Wednesday November 18th is set to be ‘hand over’ day, when Froth should be completely ready for us. It’s so exciting. We have been visiting over the past few days, to begin setting her up for our first voyage. We have purchased all sorts of basic household items: bedding, fire tools, mats, kitchenware, seats, and so on and so on. We have also bought an anchor (incredibly heavy!) which we hope never to use, but is a legal requirement for river cruising.
Our plan was to move the boat to Market Harborough on Thursday. As we learned from the wonderfully useful Canalplan site, this is a 27 mile trip that will take three days (at 5 hours cruising per day). It includes both canal and river sections, with 27 locks, 2 moveable bridges, 5 small aqueducts or underbridges and 1 tunnel (Saddington Tunnel (880 yards long)). This is quite a daunting journey, especially with a brand new boat and a young dog who has never been on a moving boat before. And then, there’s this:
It’s probably hard to make it out, but what it shows are storms peaking on the very days we want to travel. The worst parts are the high winds: every boater’s nightmare, because a strong gust can easily pin a 67 foot narrowboat against the side of the canal. Other forecasts concur, even showing gusts in excess of 50 m.p.h! It would be quite crazy to attempt the voyage in those conditions. Apart from the difficulty in handling the boat, there is a real danger from falling trees or being tipped over the mighty weir at Freemen’s Meadow.
So, reluctantly, we have decided to postpone the maiden voyage to the following week, starting Friday 27th. The forecast is much better for that period. It means we won’t be at our new mooring for Andy’s birthday, but we simply cannot argue with the weather.
So many people are following this blog and enquiring about our progress. It’s wonderful. We know that lots of you want to join us for the launch and/or the maiden cruise. We hope you will understand that this is just too difficult to organise: it’s hard enough for us to deal with unpredictable weather, a new boat, and the time pressures from our work commitments, but also the boat is our home and we want it to look its best before we start welcoming people on board. We will be inviting you all as soon as we can, once all the various conditions are right. Meanwhile, please keep following the blog!