chelmer river uk how do I get on it?

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Colin chandler
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chelmer river uk how do I get on it?

Post by Colin chandler » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:22 pm

Has anyone got any information about the river chelmer in the uk? I can't find any slipways or information on how to get access for my steamboat, it's like a secret society or something, I've looked for days for information and found nothing
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Lopez Mike
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Re: chelmer river uk how do I get on it?

Post by Lopez Mike » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:52 am

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Re: chelmer river uk how do I get on it?

Post by Mike Rometer » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:16 am

There appears to be a slip behind the Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms at Little Baddow, but whether it is just private you'd need to investigate.
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Re: chelmer river uk how do I get on it?

Post by RGSP » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:15 am

Mike Rometer wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:16 am
There appears to be a slip behind the Paper Mill Lock Tea Rooms at Little Baddow, but whether it is just private you'd need to investigate.
By agreement with the proprietor of the Old Stables Tea Room. Use of the slipway should be booked through Sarah Phillips, Administration Assistant based at Paper Mill Lock, telephone 01245 226245.

Otherwise, several of the boatyards at Heybridge Basin have (tidal) slips, but then of course you need to use the Heybridge sea lock.
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Re: chelmer river uk how do I get on it?

Post by RGSP » Wed Jun 12, 2019 11:10 am

My posting above was done in a bit of a hurry, but for Colin and others, I can add a bit more.

The first thing to say is that there is not much fresh water available for steaming in Essex and virtually none in Suffolk, although quite a lot in Norfolk - at a hefty toll from the Broads Authority. In fact on fresh water, visiting boats other than canoes are generally not welcome, for reasons I don't understand.

On salt water though, the position is completely different, and there's plenty of pleasant and interesting cruising water. I would suggest you make sure that your steam boat is happy to use salt water, and modify bits and pieces so that it can if need be. On salt water there are normally no tolls, licenses, or requirements for Boat Safety Scheme certificates, though it would be foolish not to have good 3rd party insurance.

Slipways are a bit of a problem: there aren't many of them, and almost all charge for usage. A good way to cope with this is to join your most convenient sailing club (they usually accept steamboats - with a grin) which gives you free usage of their slipway, but also bona fide guest rights to a lot of other clubs, and hence occasional free usage of their slipways.

I'm not far from Ipswich, and don't often venture into Essex, but starting from the Stour and going north:
1. The Stour Navigation has about 2 miles which are usable by Steamboats from Sudbury, and a slipway.

2. The Stour Estuary is only readily accessible via Manningtree Sailing Club slip, which is only usable for a few hours either side of high tide. There are several old slipways at Shotley, but they aren't maintained, and are not fit for anything other than lightweight dinghies. Shotley Marina has no slipway, although they do have a big crane - at a price. There is no slipway usable by steamboats at Felixstowe (even the ferry to Harwich runs up the beach for embarkation at the Felixstowe side). I am not aware of a usable slipway at Harwich, though there may be one tucked away somewhere.

3. The Orwell is perhaps best approached using the Royal Harwich Yacht Club slip at Woolverstone, though Woolverstone marina next door does have a somewhat dodgy slip as well. On the Felixstowe side, Levington Marina has a couple of good slips, though the main one is quite steep, and boat launching and recovery have to be done using a cable and pulley after some idiot took his brand new Range Rover for an unsuccessful swim when it slid off the end. Charge for launch and recovery was £30 in 2018. Fox's Marina close to Ipswich do not have a slip - only a crane. I don't think there's a public slipway anywhere into either the Gipping or Ipswich Wet Dock - there used to be one into the Gipping, and hence into the Orwell, but I think the company owning it is defunct.

4. The Deben has usable slips at both ends. In fact there are two at Felixstowe Ferry, which are both good but I'd recommend the one owned by the boatyard, who charge £20 for launch and recovery. The tide runs very fast past here, so talk to the boatyard about suitable times. Waldringfield has a good slipway at the sailing club, but no road access, and the one by the Maybush pub is very short and only usable at extreme high tide by dinghies. The boatyard there uses a crane.
At the top end of the Deben estuary at Woodbridge, Robertson's yard have a nice slip, and charge £25 for launch and recovery. It is usable except for a couple of hours either side of low tide, but the boatyard is busy, so you must ask in advance whether it will be OK on a particular day.

5. The Alde is accessible via a slipway used by Orford Sailing Club, but I think it's owned by the village, and you have to get permission from the harbourmaster. Otherwise there are a couple of boatyards and a sailing club at Aldeburgh, all of whom have slips usable at high tide.

6. The Blyth at Southwold is best approached via Southwold Sailing Club, who are a nice cheery bunch, and have a good slipway (plus an elderly tractor for launching assistance when I last asked). To go any distance up stream, you need to go under the old railway bridge (now a Bailey bridge), but there's at least 6' of headroom except perhaps at extreme high springs. The Blythburgh bridge is higher, but the river dwindles to not much more than a tidal creek soon above the bridge.

7. Lowestoft Harbour and Lake Lothing can be reached via the (steep) Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht club slipway, but you MUST get permission first. That then gives access to Oulton Broad and the rest of the 200 mile Broads network via Mutford Lock, but you then need the appropriate Broads Authority tolls, insurance, and safety certificates - and their Inspectors' launches do cruise around continuously looking for unlicensed vessels. There are dozens of other slipways available elsewhere on the Broads, with varying charges but normally not expensive.
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