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haggis

What chance do lock gates have?

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We are on the Staffs and Worcester heading towards Great Haywood and we encountered an ABC hire boat at Rodbaston lock who kept their boat in the lock while they stood on the top gate doing "running repairs" to the burst fender chain. No problem but when they decided to leave the lock they opened the gate by ramming it hard with the boat. The water level on the lock had dropped several inches while they were looking at the chain . It was not a nudge open but a definite ram. If this is how they do locks no wonder the fender chain broke

 

 I was so taken aback at them doing this that I didn't check what the boat name was .

 

No wonder there have been so many lock gates knocked off their collars recently if this is how they are treated. 

 

Haggis.

 

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We repeatedly ask people who offer to wind up paddles when we are locking up hill not to do so. Our boat really runs at the gate, and we inform them of this.
In spite of this some will not desist.

We had one yesterday who ignored my wife, and whisked up the paddle, just as I closed the bottom gate. Of course he knew best. 

Being unloaded and high the bow hit the gate rather  than the sill board  with such force I thought the heel post would split, as the gate came open.

After informing him of our opinion of his intellectual abilities, and advising him to go away , we picked up the contents of the cabin  from the floor and slowly moved out of the lock.
He was last seen shouting at his wife for some offence while going into the lock.

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We have met that type too and as you say they seem to know best.

I was caught out the other day and it was something I had not thought of. Lady was driving the boat and husband and I closed bottom gates  and walked to top paddles . I looked to steerer, waiting for her signal that it was ok to do the paddle and when I saw her give the thumbs up to her husband I started to wind the paddle slowly, watching for any boat movent. Husband shouted at me to drop the paddle  as his wife wanted them  done one at a time. I dropped paddle, removed my windlass and left them to it

 She had signalled her husband and I assumed it applied to us both. Will watch for that one in future. I apologised to the lady. 

 

Haggis

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Phoenix_V said:

Was it a wide lock?

 

No.

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If someone offers help when locking,I politely decline except asking them to shut the gate when I exit the lock.

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Its a difficult one. We did a few locks today and a couple of them needed a nudge with the boat to get the top gates to open. Usually we nuzzle up to the gates then use the power of the engine just to push, but sometimes we need to move back a foot then give the gates a little impact. This is is almost certainly less damaging than me throwing myself against the balance beam. So, its not an absolute right or wrong but a matter of how hard you do it.

 

Once we got shouted out (by member of the public) for "ramming" a gate when all we did was nuzzle up to it to "ride the gate" down as one does in a full length boat.

 

and the locks needed a nudge due to leakage at the lower gates which was reported to CRT this afternoon 😀

 

I think the answer is to say something like "that was a bit harsh, I would have filled the lock right up before trying that".

 

............Dave

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I never approach the top gates and her outdoors always opens the gates no problem. Her personal trainer must be a good investment

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An alternative (which I think I last used on the GU near Watford) is to tie a 30 foot rope onto the end of the balance beam, with the other end tied (as tight as possible) to a suitable bollard, and then either stand on the mid-point of the rope or push it sideways, You get a significant mechanical advantage by doing so, compared with pushing on the end of the beam with your own weight/strength.

 

Edited by Scholar Gypsy
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4 minutes ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

An alternative (which I think I last used on the GU near Watford) is to tie a 30 foot rope onto the end of the balance beam, with the other end tied (as tight as possible) to a suitable bollard, and then either stand on the mid-point of the rope or push it sideways, You get a significant mechanical advantage by doing so, compared with pushing on the end of the beam with your own weight/strength.

 

I've used this technique, also used the line as a Spanish windlass to wind a gate open.

Another method I've used is to tie the centre line to the end of a gate beam and slowly move the boat backwards to pull a gate open.

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31 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

I've used this technique, also used the line as a Spanish windlass to wind a gate open.

Another method I've used is to tie the centre line to the end of a gate beam and slowly move the boat backwards to pull a gate open.

I’ve used a Spanish windlass but only a couple of times. Dead easy and very effective. 
I’ll give scholar gypsy’s method a go. 
 

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46 minutes ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

An alternative (which I think I last used on the GU near Watford) is to tie a 30 foot rope onto the end of the balance beam, with the other end tied (as tight as possible) to a suitable bollard, and then either stand on the mid-point of the rope or push it sideways, You get a significant mechanical advantage by doing so, compared with pushing on the end of the beam with your own weight/strength.

 

 

39 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

I've used this technique, also used the line as a Spanish windlass to wind a gate open.

Another method I've used is to tie the centre line to the end of a gate beam and slowly move the boat backwards to pull a gate open.

 

CRT's approach, seen at Hack Green 3 weeks ago:

20201001_152350.jpg

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1 minute ago, Goliath said:

I’ve used a Spanish windlass but only a couple of times. Dead easy and very effective. 
I’ll give scholar gypsy’s method a go. 
 

But if the gate wont open because the water is not finding a level then its kinder to push with the boat than to apply a big force to the balance beam, but only when going up 😀.

 

At one of the difficult locks yesterday I was pushing like mad on the balance beam and noticed movement between the beam and mitre post, a push with the boat is much better.

 

..............Dave

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In the case today there was no problem opening the gate when the water was level. In fact they had had  the gate open and decided to close it to see if they could fix the broken chain. All that was needed when they decided to leave the lock was to open a top paddle for a bit. 

 

Haggis. 

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19 minutes ago, dmr said:

But if the gate wont open because the water is not finding a level then its kinder to push with the boat than to apply a big force to the balance beam, but only when going up 😀.

 

At one of the difficult locks yesterday I was pushing like mad on the balance beam and noticed movement between the beam and mitre post, a push with the boat is much better.

 

..............Dave

I’ll often push the gate open as a standard. 
In single locks the boat is usually left in gear as it rises to push the gate open, while I close the paddles and shut the gate as it passes through. 
But if the boat’s unable to push the gate open, with me pushing as well, then I use a Spanish Windlass. 
I found using a Spanish Windlass is very gradual and will ease the gate gently. 

I’d have thought that’d be directing exactly the desired forces the gate and beam are designed to take. It’s just like having ten(?) people pushing. 
Dunno 🤷‍♀️ 

Physics weren't me best subject. 
 

Not had to do it on a double gate. 
 

How would you open a difficult gate if your boat is not in a lock?

Say you’re coming down hill?

Edited by Goliath

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And sometimes there is no balance beam at all. This is Cowbridge, Boston. You pull on some chains to open the gates, and to close them requires improvisation with boathooks (the crew are practicing their jousting in the second photo).

dsc_4285.jpg

 

dscf6047.jpg

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Old boaters trick if a single gate won't open because the lock is emptying faster than it fills, nudge the gate a few inches open and drop a block of wood between end of gate and lock wall to increase inflow.

 

What happens if you push to hard (before any one tells me in this case boat appears to have caught under walkway as it rose in the lock, they never ever touch the gates here unless the locky opens the paddles too soon, the River Meuse was shut for 4 weeks)

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Edited by Phoenix_V

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Isn't there an apocryphal tale of Fenny Stratford lock on the GU in working boat days. Fenny Stratford lock only has a very small rise. Less than a foot if I remember right. Some boaters had got in to the habit of going up it with the bottom gates open and entering the lock at speed to ram the top gates, forcing them open enough to get through and letting the pressure of the water slam them shut behind. Very quick, but not a nice thing to do to a lock at all and worse than almost any leisure, or hire boater has done.. Don't know if this was just a single boat, or a motor towing a butty.

 

That is until one boat didn't make it all the way through, becoming stuck between the gates while the excess water from miles and miles of pound drained through. Many, many hours later, enough pressure had came off the gates to let the boat continue. Big queues each side. Management get to hear about what had been going on. Boater very red faced and now in a lot of trouble.

 

No idea where I read this. Any truth to it?

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies

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Yes I read the same story, but also I can't remember where - wonder if it was Alan Faulkner's book on the Grand Junction? I also remember hearing of a motor towing a butty and doing this, but of course the motor had lost a lot of momentum by going through so the butty didn't manage to open the gates.

 

Of course that is only a temporary lock. It was installed when the canal was built built to temporarily raise the water level to clear a strip of very hard rock found just near there. The intention was to come back when the canal was finished, and blast it away before removing the lock, but they never got round to doing so. I don't think CRT are planning to do it this winter either!

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46 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Isn't there an apocryphal tale of Fenny Stratford lock on the GU in working boat days. Fenny Stratford lock only has a very small rise. Less than a foot if I remember right. Some boaters had got in to the habit of going up it with the bottom gates open and entering the lock at speed to ram the top gates, forcing them open enough to get through and letting the pressure of the water slam them shut behind. Very quick, but not a nice thing to do to a lock at all and worse than almost any leisure, or hire boater has done.. Don't know if this was just a single boat, or a motor towing a butty.

 

That is until one boat didn't make it all the way through, becoming stuck between the gates while the excess water from miles and miles of pound drained through. Many, many hours later, enough pressure had came off the gates to let the boat continue. Big queues each side. Management get to hear about what had been going on. Boater very red faced and now in a lot of trouble.

 

No idea where I read this. Any truth to it?

Jen

Am I missing something in relation to the story about the boat stuck between the top gates; why not just close the bottom gates to extricate it?

 

Not sure I believe this really was a thing.

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1 minute ago, Captain Pegg said:

Am I missing something in relation to the story about the boat stuck between the top gates; why not just close the bottom gates to extricate it?

 

Not sure I believe this really was a thing.

 

That was my thought on reading it too.

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Confession time. Quite often when filling a lock, going up hill of course, The boat will eventually want to creep forward to the top gate. I go astern a little and the bow fender will ‘kiss’ the top gate. The boat settles and I apply slow forward tick over to hold the boat to the gate. Once level water is attained the boat assists the lock wheeler, bless her, in opening the gate. Once the gate is ‘on the move’ neutral is the order of the day. Gate opens and all is fine.

 

About eight months ago ascending Grants Lock, unbeknown to me, that sone of the contents of the lock cottage had been dumped in the canal and indeed the lock. Also, unbeknown at the time, was that I had picked up a quilt around the prop. Filling the lock the boat behaved in the way described above, I applied astern to no effect and clobbered the top gate. Broke a few glasses and moved our Ornaments somewhat. No damage to said gate, thankfully. 

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10 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Am I missing something in relation to the story about the boat stuck between the top gates; why not just close the bottom gates to extricate it?

 

Not sure I believe this really was a thing.

I am just reporting what I vaguely remember reading. Something that would do it is if a motor got stuck in the top gates, then the bottom ones slammed shut on a towed butty, giving both gates open and miles of pound putting pressure on them till the levels equalised.

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