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GUC D9 – part 2 of numerous..

Having spent a couple of days doing the video you then have to translate this into text i.e. rake the memory with prompts from the video, which is okay if you have time to do it the same day you post. Well the video & start of the description was done on the 30th, so read that before continuing…

Have you played “chicken” with a narrow boat? I’m very confident in my skills – if I can navigate down a snaking ‘disused’ arm festooned with boats occupying every inch of available bank on both sides and then reverse the boat up the same course, then surely its not boasting to say I think I’m a “decent driver” – hmm is there such a thing a synchronised boating, a bit like synchronised swimming but with bigger objects?? If you read various articles on commercial narrowboaters of the past then you will most likely read that they stayed in the middle of the canal where the water is the deepest and go wide round bends to see round the corner (I remember an article describing how the deep part of the canal has changed round bends – traditionally it is the outside edge where the boats were steered to maximise visibility, but now they are moving to the inside edge because many holiday boaters “drive” the boats like the car choosing the shortest distance, the inside edge, when navigating the bends ). Two oncoming captains would head their boats direct for each other, in the deep channel, until they were almost upon each other before deviating just enough to go around each other. The benefits are you stay in the faster channel longer and by deviating late and passing close to the other boat your boat is then pulled back into position by the passing boats wake, all in all an efficient way to boat – unfortunately not so if the other boat is a holidaymaker!!! I’ve done this a few times and found the other boater moves very far to the edge and then scowls a lot, or even shouts at you – still just means I have to deviate less to go round them. Hmm, what’s needed is a quick vid of core skills to suggest to all boaters, as that way less diesel would be used each outing (though you are then reliant on their skill at steering!)

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So what’s all this got to do with this day’s cruise? Well shortly after bridge 97 on our way towards Fenny Stratford we met a bunch of pirates, well a bunch of women on a hire boat wearing pirate hats. So I thought I’d steer quite close to them as we passed, still leaving a couple of feet or so in between, to get in the spirit. They seemed quite panicky – not very “pirate like” at all, about how close the boats were passing. Plenty of space, and on a straight piece of canal, but I hope I added to their day – I’m just glad I didn’t try and give them a true taste and pass within a foot.

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