Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Work for the Winter period 2016/17

  • Lift boat on to hard standing at Sharpness. (DONE)
  • Pressure wash hull and base plate, repaint with 'Keel Black', a tough bitumen emulsion that can be applied to a damp surface. (DONE)
  • Renew Boat Safety Certificate. (DONE - See below)
  • Service and Safety Certificate for Alde Gas heating system to include - hob, oven, grill & boiler.
  • Fit navigation lights. (DONE)
  • Repack propeller stern gland.
  • Remove cabin windows, repaint sides.

The Wye Invader Two Boat Safety Certificate has now been renewed until January 2021, a full pass was given with one advisory - the AC output inverter does not pass through a Consumer Unit - This will be addressed over the winter maintenance period.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Out she comes......

After around 1000 miles travelled in 2016 and with no breakdowns or mechanical faults, Wye Invader Two is now on hard standing for the Winter.

First job is a hull clean and repaint then the addition of navigation lights and I'm sure other little jobs will come to mind!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Wye Invader - The Return, 4th Anniversary!

The 28th November 2016 marks the 4th anniversary of Wye Invader - The Return. The return of 38m (124ft) Dutch Barge Wye Invader to Sharpness after being moored just outside Hereford on the River Wye for 23 years.

The actual journey took several months and some video clips and photos were made into a short video you can view on YouTube -

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Sharpness to Tewkesbury, 16th - 18th September 2016

Over the weekend of 16th/18th September, Wye Invader Two sailed to Tewkesbury and returned to Sharpness.

Friday 12.00, we left Sharpness and called in at Saul Junction at 13.45 for fuel, then continued on to Gloucester Docks arriving at 15.45. I phoned the Gloucester Lock Keeper to enquire about the morning high tide, we were informed that we should be outside the lock gates the next day at 08.20 to lock down at 08.30 to be ahead of the flotsam expected with the top of the tide. By the time I had finished the call we had passed through Llanthony Bridge and into the Docks where we moored for the night. Saturday 08.20, along with 2 other Narrow Boats we entered the lock and were locked down onto the River Severn at 08.40. The high tide was forecast for 09.30, so we had tide assist up the ‘Parting’ and for a further 6 miles up river which was useful for saving fuel and time.

Before leaving the lock we were advised that the ‘Sir Edward Elgar’ was on it's way down the ‘Parting’ and we were about 1 mile from the top of the Parting when we passed (see photos).

The Sir Edward Elgar in "The Parting"
The Sir Edward Elgar in "The Parting" 

The remainder of the journey to Tewkesbury was uneventful and we locked up onto the town mooring for the night.

Sunday morning we locked down onto the Avon at about 08.30, we entered Upper Load Lock at 08.40 and were clear by 09.00, just before we left the Lock Keeper advised about the height of the tide. As we left the tide was just below the lock with about 1 metre to rise, the tide would go over the top of the Weir by 11.25. On the way down towards Gloucester the river was flat and glass like to look at (see photo),

The journey took 2 hours and there was very little flotsam until the last 300 metres from the lock, as we came round the last corner and on to the straight, the tidal surge increased so I put more revs to increase speed, the flotsam covered about half of the ‘Parting’ and to the right of centre, leaving the left side clear down to the lock, we entered the lock and the gates were closed, the Lock Keeper checked to see we were moored and up we went, the lock gates were opened into the dock. At 11.30 we passed through Llanthony Bridge and the journey back to Sharpness was a pleasant 4 hours in the sunshine.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Pershore via Tewkesbury with Wye Invader Two

Over the last 3 years, Wye Invader Two has been to Tewkesbury about 8 times with a stop over for the night on the way to Worcester or Stourport, however curiosity got the better of us on this trip, instead of turning right to the town mooring, we purchased a 48hr licence and turned left under the town bridge into the River Avon, a different type of river navigation than the Severn, the river is a lot narrower with 2 old bridges, 1 of which is under repair and the wildlife more at ease with boats. Pershore was a pleasant surprise, hotels and pubs with river front moorings including 200 metres of navigation mooring fronting the sports fields. I think we need to put at least 3 weeks aside for the next visit!

