Friday, 16 October 2015

A Lock Flight With Both Boats For The First Time

(Boats  Sickle & Flamingo - posted by Alan)

Buckby Bottom Lock - First of the trip
Although both boats have visited some places together since we acquired "Flamingo" at the end of last year, on the whole they have travelled separately, largely because of (until now) different home moorings.  They have shared one broad lock together before, but that is all.

Once the locks were filling we generally sent David on to prepare the next.

Currently moving both boats together through broad locks is labour intensive.  The massive difference in length between the two, ("Flamingo is 31 feet 6 inches longer than "Sickle"), makes it impossible to tie both boats together in a manner that one can drag the other along.  This means each boat needs its own steerer, and each boat has to move independently between the locks.  Cath and I are not experienced enough, (and I, at least not agile enough), to take this on alone, so at least one extra crew member is required to  do the actual lock work.  Today son David, (who is both young and agile), would largely work the locks, whilst his less agile parents largely worked the boats.

We tended to work with me going into each lock first with the bigger boat.
Both boats were on their way to Brinklow Boat Services on the Stretton Arm of the North Oxford Canal.  "Sickle" needs a survey, and (amongst other things), we wanted to get some bits welded onto "Flamingo" that address the issue above, and may allow us to successfully use one boat to drag the other about.

Cath could then slot "Sickle" in beside "Flamingo".
We are still trying hard to come up with ways of addressing the fact that Odin the dog has become scared of tunnel passages.  Generally he loves boating, but currently tunnels can freak him.  We have sometimes been walking him over the top, where it is feasible, but today  we decided he would stay on "Flamingo" with Cath whilst I took it through Braunston Tunnel.  We sent son David on ahead with "Sickle", as it is the faster boat of the two.

Slow steady progress - we were not rushing - we are still learning what works best.
Entering Buckby Top - the only lock they had previously shared .

"Flamingo" is the second boat to leave Braunston Tunnel.
High House Wharf to Braunston Top Lock
Miles: 19.7, Locks: 7
Total Miles
19.7, Locks: 7

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