Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Whitsun Break - Boating with Two Boats

(Boats  Sickle & Chalice - posted by Alan)

Cath steers Chalice past historic boats "George" and "Mary", also "Phobos"
Well the plan now was to do something very alien to our normal boating style.  Well, boating with two boats is unusual for us, but even more unusual was the concept that we were only going to move a few miles a day for the next few days.

Our reasons for this was to allow us to have longish periods tied up, so we could start to sort one or two things out, such as repairing cosmetic damage to paintwork.  Sickle has been bought very smart looking, but we have already added a few scratches and chips, such as on the "tunnel bands", the brightly painted panels on the rear of the counter.

The steerer's view from Sickle
It's a strange feeling to suddenly find yourself following the boat you have been boating in for the last six years, rather than to be on it!

Both boats handle completely differently of course, and adjusting from one to the other will take time.  Sickle has huge amounts of power, so one needs to refine ways of passing moored boats slow enough, as even "tick-over" represents a fair pace.  We are getting adept at taking her out of gear, but of course you don't get a lot of steering once you do this, so have to pick your moments carefully.

Alan insists it's still his turn at the tiller!
I think I would have been happy to carry on boating like this for a while, but we actually planned to do no more than about 5 miles.  In fact for much of the time David was keen to try out Sickle.  He handled her well, but I did have to suggest from time to time that he needed to go a bit more gently, if he was not to "nudge" his mother's boat from behind!

David steers past the sadly near derelict "Edgeware" and "Balham"
There continue to be lots of interesting boats being passed.  The George and the Mary, pictured above, were the very first prototype boats that eventually culminated in the Grand Union canal carrying Company building nearly 400 new boats in the 1930s, of which Sickle was just one, (albeit of a rather different type).

Some of the boats on this stretch have lain in poor condition for yeras, but I'm told their owners are not receptive to requests that they should be sold on to somebody who might put them back into good order.

Cath continues to be the lead boat
Too quickly our quota of miles for the day was up, and we forced ourselves to settle down to more mundane maintenance tasks.  Actually this slow moving is quite therapeutic compared to our normal boating style.  If only Cath didn't still have a full time job, I suspect we would linger much more often than is our normal style.

Sickle at rest as the sun fades away

Near Weedon to Bugbrooke
Miles: 4.8, Locks:0

Total Miles: 54.2, Total Locks: 23

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