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Tours 2000, BCN, Severn Estuary, K&A and River Wey

23 - Saturday 22nd July - Bradford upon Avon, back to Bath. Kennet and Avon Canal.

Got up at 9.00, prompted by movement of hire boats and Andrew G wanting permanent shore leave. Andrew helped us through Bradford Lock and then back again, after winding. We then said our goodbyes and he sailed off in his Landrover. We stopped at Dundas Wharf for much needed water (10.55 - 11.40), but had to keep engine running as Neil was doing all the washing, ready for the arrival of the White Weather Witch (WWW). We started the Bath flight at 13.15. Ian S at the helm, continuously from the start of the day. Sophie (the Black Magic Woman) continued to pose on balance beams / chat up the passers by and Neil got sick of telling her what to do. Second lock down the flight, Neil got caught by nutty fisherman, saying that the flight was impassable due to low water and there was no mooring on the Avon, because there was a fishing match! This bloke was probably responsible for vandalising the BW mooring posts on the Avon. At the decrepit Bath Deep lock (both gates leak like sieves) disaster struck. 
Neil was sorting out Sophie as her "handle did not seem to be working" (bottom gate paddle pump connected to two rams / paddles. The next thing he observed is the unthinkable - Earnest stuck on sill! There were some very quick paddle winding by Neil, but by the time Earnest was re-floated the rudder shaft was out of bottom socket and bent. Once out of the lock, Neil in disgust left Ian to his own devices to wobble his way back down to the small lay-by above the bottom lock. The rudder straightening consisted of Neil swimming under boat to check skeg (OK) and remove rudder an straightening shaft (rather wiggly) using Hydraulic ram, Porto Power, chains and intermittent use of Lock No1's balance beam and strap! during this period every man and his dog decided to use the flight! With the now pretty well straight shaft / rudder installed in it's bottom pot, there was a frantic final assembly of bearing and swan neck so we could share the bottom lock with some startled Germans in a borrowed boat (This episode took from14.20 to 16.25). There then followed a series of high speed trials on the Avon to check rudder, now pronounced acceptable by Captain. Ian Scot got banished to floor cleaning duties for the small duration of his holiday! We moored up at 17.05 on the Avon below the K&A, only one fisherman in sight. That night Sophie "went off on her own" (returned about 2.30!) and Neil  and Ian went out to Cafe Rouge, followed by heart to heart and last of the whiskey in boat.

Ian S in rudder shaft straightening mode! We actually begin to lift beam off gate, necessitating Neil to stand on it! Bath Bottom Lock No 7. 

About to drop rudder back in the water to pull up into the shaft tube.  Bath Bottom Lock No 7. 

The Tour continues....

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