It’s a beautiful day
The sun is shining
I feel good
And nothing’s gonna stop me now

Well, sort of. We’re fuelled up, topped up with water, emptied the cassette, paid for all the work, ready to rock and roll. If it wasn’t for the gale force wind. Remembering too well what happened to me with hireboat Sienna, last year in Middlewitch, I’m a bit afraid to get out of the jetty.

Starting point

Starting point

If WRT does the same as Sienna did then, as soon as we get out of the jetty, we will go sideways, and run straight into Audlem Lass, the small ferry. Audlem Lass is a small polyester boat, and I think she doesn’t have a chance against our 18 (or so) tons of steel.

Would we crash into Audlem Lass?

Would we crash into Audlem Lass?

Getting out of the jetty, and trying to get the bow into the wind, is Plan A. We can’t think of a Plan B, other than stay for another day. Waiting till the wind goes down, is not an option; it will only increase over the next 10 hours.

But Lawrance wants to go, and Dave from Overwater Marina reckons we will make it (and he is willing to be part of the crew (for the time it will take us to get out of the marina)).

So, at 10:30 hrs, Lawrance is at the tiller, with Dave next to him, and I’m sitting in the saloon, eyes closed, hands on my ears, and praying.

To my surprise (and relieve) Lawrance has absolutely no problems to get out of the jetty, and to turn the bow towards the exit. I take my hands off my ears… just in time to grab hold of the bookcase, which is about to fall when Lawrance bangs into the side of the exit. Having only two hands, unfortunately all the other stuff that’s on various shelves, lands on the floor. The stove tools even totally fall apart. And no, banging into the other side of the exit doesn’t put all the stuff back on the shelves.

What actually happens

What actually happens

But we’re on our way. Dave leaves us at Bridge 80, and I take over on the tiller. Yes, it is a bit windy. But, other than Sienna, WRT reacts different to side wind. She just throws her head into the wind (while the stern drifts off). I can deal with that.

After a short break in Nantwich, we resume cruising, while the wind increases. We now also get frequent showers. Lawrance is at the tiller for a short period, and his right turn at Barbridge Junction is absolutely perfect.

Then it is my turn again, and Lawrance disappears inside. Once we’re passed the moored boats, the canals is on an open plain, and I get the full force of the now very strong side wind. WRT turns her bow to port side, the stern goes to starboard side, and here I am, in the pouring rain, going diagonally over the canal. The tiller pointing roughly in the same direction as the bow!

My boater’s hat, perfect to keep my glasses dry, when rain falls down, is completely useless when the rain ‘falls’ horizontally. Luckily I can still see more or less perfect without glasses.

Once in a while Lawrance has to take over the tiller, so that I can sit down on the engine cover, to warm up again. It’s so cold now, that we even get a hail storm, and Lawrance stands on a white ‘carpet’.

Hail on carpet and jeans

Hail on carpet and jeans

At 17:30 hrs we are at Church Minshull. In the most horrible weather you can think of we manage to moor up, close the back, and lite the fire. And no, we’re not going to The Badger Inn for supper. We make a meal out of store cupboard ingredients, and call it a day.

 

What an experience!

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