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Wot no Yacht

We usually sail this time of the year, as previous blog readers will know.  However this year we can't go to far afield so we've had to satisfy our need to be on a boat another way.   So, let me introduce Hawkweed, our home for the next 2 weeks.

As you can see Hawkweed is a narrowboat, 45 feet long and so she's a tiddler compared with some, but she's just right for us.

You'd think a narrowboat is very different to a yacht, but really they're both like having a caravan on water, the way you live on a yacht or narrowboat is pretty much the same. That being said narrowboats have several fundamental difference to yachts.  Firstly steering them is very different, yachts are fairly responsive and predictable.  Steering a narrow boat is more akin to steering a 3 wheeled supermarket trolley. Secondly narrowboating is much more of a contact sport than sailing.   Bumping into something on a fibreglass yacht is generally bad.   A bump with a steel hulled narrowboat is something Hawkweed will shake off like a wet dog shaking off water after a swim. Thirdly, and perhaps only my sailing chums will fully get this, narrowboats have a weed hatch.  The weed hatch allows you to clear 'propeller wraps' (stuff caught around the propeller) from the cockpit.  With a yacht it's a dive under the boat clutching a knife between your teeth.  Here's the hatch, it doesn't look much, but is a thing of wonder.

Most other things on narrowboats are pretty similar, except of course there's no sails.   I will miss sails.

We picked Hawkweed up from Weeden Bec on the grand union canal and we're heading south.  After a handover and a quick check by the staff that we could steer a boat we were off.  We've come a huge distance on the first day, about 4 miles to Bugbrooke.  No drama, no locks, but a nice pub this evening called The Wharf.  There's another secret were keeping about Bugbrooke, but that's for another day.

Tomorrow we're off to Stoke Bruerne for a little bit of lock training.  There are 7 locks at Stoke Bruerne so that'll take a bit of time.  Also before Stoke Bruerne we have to go through the famous Blisworth tunnel.  It's the 3rd longest navigable tunnel in the UK at 3,075 yards and takes 45 minutes to go through.

So maybe with the locks and the tunnel there will be a tail to tell at the end of the day.

We've no idea how far south we're going, but for sure we don't have a rush in us, here's a map of the canal route.

More soon.

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Blimey !!! When you said it had a weed hatch … I thought you were into smuggling 🤣🤣 have a great time .. love to you both 🥰


Thank you. Love to you two as well xx

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