Water, water, everywhere

Phew, finally got time to sit down and write this, it’s been a bit of an eventful day. Yesterday, the Cam began to rise again, and today it rose to the highest it has been this year. When I left for work on Friday morning I was still just about able to step down on to the concrete bank, but I slackened the lines just in case it rose more, wearing wellies to work just in case. When I came home it had indeed risen, and it was glad of the wellies! I was able to climb on and got out the plank which had come with the boat. It was just about long enough, but due to the sheer height of our fore end from the bank it was at quite a steep angle. So we went to B&Q that evening and bought a longer decking plank, and some additional pieces to strengthen it. With a hole drilled and a rope attaching it to one of the old loops used to cloth up the hold, it is pretty secure. We went for a late night walk to check neighbours’ boats and bashed in a few pins further.

On Saturday morning we woke early to check the river conditions and James decided to cancel his outing as the stream was very fast and the river still high. By now, it was (and has remained round about) three feet higher than normal. We saw a message online from a rower saying that there was a narrowboat loose from its mooring so we went out to investigate. NB Rebecca had pulled her pins in the night, and come to rest on the opposite bank, well over the concrete, putting it at risk of grounding and even sinking if the water dropped. The owner was away, but able to come down to the river, arriving just as we had secured it safely, with help from our neighbour Chris, and some rowers. James helped her bring the boat over the other side, and we secured it as best we could.

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The problem was that the boat had come from the canals, where smaller pins are normal as there are rarely dangerous conditions. However, they just weren’t big enough for a river situation. Her owner had to go out for the day, so we went over to Mackays to buy her some 4ft scaffolding poles, cut on a slant at one end to ease bashing them in, to hold the boat more securely. We also got their metalwork shop to cut a couple of smaller lengths for us- we had a plan to make getting on and off our boat a bit easier. Ages ago, John Pippin had given us a couple of those fence weights for use in supporting RSJs when extracting Friendly Fox’s engine, but we’d kept them in the spirit of “that’ll come in handy one day” as they didn’t take up too much garage space. Well, they did. We took them home on the trolley (Jasper the Fforde is on holiday for the weekend, as a friend needed to borrow him), and put them on the bank, with the Mackays scaff poles through the holes. Then the plank could be raised up on the bank end making it far less steep to climb. Once Rebecca’s new poles were in and secure, we were finally able to sit down and have a nice cup of tea!

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In the afternoon, we got on with finishing those door frames. They’re looking good and I’ll do a separate post for them. James was just finishing a bit of woodwork, and I had just turned on the iPad to blog about our day when…

BANG!

Biggest bang I’d heard in a while….

We and outside, and our neighbour’s 45′ boat, Suzie Q had come loose, hit our fore end, and was moving past at a rate of knots in the stream…..

I just managed to grab a loose rope as it passed but there was nothing to tie it onto and I couldn’t hold it. It looked like the other boat would be swept away, when all of a sudden, its stern rope, with pin still attached, snagged on something underwater. It was hooked onto the small lip at the bottom of our stem post, where the baseplate projects forwards. The whole boat heeled over and crashed into our side, but it mercifully came to a stop. We had considered getting that lip removed when it was out the water next, too! This gave us a few precious minutes to grab a spare rope and tie Suzie’s stern dolly on to our fore end T stud.

Then it was a case of getting another rope onto it, and slowly moving it forwards and back into position and repinning it. Our neighbours, having just returned via rescuing another boat, helped us get it safely back into its mooring. It had come loose despite our checks because the strong winds had been tugging at the pins and the repeated shocks had loosened them. We always have a spring line in to take up this shock and prevent this. We put in another pin for Suzie Q and attached it’s mid rope as a spring.

Now, just as I am about to hit Publish, James has had a call from another boater wanting help, so he and Chris have gone over with what spare pins and rope they can find, to see if they can do anything…

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Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Water, water, everywhere

  1. How many of the boats that have come lose in the last year are actually lived on as per the licence agreement? How many of the proper liveaboards come lose by comparrison?

  2. Gosh you have been busy! I hope the river doesn’t rise any more, but I guess it will next week, there is just no let up.

    You should be charging salvage fees James!

    Nah, all of you there have done a wonderful job in saving boats from destruction, well done to you all.

  3. Kath

    We are very impressed, not only with how well you look after yourselves but how much you do for others! We are in Paddington basin thinking how rough it is – then we read your blog….. Real boaters! Keep safe.
    Kath (nb Herbie)

  4. Hi! I was looking last night at the river flow and wondering what the difference was between your river level rise and mine here on Stourbridge Common.

    When you wrote your blog entry, you said you had a 3 feet (~90cm) rise. My rise would have been about 45cm then. That’s quite a difference, but I guess that’s what’s driving the increased flow!

    I’m up at +55cm now, and looking at the speed of the river, I reckon you must be +110-120cm. Be careful when climbing those planks!

    (Hint: if you varnish the planks to protect them, chuck a handful of fine sand onto them before the varnish dries. Instant non-slip surface!)

  5. Carol, nb Sunrise River Wissey.

    You have been busy I am sure there are many grateful boaters there. I am sitting on the bottom leaning to such an extent that I fell out of bed this morning. Have done my rounds and loosened some very tight ropes and hope that your high water lowers and mine goes up!

  6. It’s great to hear that there are some true real life heroes still around well done guys you should be very proud of your self !

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