Friday, 31 May 2013

Hire Boaters' First Day Out

When my brother told me he was  hiring a "narrow boat" for his family get-together I took him at his word and envisaged us going along together, sharing locks to make it easier for them.
Imagine my surprise therefore when the boat they'd hired from Silsden Boats turned out to be a widebeam!
After the usual induction process they set off, with Starcross following behind. Only one of the party had ever steered even a narrow boat before and he admitted he was. "rubbish" at it.
Consequently there were a few hairy moments to begin with and one narrow boat owner will never know how close his moored boat came to disaster!
It was iinstructive to see how much accumulated knowledge one takes for granted as a seasoned boater. After the first swing-bridge one of the party attempted to bring the boat to a stop on the landing by wrapping a stern rope tightly round a bollard.  Result: one snapped rope! It also took them a while to realise that when a boat is lying flush to the bank no amount of rudder will bring the bow out into the channel and that the best place to drop off and pick up crew is in the bridge-holes, not just before them.
Still they enjoyed it and we got to Skipton safe and sound where little brother treated us all to a slap-up meal in the Wooly Sheep pub.
As I've been writing this, blog reader Donald from Skipton has called round to say hello. Donald has a part time job instructing hirers at Silsden Boats but had been unable to arrange to be on duty yesterday.  Anyway, Donald, it was good to meet you.

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