We thanked our lucky stars having arrived at lock 68 to find Canal and River Trust about to flood, then drain the pound in an attempt to get a curiously stranded boater on his way. After chatting to the poor guy there wasn’t much we could do – other than demonstrate how easily our boat passed through the lock, whilst his remained inexplicably jammed every time he tried. So we were off…
Something kind of snapped somewhere, resulting in a floppy throttle. The rain hammered down and very aware of the pound draining plans about to get underway, we did it old style. Tugging and heaving, 20 tonnes isn’t so heavy once momentum takes hold. Not as speedy as under engine power but we got it in the next lock, dropped it down before staring at the gush of water rushing down the overflow. Agreeing hard and fast was the way to go, we heaved as the boat veered away from us, taken by the water. A bit more yanking and it was back, bankside, and tied up. It turns out that googling what is wrong with your boat is just as traumatising as googling what is wrong with yourself. Gearbox, drive plates, clutch – the symptoms made every nastiness plausible.
One good thing about breaking down in a boat rather than a car is that your effectively straight back at home, so other than dropping behind a self-imposed schedule we carried on as normal. If you had to choose a place to break down this wouldn’t be a bad one. With the road running alongside and a lock number providing a home address there’s almost no better place. Worth every penny, the Canal and River Rescue engineer arrived and seemed pretty confident we’d be sorted fairly quickly. The gearbox cable was the problem, snapped and good for nothing, it’s not a nice boat trauma as it can happen without warning and at any time…tidal Trent, Ribble Link, Thames, windy Liverpool Link… don’t have nightmares, sleep tight.
Every cloud, we now know how to engage the gears with a broom stick and a shoe lace in an emergency AND the short cruising day meant more time on the Eberspacher which is up and running again.