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Who weilds the windlass?


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Yesterday my wife and I walked up the Wendover Arm to the Marsworth locks on the Grand Union. With each boat with a couple on board it was the lady who used the windlass. In one case a lady with an arm in a sling was operating the paddles.She used a knee to keep the pawl from engaging the teeth when she released the paddle. Her partner did help out when the boat was in the lock but it did raise our eyebrows a bit.

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A couple of people have posted about lack of confidence on the part of the female, I remember a sailing course I did once and the wife of one couple turned out to be a natural at helming, the instructor really made every effort to boost her confidence. I think its really difficult to do that with your other half generally - not all of us can be teachers - so perhaps a professional course might do the trick. I think my poor attempts at teaching over the years, and the fact I'm a grumpy bugger, have probably led to Ruth being happier doing the locks and swingbridges. Fail

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We're 50/50 on big flights although funnily if there're no locks about muggins gets the lion's share of the steering.

 

Full marks for El Gato; NoH gets the locks AND the complicated steery bits... that's luurrrve that is!

 

I'll freely admit, If there's locks coming up I jump off with the windlass before smelly can get a word in. True, he does do most of the steering on lock free stretches but to be fair, if we're in the car, I do the vast majority of the driving.

 

I suppose I prefer boat travel from the comfort of the bow with my feet up.

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Many women, (including me, for a while) don't have the confidence to handle the boats. It's not that they can't handle them, it's just that the menfolk have a tendency to think that they are better...

 

 

Janet

 

You don't have to reverse it into a parking spot.......

 

Yesterday my wife and I walked up the Wendover Arm to the Marsworth locks on the Grand Union. With each boat with a couple on board it was the lady who used the windlass. In one case a lady with an arm in a sling was operating the paddles.She used a knee to keep the pawl from engaging the teeth when she released the paddle. Her partner did help out when the boat was in the lock but it did raise our eyebrows a bit.

 

You did not see me or my friend on his boat then as we are both single handed.

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Photos going down wendover Arm yesterday

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90% of boats are helmed in locks by men in my experience and I know why it is.

 

Women simply cannot stand a Narrowboats refusal to do exactly what you want it to.

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It used to be me steering the boat in locks and him weilding the windlass, then we got the dog, who likes to get off and sniff around when we work the lock. My other half is absolutely hopeless at keeping an eye on him, he never notices if he wonders off or does a poo, but I do, so I stay on the bankside with the dog.

 

I have to say, though, now I've lost quite a bit of weight, I see working the locks as a fitness regime. I don't want to put the weight I've lost back on, so I also walk between the locks with the dog. It keeps me fit. As does schlepping our laundry to the launderette. I see it as a benefit not a chore. I would rather do this than fork out for a gym that I'd never use.

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You don't have to reverse it into a parking spot.......

 

 

 

You did not see me or my friend on his boat then as we are both single handed.

SDC14996%202.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1308987341042

 

SDC15000%202.jpg?__SQUARESPACE_CACHEVERSION=1308987501773

 

 

Photos going down wendover Arm yesterday

 

I wish we had seen you on the Wendover Arm. It was very pleasant and quiet but a narrowboat or two would have given even more interest. We did wonder whether a boat could get through and past the rotting hulk on the side. Finding the Grand Union was a great bonus.

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You do if you hire from Shire Cruisers and some other hire companys.

 

LOL I meant like woman reversing a car into a car parking spot..........................now I had better duck!!!

 

I wish we had seen you on the Wendover Arm. It was very pleasant and quiet but a narrowboat or two would have given even more interest. We did wonder whether a boat could get through and past the rotting hulk on the side. Finding the Grand Union was a great bonus.

 

This one you mean yes it did mean

 

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Yes I did list a bit as I went past and the side of the boat was going along the bottom!!!

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I can enter a lock without touching the sides...but not when there's an audience!

 

Janet

Ditto Circe.

 

For a long time, Circe wouldn't even attempt to manoeuvre any boat. It was a confidence thing. Then someone here said, 'Aim the tiller at the thing you don't want to hit' and she gave it a go. She found it much easier than she thought she would. Since then, she tends to handle the boat in & out of locks.

 

I've always taken the windlass and chatted up the other boaters' WAGS, though. Circe always does the bridges because she loves stopping the traffic; I've always done the locks because she's not as physically strong.

 

Anyway, what about that grammatical faux-pas in the thread title?

 

I before e except after c, innit

 

Richard

Weird.

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Who wields the windlass? Err well that was me until Graham put me on the right track!! Although I won't mind doing a bit of lock wheeling on some of the easier ones..........Him indoors actually quite enjoyed working the locks. Mind you I suppose we were lucky and whilst I was steering the other boats we shared locks with actually had ladies at the tiller as well so he enjoyed chatting to the other guys up top. I think it'll be a shared endeavour now.

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Generally I hate generalisations so I'm keeping out of the men/women prefer... argument.

 

But I think it's important to aim for all the crew to be competent at all tasks, so if one crew member hands over the tiller every time they see an oncoming boat on the other side of this bridge or a strong side current then it's worth the more confident helmsman to encourage and talk the partner through the situation rather than just take over.

  • Greenie 1
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We have just returned to our home mooring at Cropredy and, as we had agreed that I would operate the 18 locks from Wigram's Turn, I couldn't help noticing that I was in a very small minority. We met other boats at every lock (there was a queue of seven boats at Marston Doles waiting to come down Napton Locks) and in every case bar one (where I think there may have been an all male crew), it was the female member of the crew that came along, windlass in hand, to work the lock while her male counterpart remained aboard holding the tiller (and sometimes shouting inappropriate instructions) - was this a typical sample or is it just a peculiarity of boats on the Oxford Canal at this time?

