... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Saturday 12 April 2014

Rudder buggered

Yesterday evening, at Fradley, out travelling companions wondered idly whether we had ever unshipped Chertsey's rudder, and if so, how hard it was to get back in. No, I said. No idea; it's never happened. Must have forgotten to touch wood because you can guess what happened today...
No, it wasn't on a lock cill; it was as I was pulling in to drop Jim off at the innocuous and unassuming looking Branston lock, I just very gently reversed onto a rock about three feet out from the sheet piling, and knew immediately what had happened, despite never having experienced it before.

We struggled with it for a bit and managed to get it sitting (as we realised later) on the skeg but not in the cup. It didn't feel right but we struggled on, until it fell off again, catching Jim's hand in the process, as the tiller bar dropped a couple of inches, against the sharp corner of the rear door hasp (important job: grind that sharp corner off).

So we limped on very slowly until we got to Shobnall Fields in Burton, and having fortified Jim with lunch and a cup of tea and a great deal of sticking plaster (and TCP and a rubber glove), resumed trying to resite the rudder in its proper place. The only way really to do it, in the water, is by trial and error, Jim lifting the tiller with his shoulder. Every time we thought it was there though, a few trial sweeps led to it dropping out again. Eventually it was Iain who, employing the same method, either by luck or experience achieved success.

So on we have gone, ending up eventually just beyond Swarkestone lock, where we have not been to a pub but have enjoyed a lovely meal with Clair and Iain on Plover.

The starter motor is performing excellently, and today we have tested it on starting the engine when it's hot, which it has achieved without a murmur.



  1. Oh Dear, sorry to hear about Jim and hope he recovers soon. This used to happen to us frequently when we hired converted working boats from Willow Wren and campers from UCC in the 1970s We got quite adept at fitting the rudder back in eventually.

  2. Thanks for your kind words Jim. I had to be in 'action' straight away in order to get the rudder back on but as Sarah says the marvelous Iain off Plover cut the mustard.