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"Doing the dance" when passing


Ewan123

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I've seen it mentioned many times - when approaching an oncoming narrowboat, one shouldn't move over too early/too far, so that the boats turn together and pass a nice 6 inches apart.

 

What I don't recall seeing is advice on how close the boats ought to get before both start to steer around each other - can any one offer a reasonable distance?

 

I've yet to have an opportunity to have a successful go at this. Whenever I've tried, the other boat tends to throw themselves onto the mercy of the bank/vegetation to get away from me before I get close and then I feel like a bully and give up on the idea for a while. Until I see an approaching boater with sufficiently grizzled features that I think "Ah, they must be one of these wise folks with proper skills!" only for them to start waving at me to move over to the side before we even get close.

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8 minutes ago, Ewan123 said:

I've seen it mentioned many times - when approaching an oncoming narrowboat, one shouldn't move over too early/too far, so that the boats turn together and pass a nice 6 inches apart.

 

What I don't recall seeing is advice on how close the boats ought to get before both start to steer around each other - can any one offer a reasonable distance?

 

I've yet to have an opportunity to have a successful go at this. Whenever I've tried, the other boat tends to throw themselves onto the mercy of the bank/vegetation to get away from me before I get close and then I feel like a bully and give up on the idea for a while. Until I see an approaching boater with sufficiently grizzled features that I think "Ah, they must be one of these wise folks with proper skills!" only for them to start waving at me to move over to the side before we even get close.

Well this is the problem. 99% of the people you meet coming the other way will feel aggrieved that you didn’t move over and leave 10’ of water between you and them. And 0.5% of people will not have noticed your existence and try to crash into you. That just leaves 0.5% who might understand the dance.

 

The answer is about 1/2 boat length.

 

What I tend to do as a compromise is not give too much water but aim to just miss the oncoming boat without any steering action. If they scuttle for the bushes early, I’ll move over a bit more just to keep the peace. On the very rare occasions when you meet someone coming the other way who knows what they are doing, it is however quite satisfying.

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1 minute ago, Timx said:

There is so many new boaters on the canals in last couple of years, then I have seen in last ten years, so lots of people learning. U may be on utube if u pass them.

I've only been on the water for about 2.5 years so I'm one of them! No inclination to record myself or others yet though.

8 minutes ago, nicknorman said:

Well this is the problem. 99% of the people you meet coming the other way will feel aggrieved that you didn’t move over and leave 10’ of water between you and them. And 0.5% of people will not have noticed your existence and try to crash into you. That just leaves 0.5% who might understand the dance.

 

The answer is about 1/2 boat length.

 

What I tend to do as a compromise is not give too much water but aim to just miss the oncoming boat without any steering action. If they scuttle for the bushes early, I’ll move over a bit more just to keep the peace. On the very rare occasions when you meet someone coming the other way who knows what they are doing, it is however quite satisfying.

I'll take your approach and be ready for the happy occasion.

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It is a thing of joy when you and the oncoming boat complete the dance though.

Sadly, a more rare occurrence  in recent times.

We have been bobbing up and down the upper Golly for the last month or so. A sad reflection has been the lack of understanding of downstream and upstream etiquette in relation to bridges and narrows. Not hirers by the way.

Edited by johnmck
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2 hours ago, Ewan123 said:

Whenever I've tried, the other boat tends to throw themselves onto the mercy of the bank/vegetation to get away from me before I get close and then I feel like a bully

And if you are in an ex-working boat you know you are probably going to be accused of being an arrogant historic boater!

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7 hours ago, johnmck said:

It is a thing of joy when you and the oncoming boat complete the dance though.

Sadly, a more rare occurrence  in recent times.

We have been bobbing up and down the upper Golly for the last month or so. A sad reflection has been the lack of understanding of downstream and upstream etiquette in relation to bridges and narrows. Not hirers by the way.

Would that etiquette be for the boat downstream of the bridge/narrow to give way to the upstream boat (unless the former is already much closer)?

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19 minutes ago, Ewan123 said:

Would that etiquette be for the boat downstream of the bridge/narrow to give way to the upstream boat (unless the former is already much closer)?

The boat facing upstream should give way as it has better control being against a flow. 

This is assuming there is a flow

 

Some canal boaters sometimes fail to identify when there is a flow 

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7 hours ago, David Mack said:

And if you are in an ex-working boat you know you are probably going to be accused of being an arrogant historic boater!

 

And this I suspect, is the root of most complaints about 'arrogant' historic boaters. Attempts to do the dance misinterpreted as aggression by boaters with shallow draft boats who don't understand the need. As evidenced by the "near miss' comment earlier in the thread.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Ewan123 said:

Would that etiquette be for the boat downstream of the bridge/narrow to give way to the upstream boat (unless the former is already much closer)?

No.

If the downstream boat is deep draughted and the canal shallow with definite flow like the Golly he may well be unable to stop approaching a narrows or bridge hole.

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40 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

No.

If the downstream boat is deep draughted and the canal shallow with definite flow like the Golly he may well be unable to stop approaching a narrows or bridge hole.

Read his post again…

 

(“downstream of” vs “downstream”)

Although IMO the current on the Llangollen CANAL is not sufficient to make this a valid point. There is some current actual in bridge holes and tunnels, but on the approaches to them (wide canal) it is tiny and insignificant.

Edited by nicknorman
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Its pretty easy to answer the OP. Firstly - it depends on the width of the canal and if being on the right puts you towpath-side or offside. If its narrow and you're offside, you're perfectly justified to go 1/2 inch to the right of the centreline. And sometimes even to just leave 7' on the towpath side for the passer. But normally, enough to not worry the other boater, I normally give 1-2 feet with no other navigational constraints.

 

And when? Again, so as not to worry the other boater, a good few boat lengths (assuming no other constraints) so they happily carry on.

 

No point being "that boater" who insists in doing it at the last possible moment, with half an inch to spare, on a wide section of canal, "just because they did that 100 years ago".

 

Approx 0.5% of people understand horn signals; and approx 80% of people think there's hand signals used on the canal network.

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2 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

Every one of which they will have made up on the spot. point left = I want you to go left, or I am going left, etc.

 

Indeed, and this leads to occasional collisions.

 

Doesn't it, Alan!! 

 

:D 

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On 15/08/2023 at 22:20, Ewan123 said:

 - when approaching an oncoming narrowboat, one shouldn't move over too early/too far, so that the boats turn together and pass a nice 6 inches apart.

 

I think that's a slight exaggeration. If you only leave 6 inches there's a good chance the boats will get sucked together depending on the speed they're going, hull shape, etc. I'd always leave a few feet between especially since some people refuse to slow down when passing and the suction effect between boats is increased.

 

I understand the suction effect is used as part of the manouvre, but it's also possible to overdo it and end up scraping down each other's port sides

 

 

Screenshot_2023-08-18-06-23-15-450_com.android.chrome.jpg

Edited by blackrose
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