Monday, 13 April 2015

Gearbox busted on the Ashby Canal

Captains Blog
Canal Date 13th April 2015

A Tale of breakdowns and humiliation.

We have been slowly travelling along the Ashby Canal and enjoying every minute of it. It is a very quiet, rural and lock free canal. We moored up just past Hinckley opposite the Triumph Motorcycle factory. I was rather hoping that there would be a visitor centre or even factory tours there but no, it's like the Bank of England with security everywhere. I don’t know what they have to hide there but they certainly want to keep it to themselves, whatever it is. On the other side of the bank is a Tesco distribution centre. This turned out to be a problem. They have a very loud Tanoy system and although we were several hundred yards away it could still be heard. I found out that in the silence of the night it was very much louder. It was in almost constant use and every time an announcement was made Millie barked. She firmly believed that someone was at our doors. That made for not the best night’s sleep ever! We moved the boat a bit further along the canal in the morning. It was a bit of a pity because we had a very friendly and obliging Water Vole opposite the boat, I have not seen many of them before and this one was nice and close. But at least at the new spot the Tanoy was very much less obtrusive.

We moved the next day, not very far and not very fast to yet another stunning location. While moored up I decide that it was about time that I changed the gear cable. This was changed last year by RCR and they fitted a 4.5-meter cable, the correct size is 1.75meter. Although it worked it was far too stiff in operation and it felt like something was going to snap. This is the first time I have fitted the cable and it's not a difficult job at all. It all went well and once done the control was nice and smooth, just how it should be.

We moved on the next day to Stoke Golding, Moonshine set off about 20 minutes before us. I had only travelled about 500 yards before I lost drive. The wash for the prop was going in all directions. I lifted the weed hatch to get at whatever was round the prop only to find it was clear. I put everything back together and tried again. This time I could see that at tick over the prop was going in the right direction but as soon as power was applied it went backwards- Most odd. I could also smell the unmistakeable aroma of overheated oil.

Well I had changed the cable yesterday and it was fine before that so we hauled the boat back to the moorings for further investigation. I took the cable off and had exactly the same fault.

I am at a loss now; I cannot imagine what I could have done that was so wrong. I phoned RCR and their engineer came out about 2 hours later and diagnosed the fault to be a total failure of the gearbox and the only cure is a replacement. It was a relief to know that it was nothing to do with me but a shock to find that a replacement gearbox is over £1300.00; now that is going to hurt a lot!

The engineer had to walk from Trinity Marina about 2 miles away and said that the boat would have to be moved before works could be done so I phoned Gary and he came back and towed me the next morning to Stoke Golding Visitor Moorings. How undignified, being towed. I just know that I shall never hear the last of this from Gary. That is how we first met. He towed me out a few locks because that gear cable had snapped. It is becoming a bit of a habit now.

Now the moorings and the village of Stoke Golding are just about as good as they get. If one is to be stranded anywhere than this is the place. Unfortunately it is only a 48 hr mooring so I phoned CRT and informed them of my predicament and they were very understanding and helpful.

That was Thursday, it is now Monday and I still have not had any confirmation from RCR. We are sat in a nice boat at a nice mooring with good friends in a nice village but with a broken boat.

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