Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Dare I get my shorts out?

Today's weather was the best so far this year, we reckon. Certainly the best we've enjoyed while on the boat. Definitely shirt-sleeve order; I should really have put shorts on. Mind you, I was getting rather warm working the Buckby flight. With no other traffic in sight I had to turn the bottom lock. When it was almost empty the level in the upper pound suddenly rose - yes, a boat was just coming down the next lock. The pound rose so much that water started to pour over the top gates. The amount coming in was more than the amount leaving; eventually a passer-by lent some extra weight and we managed to shift the gate.

The descending boat remarked on how quiet it was ... but then we encountered several more boats for whom we had to wait while they came down the locks in front.

One particularly slow pair coming down was a couple of CRT work boats off to do some piling work at "the shires". They wanted only one gate paddle opened, and that only half-way, so as not to risk a sticking-out bit on one of the boats (on the left in the photo) getting caught on the gate.

We stopped for lunch below Lock 8 and were inspected by a goose with a colourful beak.

I decided that, as the batteries seem to be holding out now we have a working alternator, we would not visit Braunston for a replacement set. We therefore turned right onto the Leicester section. Just after the moored boats I saw this sunny, treey scene and thought it would make a good photo.

We tied up just before Bridge 3 on some brand new piling. Here the M1 is a mere distant rumble; had we carried on to the bottom of Watford Locks it would have been a lot louder. The sun was shining, there was hardly any wind, and we went for a walk to the locks before returning to the boat for tea.

We met and chatted to several people today: Bob and Jan Wayment were assisting friends down the Buckby Locks; Jacqueline and Ken on Laissez-Faire Jan knew from a certain Facebook group; Roberta on Inchy was able to receive a bottle of wine for Tim as a thank-you for his help with my alternator.

Stern gland update: each time we stopped I checked the drip catcher and found that it had remained virtually empty. Hooray! However, I felt the prop shaft near the gland and found that it was warm, so I slackened off the gland a bit more. But this was the first time the bilge has not been filling with canal since we've owned the boat, so - as long as I'm not damaging the prop shaft - I'm very pleased.


Andrew Tidy said...

Halfie - you have the same stern gear as us and it looks like it has been tightened a lot in the past (we struggle to get the second locking nut on). We had a progressive problem with the leaking stern gland when moving which even tightening didnt solve so in the end I repacked it. It turns out that the packing in there was too narrow and didnt give a good seal. I bought a length of fatter packing and gently hammered it to the optimum thickness before pressing in into the stuffing box. This has done the trick - no dripping. When the propshaft was pushed back a few months ago I was surprised by the number of rings of packing which were in there - probably 5 or 6. I took the oportuninty to move the thicker ones towards the back and to give an even better seal.

Halfie said...

So, Andy, if it doesn't leak and if I can get it so the prop shaft stays cool will I be OK? Or does it look as if there's virtually no more tightening that can be done and I therefore need to repack?