Thursday, 18 May 2017

Hard Work - And More Rain.

(With both boats - posted by Alan)

First lock of the day
Another day that hasn't exactly gone to our original plan, (although as time goes on and on, I'm becoming less convinced that you could really call much of what we do "planning!).  Because we decided not to continue in yesterdays heavy rain, we realised we would have to work harder on the last two days of the trip to Ricky.

Travelling breasted up in Berkhamsted.
We decided we would try and split things today to do considerably more than half the remaining miles and locks, in a bid to make tomorrow more relaxed.  It has only partially worked,  We have certainly managed to do more than half, but equally not massively more, and tomorrow is still likely to be quite hard work.

Passing Sickle's twin, Tycho.
Using our favoured planning tool, CanalPlanAC, still set to speed estimates we would have used for our old leisure boat "Chalice", suggests today's travels could be achieved in under 6 hours.  However the engine hour counters indicate we travelled closer to 8 hours.  It seems we need to add maybe 30% extra to give more realistic timings appropriate to travelling with "Sickle" and "Flamingo" together.

"The Riser" where we performed two days ago.
Until today we have been fairly successful in breasting both boats side by side where locks are very close together, thus freeing up a steerer and adding a second person to work locks.  I decided to try some longer pounds the same way to see how we fared.  Unfortunately the answer was often "not very well".  Levels were severely down in some pounds, meaning insufficient channel for two deep draughted boats forming a single "boat" 14 feet wide.  This was exacerbated by excessive offside vegetation, often not permitting us to use what channel there was.  We quickly lost a fair amount of time going aground so reluctantly decided to double up only where distances between locks was very short. This meant David had to do the vast majority of the intensive lock work. There is also considerable effort expended if you keep roping the boats together only to fairly quickly separate the again.  We continue to experiment to find the most effective balance for us.

Winkwell swing bridge
Exhausted, and with tempers somewhat frayed by about 2:00 pm we stopped for a late lunch and to look for some energy.  It struck me we had not got that far since racing yesterday to beat the lock stoppage that should be ending about that time!

Well and truly raining again by Apsley
We soon decided to get going again, but had already by now cut back ideas about where we hoped to end the day' boating.  As the afternoon pressed on, the rain set in, intermittently at first, but  fairly well established by the time we tied up.  Although there is very adequate depth where we moored, there is nothing to tie up to, and the towpath is impenetrable to stakes, as it seems to be solid concrete only a few inches below the surface.  People have left loops of very insubstantial rope, (twine might be a better word!), passed through some of the small holes in the relatively unusual style of pilings here.

Trevor Maggs on Corona - stll in the rain.
So we now have two very heavy boats attached to not a lot more than "fat string".  However it was soon well tested as veteran boater Trevor Maggs on Corona came past at his usual very brisk pace.  The "string" loops survived, so we are probably OK until the morning.  Trevor is a bit of a legend, now well into his 80s and still handling the working boat he has owned since the 1960s he has, I believe, made the journey from Rugby to Rickmansworth and back every single time the festival has been held.  He doesn't hang about!

Berkhamsted to Kings Langley
Miles per boat: 7.0, Miles both boats: 14.0, Locks: 17
Total Trip Miles: 114.5, Locks: 56

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.