Tuesday, 5 May 2009

the need for speed

Proper Little Venice post later, but first a bit of a rant.

Coming 'home' on Monday, I had cause to stop to retie two boats, pulled off their moorings by passing boats. I'd thought a few times over the weekend that increasing numbers of people seemed to be hammering past moored boats with little respect for what their wash might be doing, the first proof came somewhere near Southall,restaked the stern rope), but really regret not leaving a note; they're going to return to their boat pointing the wrong way and tied up differently, and it may not be immediately obvious why. when we paused to retie a boat dangling off it's bow rope; both centre & stern ropes were still securely tied to long stakes, hanging down on the canal side, so it must have spun 180 degrees, too. I tied the centre rope off to the piling (and of course

Then at Bull's Bridge the rubbish barge was more or less all the way along the canal; Tortoise the Tug duly towed it back over to the wall, and tied it up.

Trouble was - obviously by this time there was a boat or two waiting, that was fine, but just as soon there was room, two old working boats hammered past, past the more modern boat that was patiently waiting, and throwing Tortoise & the rubbish barge around - since I was climbing around between the two and the wall, that was at best irresponsible if not s*dding dangerous. The pointed comment about patience to the first one was lost on him, when I asked the second one what the hell he thought he was doing he said 'we want to get home'. Yeah mate, we all do, and with all my fingers & limbs. Interestingly those with me were suitably angry on my behalf, as previously they believed all boaters to be kind genial creatures, but anyway...

Two points: (my blog, and I can bang on as long as I want)

I fully respect that commercial traffic has right of way, and even non-commerical boats that happen to be old deep drafted working boats need the centre channel in these undredged times (pretty irrelevant on this stetch of the GU, mind). I don't hold these two of typical of anyone else, but the arrogance of this manoeuvre annoys me greatly. I won't name them here initially, but I'll have no qualms should anyone ask in comments... ;-) (Ironically enough shortly after I was under way again I found they'd breasted up and were slowing everyone else down, but resisted the urge to charge past them with at much wash as possible.)

We're all aware, surely, of the amount of wash we make, and what other's wash does to us. There was a lot of traffic on Monday of boats leaving Little Venice, so I'm pretty sure both incidents were due to cumulative effects, but still cumulative effects of passing boats individually going too fast.

[if this were the CWF forum some self-righteous denier would just say the boats weren't tied up properly; if they ran over a child in the road while speeding would they say the child shouldn't have been there in the first place?]

On the way in, Tess with her GPS came along; on an open (and hard sided) stretch we had a play, Tortoise with her V bottom needs to get pretty fast before a serious wash builds up. Someone once said that canal boats have the water streamlining of a brick, and those that do push the water around must know of this.

A similar rant that often comes out at parties (which is why I don't get many invites, I suspect) is about the rules of the road; they're about co-operation and not wanton whim, and that applies to the canal too; they're there for a reason. Parking on double yellow lines isn't a challenge to the state's authority, it's dangerous for other road users, for example. Slowing down past moored boats isn't some archaic tradition (although it does seem to be dying out), it's for a reason.

If you're in a rush, get a bloody train. They're faster, but a lot less fun. Your choice.


Neil Corbett said...

Well said Simon. I like to see real old boats as much as the next person but I can't see why they so often think it's OK for them to ignore the rules and common courtesy. Actually those who really work boats , the coal boats etc. are aways polite. It's the people playing at being working boats that are so often rude.

Looking forward to a full report of the cavalcade. Sorry we couldn't be there.

Anonymous said...

It wasn't just down your way Simon. Bit peed off at a bank holiday weekend spent banging in my FIVE mooring pins. In the end, I moved on in the rain just so I could get bashed against the pilings instead ;-)
- Carrie

MortimerBones said...

go boy! =o)

Sorry for the now show at little Venice! =o( I can't decide whether I am proud of myself for being unreliable or ashamed!