Friday, 23 June 2017

Moving Sickle - Not Quite Out Of The Woods Yet!

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)
(Retrospective post for Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd June)

Hunton Bridge
Finally we got to move "Sickle".  The gearbox had been removed at Cassio Bridge, and taken away to  repaired by the person who sold us the engine.  The actually problem had proved to be exactly what the experts though it must be - a very large nut that holds all the mechanism onto the main shaft had come loose by several turns, even though it is meant to be locked in place.  No damage done, but that is probably only because I refused to carry on with it, once the problem first arose.

Nash Mills
The gearbox had been refitted several days previously, but this was the earliest we could collect the boat, and still at least take "Flamingo" to the events at Foxton and Braunston - we had originally planned to take "Sickle" to both as well.

They have painted it, but it is still "unusual"!
The first day of this two day trip passed largely, (but not entirely!), without incident.  However on day two, we were bugged by the same problems of severely depleted water levels South of Berkhamsted.  Once again the pound between Bottomside and Topside locks was down so far as to be almost unnavigable in a deep draughted boat.  Once again the level was a full twenty inches low.  A foot can be survivable, but when nearly 2 feet if water is missing, problems are inevitable.  There is one bridge in that pound.  We stuck firm approaching it, and had to let some water down, knowing, as usual, that all the water you take from the next pound may cause further problems there.  Eventually we bounced slowly through the bridge, only to get stuck again on the other side.  Once freed from there, I thought we could get to the lock, but we grounded firmly maybe 100 yards from it, despite being mid channel.  quite a large additional flush finally saw us into the lock.

Approaching Winkwell Bottom Lock.
Thinking our troubles were over, and we had only three more locks to get into central Berkhamsted, we then hit issues with the bevel gear mechanism that works the gears.  This is not, I hasten to add, the gearbox itself, which had just been repaired - it is a "highly bespoke" separate gearing mechanism unique to "Sickle", and perhaps less robustly engineered as would be totally ideal.  The mechanism was now part jamming and sometimes jumping - that much was obvious, but I couldn't at the time work out why.  We managed to creep on to Berkhamsted, but were now long overdue on plans to drive up to Braunston to rejoin "Flamingo" for the historic boat gathering there.  Not for the first time "Sickle" would have to wait for me to investigate what had happened now!

Winkwell Bottom Lock.
Winkwell Swing Bridge

7 courses of brickwork that should be covered by water!
Stuck mid-channel and going nowhere - pound about 20 inches down.

Stuck mid-channel and going nowhere (2)
The Rising Sun, Berkhamsted - "Sickle" is misbehaving again, though.

"Sickle's" twin "Tycho" is once again advertised for sale.
Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd June
Cassio Bridge (Watford) to Berkhamsted
Here to There
Miles: 11.7, Locks: 27
Total Trip Miles: 2.0, Locks: 2

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