The team

Published: Monday, 09 March 2009

THE purpose of narrowboatworld, which came into being in 2000, is to promote the waterways, and at the same time keep you informed and up-to-date of the happenings of the boating world, in what we believe is the waterways' most accessible and easiest navigable website.

It is a purely non-commercial, with everyone connected with it, and particularly those listed on this page, giving their time and effort completely free, purely to keep you both entertained and informed.

It is accepted as the most frequently updated and the most visited waterways site on the web, visited perhaps as Brian Holmes once related because it is written by boaters, for boaters, about boating.

News items are generally kept on the site indefinitely, so that people can search and refer to them, but columns that are of a more personal nature are kept for just six months.

With its new Content Management System, introduced in early 2009, it is no longer updated only in the mornings, but whenever material is available, sometimes many times a day or some days not all. In its new format it allows reader involvement with a Forum in addition to sending in comments as emails using the link above. There is now the facility to upload your pictures into a Gallery, all giving more of a community spirit. We of course welcome any item that would be of interest to our readers.

There is strict privacy with no emails address given to a third party or published, except on the express wish of the writer.

We are particularly concerned about including links, with such to polls, Facebook, Twitter or other forums not allowed, as we are concerned that by including such a link, we are thus seen as supporting. This site is run as as a web newspaper, and not a vehicle to promote others.

The editor—Tom Crossley

TOM was an actual newspaper editor for 28 years, and though narrowboatworld is of course an internet site, his long newspaper association still shows, as does his grounding as a press photographer.

Boating experience is like that of many others, first hiring narrowboats, on canals from the Kennet & Avon to the Leeds & Liverpool, until 1996 when he built his own narrowboat from a windowless and door-less shell, which took a year to complete, and was then used extensively for cruising when finally finished.

In 2001 a sailaway was built by Simon Piper, which he also fitted-out, and which, also named Bounty like the former boat, is used for two main cruises a year, in May and September and the weekly days out, and is shared by Jan, known as She Who Must Be Obeyed!

To date they have cruised most of the waterways, and the major rivers of the Trent, Thames, Severn and Nene, all the time gaining the knowledge that is indispensable for narrowboatworld.

Their favourite waterway is the Huddersfield Narrow, that both see as real boating, but worry that it could be lost.

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The designer—Jason Crossley

JASON first designed narrowboatworld—and chose its name—way back in 2000, with the whole remit to create a site, where content was king, and ease of navigation was all important.

In the early days, the site, like others was in Microsoft Windows,using Frontpage, but at the end of 2005, Jason decided that narrowboatworld was getting rather dated with too much colour and too cramped text, and as new methods of design and authoring were now available he redesigned it using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), but more importantly totally away from Microsoft to the new Amaya as the web authoring tool.

Then he decided we should leave Microsoft and Windows completely for the open source Linux operating system.This multitasking, multiuser operating system based on Unix, offers a security that Microsoft will never achieve.

Over the subsequent years there were one or two 'tweaks' as new methods came into being until March 2009, when Jason decided the site should have a complete change, and encompass Content Management System (CMS), the latest all-singing all-dancing web authoring tool, that enabled greater reader involvement and facilities, making narrowboatworld we believe to be technically amongst the the most advanced waterways website in existence.

Of course this meant a terrific amount of work for Jason and another massive learning curve for us, but eventually it came together, and thanks indeed to Jason for his unfailing endeavours in getting it all together to be the attraction that it is today.

Ted Sedman—Proof reader

TED first started with narrowboatworld in 2004, advising us of typographical mistakes, and perhaps was surprised that instead of taking umbrage, we actually thanked him for his effort. Since which time he realised that his help was appreciated, and so took it on himself to become our official proof reader, spending time most days going through the new items and pointing out any mistakes that get through. With the new format he has been given Editor permission, and so makes corrections direct on the site.

"My introduction to canals was in 1966 when my brother-in-law-to-be hired a Maid Line cruiser from Reading on the Thames to Brinklow on the North Oxford. Seven young men in a hire boat should not have been allowed, but we had a wonderful time going from pub to pub." Tells Ted.

