Wednesday, 6 May 2015


I thought we’d experienced everything in our previous two years on the boat – not so.  When we woke up yesterday morning in a quiet spot with no other boats close, it was calm, grey and drizzling.  We left early in order to ensure that we didn’t get caught up in a queue at the locks only half a mile away.  With the number of charter boats around that was a distinct possibility.  We managed to fill up with water and go through the two locks with our normal aplomb – and then the wind started.  Because of the forecast , we had all our foul weather gear on but when I checked the met office web site the previous night there had been no mention of a Force Eight gale blasting across the canal.  In fact I have to wonder what the Met Office spend all their money on because their forecasts are crap.  It can’t be on decent computers and forecasters that’s for sure.  So within an hour the wind was getting extremely strong especially below the numerous squalls.  Now if we had been at sea I would have been a little worried but hey?  On the canals?   -  Wronnnnng.   We were going around a left hand bend when a really strong gust hit us.  Amelie May weighs in the order of 18 tons and you would think that wind would have little effect.  With full left rudder she wouldn’t turn at all and suddenly I was heading straight at the opposite bank.  More power to make the rudder more effective had b***er all effect and by the time I slammed the throttle into astern the bow was nicely embedded in the opposite bank.  The stern then elegantly did the same.  We were completely jammed across the canal.  The weird thing was that the wind should have been blowing us off but for some reason I’ve discovered that when she is broadside to the wind the stern is pushed harder than the bow. 

So what to do? Because we have a bow thruster, I’ve never used the bank stick that’s been slowly rotting away on the roof and I needn’t have bothered now as we were firmly embedded in the bank.  Likewise my idea of grabbing the stern line and pulling the back end free along the towpath came to naught.  The only consolation was that as boating accidents went it was pretty small beer.  Both ends of the boat were embedded in dry land after all.  However, the embarrassment factor was another thing, especially as we had a charter boat following us.  I was rather hoping they might come up and give us a shove – no chance – we never saw them, maybe they had their own accident because they were laughing at us so much.   So there we were, not going anywhere in a hurry when another boat approached from the other direction.  Seeing our plight he got close enough for me to throw him our bow line and was then able to drag us clear.  Profuse thanks were offered and we slunk away, highly embarrassed.  However, afterwards, when we chatted to other boaters we’ve discovered we were not the only ones who had major issues with the wind which has made us feel a little better.

Sorry no photos – even if I had some do you think I would post them??!!

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