A shorter boat trip than I’d planned.

Our son is home for a few days and he left his kayak here. Today would have been a great chance to take the kayak and my pedal powered dinghy down to the canal to sail around together. As is typical of young people he got a more tempting offer in the form of a day in Manchester with friends so I was left to fend for myself. I wanted to do a longer voyage towards the White Bear Marina, which houses hundreds of boats, mainly narrow boats, so I pulled my boat down to the water. When I unloaded it from the trolley I noticed that one of the wheels was disintegrating and could do with some attention before I went back home. Still, I was now by the water so loaded the trolley onto the front of the boat and set off gently.

I was taking it fairly easy knowing that I’d be pedalling for around 75 minutes but on approach to an ice cream parlour, which I often use as a turn around point, I started to think about the damaged wheel again. Being able to get out of the water and pull the boat along the canal bank is like a get out of jail free card. If the boat mal functions I’m not stuck and can get everything home. I could no longer trust the wheel so thought it prudent to go back to my start point to reduce the possible use of the wheels to the minimum. Instead of steady cruising I upped the pace, really working on the pedals and it had a good effect. I was enjoying the work even though it’s difficult to feel the extra speed. Maybe this is what I should use the boat for, hard work over shorter distances instead of longer trips? Perhaps I should have a timed run and try to beat my best time. I stopped Strava when I got to my start point then did a shorter warm down sail, with a little liquid refreshment. It’s only the second time that I’ve combined sailing with a small amount of alcohol and again I found that it simply doesn’t enhance the experience, which comes as a surprise to someone who generally loves a beer.

I fiddled with the wheel and managed to improve things for my return home, whilst chatting to 2 of my neighbours. I have a spare wheel but will probably try to find some stronger wheels. The ones I have claim a 300kg capacity but have been troublesome from the start with a boat weighing perhaps 40 kg. After the trip my legs have been seriously depleted and still feel a bit like jelly. This must be good training, surely?

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