Weed Hatch Adventure

This post concerns what happened to narrow boats Penny from Heaven and Albert going up Bascote Flight on Friday August 26th. Both boats reached the bottom lock of the flight, not the staircase. The pound was shallow and we waited for the lock to empty in mid channel. The water was very murky and full of sediment.

As both boats moved to enter the lock the engine on NB Penny, a Gardner 2LW, just stopped - obvious signs of rubbish around the prop. Jim opened up the weed hatch and could find nothing around the propellor and the propellor shaft solid. It was not easy to sort out the problem there and then so NB Penny breasted-up against Albert and we took both boats through the lock and up the flight. We then moored up by the top lock where there was more water in the pound.

It was not easy to see what had happened but by poking the area around the propellor with a pole we eventually found that there was something solid below the prop covering most of the area of the weedhatch. It was clear that Penny had picked up a large flat object of some sort that was lodged between the skeg and the prop.

Jim set about trying to dislodge it. Eventually, after hitting the object with an iron bar, in the direction it probably came in, it moved. Jim then moved what he then discovered was a large plank and the end gradually appeared through the weedhatch. It came out wih some difficulty, but finally the whole plank came out. It was a 4' 9'' long by 1' wide 1 1/2'' thick plank and had obviously been in the water for some considerable time.

Jim discovering that he has just released a plank from below the prop

Jim holding the plank he has just removed through the weedhatch!

Marks on the plank made by a propellor

You have to imagine that the plank was caught in straight across the boat blanking off the whole of the bottom of the area of the weed hatch! It would have projected out from the boat profile.