Saturday, 5 July 2014

Not another lost prop? Er ... well ... read on!

Prop's away - take three

I had cycled ahead to set Stoke Bottom Lock on the W&B and, while waiting for Kew to come along, I watched what was going on at the boatyard.

The man on the bank tied a rope to a boathook and poked it under the back of the boat. The man in the boat, reaching through the weedhatch, grabbed the rope and tied it to the propeller/propshaft. Then he pushed the propshaft backwards out of the boat, presumably stuffing something into the hole to stop too much water coming in, and the man on the bank pulled on his end of the rope.

This is where things went wrong. As the prop and shaft broke the surface the knot came undone - and the heavy metal fell into the canal.

The man poked around with the boathook for a while but was obviously getting nowhere. I suggested to him that a Sea Searcher might be what he needed, so he went off to get one.

I was beginning to get involved. He didn't seem to be having any more success with the magnet, so I offered to have a go. Even with my proficiency (I have hauled out a fair few ferrous objects in my time) I couldn't raise the slippery blighter. The magnet found it, oh yes, but would not lift it out of the mud. We found lots of other metal detritus, most of which was flung back.

By this time Kew had been through the lock and tied up. I got Kew's Sea Searcher to add to the boatyard's to see if double the strength would make sufficient difference. It did not.

Step forward David, who is used to getting wet. No point in pussy-footing around, let's just go in and get it.

In an instant he was in and reaching down ...

... before triumphantly hoisting aloft the prop and shaft.

Familiar-looking pictures?

Here's a flashback to 2010 and my retrieval of our lost prop from the bed of the Thames.


(Brings a smile to my face every time I see that photo!)

One of the reasons the Sea Searchers didn't work on the propshaft was that it was covered in grease: the magnets simply slid off the end.

While David went off to have a shower the boatyard boss handed over a decent paper thank-you, and the excitement was over.

Until the next time.

1 comment:

Andrew Tidy said...

I think I would prefer a dip in the Thames.....