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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.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Basingstoke Assault 3.

Today was to be the testing time for the canal and see if all the locks of Brookwood and Deepcut would do what was expected of them. In total there were 17 locks to negotiate. Although I pulled the pins at 9am, there was still a long queue at Brookwood bottom lock, even though the earlier boats were away about 8am. It was a two hour wait before I entered the lock with the tug Finch.
Plenty Of Rubbish And Weed At Brookwood Bottom  Lock.
It seems that the delay was because nb Nexus had picked up a log that jammed between the skeg and propeller, so she had to be shafted out before the blockage could be cleared. A lot of the gates would not open fully, so whoever was first in, had to reverse behind the partly closed gate to allow the other boat in. However, Finch ran onto an obstruction in the second lock and the gates could only be closed with all his stern fenders lifted up. Onwards to Deepcut flight, where once again we had volunteers to man the locks and I must say that they were very much appreciated. Yet again, I was having to "chuck back" in reverse frequently to clear the blades, until eventually the engine stalled with a serious bladefull.
Not What You Would Want Around The Propeller Blades
On investigation, there was a fisherman's shelter wrapped around the propeller. My new propeller cleaner made short work of that and I caught up with Jeff on Finch soon after. I was collecting dead wood for the fire as I went and Erin, Jeff's 10 year old grand daughter, was invaluable in picking up the pieces that I missed.

Captain Jeff and First Mate, Erin.
We got to the top lock about 4pm and from there it was plain sailing in deep water with an unobstructed propeller - how lovely that was.
I was still having a minor problem with the Morse control and had to hold the lever in position to maintain the requisite speed, which meant that I was suffering a cold hand, as well as being inconvenient. Eventually I came to Potter's Pool and Potters Pub, named after Bob Potter, the local entrepreneur, who also owns the Lakeside Country Club, of World Darts fame. A celebratory meal was enjoyed by all that evening to rejoice in the conquering of Deepcut after so many years of neglect.

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