Thursday, September 17, 2015

Oh, Oh NO GO!!!

The Engineer at work
When you rent these narrowboats, they give you about 15 minutes of instruction, and this includes a brief explanation of that mysterious thing that purrs, growls putters and vibrates under your feet pushing the boat through the canals. For some renters I expect it must be strange to have to check the oil, pump grease onto the propeller shaft, and reach into the murky water in the prop access box, but for me this is all part of the fun; I enjoy working with anything mechanical, and the other day I actually had to do a repair of sorts.

We had just gone through a lock and I powered out of the lock with no problem and docked at the British Waterways water access point to fill our water tank. However when I went to leave, the boat would not go forward. The propeller was spinning in reverse, but when I put it into forward, the boat moved backwards . . . way weird . . .

Pulling up the access hatches (Makes it sound like a real BIG boat), to give me room to see
The Cause of the Problem . . .
all the bits that make the boat go. Everything looked in order and there were no exploded transmissions or fluid leaks, so the next thing was to open the prop hatch and see what was down there. Now even though it is only about a foot down through the water to see the propeller and it’s shaft, the water is VERY muddy! So, looking down is not usually on option; you have to roll up your sleeves and reach down and feel around.

I was expecting perhaps a tangle of weeds, but instead my hands contacted fabric, a tangle of something unexpected . . . feeling around with a fair bit of trepidation, I finally determined it to be an old mat. Probably like one of the annoying mats in our boat situated at each door that refused to lie flat and having to be readjusted constantly.

Underway again - leaving Bill behind
Tugging did nothing, and it refused to budge, so my handy French “Opinel” belt knife came out and I started slicing bits away blindly under the water. I was finally able to extract a large hunk of ugly matting, and the shaft was clear.

Secure the prop hatch, close down the engine hatches, fire up the diesel and engage forward. Water churned out the back of the boat and we were underway. McGiver succeeds again . . . .

1 comment:

  1. I always knew you had a reason for watching all those shows .... Run, Bill ... RUN!