After a bit of a wait for diesel at Stourport Basin it was time, at last, to set off down the two staircase pairs and onto the Severn.
In the first staircase disaster struck.
The rudder had got caught on the edge of the cill, lifting it out of its mounting holes.
The skipper recalled that the last time this had happened, about 20 years ago, it had been at this very spot. Oops. A large wooden rudder is unbelievably heavy, as I discovered when trying to lift it, with fellow crew member Richard's help, standing on the tail footbridge using a rope.
When this proved too difficult David fetched the winch. We attached this to the footbridge and lifted and lowered on instructions from David, who was trying to locate the pins in the holes.
In this photo Richard is on the winch while David adjusts the rope.
About an hour after the incident the rudder finally popped into place and we were able to continue our journey.
We were just too late to pass through Lincomb Lock on the Severn so we tied up and ate on board. Rather more excitement than we were expecting on the first day!