Thursday, 9 April 2009

Boat Handling and Dr Who

Easter is up on us, and I guess its the first big break when boaters will brave the canals of England, the schools are on holiday and the hire boats are all polished ready to go. We wont be going out as we have commitments else where at Church. Though a night on board will be had on Friday and maybe a lazy day Saturday. The problem with not having a TV on board is I am a massive Dr Who fan and Saturday evening is a one of the 4 Dr Who's of this year, I will record it, but I know all too well come Sunday morning at Church everyone will be talking about it and all will be told from how handsome David Tennant looked to the SFX and even the plot will be discussed (we do go to a lively and full Church of about 400 people...) So if I don't watch it Saturday there will be no point. Sorry about that waffle, back to the blog about boat handling...

When we bought TRB in September 2007 we had a one day boat handling course (our only real handling upto that point) and then we were left to it. I do find it kind of strange, if you have any other motor propelled vehicle you have to have a test, you don't have to have lessons, but you must pass a test, but not for the inland waterways? Anyhoo we had the one day boat handling and off we set. Mrs EB had to go back to work on day 3 so I was on my own and was not happy when I ended up bouncing TRB around a lock. For a time after that first trip I didn't enjoy steering TRB but I pushed through it and now I love taking her out and seeing the beautiful English countryside.

I have taken TRB out a few times over the winter and this has proved to be invaluable in the learning curve on boat handling, it has been a slow process learning how to manoeuvre a 57 foot boat backwards whilst steering and using the wind to get her into her mooring. But over the winter that is what I have done and I am proud to say I can now do it and in the strong wind coming from either direction, using under steer or over steer. It isn't always the prettiest sight to watch, but I do it without damage to either the Jetty, my neighbouring boat or TRB.

The day TRB was put back in after the blacking was windy and no one was around so I spent half an hour just playing, using the wind to blow me whilst I tried to manoeuvre around and into mooring letting it blow me sideways and back and forth, at one point a couple of asked if I needed help, I just said no thanks I am playing with wind, and they just said oh OK and looked at me as if I was simple and had been let out for a day to play on a boat.... then one of the Jon's of Jon & John the marine engineers asked if I wanted help, when I explained I was playing using the wind, he said bloody good idea, no one is around, get the experience!! You can't really practice at our marina as it is a busy and lively place most times and where we are moored we are on the path to the diesel and pump out and we are next to the marine engineers (a fortuitous spot) so boats are usually going past all day from morning till dusk. So I took the opportunity when I had it and played for a good half an hour and well worth it I think.

Well as the Hull is now blacked and the inside is ship shape I need to go up and really give TRB a jolly good wash and wax and get the winter grime off, I did give her jolly good wash and double wax with a friend before winter set in, but she is looking a little jaded now and needs a loving wash and she will be ready for an enjoyable year tootling around.

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