Thursday, 12 August 2010

Illusions of cruising on the cut

1. The frequent feeling that you are cruising downhill as fields rise around you (particularly noticeable on the Llangollen

2. The certainty that, when you’re in a tunnel, the exit ahead is closer than the entrance behind you, in spite of what the figures on the roof say.

3. The feeling, also in a tunnel, that the canal and tunnel walls narrow dramatically as they enter the pool of light from your navigation light.

4. The illusion that, as you meet a boat coming the other way in a tunnel, behind it the tunnel opens out into a broad cavern (the opposite effect to 3. above).

5. That the speed of a boat on the canal is 4mph. In spite of a few lunatics who zoom along, bends, tunnels and moored boats mean your average speed will be about 2mph, so you should calculate for that.

6. That other boaters won’t moor just before a bridge hole, on a (double) bend, making navigation almost impossible and then come out shouting at you when, by a miracle of steering, you manage (just) to avoid hitting them.

7. That anglers are not all curmudgeonly b******s who resent your being anywhere near ‘their’ canal.

8. That hirers will have been taught how to work locks before being allowed to take a boat out.

9. That the boat’s tiller, if left to its own devices for a split second, will centre itself and the boat will proceed in a straight line; it won’t!. Because of the swirl of the prop, the tiller will shoot over hard left, sending the boat across the canal into the right bank (or nearest boat).

10. Wind (the weather kind) is not a problem. It is! It’s the worst kind!

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