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Brave newbie -- or just crazy?


IanD

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Coming out of our last lock on the L&L yesterday (Dobson's staircase) there was a dirty-looking plastic cruiser waiting to go up, with two blokes on board. Got talking to the one on the bank who was asking what to do because it was their first ever lock, so did he just push the doors open or use the things in the gates that let the water in first?

 

I gave him a quick rundown on how locks worked, to use the ground paddles (the ones in the big white boxes...) first (because the gate ones could sink them), and to read the instructions on the big blue board at least twice before doing *anything*.

 

After we'd left to get back to the boatyard it occurred to me that if they didn't have a clue how locks worked -- never mind a broad staircase -- they might not even have a handcuff key to unlock the top lock paddles, which I'd locked up since it was 5pm and I wasn't expecting anyone to come up the locks. And assuming they got safely through the locks the first thing they were going to find was Idle swing bridge which is well b*ggered and pretty much impossible for one person to open, we only managed thanks to a couple of timely and helpful cyclists.

 

I was astounded that anyone would set off on a (new? borrowed?) boat along a canal while not finding out even the basics first and having no idea about how to safely get through locks -- it's not exactly difficult to find out, there's tons of easy-to-find information out there.

 

I hope they got through OK, but I can't help being concerned. If anyone sees a small plastic boat looking confused or bewildered going west along that stretch of the L&L, they might appreciate some more advice... 😉

 

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1 minute ago, David Mack said:

Or perhaps belonging to somebody else?

Possible but unlikely if you consider how many genuinely stolen boats there really are. Even then I'd rather they didn't sink it in a lock...

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3 minutes ago, Naughty Cal said:

Everyone has to start somewhere. 

Of course they do, brownie points to them for having a go -- but minus points for not having done *any* research before setting off, it's hardly difficult.

 

I'm genuinely concerned for them, the L&L locks have very strong ground paddle currents to bash them around (not a steel hull...) even if they don't try and use the gate paddles to sink the boat...

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2 minutes ago, Athy said:

Hence Ian's use of the word "borrowed", yes.

Borrowed? Or "borrowed"?

 

That said, a couple of years ago I met a bloke with his brand new sailaway at the first lock south of P&S Marine at Watford, heading for his new life as a London CCer. He had had the boat delivered from the boatbuilder and craned in at P&S, and this was his first lock and he didn't have a clue!

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7 hours ago, blackrose said:

 

Yes, it's neither brave nor crazy, just a newby learning.


Howdy 🤠 Doody,

 

it’s them crazy horses ridin everywhere 

they just keep on puffin how they multiply
crazy horses

crazy horses 

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15 hours ago, blackrose said:

 

Yes, it's neither brave nor crazy, just a newby learning.

I remember traversing our first locks using the information contained in our Nicholson Canal Guide without too much difficulty.  

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2 minutes ago, Idle Days said:

I remember traversing our first locks using the information contained in our Nicholson Canal Guide without too much difficulty.  

I doubt that they'd even heard of Nicholsons or read how to operate a lock anywhere else either going by what they asked me... 

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One of my families "Amusing, Embarrassing" moments was having cruised from the North West  via the Coventry Canal arrived at Braunston Bottom  lock to be confronted by G.U. paddle gear !!!

Reversing out of the chamber and going back to Blue Line to get GU windlasses  must have given the pairs tied below the lock a good laugh!

Edited by Ogwr
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2 hours ago, Ogwr said:

One of my families "Amusing, Embarrassing" moments was having cruised from the North West  via the Coventry Canal arrived at Braunston Bottom  lock to be confronted by G.U. paddle gear !!!

Reversing out of the chamber and going back to Blue Line to get GU windlasses  must have given the pairs tied below the lock a good laugh!

What's so odd about GU paddles then?

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Large Windlass Size which we had never encountered before

25 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

What's so odd about GU paddles then?

 

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3 hours ago, IanD said:

I doubt that they'd even heard of Nicholsons or read how to operate a lock anywhere else either going by what they asked me... 

