After a record 40 new sites last month I have added 34 this month. It seems that every waterway organisation and business is setting up a site so I am not able to mention them all here. However, all the waterways sites that I know of are listed on my Links pages at www.jim-shead.com. To pick out a few from the many available, we have Living the Dream www.robandmarlane.com following the travels of narrowboat Oo-La-La, Captain Pugwash www.captainpugwash.org.uk, cruising the Kennet & Avon canal with Laurie and Alison Booth and their son Alex aboard their 35ft narrow boat "Clarrie" and Opus V www.opusv.com Doug Myers' project to paint all the 135 or so Thames bridges. At the end of 2001 he had completed 48 and expects to finish by 2006. The Broads Society www.broads-society.org.uk promote the future well-being of the Broads area, and provide a focus for all who are interested in the region. All Aboard Marine Services www.aamarine.co.uk is a marine engineer based at Newbury serving the Kennet and Avon Canal and River Thames. Other marine engineers can be found on the International Institute of Marine Surveyors site www.iims.org.uk which has a section devoted to small craft. If you are looking for chandlery there are a couple of new sites: MMS direct www.mmsdirect.co.uk, which claims to be Britain's best stocked on-line chandlery and Through the Porthole http://throughtheporthole.co.uk providing a catalogue of equipment and chandlery.
At the beginning of the year the original UK Waterways Network web ring, which has been moribund for some time, has finally ceased and a new UK Waterways web ring has now taken its place. If you have a site which you would like to add to the ring you can apply to join from any member site, including mine.
The Club Scene
The Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs www.penpont.demon.co.uk/awcchp.htm have enterprisingly held a competition for the best web site produced by their member clubs. I was asked to judge the sites and in the process discovered 14 club sites that were unknown to me. One of the best "new" sites was the Ash Tree Boat Club www.ldb.co.uk/ashtreeboatclub which was full of interest and had nice graphics, background and music. Other good entries amongst the "new" clubs were The Basingstoke Boat Club www.boatingclub.org.uk and the Seamaster Club www.seamasterclub.co.uk, which was one of the largest of the club sites. The average site had 15 pages and two sites had just one page each. Twenty-five websites, almost a quarter of the AWCC membership, were entered some of which have already been mentioned in previous months. It is to be hoped that this competition will encourage more clubs to set up a web site and perhaps prompt other waterway organisations to follow the AWCC lead and hold competitions of their own.
The top sites are the Cutweb Internet Boating Club www.cutweb.org.uk, in third place. As an internet based club it has a good site, particularly strong on pictures of club events. In second place is the Airedale Boat Club www.airedaleboatclub.com, a good looking site with all the information you would expect from a boat club site. Tearing open the gold envelope we announce that the winner of the AWCC website competition is .....
Site of the month
The Wilderness Boat Owners Club www.wilderness.org.uk has a site that is structured as a virtual club house. Virtual clubhouses are cheaper to build than real ones so it's no surprise to find that this one has eight floors and a lift. We start in the entrance hall where the club notice board has a wealth of information, including members pages and a visitor's book. On the left are the lift buttons that take us to the slipway, boathouse, meeting room, gallery, shop, offices and telescope room. Each "floor" has information appropriate to its use. For example on the offices floor we find four doors which are the Editor's, Manufacturer's, Secretary's and Webmaster's Offices. Behind each there are pages giving you appropriate information. I was intrigued by what was in the telescope room, at first thinking it must be pictures of travels far and wide - but these are in the gallery. The answer seems simple when you discover that it contains links to other sites. There is lots of information, pictures and even some music on the site, all presented in a way that encourages exploration of the forty or so pages. A webmaster alone cannot make a good club web site anymore than an editor alone can make a good club magazine - it's contributions from members that make the difference. The Wilderness Boat Owners Club shows what can be done, lets hope it inspires many more.
If you would like to suggest a favourite web site which you think WW
readers should know about please mail me at email@example.com.