Boating with Ruth, Lawrence and Martyn

We arranged with Martyn to meet him on Sunday and take the boat out down to Limehouse Basin, then north up the Lee Navigation, then back along the Hertford canal to the Regent’s Canal and back to base.

We arrived in time to find that Lawrence was visiting, so there were 4 of us all together.

We disconnected all the services from the pontoon, only to discover the engine battery was flat :-(

So, we re-connected the mains and left it to charge for a while. We started a cycle of churning the engine until the battery was flat (only 10 or 20 seconds at a time, unfortunately), then waiting for the battery to re-charge from the mains.

We knew from experience that the engine needs a good churn before it will start. It wasn’t until several cycles later that we discovered that the battery charger (which is the size of a microwave oven – it’s huge!) has a large knob on the front labelled with numbers from 1 to 5.

Martyn found the instruction leaflet for the charger and we realised the knob controls the amount of current being fed in to the battery.

So, whereas the current shown on the ammeter was barely discernable with the switch on ’1′, when we turned it up to ’4′ there was 30 amps flowing in to the battery. I said to Martyn ’30 amps is probably enough to drive the starter motor directly, even if the battery is flat’. And so it turned out :-)


We cast off again and were on our merry way at about 15:15 or so.

Of course, the first difficulty is getting out of the marina, but I’m pleased to say Martyn (the expert in this particular manoeuver) managed that without too much drama. The next challenge was the Islington tunnel, but that was fine – we followed another boat through.

We caught up with the other boat at the lock and travelled in convoy down to Limehouse Basin.

Working the locks with 2 boats is much easier – each boat crew only needs to work one half of the lock, and the boats themselves are quite static within the locks, not banging about from side to side as can happen with a single boat. Allegedly, effective mooring is the answer!

Once again, Martyn drove most of the way down, and I drove back. Ruth had a go driving for a bit with Martyn. The picture was taken just after Martyn handed over to Ruth :-)