Wednesday, 8 August 2007

The lifting of n/b Hertford.

Still moored above Osney lock.

This morning we had a busy morning doing 2 water runs from the pub using our neighbours’ wheel barrow. Using every receptacle we could find I could carry more each trip. We had no sooner done this when our Tesco delivery arrived delivered by a very attractive Tesco lady. Unfortunately she wasn’t part of the order.

A short while later a couple of boats went past us which caught our interest. The first was a narrow boat that had come up through Osney lock yesterday. He was heading up river until he was abreast of us where the channel narrows and he just sat there motionless going no where. It wasn’t until he was just about at full throttle that he started to make headway. By the time he reached Botley Road Bridge his speed started to increase but only marginally.

The other boat was a tug from Oxford cruisers and we took a guess that they were going to try and recover the “Hertford” See our earlier story here.

So with cameras in hand we locked up the boat and set off for Folly Bridge.
Upon rounding the bend we spied the tug alongside Hertford with 3 pumps set up trying to pump the boat out. After a while they attached some ropes and a steel hawser to try and pull the boat away from the channel marker but she was stuck fast. They managed to raise the boat so far but then they were fighting a losing battle with more water pouring into the stern.









Using the engine hole cover board across the rear access with a sheet of plastic and stuffing a curtain that was unceremoniously ripped out of Hertford, into the engine hole vent they managed to get control. When the boat was fully afloat but listing they put a rope onto the bow and with quite a lot of power applied by the tug they managed to pull it free. They towed Hertford up river a wee way into the shallows and re-arranged the pumps to try and get the boat on a more even keel. The whole operation took about 2 hours and eventually they started to tow the boat back up river on a short tow rope.


Once they had come up through Osney lock their worst nightmare was about to come true because with Hertford having no power it would be at the mercy of the river once it got into the weir stream. They maneuvered both boats as far away from the weir stream as possible so that they were not too close to moored boats should Hertford become uncontrollable. Between the 3 crew they managed to keep Hertford under control and moored outside the Watermans Arms pub for a well deserved lunch. An hour or so later they set off again and coming through the narrows alongside us the tug was really working hard to make headway. We heard on the towpath telegraph later that Hertford was now back at College Cruisers on the Oxford canal awaiting a very extensive re-fit.


As I sit here writing this blog we have heard that the red boards could come down tomorrow BUT there will still be a strong flow to contend with. Another narrowboat has just come up through the lock and he is making hard work of it with black smoke belching from his exhaust and a huge bow wave as he punches into the flow. He slowed down approaching Botley Road Bridge as he has a lot of gear on his roof and Dot tells me that something did hit the bridge but he didn’t lose anything overboard. Another narrow boat coming down river met the first boat at the bridge and had to do a quick back pedal because there isn’t room for 2 boats to pass at the bridge. He has now just gone flying past us.

No comments: