OK – No news from CRT, other than an update that states they don’t know if they can bodge the lock – so were turning round. We need to get a hire car this coming weekend, and if the lock was working, this was planned once we got nearer to Watford – but, as we now cant get there, we need to head back to Bletchley. So lets get moving – in-between the torrential rail – so don’t expect any photos today!
First off.. fill the water tank. Moved down to the water point, there is a boat moored there so lets drop down the lock, as the winding hole is below it – leaving the kids at the lock, turn round, back in the lock, back up and the boat is still there, moored with bow and stern lines, so I don’t think this is using the services and is simply in the way!
Squeeze in at the end of the landing, and pin out the bow line, as there are no bollards to use – funny enough, being used by the boat moored here!
Once the water tank is full, set off and head north.
Six locks down, only getting slightly wet – and then lock #46, Cowroast Lock.
Emptied the lock.. opened the gates.. went in.. gates closed.. put the boat in reverse to back up as the gates are closed.. throttle control felt a little funny.. put it back into neutral – boat is still in reverse, still backing up and heading for the gate!
Switch off the engine and try to fend off us hitting the bottom gates with the boat and/or the rudder.. Shout to the kids to not start filling the lock!
OK.. no matter what I do with the control lever, were stuck in reverse – but it does still rev up the engine when moved too far! Call Dawson over and throw him a rope so that we can fill the lock and get to a level where we can get off the boat. Slowly fill the lock with Dawson holding the rope.. all whilst its poring with rain!
Once the lock is full, tie off the boat and see what’s going on down below – and yes, no matter what we do with the lever, the selector for the gearbox stays where it is – in reverse. Grab a pair of pliers and remove the split pin – pull the cable off the gearbox lever and see if it still works manually – put it in the middle, start the engine, move it down – goes into reverse.. back in the middle, into neutral OK, and pull the lever up, goes into forwards.. so back to neutral, turn off the engine. At least its not the gearbox that’s failed – thankfully! as that could have been expensive!
Now – ( Other than the engine and gearbox needing a damn good clean – where does this stuff come from.. it wasn’t here when we did the filters! ) I’m not sure if the cable has snapped or the Teleflex control lever is broken (but it still operates the engine throttle OK, so may not be the lever). For months now its been getting stiffer to move, and moving the lever has been getting more and more difficult. Either way – cant deal with that now – were still in the lock!
Open the top gates.. drag the boat out with the ropes and tie up again on the lock landing. And.. it’s still pouring down!
Once the lock is sorted with the gates closed, everyone is back onboard. I’ve manually set the gearbox in forwards, and the engine is still off. Untie the ropes, push off from the bank, wait a bit so that I can get some room to move – as all I have now is the engine on and moving forwards, or off and adrift!
Fire up the engine and were moving. Now, with all this rain, that is still here and making it a very cheery day.. I’m hoping no one else is moving – as to stop in a hurry, I need reverse to slow down – and as all I have is forward or adrift, lets keep our fingers crossed that the rain is at least keeping the canal clear and everyone out of my way.
Eventually, there was a spot, just after a bridge.. but I need to slow and back up.. a quick lift of the boards, move the lever into reverse (yes.. I need to lie down on the soaking deck boards to access the lever!) and back up to the banking.. once close enough – off with the engine, jump off with ropes and pull the boat in. Once moored up, set the gearbox back to neutral so we can run the engine to finish off charging the batteries.
Time to get down there and have a look..
Now.. there was an end to this cable that I took off the lever yesterday – which is no longer here! Ahh.. there it is.. in the bilge on the engine room floor.. yep. Cable snapped. And as the cable needs to be replaced anyway – time to strip out the Teleflex lever and check its at least OK.
Not putting this back though, as now I know whats wrong, the teleflex needs to be accessed to swap the cable, so it’s time to call RCR (River Canal Rescue) as I have no chance in getting a new cable delivered and no car to drive to somewhere to get one.
RCR are – if you were unaware – the “AA” of the boating world who also offer training courses and routine servicing/maintenance – and we are members. Living on a boat and not being a member – IMHO – is a bit daft, certainly considering that for £170 it cost for a years membership, it covers the call out and engineer costs, and some parts are also covered (up to a certain price and dependant on the part!) – cables, however, are considered consumable.. so wont be covered – but a new cable should not be that much.
And – if you get in real difficulty, and sink.. It will be RCR that will be there to re-float the boat, even if you are not a member.. (at the insurance companies expense – but RCR are the first company they goto for this service and are possibly the best and most well equipped to do it) – you may remember from an earlier post that we passed a boat heading south that the RCR emergency response vehicles were out attending to a part sunk boat..
In the 3 years we have been aboard, this is the first time I have had to contact them, and – after a few phone calls explaining the issue, as far as I knew, we had arranged for the engineer to come here tomorrow. I said we were not in any danger, the boat was safe, we can run the engine if needed so Monday would be fine. As it turns out, I got a call a few hours later that afternoon stating that they would be here in 5 minutes!
Engineer (Jason) and apprentice nearing the completion of a 2 year apprenticeship (Can’t remember the ladies name – apologies) and yes.. It’s good to see ladies finally being accepted as engineers – and so it should be!.. Both on site – not objecting to a half stripped down job 🙂 – simply got on with it, swapped the cable out, re-assembled the Teleflex and tested. Job done – less than an hour!
So a really big shout out and a thank you to them both and to RCR for a job well done and a fantastic service!
As it stands, were now good to go, the control lever runs a lot smoother now, but this delay has caused us to possibly be late for the hire car collection – so were going to have a few long days to do – with Dawson doing the driving me thinks! And if CRT finally state that lock #71 is good to go – were still heading back north for this weekend, and may review heading south at that time – for now.. were going north to Braunston, then south to Banbury.