Yesterday evening we arrived at the bottom of the Basingstoke Canal and were really looking forward to exploring yet another new waterway.
We were joined at the bottom by Linda and Richard on nb Mary H and spent an evening catching up, and drinking far too much wine and, of course, making a fuss of Muffin.
The Basingstoke suffers from water shortages so entry is very strictly controlled. We’d booked to go up together this morning but were a bit apprehensive when we walked up to the first lock and saw this.
Progress was pretty slow but we had managed to get to lock 5 when disaster hit. Going into the lock there was a sudden bang and the engine cut out completely. We’d obviously hit some kind of submerged object but hadn’t a clue exactly what. On closer examination Gordon discovered that the propellor was badly bent. Richard steered Mary H into the lock beside us without problems. As we started to fill the lock Mary H also managed to connect with an obstacle and her engine also cut out. Two disabled boats in one lock now.
Luckily we’re both members of River Canal Rescue (the boating equivalent of the RAC or AA) so we stayed put and called them out.
They arrived pretty promptly and as soon as they took a look at Mary H they discovered that her prop was embedded in a large piece of wood. It took a lot of huffing and puffing and the poor bloke ended up with a frozen arm through spending so much time with it in the cold water.
In the end they managed to dislodge this from Mary H’s propellor.
Their prop was bent but not too badly and they needed to make a decision about whether to continue their trip up the canal or abandon it altogether.
In the meantime we weren’t quite so lucky. Our prop was more or less (to use an technical engineering term) buggered. All three blades were badly bent. We didn’t manage to see the smaller piece of wood they dislodged from our propellor as it sank back into the murky depths. Linda came up with the very credible theory that we hit the log first, split it, with a piece of it embedding itself on our propellor. Mary H then managed to hit the remaining bigger section which firmly attached itself to their propellor. Thus one piece of wood managed to cause mayhem to two boats!
Richard and Linda made the decision to turn around and both boats are now moored up at the bottom of the locks again, this time with a thunderstorm raging around us.
We’re off to a boatyard in the morning where we’ll be lifted out of the water so our propellor can be replaced. More news to follow.