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70 now and our five wonderful years aboard our narrowboat Skyy seem along time ago. Jacquie, allowed me to build my replica three wheeler kit car, which was a great success. Now it's time to start on a bigger project and that is to make a good Triumph Stag even better, here goes.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011



Something interesting to blog about at last. February and March have been used to get SKYY smartened up ready to start cruising, painting out last years battle scars etc, but nothing worth photographing or blogging about, until Tuesday.

N.B. Wayward Spinner has been inside a poly tunnel since we arrived at the Selby Boat Centre and was being fitted out by Neil, a professional boat fitter and a superb job he has been doing. The owners, Steve and Nikki, were due to move on board and be launched at the end of last month, well they did move on board, but the cranes hire company had problems, it seems that the modern lorry mounted crane is a marvel of computer and electronic wizardry, but when it goes wrong you can’t just call the RAC or even RCR. Eventually on the 15th of March a 100 ton crane arrived on site promptly at 9 o’clock, albeit over two weeks late.

The poly tunnel had been dismantled some while back, leaving Wayward Spinner exposed, sitting on its sleepers. The first lift was to swing her to a position adjacent to the canal side, and lot of adjusting of the strops took place before she was lifted and gently lowered into the correct position. The strops and chains were released, but it took some while before the crane was reversed alongside the boat, during the interval the jib was fully extended which I think was to run the lifting cable off the winding drum and then retracted allowing the cable to be rewound, there had been several loud ‘boings’ on this lift which fortunately came from he crane rather than Wayward Spinner clonking against anything and I imagine the crane driver was ensuring the cable was positioned correctly on the drum. Naturally there were calls across the canal to Steve who was on the far side to get the best view, that the crane had broken down, fortunately he quickly realised it was just his leg that was being pulled.

The final lift, swing and lowering into the canal was accomplished very smoothly and Wayward Spinner settled down into the water looking well trimmed. Almost immediately Steve disappeared inside to put ‘t’ kettle on for a cup of tea, to warm their chums on this chilly misty morning, at this, the start of the next stage of their adventure and tonight for the first time they would be rocked to sleep.

Another boat was to take advantage of the crane; this is as yet, unnamed shell had very recently been blacked and painted and was immediately adjacent to the other side of the crane, but before being lifted the crane drive delicately lowered a new engine into the engine bay where its rested on the bearers, to be bolted down at a later date. The main lift was spectacularly much higher this time, to clear a small tree, but as before the boats first wetting went very smoothly, but it would obviously need a lot of ballast and trimming and for this boat, the hard work of fitting out was about to begin for the owner.

Not long before we start off, we have booked our passage into the centre of Liverpool docks for the middle of May. This promises to be quite an exciting passage, BW staff will escort us in from just east of Aintree and we will pass through all of the main docks, through tunnels and passed the Royal Liver Building before mooring in Salterhouse Dock. This has only been possible since construction of the Liverpool Canal Link in 2009 and the booking was very straightforward, following a phone call to BW at Wigan on 01942 405700. The very helpful Denise Bradshaw emailed me the Information and Skippers Guide plus application forms. The two completed forms have to signed and returned and within a couple of days my Booking Confirmation and mooring plan had been emailed onto me. Hopefully this year there will be enough water in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal to get us there, but watch out for when my blogging starts in earnest.