Friday, 27 August 2010

Limehouse to Old Windsor via Tower Bridge etc.

Sunday 22nd August 2010

Now. About the discovery in the engine hole I referred to in the last post. We were due out of Limehouse Lock at 0940. This gave plenty of time to visit the elsan emptying place in the marina, which was in an old boat. To get there with the chemical loo I had two choices: walk with it over the lock gates up to the gated entrance to the pontoons and wait for someone to let me in; or motor round. I chose the latter option, and was glad I did. On returning to our space by the wall, I thought I'd better check the weed hatch, as I'd been round a little-used, potentially rubbishy patch of water. Round the prop was a plastic bag. No great shakes. No, what hit me as I stood gazing at the engine before putting down the deck board was something rather more worrying. Lying in the bilge were two nuts (as in nuts and bolts). I hadn't seen them before. Where had they come from? The answer was soon apparent. Joining the prop shaft to the gearbox are four bolts, or, rather, should have been four bolts (in the centre of the above picture). There were actually only three, two of them minus their nuts, and the other very loose. A search of the bilge produced the missing nut and bolt. It was now 0935. Any moment now I'd be holding up the lock operation. Quick, find the right size spanners and tighten it all up! Fortunately I had the right tools, and had it all back together in time to have not delayed the locking too much.

I immediately wondered what would have happened if the remaining bolts had come away the previous day, on our cruise past the flood barrier. We would have been suddenly without drive, not too clever on a tide ebbing out to sea! But that, of course, is why the St. Pancras Cruising Club organises these cruises: to ensure that if any boat does suffer problems, there are other boats nearby able to carry out a rescue. We all have each others' mobile phone numbers, and at least one boat in each locking has VHF radio in contact with London VTS (Vessel Traffic Service), Limehouse Lock and other waterway authorities.

With that problem fixed, or so I thought, we enjoyed our cruise behind Simon on Scholar Gypsy past the sights of London. Here are just a few highlights.

Andrew Phasey of the St. Pancras Cruising Club steering Doris Katia bound for the tideway

following Scholar Gypsy under Tower Bridge

Jan and the Palace of Westminster

David and the Palace of Westminster

Scholar Gypsy turned right at Brentford to head up the Grand Union Canal, while we continued on to Teddington.

Indigo Dream, left, and Willow, right, in Teddington Barge Lock

a colourful scene in Teddington Barge Lock

Sunday 22nd August 2010
Fulbourne and a flotilla of narrowboats on the Thames
After Teddington we made our way to a rendezvous with Ally and Ben at the Harvester pub at Old Windsor, where, after a mediocre meal, we tied up for the night.


VallyP said...

Yikes, now I understand why it could have been such a disaster! Glad you got things fixed here, but now I see only to lose the prop itself the next day! Sounds as if Willow hasn't been used in a while, or else these things might have shown up earlier!

Captain Ahab said...

I cant believe it! I saw one shear off on a bot in front of me at easter, one bolt on Wandring bark has snapped (about 300 water miles ago at least) and was found just before out trip on the tideway. Then I passed some friends in Birmingham yesterday whose coupling had sheared off at Worcester a few days before. As you say - a frightening thought when on deep fast flowing waters. It knocks ones trust on the boat!