Thursday, 31 May 2018

Need to get to the pub!

(With both boats - posted by Alan)

Heading away from our overnight mooring at Cowroast.
With all the disruption and delay to our return journey from Rickmansworth, (the result of Michael's latest operation), I had completely overlooked the fact that I had arranged to go on my regular monthly pub night with former work colleagues,

setting off dowm the Marsworth flight, breasted up.
When the emails started arriving to confirm the meet up was on, I realised I had a problem........

Unless.......  If we could arrange to meet somewhere I could get to from the boat, I could still attend.  We regularly meet up in Leighton Buzzard, and that looked a possible target for me, so that's what we agreed to do.

the large sweeping curves at Marsworth are great fun.
In theory getting to Leighton by boat and in good time should have been easy, but in reality it was again harder work that I had hoped.  I'm now coming to the realisation that it is mostly the locks that take longer with two boats, significantly more so than the travel between them.  At each lock we have to open and close every single gate at least once, and this involves quite a bit of walking right around both sides of the lock, and across a set of gates.  With only one boat you can usually avoid much of this.

Carrying on down Marsworth
Also factor in that where we pass through lock flights, or even just locks in closely spaced pairs, we generally breast the boats together - that is tie one alongside the other, and use only one for power, ragging the other one along as if unpowered.  This should be quite efficient - it frees up a second person to do the lock work, as only one steerer is required, but if you encounter gates that will not push far enough back into their recesses to allow both boats out together, you can get both boats jammed tightly between two gates, and it can take considerable time to extricate yourself from it.  Generally it means singling the boats out again, meaning an unplanned change in how we are working, as a second steerer is now needed, leaving only one person to to all the lock work.

Seabrook locks
So Leighton Buzzard was reached a fair bit later than plan, but I still got to enjoy my evening out.

Reading back through this, I see I have failed to mention the totally unexpected deluge that started to fall on us shortly after we left Grove lock.  I don't think I have ever got as wet and cold quite as quickly ever before when boating.  For the remainder of the trip the boat was festooned with wet clothes, shoes and boots, non of which had dried out several days later!

Seabrook locks are also done breasted together.

Last of the Seabrook locks.

David with Sickle between Church and Grove locks.

Cowroast to Leighton Buzzard
Miles per boat: 12.0, Miles both boats: 23.9, Locks: 18
Total Trip Miles: 185.9, Locks: 124

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