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Ray T

How to do canal locks like a Boss!

18 posts in this topic

Another brilliant video by mykaskin:

 

 

Many thanks Mike, keep 'em coming.

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I agree, a wonderful video, and such teamwork.

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Excellent - I wish I could emulate; a light(er) boat with shallow draught and a fug stirrer for a propeller is much more difficult to keep on a straight course and retain momentum than a 'proper boat'

Not to mention the naughty bits - as in - looping the line around gate guard rails - OK if you know what you're doing.

 

OK - I'm carping about details - and I'll get criticised for nit picking. However, an inexperienced boater using those techniques should realise it's horses for courses, but to experienced boater who understand, it's poetry in motion....

 

Many thanks for posting.

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Not to be critical or nit picking and no offence meant.

 

"Not to mention the naughty bits - as in - looping the line around gate guard rails - OK if you know what you're doing."

 

 

Butty rudder is easily damaged and without an engine to keep the boat on the gate or a strapping post in the right place the alternative is the rail on the gate. That the rope is low down thus lessoning the mechanical advantage as well so very little force on the hand rail.

Where the balance beam has the raised large metal rectangular hand hold at the end of the beam a couple of wrap around that is also used.

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Not to be critical or nit picking and no offence meant.

 

"Not to mention the naughty bits - as in - looping the line around gate guard rails - OK if you know what you're doing."

 

 

Butty rudder is easily damaged and without an engine to keep the boat on the gate or a strapping post in the right place the alternative is the rail on the gate. That the rope is low down thus lessoning the mechanical advantage as well so very little force on the hand rail.

Where the balance beam has the raised large metal rectangular hand hold at the end of the beam a couple of wrap around that is also used.

There are many different ways to bring a pair of boats through narrow locks, and every 'steerer' will have different preferences. Farmers Bridge Locks are very easy to take a pair through, and knowing the family involved in this film I am left a little disappointed - especially knowing that they were being filmed.

 

I will never condone the bowhauling line being wrapped around around the handrail of the top gate as there is simply not enough friction to prevent the line from slipping as the boat moves back against the initial flush from the paddles being raised - and as the line slips then somebody has their fingers pulled towards the handrail with the potential of an unnecessary crush injury. This method also requires one person to be dedicated to holding onto the line, which is fine when boating mob handed as illustrated in Mr Askin's film (5 or 6 people with this pair).

 

My preferred method is put a turn around the footboard (step) if one is available) then pass a loop under the line as it passes across the top of the balance beam. As the boat moves backwards the line between the mast and the footboard tightens down on the loop and stops the boat from moving backwards - with nobody holding the bowhauling line so nobody at risk. When there is no footboard then I route the bowhauling line across the lock and take a turn around the top gate strapping post, controlling slippage with the line passing under my foot as I raise the off side paddle. Strapping posts have a large surface area and provide so much friction that slippage is easy to manage.

 

After the initial flush backwards the bow of the butty will tend to hug against the top gate leaving plenty of time to run out the bowhauling line ready for use. Another area that requires good management is the bowhauling line itself, usually some 90' in length. As the butty enters the lock this should be coiled into manageable loops so making it easy to handle, so eliminating any hazard of tripping or it become fouled on something / somebody captain.gif

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My prefered method was to wrap the line round the balance beam and put on a doubled hitch until the butty was close to the top ( I would often be single handling so I needed to fasten it ). These gaurd rails look strong enough to use, but many are (where) not, and I prefered not to make a judgment for each one. I would not say that they people in the video were doing anything wrong.

 

 

It's interesting that for any video about locking there is always something that someone says is wrong, when they were not there on the day, with the particular boat and line and lock...

 

 

(but I didn't like the title - in my experience the Boss can never do the job properly! )

Edited by Tiggs
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It's interesting that for any video about locking there is always something that someone says is wrong, when they were not there on the day, with the particular boat and line and lock...