Monday 15th August. Leave Sharpness at 12.00hrs
The journey to Gloucester was very quiet, we stopped at Saul Junction for fuel, we were clear by 13.45hrs and on the last 8 miles to Gloucester. We arrived in Gloucester at 15.45hrs, just before passing under Llanthony Bridge and into the dock I rang the Lock Master at Gloucester to check on availability, the lock had just been filled and the gates would be open by the time we had cleared the bridge. We entered Gloucester Lock at 15.50hrs and cleared the lock at 16.00hrs. The 3.5 miles up the Parting were completed in 45 minutes, I did notice the water in the Parting seemed to be slack with little or no current, probably because the River Severn was on low Summer level.

We arrived at the top of the Parting at 16.45hrs, this is where we rejoined the River Severn and the next 10 miles were very quiet with not a boat to be seen. At18.30hrs we arrived at Upper Load Lock, as we came round the corner the lock gates were open and the traffic signal on green, we sailed in and moored to the left side, the Lock Keeper checked we were OK and the gates closed. 15 minutes later the lock was full, the gates opened we sailed out. Half a mile further on I turned right into the River Avon, a few hundred metres upstream the river turned to the left into the final approach to the first Avon lock where we registered the boat and paid for the number of days we intended to stay, then we locked up onto the Old Mill Leet and our mooring for to night.

Tewkesbury Bridge

Tuesday 16th August.
After breakfast at about 09.45hrs we were underway back along the Mill Leet towards the lock and the water refill point just past the lock entrance. At 11.15hrs the water tank was filled and we got underway along the Mill Leet passing under the main road bridge out of Tewkesbury. The River Avon was just ahead with the main weir to the left, the Marina was on the right and the Sailing Club follows the bank for about 300 metres. We were now in open country,  on the left we passed a pub and a few houses, in the distance we could see the M5 motorway and we soon passed under it's bridge. A couple of miles further on and the river narrows, there is a weir on the left with the first lock just ahead.  Arriving at Strensham at 12.45hrs we entered the first lock, 15 minutes later at 13.00hrs we were clear, as we left the lock there were boats moored on the right for about 200 metres. The river was now about 30 metres wide, in the distance was a rail bridge, as we passed under the river started to change, it narrowed, their were more bends and the sides became wooded down to the river edges.

14.00hrs. As we came round a left bend the river opened up with the weir ahead and to the left the mooring poles, further ahead was the lock, the lock was open and 15 minutes later we cleared the lock, the right side of the river is wooded right down to the water and the left bank was open fields. We had been on the move for about 45 minutes and the landscape changed, the fields were now on the right and we had woods to the left. We passed a small boat yard on the left with about 20 boats tied up alongside, we also had the main road to Pershore on the left, ahead was an old road bridge and we passed under, just upstream was a large concrete bridge that carries the main road through Pershore, a few hundred metres further on was the last lock before the town. The gates were open and there was a boat in front of us, I dropped Andy off to assist and Wye Invader Two went in alongside for the lift up. At 15.15hrs we were second out of the lock and moved slowly up river towards the town mooring area just along side the sports field for the night.

Wye Invader Two moored at Pershore 

Wednesday 17th August - the return journey.
09.30hrs. We turned Wye Invader Two around and set off downstream towards the Town Lock, when we arrived the lock was full so all we had to do was open the gates, as we entered the lock chamber a small narrowboat arrived, they eased in alongside us and the gates were closed. We were lowered and 15 minutes later we were on our way back to Tewkesbury. The journey back on the Avon was uneventful, we were very lucky to see lots of wildlife and only 4 other boats, we arrived in Tewkesbury at about 14.00hrs where we moored on the town side of the lock.

14.30hrs. Listening to the radio, rain was forecast for the next 2 days so we decided to leave and head back to Gloucester. We left Tewkesbury at 15.00hrs and arrived in Gloucester at 17.30, we stayed overnight just outside of the docks as Llanthony Bridge, the bridge that closes the dock area off, doesn’t open until 09.30hrs due to local traffic in Gloucester.

