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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

What is the most boats needed to free another?

 First this mornings photo. We love the onset of Autumn coming. When we used to hire every year, and always in September or October, these 'canal mornings' are what we remembered the most.

Now for my title. I'll show you the answer later, but first let me explain what happened. Having left a little later then normal this morning, we had only progressed for about a mile when a cruiser came toward us. It was immediately obvious that he had something to tell us and as we got level he mentioned a boat stuck on the offside round the next bend. They had tried to free it with cruiser power but to no avail. So we slowed right down and sure enough just before bridge no 108 a Wyvern hire boat Nb Bullrush could be seen listing slightly and at least 5ft away from the bank.




 It was full of lads who, having been stuck there since 6pm last night, was ever so relieved to see us. They had contacted Wyvern but apart from one of the staff walking down to see them later in the evening, produced no concrete advice other then wait for a boat to turn up who could pull them off. We were that boat! So, first thing after assessing the situation and having a bit of a laugh with the lads about their predicament, was to attache out stern rope to his stern T stud, put on a bit of power and, with them roocking from side to side, tried to release the suction from under the boat.







 No chance at all. We tried full throttle and all that did was to move our bow toward the mud! The boat didn't budge an inch. Okay... now what.... after a bit of head scratching, Ian reversed Free Spirit back to their bow. Next idea was to try and pull the front round. Again with Free Spirit in reverse and the rope taught we hoped that would do the trick. Fat chance on that!!! How on earth they got themselves quite so stuck is amazing. So this is where I have my compulsory moan. If boats slowed down and didnt create a wash the banks wouldn't be eroded. Now you may think that we travel slow all the time. Well we dont! Where its deep we speed up and where it's shallow we slow down. It's not rocket science and helps with the environment! Anyway back to Bullrush. One of the lads suggested that if we came alongside at some speed, he would lasso the rope over our dolly, and with the sudden jerk, pull the back end of the mud. So we tried that. Only trouble was, as he got the rope round our dolly and managed to secure it over his T stud, the stud broke off with an almighty bang. We shot forward but did it budge Bullrush? No it did not!!!! Suddenly one of the lads spied another Wyvern boat heading towards us. Yipee........ more engine power could just do the job.


 Look... the troops have arrived lads

This time we had another plan. If the other Wyvern boat pulled Bullrush from the front, we pulled at the stern and with a lot of luck, Bullrush would come off the mud sideways. So we tried that.





Even the lads on Bullrush tried by opening up the throttle
And quess what!....... She didnt budge an inch!!!!!!


Dont think the pole will do much good.
But wait......... is that another boat coming to the rescue. You couldnt make this up but the boats name was Hero!!!




More boats waiting to help if needed.

Both engines screaming and smoking on full power
 And hero he was because by lashing Free Spirits bow rope to Hero's bow, attaching Hero's stern rope to Bullrush as well as ours, and with both Ian and the other chap opening up the throttles, Bullrush, with a lovely slurping sound, finally came free. It took over an hour of hard graft to get them going again but the wave says it all. Job well done!


Almost an anti climax to relate the rest of our day but we locked down with Hero on the Soulbury Three, stopped at Willowbridge to see the price of deisel and promply left again. At 96p a ltr we thought it a bit much. Julie on the deisel boat will be around at some point so we would rather buy from her, and then stopped at Fenny Stratford for our overnight mooring.



And finally:-

Another high rise Heron









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