It is up to the 'steerer' to set the standards for which his crew work to, and I started by saying "every 'steerer' will have different preferences". I am not saying that they were doing anything wrong, but I am saying that I would not condone wrapping a line around a handrail - along with a justification why (which is clearly demonstrated in Mr Askin's film).

 

I do know the family (well the parents) featured in Mr Askin's film and I respect what they do, both as a boat builder and boat operator. Clearly my method of boating differs in a few aspects to theirs, but we were both taught by boat families and have had to adapt their techniques as the canal hardware has been modified to leisure use.

 

I do Appreciate Ray T posting this film onto this Forum as it has bought as much pleasure to me as it has to everybody else, and I eagerly await the next captain.gif

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I was taught to put three turns of the bow hauling line around the balance beam and that will hold the butty. Sometimes being lazy I'll take one turn around the balance beam and put a bight under the line against the far edge of the beam so any pull on the line is tight against the bight preventing it from slipping. Most beams have a chamfered edge and the line sits nicely in there.

I have also used the method Pete mentions of taking a turn around the step.

I've also been out with an old boatman who put a hitch around the end of the paddle spindle.

One thing I always avoid is having someone holding the line as there is a risk to fingers.

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I think we can all learn something from watching that.

 

Whether it is perfect or not it is a picture of efficiency and a delight to see old boats moving.

 

Respect

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Not meant in a negative way at all, but in that film most of the time there are a full 4 people (or even 5) working just the butty.

 

I'm currently re-reading the books where a pair was often just worked by 2 people, and 3 was considered an extreme luxury.

 

Given that pair might also have had a 50 ton load on, rather than working empty, it does bring it home to you just how hard they must have worked, (and how good they would have needed to be).

Respect though to the Fullers and Parrotts - the boats are always immaculate, and always provide the perfect opportunity for a bit of serious spectating, (even if they are Joshers! :lol:).

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I was taught to put three turns of the bow hauling line around the balance beam and that will hold the butty. Sometimes being lazy I'll take one turn around the balance beam and put a bight under the line against the far edge of the beam so any pull on the line is tight against the bight preventing it from slipping. Most beams have a chamfered edge and the line sits nicely in there.

I have also used the method Pete mentions of taking a turn around the step.

I've also been out with an old boatman who put a hitch around the end of the paddle spindle.

One thing I always avoid is having someone holding the line as there is a risk to fingers.

The trouble with using the paddle spindle is that you're likely to get the line covered with oil/grease!

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The trouble with using the paddle spindle is that you're likely to get the line covered with oil/grease!

and the attached line will obstruct the use of that paddle captain.gif

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Very interesting video, nice to see a well organized crew.

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(but I didn't like the title - in my experience the Boss can never do the job properly! )

 

Boss in this case means in command, a controlled method...

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Boss in this case means in command, a controlled method...

I took it as meaning "very well indeed". It's used in that sense in music: boss sounds = very good music.

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A couple of points - if he's shutting the top gate for the following boat, why doesn't he draw a bit of bottom paddle as the boat's going out, help the gate to close and start the lock emptying; or if the butty is so well-handed, why doesn't he go straight out and leave one of the five to shut the gate and turn the lock round?! We all do it different ways!

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On 09/01/2017 at 19:06, archie57 said:

A couple of points - if he's shutting the top gate for the following boat, why doesn't he draw a bit of bottom paddle as the boat's going out, help the gate to close and start the lock emptying; or if the butty is so well-handed, why doesn't he go straight out and leave one of the five to shut the gate and turn the lock round?! We all do it different ways!

I wondered that,as said in earlier posts most steerers/crew have/had refined working through locks to suit their way of doing it. If during my working days I had that many hands at my beck & call I'd have thought Christmas & Birthday had come all at once, during our working period 58/69 i think we only had a third hand to help on half dozen or so occasions rest of the time we were just a total crew of 2 during our Hoteling days there was more often than not only 2 crew for boat working with on off help with gate closing from the passengers.

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