Friday, 20 August 2010

Just keep coming

Dove's recent experiences struck a chord with me. I never really noticed it in Warrior; I suspect it didn't happen. But when steering Chertsey, this is one of the banes of my life. Chugging along, pretty slowly (I still only do pretty slowly, really. 3 mph would be considered rather racy) on a narrowish but not too narrow by a long way bit of canal. A green boat approaches in the distance. I keep going, trying to adjust my speed so that we'll meet in a wider or less tree obscured section, or before the bend of bridgehole he's just emerged from (yes, it is always a he). He sees me - or rather Chertsey's imposing fore end (but it can't just be that, if it happens to Dove as well) and rather than keep coming (let alone adjusting his speed, that would be asking too much) he tries to stop dead. Which of course because he's got a light modern boat with a tiny prop, he can't. He throws his morse into reverse, and the boat slews across the cut, right into my path. Great. So if I keep going I'll hit him and it'll be my fault. If we're still far enough apart, I can stop too. Then what? Well, sometimes he'll get the boat into the bank and get off, trying to hold it with a rope. I kid you not; this has already happened to me at least twice, and that's not counting the times they rather sheepishly say they were stopping anyway, 'for a coffee'. If there isn't space for me to stop, I now have to try to steer around a much wider obstacle (up to 50' rather than 7'), and hope that I'll do no more than nudge him, and won't go aground in the process. Then he'll look at me as if it's all my fault, especially if he's ended up on the bottom or in the trees.

So, the moral of this, and a plea, is just keep coming. I may look as if I'm heading straight for you, but I will swerve at the last minute, honest. And as I'm passing, still keep going; I need you predictably out of the way so that I can swing back in before the next bend/bridge/moored boat. Just keep coming, and keep steering, and we'll be fine. Oh, and I'm not radioactive either, so no need to keep a ten foot exclusion zone between your boat and mine.

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