"After I was married we hired boats several times and in 1974 we bought our first narrowboat which we moored near Reading on the short length of the Kennet and Avon that was then navigable. In the 80's our second boat was kept on the Thames at Pangbourne, and in this we came South to Godalming, and later went North as far as Ripon, or at least as close as we could get with the Ripon Canal only partly restored.

"In the 90's our boating decreased as a result of my acquisition of a Penny-Farthing bicycle. So the boat was sold, but it was always the intention to get another when I retired, and recently we have been fitting out a steam narrowboat. It is now on the Basingstoke Canal, near to where we now live."

Victor Swift—tells a tale

WITH us since day one, and in fact way back from the old newspaper days, Victor is one of the old style journalists, yet brings a breath of fresh air to the writing of the waterways, really telling it like it is, to the consternation of many, which is now being copied—though obviously not so well—by others!

His boating? Not a boater for so long as most of the other columnists, but from the early nineties, after an impromptu three days on a hire boat from Grebe Canal Cruises on the Grand Union, and being hooked. He has now cruised most of the system.

The picture shows Victor on his Bermudian mode of transport riding down Front Street in Hamilton, an island he often retires to, usually whilst we suffer our winter cold.

David Hymers—Idle thoughts

DAVID'S contributions are very much of the waterways, and entertains us about his many and varied experiences, and tells us:

"I first became interested in the canals as a result of a summer job in 1970, when I was supervising a user survey being done for British Waterways in the Braunston/Buckby/Napton areas. I lived in a caravan at Buckby Top for a couple of months, and learnt how to work locks acting as unofficial lock keeper at Watford.

"Once I started teaching I organised twice yearly school trips, which usually had ridiculous schedules that these days I would not contemplate—the Avon Ring in a week for example. But it kept the kids busy, which was the main point—some of them are still boating.

"We usually organised an adult trip over Christmas/New Year, back when you could find hire boats at that time of year. These usually involved a lot of night cruising, getting iced up (once for three months—the boat, not us) and so on. It was on one of these that we went through Dudley Tunnel, just getting under the low bit and then getting stuck in the exit.

"I first bought a share in a boat (with some friends) in 1988—it was one of Gordon’s hire boats from Napton. We replaced that in 1997 with a second-hand Mike Heywood boat and sold that in 2005. We then ordered a new boat fitted out by Napton Narrowboats on a Colecraft hull to our own design, which largely replicated the successful layout of the previous boat. So far we have been very pleased with it.

"It is my slightly arrogant boast that I have cruised every part of the connected system, except the Lancaster (not connected for long enough), the Basingstoke (always shut for low water whenever we get there), the Leeds & Liverpool beyond Aintree (never got round to it and now waiting for the extension) and the Yorkshire Ouse (frustrated by 2007 floods)."

Keith Gudgin—Contributor and Stoppage Advisor

I decided to retire early due to the incompetent benefits system and employment attitudes in this country so I sold up and bought a 40ft narrowboat to live on.

Most of my life was spent as a marine radio operator and electrical test engineer. I am an active Radio Amateur now.

I am a live-aboard and I'm trying to be a proper continuous cruiser and work within the rules, which is becoming harder and harder due to the stupid rules being imposed by all and government etc.

I have to say I do not like incompetence in authority or high office and detest anyone who tries to gain privilege from their position in authority. I also detest those who try to pass the buck when it is clearly their problem or come out with ill-thought out excuses that clearly shows the speaker thinks everyone they are talking to is either stupid or illiterate.
The winter has  just been spent on the southern Grand Union but I think I like the narrow canals better. I avoid most of the rivers in winter for obvious reasons. I do enjoy having a smile when I see some of the antics and hear some of the excuses by those who think they can handle a vessel competently only to demonstrate otherwise. I also share the concerns of some of the other contributors about the ‘don't give a damn attitude' not just of other boaters but also those who are supposed to be in authority etc.

I like photography and I'm an enthusiast for old engineering structures. I liked the Kew Steam Museum, well worth my visit and I'll be visiting a few more museums up and down the country as time allows.

Well the sun's shining and the engine's running so it's time to cast off and go and find summer—see you all further down the cut.