Retrospective post for Monday 22nd May
This should have been the day we started to make good progress on our trip back North with both boats - sadly, however, that did not happen.
The first problem of the day was not to be the worst, but even that was a bit alarming at the time. Having worked through the first lock at Batchworth, we adopted a quite normal strategy of Cath going on ahead first towards the next on "Sickle", with David and I to close up the lock and follow on "Flamingo". However, as soon as Cath was disappearing around the first bend, and we had barely set off, it became apparent that "Flamingo" was labouring heavily, and making almost zero progress. With hindsight I should have tried to find somewhere to stop immediately, but I was mindful of a weir just above the lock that I did not want to get pulled on to, and almost immediately after that the very long line of permanently moored boats makes towpath access impossible.
|This much plastic sheet doesn't stop a Lister HA2, but it almost stops the boat.|
|Almost certainly the point at which David knew he was stuck in reverse.|
So delayed by maybe an hour we set off again, but it wasn't long before we were in much more serious trouble. Just two locks further on, as David attempted to stop "Sickle" in the lock, the gear lever stuck solidly in reverse, and could not be moved. Quick diagnosis showed it to be the gearbox itself that was at fault, not any of the levers or linkages that operate it. This was very disappointing, as it is part of the recently installed replacement engine.
|The two levers joined by a spring have straightened more than they should.|
We managed to get in touch with the seller by phone, and initially it was hoped to be a matter of adjustment. However ever increasing adjustment failed to make the problem go away, and although we managed to get to the next lock, exactly the same "stuck in reverse" fail happened there. By now I had convinced myself that continuing was neither sensible nor safe. We had literally just passed a local boatyard with its own engineers, and I was lucky enough to persuade one to come and take a look that evening.
|The part projecting 3 or 4mm right of the big brake band probably should not!|
This was unlikely to be a quick canal-side fix, so attention had to turn first to practical matters. I was supposed to be attending an important Doctor's appointment in Berkhamsted the next day, and then travelling for an evening out in London. How could I still achieve this, given we had made almost no progress towards Berkhamsted?
Batchworth to Cassiobridge
Miles per boat: 2.5, Miles both boats: 4.9, Locks:4
Total Trip Miles: 2.0, Locks: 73