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.
John and Mike Moorse joined the crew at Fenny, and their help was invaluable with the repairs. Barry and I had discussed more independentmethods of lifting the ‘elum without having to deploy a bridge ‘ole, which of necessity blocked the cut to other boaters for a period. We came up with the idea of an A frame made of scaffold poles that could sit in the well deck and support the lifting tackle. However, this morning he had a gang plank up to do the job. With multiple ropework to hold it steady, it did the trick admirably, although Barry stripped off again in the cause of traditional boating to speed up the process.
It was the best day so far with a load on and apart from lift bridge 141, where they had to be towed through by a tractor last year, we made very good progress into Banbury, where we found moorings on the town quays. That was a surprise at 7.30pm! We went to The Olde Rein Deer in Parsons St. to celebrate “No ‘Ellum Out Today Day” with pints of Hooky and fish and chips, served in The Globe Room (Google it), where there was peace and quiet from the rock band in the front bar.