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Xmatelot

Birchwood 340 Ac. Sea Capable?

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Hi everyone.

Im currently looking at a lovely twin engined Birchwood 340 AC (2001) to use as a live aboard for coastal use, coast hopping and beats across the Channel , Channel Islands etc.

Has anyone experienced these boats at sea? I can't find a review anywhere.

With 50 years sailing experience my knees have dictated a change and this boat ticks all my boxes as a live aboard. I assume she is Ocean cat B, but I don't do the very rough stuff anymore.

Regards

Xmatelot

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What engine and drive configuration is probably the first question for sea use.

My princess 30ds is on shafts with a pair of 150hp volvos and can do fairly well in most sensible conditions, I have done sea in a far worse handling boat and wouldn't want less power now.

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Hello xmatelot,

Sorry you did not leave your name.

Ranworth Breeze is a 2001 Birchwood 340 AC (single engine) some of our syndicate owners with the necessary qualifications used to take her out to sea. We decided as a group of owners in 2007 that we would no longer take her out to sea after the life raft was due to testing/renewal. The life-raft used to b e strapped to the forward starboard rails. 

I have never seen a 340 AC with dual engines, that configuration was normally just on the fly bridge version. The space in the engine bay would be almost unworkable, there is little space with our single 210 BHP engine. In some of the larger deeper hulled boats where you can stand in the engine bay you can walk around or between the engines.

One of our owners did tell me that on a trip to sea that waves were coming under the bottom edge of the canopy. The boat is very sea worthy but I feel that I would personally have taken it out to sea on a single engine, even with the sea kit (flares and ship to shore radio and life raft). Some of our forum members have had to be towed back into port when both of their engines or filters have been clogged due to rough seas.

Regards

Alan 

Holiday Hopecove 2006 033.jpg

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Any boat can be taken out to sea, it all depends on the sea state and the weather forecast. There's a guy called "Nick Sanders" (whi I've had the great pleasure to meet) who is global adventurer. He's done all sorts of things around the world and set numerous world records, one of them being the longest canal boat trip in the world. He set off from somewhere in the Midlands and went across the channel and through Europe. Obviously it was meticulously planned with the channel crossing crossing being at exactly the right time and right sea conditions, and the narrowboat obviously prepared and adapted for the cross channel adventure. 

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7 minutes ago, SPEEDTRIPLE said:

Any boat can be taken out to sea, it all depends on the sea state and the weather forecast. 

We took our 22ft Fairline holiday from Dartmouth to Brundall via Guernsey (first pic at St Peters Port before we renamed her) and she had a single petrol engine. We crossed from Gt Yarmouth to Holland (second pic in Zierikzee) a couple of times a year later on.

1635402651_MondaysWhimStPetersPortGuernsey.thumb.jpg.af7f8b8910b0eee0dd7808da3e417467.jpg215904413_NowFridayGirl(1).thumb.jpg.6f6d05951e2f25a79144dd38f3ad3812.jpg

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28 minutes ago, Hockham Admiral said:

We took our 22ft Fairline holiday from Dartmouth to Brundall via Guernsey (first pic at St Peters Port before we renamed her) and she had a single petrol engine. We crossed from Gt Yarmouth to Holland (second pic in Zierikzee) a couple of times a year later on.

1635402651_MondaysWhimStPetersPortGuernsey.thumb.jpg.af7f8b8910b0eee0dd7808da3e417467.jpg215904413_NowFridayGirl(1).thumb.jpg.6f6d05951e2f25a79144dd38f3ad3812.jpg

 

May I say John, you did your boating the same way you flew the mighty Buccaneer, "by the seat of you pants". :default_icon_e_biggrin:

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9 hours ago, Smoggy said:

What engine and drive configuration is probably the first question for sea use.

My princess 30ds is on shafts with a pair of 150hp volvos and can do fairly well in most sensible conditions, I have done sea in a far worse handling boat and wouldn't want less power now.

Thanks Smoggy

She has two 190 Yanmars on shafts.

Mixed feelings at the moment but im still optimistic, after all its always the skippers call after weather forecasts, sea states etc Its my knees that will have the biggest say !

Regards

Paul

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1 hour ago, ranworthbreeze said:

Hello xmatelot,

Sorry you did not leave your name.

Ranworth Breeze is a 2001 Birchwood 340 AC (single engine) some of our syndicate owners with the necessary qualifications used to take her out to sea. We decided as a group of owners in 2007 that we would no longer take her out to sea after the life raft was due to testing/renewal. The life-raft used to b e strapped to the forward starboard rails. 

I have never seen a 340 AC with dual engines, that configuration was normally just on the fly bridge version. The space in the engine bay would be almost unworkable, there is little space with our single 210 BHP engine. In some of the larger deeper hulled boats where you can stand in the engine bay you can walk around or between the engines.

One of our owners did tell me that on a trip to sea that waves were coming under the bottom edge of the canopy. The boat is very sea worthy but I feel that I would personally have taken it out to sea on a single engine, even with the sea kit (flares and ship to shore radio and life raft). Some of our forum members have had to be towed back into port when both of their engines or filters have been clogged due to rough seas.

Regards

Alan 

Holiday Hopecove 2006 033.jpg

Thanks Alan.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with the engine bay space. Two 190 Yanmars on shafts with filters and sea cocks accessible and I could stand between the two.

As always its the skippers call on sea and weather conditions so I will remain optimistic !!

Many thanks and best wishes

Paul

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The main problem with taking a river boat to sea is anything of 5 and over the sediment that accumulates in the fuel tank gets stirred up, blocking the filters, sea boats should have two or more parreled fuel filters for each engine with cross valves with plenty of spares. John

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8 hours ago, Xmatelot said:

Thanks Alan.

