Saturday, 1 June 2013

A Widebeam's Not For Me

Unlike many hirers, my brother's party were seeking a leisurely break rather than a boating marathon so it was after 11.00 before we left Skipton, although part of that delay was due to Hil indulging in a bit more car shuffling to bring ours from Silsden.
Our departure coincided with that of two day boats which led to some "interesting" scenes at the first bridge, but they pulled over after that and we never saw them again.

We had our own drama at one swing bridge. As I came in to the bridge landing I heard a bang and the engine suddenly stopped.  Suspecting something on the prop I opened the weedhatch and found - a tyre! Fortunately it was caught on the rudder rather than the prop itself and came off easily. We retrieved it and put in on the roof to take somewhere for safe disposal but at the next bridge, as Hil stepped ashore with the centre line it caught the tyre and tipped it into the cut where it promptly sank!
After lunch at Gargrave Gareth winded the boat, very successfully for a first attempt and, having left Starcross on the visitor moorings, I was took over the helm. There was immediate drama at the first lock where, anxious to keep clear of the cill, I got the bow hooked up on a protrusion on the bottom gates. We were at a slight diagonal in the lock and the stern was tight against the wall so I couldn't reverse and the boat began to tilt alarmingly.I'd just instructed the locking crew to drop the paddles and open the top ones when it floated free - to much relief.
When tied up I had been impressed by the amount if space inside a widebeam; it probably has as much floorspace as some flats I've lived in. But on the move I found it slow, noisy and unresponsive. The steerer has a difficult job with poor visibility forward and to the sides, and manoeuvering to pick up lock or bridge operators was a nightmare. I was glad to hand over to Gareth again as we approached Skipton to tie up for the night.

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