- 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.
Sunday, 2 June 2013
Etruria Canals Festival 1.
This was to be my first trip with The Narrowboat Trust as a captain and I was looking forward to it with just a little trepidation. It was also the first trip of the season and the first visit to the 20th Etruria festival, as far as I was aware. Suddenly, the crew appeared as if by magic and my mentor John Stevens, wanted to know how it was that I had become the most popular captain in the Trust. Despite having about 120 members, several times each year we are short of members to crew the runs and now there was almost a surplus, not down to my popularity, but the attraction of going somewhere new. On the other hand, it could be that they wanted to see if I was up to the job, or going to make a hash of the whole thing. The pair of boats are moored at Alvecote through the winter months and a great deal of structural work had been done on the hulls, propeller and steering gear as well as internal maintenance by that ever happy band of Trust volunteers. Even though, as always on the first run of the year, there is a great deal to be done to get the boats shipshape, which kept John and I busy most of the afternoon, before John Mills and Graham Roberts turned up early evening. Normally, the top cloths would be removed when travelling empty, but the rain was persistent all day and the cloths needed folding up, so it was decided to leave them on for a while. The reason they are removed when empty, is that there is less wind resistance from side winds and less chance of being blown into the bank. We repaired to The Samuel Barlow for a meal and beers and in modern parlance a 'bonding session'. What an awful term! As always on these occasions, well lubricated talk turned to boating and the various experiences of each of us. Unfortunately, Bob Duncalf could not be with us, due to back trouble caused when making the bed! If you are reading this Bob, we wish you well soon.