River Avon heading away from Pershore
Ready for the rain!

Thursday 18th August.
08.00hrs. Engine and gearbox oils checked, wet weather gear on and with the rain showers getting heavier we left Gloucester for Sharpness. 12.00hrs we arrived at Sharpness and for the next 2 hours - it really did rain! The final photograph taken in Sharpness is SS Freshspring which we mentioned recently, now in Dry Dock for maintenance on her hull.

SS Freshspring dry docked at Sharpness

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

An American Connection in Tewksbury

It’s strange who you meet on our waterways. Wye Invader Two was on the River Avon in Tewksbury last week just past where you lock down onto the River Severn, just before the lock was the Narrowboat ‘Finnuala’. We pulled Wye Invader Two in to stop and top up our water tank, as ‘Finnuala’ passed us to enter the lock the gentleman at the helm asked if we were anything to do with the Wye Invader?

We explained Wye Invader was our previous vessel, and the American gentleman told us that he and his wife had previously owned a 25m Dutch barge but had now downsized to the boat they were on today and that they had watched all of our Wye Invader videos on YouTube, he went on to explain they spend 6 weeks of the year cruising our British waterways and were thrilled to meet the person who sailed the 38m Wye Invader both up and down the River Wye.


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Wye Invader at Upper Load Lock

On our return trip from Worcester in July 2013, about half between Worcester and Gloucester just below Tewkesbury, is Upper Load Lock. These photos were taken by a person called Les, he was on a narrow boat in the same Lock en-route to Gloucester, what I didn't know was that he had the 2 photos until a year or so later when I stopped in the Marina at Saul Junction where he used to work, we got talking about boats when the subject of the Wye Invader came up and the pictures he'd taken 12 months earlier, which he recently emailed to me for the Wye Invader website.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Brockweir Revisited (or Big Waves, Big Skies and a Big Rock)

A new Wye Invader Two video now on the Wye Invader YouTube page.  A 3 day trip from Sharpness to Brockweir and return that didn't quite go to plan!

SS Freshspring

An interesting visitor at Sharpness this weekend, Steamship Freshspring arrived ready to go into Dry Dock for hull repairs. SS Freshspring, originally a coal fired steamship, was first launched in August 1946, she sailed to her permanent base in Malta in February 1947 and served as a water carrier and fire tender. She is the last surviving Fresh class water carrier built for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and she will be converted to carry cruise passengers while preserving the past and educating and inspiring knowledge for future generations.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Not something you see every day! The 38m Wye Invader photographed in July 2013 in “The Parting” travelling North to Worcester from Gloucester. A rope had become entangled round the prop and she pulled into the side to have it removed, a Narrowboat travelling in the same direction came round a bend and the owners took this photograph which they kindly sent on to us. On her return, Wye Invader navigated “The Parting” backwards to keep her speed down! If anyone has any photos of Wye Invader on her trip to Worcester or return to Sharpness in July 2013 we’d love to have a copy - Get in touch via our website at

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Parting - New Video online.

The 3.5 mile 'cut' north of Gloucester from the River Severn to Gloucester Docks is often avoided by those who might have heard horror stories about it! - Here, Wye Invader Two gives you a 'Real Time' guided journey down "The Parting" to the lock at Gloucester on the Wye Invader Two Website

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

New throttle cable for Wye Invader Two

About three weeks ago Wye Invader Two was put in the Canal after 6 months of repairs, the first test run was to Saul Junction, about 14 miles in all, then back to Sharpness with no problems and all seemed to be fine.

The boat was secured at the mooring until the following weekend when, as normal I started the engine, I put the gear into position and moved slow astern, when the boat was clear of the mooring I couldn't increase the speed, all I could do was select forward and astern.