First lock I encountered I pulled over and asked a local how they worked.

first day out I spent most of it on the wrong side of the cut people were so friendly waving at me :)

tried to turn round a 48ft boat in a substantially shorter than 48ft bit of the canal.

and on and on and on, but it was great fun, nothing was broken, I got to where I was going

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My maiden voyage I learnt that wind affects boats. Tried to push myself off the reeds I got blown onto, handrail snapped and I ended up in the marina much to the amusement of the staff watching 

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I remember my first lock very well, we hadn't been shown a lock just how the boat worked so when we came to it, tied up and went forward with every windlass that was on the boat, all 3 of them as I didn't know if they were different sizes. Luckily I am quite a logical minded person so it only took a few seconds to see what was required and the lock was set, back to the boat and into the lock. A bloke walking by said "I can see you have done that a few times" and we were on our way. It was a few years before opening paddles slowly etc. worked its way into my knowledge. It takes time at a week a year.

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None of this was trying to be in any way superior to the guys on the boat in question, just astonishment at a total lack of preparation (not unknown, by the sound of of it) but also concerned for their safety going up (especially the staircases of) wide locks with fierce filling currents in a fibreglass boat. Even if they don't flood the boat with the gate paddles, opening the wrong ground paddle too quickly (some of them round there are *really* fast) could push the boat rapidly across the lock and hit it hard against the opposite chamber wall -- not good in a steel hull (been there, done that...) but potentially disastrous in an old fibreglass one.

 

So again, if anyone sees them floundering, some helpful words of advice might be appreciated... 😉

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I helped several Canal Time customers over the years, I wound why the company name sticks with me, some didn't even know they were expected to drive the boat when they arrived in the UK as it was part of their time share.

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21 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

I helped several Canal Time customers over the years, I wound why the company name sticks with me, some didn't even know they were expected to drive the boat when they arrived in the UK as it was part of their time share.

Ah, CanalTime of blessed memory. How fondly I recall going round a bend and being confronted by one heading for us sideways.

I did quite like those S.W. Durham Steelcraft boats and looked into buying one at one time, but I'd guess that most of them had taken quite a bashing.

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2 hours ago, IanD said:

None of this was trying to be in any way superior to the guys on the boat in question, just astonishment at a total lack of preparation (not unknown, by the sound of of it) but also concerned for their safety going up (especially the staircases of) wide locks with fierce filling currents in a fibreglass boat. Even if they don't flood the boat with the gate paddles, opening the wrong ground paddle too quickly (some of them round there are *really* fast) could push the boat rapidly across the lock and hit it hard against the opposite chamber wall -- not good in a steel hull (been there, done that...) but potentially disastrous in an old fibreglass one.

 

So again, if anyone sees them floundering, some helpful words of advice might be appreciated... 😉

It's a difficult one isn't it, ideally people should know what to do but then again sometimes the joy is in "learning on the job", yes there are dangers but it is a rare occurrence when someone gets seriously hurt.

I think all any of us can do is be tolerant of newbys, offer help if we can or if it is asked for and accept that sometimes that help offered with all good grace isn't always wanted and overall be tolerant that some peeps throw themselves into research and geekery and some jump on a boat and "go for it"

 

On a personal point canal boating is hardly the most dangerous or reckless thing I have ever done but I still remember fondly that first week, all the cock ups, the first lock, the first lift bridge/first tunnel/first time being told off for jumping a lock queue and so on, it was genuinely part of the joy of it.

 

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37 minutes ago, Athy said:

Ah, CanalTime of blessed memory. How fondly I recall going round a bend and being confronted by one heading for us sideways.

I did quite like those S.W. Durham Steelcraft boats and looked into buying one at one time, but I'd guess that most of them had taken quite a bashing.

We have one moored next to us

 

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2 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

We have one moored next to us

 

Horrible boats. We had a SW Durham on the hire fleet, it was rubbish, fit out like a cheap caravan. Stupid make up bed arrangement. I got tired of trying to get warped cupboard doors to fit.

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43 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Horrible boats. We had a SW Durham on the hire fleet, it was rubbish, fit out like a cheap caravan. Stupid make up bed arrangement. I got tired of trying to get warped cupboard doors to fit.

It was perhaps a different type from those used by CanalTime, as they had a large fixed double bed towards the bows.

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