 

I always do the locks, although his masters voice sometimes get's up and helps me! I can't steer our boat it's too heavy, I have to put my whole bodyweight on the tiller and I've got bruised ribs before so I leave it to beefy boy...anyhoo I like doing locks it's good excercise and keeps the "bingo wings" at bay!

  • Greenie 1
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She does, I try to get her to handle the boat, but despite numerous attempts it's not working out. I'm only too happy to work locks and spend most of my time climbing out to help anyway.

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On our recent trip the wife added a few hundred more to the 15,000 or so she has done. Have a lump of metal weighing 10lbs and designed for northern locks sha can wind anything very slowly as thats the way we like it. Most understand that it's her lock and she works the paddles (they can help push gates) but at this time of year you get the odd in a hurry expert who ignores her plea to leave that alone - I do it. One at Grindley nearly got bonked when he ignored her but mostly everyone - even the lock keppers let her do it her way. She and a number of ladies she meets prefer to do locks than steer hubbies pride and joy and she gets to chat to people, help new hirers and all the rest while he is stuck down in the lock with the deisel fumes.

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We have just returned to our home mooring at Cropredy and, as we had agreed that I would operate the 18 locks from Wigram's Turn, I couldn't help noticing that I was in a very small minority. We met other boats at every lock (there was a queue of seven boats at Marston Doles waiting to come down Napton Locks) and in every case bar one (where I think there may have been an all male crew), it was the female member of the crew that came along, windlass in hand, to work the lock while her male counterpart remained aboard holding the tiller (and sometimes shouting inappropriate instructions) - was this a typical sample or is it just a peculiarity of boats on the Oxford Canal at this time?

We have just returned from a two week trip round the Leicester ring. We both help with the locks but it is nearly always my wife who gets off the boat first. She does not like or wish to steer the boat so I always must do it when there is just the two of us. However we have a system where we both end up working the lock what gets done by whom is dependant on going uphill or down and if it is single locks or double.

 

For instance in a single lock going uphill after getting the boat in I will close one of the gates from the back of the boat as I go in and Chris will close the other. if we are in a flight of locks at some stage she will then go onto the next one while I deal with closing paddles and opening the lock gate etc.

 

So for us it is team work each time and although Chris won't steer the boat so I get it into and out of the lock it is not a case of just staying on the boat and letting her do all the work in the lock. I don't see it as an either/or situation.

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<snip>

 

So for us it is team work each time and although Chris won't steer the boat so I get it into and out of the lock it is not a case of just staying on the boat and letting her do all the work in the lock. I don't see it as an either/or situation.

 

This is how we work as well. For instance, going down, the offside paddles are for the steerer to work

 

Richard

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This is how we work as well. For instance, going down, the offside paddles are for the steerer to work

 

Richard

 

Yep and going uphill lock ladders are strictly for the bloke less faint of heart...

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This is how we work as well. For instance, going down, the offside paddles are for the steerer to work

 

Richard

 

Ditto - it amazes me when I see the steerer (male or female) just stand at the tiller and expect all the work to be done for them when it's so easy to step off the boat and drop or raise a paddle saving the other person a walk round the lock.

 

 

Yep and going uphill lock ladders are strictly for the bloke less faint of heart...

 

Totally agree - I won't jump over the gates or climb on the roof then up the ladders, both of which Dave is quite happy doing. That's why him doing the single handed routine and me going ahead and setting locks works perfectly for us.

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We both work the locks or steer the boat in equal measures. We decided when we bought the boat that it was important we could both be competent at both tasks in case one of us became out of action during a cruise. Plus its nice to mix and match, i dont mind working locks but by the same measure i also like driving the boat.

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We both work the locks or steer the boat in equal measures. We decided when we bought the boat that it was important we could both be competent at both tasks in case one of us became out of action during a cruise. Plus its nice to mix and match, i dont mind working locks but by the same measure i also like driving the boat.

 

We share both tasks to for similar reasons - we both enjoy steering and working locks, and it make sense for both of us to be experienced in doing both. When it comes to steering my OH took to it much more quickly than me, but I was still determined to learn and he was patient enough to let me. However I must admit I do tend to hand over the steering when things are tricky. He also claims to feel a bit embarrassed sometimes when he's at the tiller and I'm doing all the hard work.

 

I think someone said earlier that men don't tend to chat much? - not sure about that:)

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In the 12 years that we hired, I was the one to steer the boat. I really love doing that, although I did do the odd lock. Now we have our own boat, we take turns steering and doing the locks, we try to split it up equally, but I still do more of the steering, my husband is much quicker in working narrow locks as he steps from one gate onto the other and I have to walk round and back again. My husband also likes walking the towpath, and often kindly offers to do the locks.

 

In March we went up the beautiful Ashby Canal, from our marina there is only one lock, at Hawkesbury Junction, and we took turns steering the boat, on the return journey I did the stretches he did before and vice versa.

 

In May I went on a boating holiday with my (grown) daughter, just the two of us. We had a great time, and it was nice that we both could do the locks and do the steering. Ok, we had some trouble pushing the boat from the bank when the wind blew us away, and a strong male would have been a great help at that time, but we managed to free the boat even if it took 30 minutes and a lot of giggling.

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