham Baits Bite Jesus Green Isleham Brandon Denver Relief Channel Salters Lode

Downham Market





St Neots





Tidal Ouse

Fenlake Meadow Priory Marina (One night’s free mooring) Goldington Great Barford Little Paxton Pits Offord Mailers Meadow Brampton Hemingford Noble’s Field Ferryboat One Pound Pike & Eel Brownshill Aldreth Drain Lazy Otter Stretham Wicken Fen Reach Lode Waterbeach Railway Bridge Stop Lock Ten Mile Bank Santon Downham Whittington

EA Moorings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35

Sovereign Quay Old Mills Great Barford Eaton Socon Offord Godmanchester Houghton The Dolphin – St Ives Earith Hermitage Reach Lode Burwell Hundred Acre Goldsmere Little Thetford Queen Adelaide Diamond 44 Toms Hole Farm Prickwillow Mile End Farm Sandhills – Littleport Black Horse – Littleport Brandon Creek Station Road – Littleport The Ship Little Ouse Brandon Brandon Town Windmill Denver Complex SIlt Fen Farm Hilgay Downham Market Stowbridge Wiggenhall St Mary Fidwell Fen

Useful Contacts General Secretary and general enquiries Alistair Reid – 01480 493582; 15 Willow Green, Needingworth, Huntingdon, Cambs PE27 4SW Membership and Treasury Mike Mackay – 01366 501365; Mooring – upstream from St Ives Stuart Turvey – 01234 303589; Mooring – downstream from St Ives Roy Wood – 01353 663585; GOBA News Editor David Mercer, 01480 469046;

Publicity Beverley Jenisis – 01234 296698; Bulletins John Hodgson – 01234 344884: Navigation problems and EA Liaison Alistair Reid – 01480 493582; River situation EA at Brampton – 08708 506506 Floodline – 0845 9881188 Cambridgeshire Boat Watch Telephone 101 quoting BW

GOBA News is published by the Great Ouse Boating Association Ltd, which is registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act in the United Kingdom. Number 22120R. GOBA is run entirely by a committee of seasoned boaters, who volunteer their free-time for the benefit of the Great Ouse boating community. Opinions and statements of contributors and endorsement of advertisers published in GOBA News are not necessarily supported by GOBA. Reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited. GOBA is a registered data user. Application forms for membership can be obtained at most marinas on the Great Ouse; from our website –; by post – GOBA, PO Box 244, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire PE29 6FE or by email –

GOBA Summer 12.indd 32

12/07/2012 11:22


Tri-annual inhouse members magazine


Tri-annual inhouse members magazine