Thursday, 6 September 2018

Potentially dangerous paddle gear at Stoke Bruerne

I had a surprise when coming down the Stoke Bruerne flight yesterday. At Lock 18 I was just closing the offside bottom gate after Jan had steered Jubilee out when there was a sudden loud clatter from the nearside gate. The pawl had decided that it didn't like engaging with the teeth, and the paddle dropped all by itself.  At no point during the paddle's descent did the pawl engage and stop the spindle rotating.  I wonder if the extra weight of the knobbly lifting lever upset the dynamics such that instead of engaging with the next tooth it just bounced out of the way each time.  Or perhaps the angle the pawl makes with each tooth is wrong, tending to push the pawl out of the way rather than grabbing the tooth more firmly.

If an inexperienced boater had left their windlass on the spindle - they shouldn't, but it does happen - it would have gone flying with potentially injurious results.

The mechanism looks new:  it needs attention before someone gets hurt (and before the paddle gear itself breaks).

I will now draw CRT's attention to this.

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