It was damn hot yesterday, and Hubby and I were so shattered and drained, we decided to take a nap in the afternoon.
Flaked out on the bed with the doors and windows open, we snoozed until there was a helluva commotion outside with panicky voices bordering on hysteria.
‘What the hell……………….??? ‘ Hubby was up, quickly followed by me, and as I watched his backside disappear through the helm doors, I turned towards the bow and was confronted with the view of a boat trying to park IN OUR CRATCH!
If it hadn’t been for the quick thinking of our newest neighbour (Tuppy’s daddy) leaping aboard to take over their tiller and Hubby rushing to the end of our pontoon finger to push the other boat away from our hull with his bare feet, we would have been hit and severely damaged, with the offending boat ricocheting off us and smashing into the brand new Plastic Pig berthed alongside us.
The bloody idiots were going too damn fast trying to manoeuver their boat back into the berth opposite us, a boat they weren’t familiar with (having borrowed the keys from Uncle), with a tiller that was missing a vital securing pin and therefore useless trying to steer, and by a guy who almost fell off the back as he had absolutely no idea what he was doing.
If he’d fallen overboard (he was able to pull himself up having got his feet and shins wet), he would have been dragged under the hull and possibly chewed to pieces by their propeller. It didn’t help that the wind had picked up and was blowing us, them and every other boat in the marina, all over the place.
The back of their boat isn’t like ours and there is only standing room for the helmsman, not 5 giggling females ranging in age from 12 to 30 as well. There also wasn’t a single life jacket in sight.
Our friend parked up with no mishap (pure skill and experience), and the Sextet of Twits made no effort whatsoever to take lines or tie ropes off. After two minutes, it was obvious they didn’t know how, so he ended up doing the lot.
By the time Our Hero came back to our side to a round of applause, the fools had unloaded the boat and legged it up to the car park, flip-flops flapping and shirt tails trailing.
They were very lucky to avoid injury, collision with another vessel/s, and to have an experienced guy around to get them out of trouble.
We had no experience in boating, but we do have common sense, and know you do not try to take on the wind at high speed (4 mph plus in a 40 foot narrow boat is fast in a confined space) trying to moor up.
When Hubby took possession of our boat last July and brought it from our purchase place here, we paid a guy to give him one-to-one tuition for the three and a half hour journey.
It was the best £100 we spent.
Yes, there are courses you can take, some in your own boat and originally we were going to sign up for one, but they cost a fair bit, and we never seemed to get round to it.
It was ages before we took the boat out. We waited for ‘ideal conditions’, no wind, still and calm waters, and even then we took our time, practicing turns and reversing at the widest points of the river when no-one else was around.
We weren’t afraid to ask for advice, listened to people’s tips and suggestions, realised that S L O W is the key, and each time we went out, we ventured a little further.
We got to know the boat and how she handles, as each vessel, even the same make/model/design will be different.
I leave all the parking to Hubby.
His co-ordination skills are better than mine and I am easily flustered. But we work well as a team and I can be on the bow making sure we don’t get too close to anyone as we reverse in. I can tie off ropes, adjust fenders if need be, and pull her into a better position if necessary.
Saying that though, I shall be doing a lot of tillerwork going through the locks this week.
The wind is a pain, as it can catch you when you least expect it, everyone will tell you and warn you about it as they have all experienced it.
As our little group discussed the near collision, we all agreed that none of us would have taken our boats out in that wind yesterday.