After thirty years of hiring, I finally bought my own 50ft boat in 2005, which was built in 2001 by Andicraft at Debdale Wharf. I mostly cruise single handed and have no problem with that, although it does take a little longer than with a crew. My mooring is on the Wey Navigation, so I have a choice of routes on the Wey or the Thames.
It was a late breakfast before shopping in the village. Barry had a walk through nb Merchant and was suitably impressed by the internal fit out done by Streethay Wharf, bearing in mind that this is a modern 70ft working boat selling peat and diesel http://peatanddiesel.com/We bade goodbye to Chris and Stanley (the dog) and finished tidying the boats and part clothed the butty, before moving off at 1pm.All went well until we came to an S bend, with shallow water on the outside, which the butty headed for like a magnet, despite movement of the rudder to the contrary. With the help from another boat, she was snatched off, but not before Barry ‘took a look’, which is boaters parlance for falling in the cut. Needless to say, he was standing behind the tiller at the time, which swept him overboard as the rudder bit into the bank. This is something that Barry is always preaching to trainees about being dangerous when reversing. Fortunately, he managed to hang on to the tiller and only got wet up to the waist. The butty rudder came off again as we were passing Napton Narrowboats, but this time it was more serious, as the top pintle, on which the rudder hangs, had actually broken off and the butty was totally unsteerable. With a a jury rig fitted, we managed to struggle to Napton Bottom Lock, whereupon the lady from The Folly shop told us where there was a welder – only 200yds up the lane, but being Sunday, we would have to wait until the morning – what hardship, with The Folly just around the corner! Glynis Henville joined us at Napton and Maggie got a lift back to Braunston. Glynis cooked a meal and we then reapaired to The Folly for beer and what a night that turned out to be. The landlord Mark welcomed us, having remembered us from the previous visit and then invited us to partake of his cheese board, which was more of a cheese table really. There were about 15 different types of cheese, plus bread, pate and biscuits, which was his Sunday night treat for his guests. The beer flowed and we ate like kings, with good conversation thrown in for good measure. I met Nigel, who had bought the famous lock keepers cottage and had done such a magnificent job of restoration.