Thursday, 12 March 2009

This mooring business

As I mentioned in a previous post, after three years of boating, I'm now looking for a mooring. I want to be able to leave the boat for weeks at a time and go gallivanting. Also, having failed in my attempts to run the boat on used veg oil, I don't feel able to keep travelling around on diesel while cursing car drivers.
So, I'm now knee-deep in the 'sealed tender' process of BW's mooring system. To some of my boaty associates (who consider BW stands for Brutish Waterways), this involvement will seem a betrayal, but speaking personally, I have far greater ethical problems with enriching a livestock farmer for a 'farmer's field' mooring. Where I see exploitation and abuse of animals seen as commodities to be thrown away unless profitable, I just couldn't bear to hand over cash to further that system. But every boater has to find their own solution to the mooring problem and I don't knock anyone but the profiteers.
I'd much prefer a farmer's field mooring, for the peace and informality they seem to offer and I've seen some that have a lively community feel that makes me very envious!
Anyway, so far I've made one tender and failed to get the mooring. I was only second in line and offered £200 under the guide price, but the successful bidder paid £600 more than my offer! That means they're tied into that price for 3 years if they stay. It does seem a harsh process and you just don't know how to pitch it, especially as some moorings have gone for less than expected. I'm trying for another mooring now but am just as uncertain how to play it.

Two things are on my mind: to commit to making a tender, I imagine myself in the new place and therefore start to lay all sorts of plans which I mustn't do because I probably won't get the mooring! Secondly, I wonder who's currently in that mooring. Is it a family who have put down roots for years, with kids in school, local jobs, friends etc? Are they desperately trying to hang onto their home spot, scraping together the most they can offer to keep it? Or am I up against wealthy boat-owners who normally keep their holiday boat in a marina, but are now looking to save a couple of grand by getting a linear mooring instead?
Oh well, if I'm not successful, at least I can't be evicted, lose my home or get sacked and in today's climate that's much to be thankful for.


Simon said...

On the other hand, the field moorings represent an income from the land that doesn't involve animal use?

It is difficult though- at my [private boatyard] moorings things are very carefully defined between residential and non-residential, but I guess out there in the real world you're in direct competition with rich weekenders and the like.

Actually, I wonder - all new housing developments have to include a proportion of 'affordable housing' (which always makes me laugh, there should be no such thing as unaffordable housing) - I wonder if someone legal could apply that to the way BW manage moorings, too?

The blind auction thing is how they sell houses in Scotland, too, it seems entirely weighted in favour of the seller. It's such a cynical move on the part of BW.

Carrie said...

'On the other hand, the field moorings represent an income from the land that doesn't involve animal use?'
That's very true, although I reckon it represents chicken-feed (literally) in a farmer's income, just allowing him/her to pay for cereals (like soya grown in Brazilian rainforests) and the like. I'd feel differently about supplementing the income of an arable/veg-growing farmer.
I always laugh (morosely) at mentions of 'affordable housing' too! Isn't it ridiculous.

I seem to remember reading that BW were going to switch to a normal open auction style soon - perhaps I read it on I guess the trouble with that would be that no-one would make a move until one minute before the auction ended, then offer one quid more. It's hard to think of a fair way of doing things. My preferred method would be pistols at dawn ;-)