Tuesday 10 October 2017

A tale of two hirers

The first hirer we met today was a Black Prince boat coming through a bridge hole. There were two people sitting at the front enjoying the scenery, and two guys at the back doing the steering. Now this section of the Staffs and Worcs, though much better than it used to be, is still pretty shallow in places, and they clearly were finding this a challenge. They were being very careful and going very slowly, but as a result found it difficult to get their boat pointed in the right direction. There was much yanking on the tiller to try and pull the stern round. Another boater followed them under the bridge, and looked as though he was having to go slower than tickover most of the time. Since the name of his boat was "As It Comes" we exchanged a few pleasantries as we passed on needing to take that seriously!

A little later we found ourselves behind an older couple in an Anglo-Welsh boat, also going slowly. When we were 50 yards behind, they turned to wave us past and, to facilitate this, decided to stop and hold their boat on the line. Bringing a boat neatly to the bank on the curves of this section is challenging even for experienced boaters, and they found themselves with one on the towpath trying to control the boat with the line, and boat with a mind of its own pushing out into mid-stream. We took our time and chose the moment to glide by, and he called out a question, which I stopped to answer. He basically wanted to know what was the rule about waving another boat by – which side should it be? I replied to the effect that it was such a rare occurrence there probably wasn't a rule – you do whatever seems right in the conditions, and what he'd done seemed quite appropriate. I don't think I've ever seen this discussed.

At the time we were more concerned about them getting started again with both on board, ready for the corner just ahead where you go aground if you cut it too fine. As it happens, they came by a little later as we were tied up in Tixall Wide for a spot of lunch. It's always nice to stop there when on our way back to the marina – delays the inevitable just a little bit.

1 comment:

  1. Overtaking would normally be on the left, as it would be in a car in a driving-on-the-right country. If the slower boat actually stops by the bank then the question doesn't arise!