2 hours later and after removing the Morse gear controls, the problem turned out to be the accelerator cable not secured and touching the hot exhaust, melting the cable, it was 3 metres long and should have only been 2 metres long, so a new cable was ordered and fitted. 



Sunday, 22 May 2016

Wye Invader 1990

Wye Invader moored just upstream of the New Bridge Hereford, adjacent to the South Bank and opposite Hereford Rowing Club. The original photo was taken in March 1990 following a trip further upstream towards Hay-on-Wye. Wye Invader only made it as far as Monnington Falls before having to return due to lack of water. As the original negative had been lost, this photo was taken from a large framed print that hung in the bar of The Saracens Head for around 14 years, when the pub closed I asked Des, the Landlord if I could have the print, the pub has since re-opened.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

and we're back in the water.....

After being lifted out in October 2015 and following nearly 6 months work, Wye Invader Two was lowered back in the Marina on May 9th 2016. See our website for the details and photo's.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

New Gearbox and Drive plate fitted

The new gearbox and drive plate arrived just after Christmas and were fitted in early February. We took the opportunity to replace the 2 high pressure oil feed and return pipes at the same time. While the engine was out the fuel pipes were replaced with the correct marine quality fire resistant rubber pipe.

The Engine assembly was refitted the weekend Saturday 26 February and started Saturday 2 April 

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Water tank now finished

2 weeks ago I finished grinding and sweeping out the inside of the tank, I climbed out to let the dust settle and have a coffee.  When I got back into the tank after cleaning my dust mask and glasses I spent the next 2 hrs grinding the rust I had missed. The inside walls, floor and roof have now been painted and the access cover replaced and sealed. I had hoped to re-paint the Foredeck and Anchor Locker but this has been rained off this Easter, on the bright side it is good to have water in the taps again.


Weed Hatch now re-assembled

The Weed Hatch, cover and new seal have now been painted with Bitumen and reassembled. The clean steel and rust pot marked areas were treated with a rust treatment as advised by the people who supplied the Bitumen, this converts the rust areas to a solid state so the top coat will stick for a longer period, time will tell and we’ll see during Winter maintenance next year.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Water tank woes

3 weeks ago in a moment of madness, I decided to check the condition of the forward water tank as it had been drained for frost protection for the Winter, perhaps more to the point no one had looked inside it for 12 years. The access cover was secured by 20 set screws, all of them rusted in and most of a weekend was spent drilling them out. 

After removing the inspection cover I discovered the welded seems were rusty and the floor of the tank was covered with about 25mm of mud so 2 weekends have been spent grinding out the rust and cleaning out the mud and more work is still required.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

New video on website and YouTube Channel

With nearly 7000 views of our 3 videos in just 12 months on YouTube, we were being asked if we had any other videos to upload.

Before our Wye Invader Two run from Sharpness to Brockweir via the River Severn and the River Wye, there were a couple of 'shakedown' runs to find any mechanical problems and get some experience using the HD video camera, so we've put some of this 'test' footage together of a 2 day trip from Sharpness to Tewkesbury.

We're hoping to do a more in depth video of a trip from Tewkesbury to Sharpness later in 2016 - Watch out for it!

More info on our website -

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Weed Hatch

The weed hatch is there so you can remove any weed, rope and even car tyres from around the propeller or prop shaft without going for a swim. When the barge is built or constructed, the hatch is made out of the same steel as the hull, in the case of Wye invader 2 that is 6mm thick.
Every 3 to 4 years the barge should be taken out to have the bottom of the barge pressure washed or shot blasted to clean the old bitumen and rust off, then repaint. The area most often forgot is the weed hatch, so when your barge is an ex-hire craft its a good idea to clean and paint before you find your boat sat on the bottom of the canal!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

UPDATE - Gearbox and Engine Bay

We removed the engine and gearbox over the weekend of 14/15 November, I priced the cost of a new drive plate and gear box and have decided to replace them although the gearbox only has 1700 hrs on it and is working well the drive plate is well worn. While the engine is out I sanded the sides with an orbital sander and the old bitumen floor covering has been removed. Roll on Summer…..