Sunday, 24 June 2012

Braunston Historic Boat Show 2012 - The Sunday

(Boat Sickle - posted by Alan)

Well after yesterday, when we got sent off "parading" when we weren't expecting to, that wasn't going to happen again, was it ?  No, of course not!  As far as we could find out, we had time to sort ourselves out, and should be parading in the afternoon this time.

Ex Blue Line "Stanton", "Renfrew", "Nutfield" & "Raymond".
So I set off for a wander around the other boats, and quickly found an attempt being made to line up all the former Blue Line boats present, for a photographic session.  This turned out to be both amusing and frustrating, and was at times a little bit Keystone Cops.  With the three motor boats more or less where they needed to be, repeated attempts were being made to drag the butty Raymond further back to complete the line up.  Unfortunately nobody seemed to want to convince the chap holding the rope at the front that his main task was anything other than to try and stop it moving.  Each time some backwards progress was made, he duly tugged Raymond forward again back to where it had started from.  Of course what is going wrong is usually obvious if you are just an observer, but not always so if you are a participant.

Happy owner of 100 year old "Hampton".
This out the way, it was time for these, and the other boats on display in the arm to set off on to the main line on parade.  Cath meanwhile had gone shopping, and to pick up a book she had reserved.  It had to happen of course, and engines were being started in the tug line up - we were again going off at a different time to what anyone expected.  With no sign of Cath, and other boats between us and the bank, wanting to go, I had little choice but to start up and set off, and hope she would work out where I was, and I could somehow pick her up, (Preferably before having to reverse around Braunston turn, where it is nice to have assistance on the boat).

I had obviously been asked to hold back (Photo: Ian Mulford)
She did find me of course, and only causing the mildest chaos, I was able to avoid oncoming boats as I crossed their path to pick her up, (I was on the non tow-path side, of course).

This slow progress around what is little more than a 1 mile circuit still amuses.  Sometimes you actually get going for a bit, but more often than not, you are either tickling along very slowly indeed, or simply trying to hold a position, without going forwards or backwards, whilst those in front sort themselves out.  Today it was quite windy, so staying in position was a bit harder, but still not too bad.

My two favourite tugs! - "Vesta" & "Sickle"
In fact, again we were round relatively quickly, compared to previous years, although I didn't time it!

Back on the mooring, I again had time to explore, and look at boats.  We walked back up to Braunston Turn, and as well as taking photos, I tried with no great success to use a simple video camera I had managed to buy a while back, but never really used.

Waiting for "Vesta" whilst reversing around Braunston Turn.
Later, back at the boat, it became apparent that the reduced numbers of boats, and the speeded up parades, meant we should have a chance to go around again, so off we went.  Almost immediately things went wrong, the wheel that controls the gears on "Sickle" went limp, and stopped working anything.  I was stuck in "ahead" gear, and moving towards the wooden butty "Raymond".  A dash to the engine room allowed me to operate the gearbox at the box, and at least stop the boat, leaving us in everybody's way, although crouched inside, I had no idea what I was pointed at!  It was quickly apparent a weld had failed on the gear change mechanism, and we were going nowhere.  Fortunately our friends Mike and Polly were next along with Mike's boat "Reginald", and Mike was enlisted to drag us back to safety.

"Sextans" - Sister to "Sickle" but now 50 feet long.
Fairly quickly, and with the help of Jim from "Owl" and "Hampton", the failed parts had been spannered off, and were laying on the bank.  But who could fix it ?  It just so happened that our friend Richard wandered past, and, yes, he is just a man to enjoy such challenges.  Having assured him that a fix didn't eed to be actually today, he wandered off with various bits of shafting and levers, plus now un-welded cast iron bevel gear, to contemplate the problem.

Gear mechanism, showin failed weld.
So, this year, that second Sunday parade still didn't happen for us, after all, although it did for others.  Later in the day, when most of the public had gone, some further friends, Sarah and Jim from "Chertsey" turned up and joined Mike and Polly on "Reginald".  Just as we had done with "Sickle" the day before, shortly after they set off for the short run to the pub.  We looked wistfully on, but knew Cath had heaps of school work still needing attention.  It's not envy I feel at such moments, just a slight disappointment that our life-style places restrictions that mean sometimes we have to do things other than boating.

At Braunston
Miles: 1.2,  Locks: 0

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