"Sickle" Finally Heading Off For Long Awited Repairs.
(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)
(Very retrospective post for Monday 27th June 2016)
It is actually necessary to go back as far as October 2015 to give the background for this trip, for it is that long ago that "Sickle" was surveyed by a specialist surveyor in the dock at Brinklow Boat Services, and found to need repairs carried out on various parts of her steel-work. As she is 80 years old, this was not a major surprise, but we had taken her there for a survey only, and the amount of work indicated as required was not something Brinklow could fit in at the time. Hence some basic patching up was done, but we knew a visit to a specialist repairer would be needed this year.
When I spoke to Brinklow at the start of 2016, they still had huge amounts of work on, and were still not in a position to commit to a date, so we agreed I would instead talk to Stockton Dry Dock. (Between them these two yards handle much of the work carried out on historic narrow boats, and represent the very best that is available in this field). At that time, Stockton Dry Dock could accommodate us in a suitable time-frame, but unfortunately before we got to that time, the owner there managed to injure himself badly enough to spend some time unable to work, and hence his schedule of boats booked into the dock was badly impacted. However "Sickle" was hopefully not about to sink, and we were able to negotiate a time-slot that had allowed us to attend the shows at both Stoke Bruerne and Braunston. This was not a bad result, although it was likely we would now miss some events later that year.
In practice the work could not start until a week or two after the Braunston show, but the owner was happy for us to take "Sickle" on up to the dock as soon as that was over, and he would then have her ready and waiting as soon as he was able to turn around his large dry dock.
As our friends Barry and Jan were still staying with us on the boats, they agreed to look after Odin and Max in Braunston, whilst Cath and I delivered "Sickle" to Stockton. In fact Barry also drove over to fetch us back to Braunston from Stockton, thereby making our lives a lot easier. A huge vote of thanks to Barry and Jan for helping us out.
We have not boated a huge amount with "Sickle" since we discovered its steel-work was thin in parts. It was a real pleasure to be out again with our fast and very maneuverable boat - we had both forgotten just how enjoyable she can be.
Braunston to Stockton Dry Dock Miles: 9.1, Locks: 11