I was actually pleasantly surprised with the engine bay space. Two 190 Yanmars on shafts with filters and sea cocks accessible and I could stand between the two.

As always its the skippers call on sea and weather conditions so I will remain optimistic !!

Many thanks and best wishes

Paul

Hi Paul, my guess is that the battery box may have been relocated, and the engines must be placed on each side of the boat almost up to the diesel tanks with a space between the engines. I would be interested in a picture of the placement of the two engines.

Regards

Alan

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6 minutes ago, ranworthbreeze said:

Hi Paul, my guess is that the battery box may have been relocated, and the engines must be placed on each side of the boat almost up to the diesel tanks with a space between the engines. I would be interested in a picture of the placement of the two engines.

Regards

Alan

Alan.

That sounds about right from memory. The boat is a fair distance from me but if/when I return for another viewing I'll get some photos.

Regards

Paul

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I have an older brother in Southampton and about 15 years ago he took a Shetland 536 (Suntrip) over to France. It had two Robin Reliant engines on outdrives, cooled by radiators and fans. One fuel tankwas fron an Austin Cambridge and ithink he carried some jerrycans!

He had built a sort of cuddy top on the cabin. He had a workshop and shop in Southampton specialising in BMC Minis, Hence the windows in the top bit. Mini van/estate rear.

He got there and back but that was the last time his wife got in a boat with him!  

He has bought another boat now bigger and faster but just for fishing. It has a radio, no callsign.

He keeps asking me to go out with him in the boat. I'm running out of excuses!

I know he has charts of the solent because I gave him mine. Life jackets, flares, spare anchor, extra anchor warp, CG66, well,  I have no idear if he has any of that.I try to guide him but.....

The sea is a dangerous place. Without a lot af experience, knowledge of weather, tides etc. I wouldn't go more than 2 miles offshore. I did a lot of research before I launched my Shetland 535 at Felixstowe Ferry and went up to Woodbridge for a beer and out past the bouyage at the estuary.

Clive.

scan0001.jpg

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Any boat that floats can go to sea.. People row across the pacific and the imigrants are bringing dinghies over the canal on dinghies. 

As mentioned it's all about; having the skills to do safely and planning to be as safe as possible which includes yourself and the boat. I personally wouldn't be happy to take a boat out to sea which I don't know and don't know if it's seaworthy, I'd prefer to have someone more experienced than me and it's commonly accepted not to take a boat to sea with only on means of propulsion, I.e one engine (without sails) and even then again the twin engines should be completely separate. As always grab a survey, grab some training and see how it all goes from there :)

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On 29/07/2019 at 15:45, TheLaird said:

I wouldn't go more than 2 miles offshore.

My chartplotter loses an hour and comes back again half hour later each time I have crossed the thames estaury, I have worked out it's timezone was on auto so when it got too far from land changed to gmt as it wasn't sure which country it was in.

Always just north of the sunk sand crossing till the south of foulgers gat.

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Does your 'phone log onto french mobile networks too? 

I understand Dover is a 'hotspot' for french mobile signal!

Clive.

 

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I have been boating for years,as Alan said any boat is capable of going to sea.For me I would not do so with my boat.A Alpha 29,single engine.If I had a twin engined boat,I would give it a go with some training.I have a VHP licence but would gain some more training. By the way :default_welcome:from me,Ian

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Older vhf licenses will need the upgrade course for modern vhf sets with dsc, not that you are likely to use any dsc functions for a trip to lake lothing or as if anyone ever checks the operators certificate, you are only likely to get caught out if you don't have the ships license and get asked for your callsign (very rare) fixed ship radio license is done online and free and automatically issues you a callsign and mmsi.

I wouldn't venture out to sea or into a working harbour without a vhf, you can call a harbour on a phone but can't keep a listening watch on a phone which builds up a good picture of whats moving and where before you get too close.

My phone is purely giffgaff Clive so not a clue.

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I agree Dave.   I have a DSC radio programmed with the mmsi and a callsign (MRHA6).  I once had need to talk to

the Coastguard at Weymouth, I knocked on thier door, In the discusion I did say that I hadn't done the RYA course.

He said "don't worry we have more problems with the yachts sitting on CH16 chatting. Use it sensibly and you will not have a problem."       Thing is, I am ex Royal Signals. I think I know my voice procedure!

I actually taught radio use and voice prcedure to army cadets and wrote a training paper for the cadets and Central Bedfordshire Emergency Planning Team.

Clive.

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All of the Amateur radio clubs are up in arms about poor enforcement of the laws pertaining to Amateur bands. The officers of the RSGB (Radio Society of Great Britain), do not have enough time to track down the unlicensed louts who sit on amateur bands,playing music, let alone maritime traffic.

  OFCOM is possibly the biggest joke of all hardly any prosecutions of any wrong doing on any broadcast medium. All they seem to occupy themselves with is TV.

So Clive, you using a proper call sign, using proper etiquette on the airwaves, will not even raise an eyebrow. especially when you hear some of the language used by some fishermen on the airwaves.

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As a keen CBer back in the day, I used to enjoy having random chats with people but it was there I think, that the "radio lout" was born. I had (still have somewhere I think) a President Lincoln modified to go from 26 to 30 MHz USB LSB AM and FM. All I actually wanted was the FM from 26.965 to 27.992.

I too object to the music players and gutter mouthes that gave CB a bad name and rendered it virtually useless. One day I shall fit a rig to Nyx and perhaps try to encourage other forum members to do so. I see it as a great way to keep in touch with other cruisers.

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9 hours ago, MauriceMynah said:

As a keen CBer back in the day, I used to enjoy having random chats with people

I'm sorry but...my good friend MM on the CB radio having 'random chats' keeps bringing thoughts of Karl Pilkington to my mind! What's your 20, how many candles are you burning? :default_norty:

 

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