The handover and our first trip

At 11am on Saturday 17th July 2021 we pulled into the moorer’s car park at Gayton Marina to be greeted by Glenn’s wife Laura. They had filled their large car to the brim with the stuff they needed to take home, but by no means were they stripping to boat of anything needed to stay on her. Glenn had labled spare parts for the boat, left all the stuff needed to cruise and more, and the inside of the boat was very clean and tidy.

The payment of the balance by mobile phone faster payments went smoothly – I didn’t even have to use my card reader. Glenn transfered the boat out of his ownership on the CRT website, but I was unable to take over the boat because that section of the website wasn’t working so I need to contact them by phone on Monday.

I’m pretty sure that Glenn and Laura were going to miss Midnight Star a lot – they had been all over the network in the last five years. We promised to look after her and they then left swiftly. Since then Glenn has sent us a lot more information by email. A week from now he will be starting to move his next boat up their home mooring.

Our allocated mooring have been occupied when Glenn arrived, so he had pulled up in the next berth along, but the Marina staff wanted us to move the boat – there had been some issues with a broken jetty. This was an ideal chance to go for our first cruise.

Gayton has an electric swing bridge to negotiate, but we turned right at about 1:30 onto the Northhampton arm and crept on tickover because of moored boats to the junction with the main arm, then turned right for Bugbrooke.

Midnight Start steered accurately and left little wake – even when we opened her up to 1400+ rpm. I’d guess we were going slower than most of the boats here, even the hire boats coming out of the marina on a Saturday changeover day, but we will find the right pace in a few trips. Historically, I’ve found that everyone seems to cruise at slightly different speeds, and think that the speed they go at is the correct one. I’ve been shouted at for daring to be just a slither over tickover going past a long trot of hireboats on turnround outside a boatyard, trying to keep some steerage, and tailgated while doing what the GPS said was 4.2 mph because the boat behind me wanted to get to the boatyard before it closed. The suggestion that he should have set off earlier when I pulled over to let him past didn’t go down well.

Today, the weather was scorching hot. We began to recognise places from the past, and we took turns at steering as the other went for a poke around Midnight Star.

Turning the boat round at Bugbrooke was easy and we moored just before bridge 38 and walked to the village stores for some snacks and ice cream. The return to Gayton was without incident and we pulled into berth E20 fairly easily, greased the stern gland, switched off the invertor and domestic batteries and headed for the car. By now it was 7pm, so a 8 mile cruise had taken the whole afternoon.

The only spanner in the works was that when we tried to leave the gate was locked. We hadn;t been given a key, but were kindly let out by the folks who had been sitting on berth B20 because of the broken pontoon. It later transpired it only needed and CRT key, but we didn’t know that!

So, the first trip was a delight. Plans for the boat keep getting discussed, but apart from a repaint there is no pressing issues.

On Monday I phoned CRT and we formally adopted the boat. MIdnight Start II was registered in our names and the annual Licence fee of £867.37 paid. I’ll need to return to Gayton to sort out the mooring agreement, but we will be moving the boat down to Aylesbury soon anyway.