Friday, 24 June 2016

Working Both Boats Breasted Up Through Wide Locks

(Boats Sickle & Flamingo - posted by Alan)

(Very retrospective post for Thursday 23rd and Friday 24th June)

Starting the ascent of Buckby locks
Obviously "Flamingo's" engine woes were continuing, but we were very keen to be able to do the Braunston Historic Boats Festival with both baots, if we could still manage it. As we had had no worsening of the situation with "Flamingo's" engine when returning it to its moorings a few days previously, we decided to go for it, making a point of not rushing.

Lining up for a lock
This proved to be the first chance to try out an improvement made late last year.  We did not previously have means to tie the two boats alongside each other, so one could act as tug for the other, as we worked through broad lock flights.  The very different length of both boats and lack of suitable things to tie to precluded it.  However new fittings on "Flamingo's" gunwale now mean the boats can be breasted up with their sterns aligned, so for both lock flights today we did just that.  Obviously whilst "Flamingo" was struggling to move just herself about, we weren't going to try towing "Sickle" with her, so "Sickle" acted as the tug, with the engine on "Flamingo" shut down.

The advantages of owning a powerful tug.
It is quite "interesting" tying to accurately position the bows of the longer boat into each lock, when the one you are steering doesn't enter it itself until the first one is over 30 feet in, but I quickly got the hang of it.  What I had not expected was just how much the very much greater weight of "Flamingo" over "Sickle" would mean that the boats actually proceeded "crab style" between locks - something that the photos probably make clear.  All in all though, the arrangements worked, meaning both Cath and David could set up and work the locks, whilst I concentrated just on steering, (and stopping!).

The Virgin Trains get through here rather faster than our boats.
For the tunnels, when both boats travel together with a crew of three overall, David normally takes "Sickle" through, whilst I follow on "Flamingo" and Cath concentrates inside on creating distractions, whilst doing an "everything is OK" act.  Since a couple of earlier bad experiences, Odin, who is normally fine on board, has not been a great fan of the long tunnels, and we are trying to ensure he develops no greater phobias, nor causes Max to be apprehensive either.  For my part I am supposed to avoid any scrapes with the side - not always 100% straightforward, given the actions of some of those one encounters coming the other way on a busy day!

Gaining the confidence to do it a bit faster.
Anyway, no new or worsening problems on this trip, so both boats were ready for Braunston after all.

High House Wharf, Weedon to Braunston
Miles: 21.0, Locks :13
(10.5 miles, each boat)

No comments:

Post a Comment

We have (finally!) been alerted to the fact that many people have been unable to post comments on this blog. (It seemed a bit odd, as people used to, but it has stopped occurring). We have changed some settings, so hopefully now possible again. Comments will be moderated, and you will need to enter word verification.