South West Herts Narrowboat Project

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Villager News title image

Articles in the local Villager News magazine
[written by one of our volunteers].

June 2012

Last month my article focussed on the low water situation and concerns whether some boats might not make the annual Rickmansworth Waterways Festival. As soon as I sent the copy to Julie 'down came the rain', but it did not dampen the enthusiasm of Martin, the Project's very own base-side Maintenance Man, rigging Dick's Folly's normally flat roof with masts and ropes to display our new bunting which has been deftly designed and stitched by Martin's mum, Janet.

So it was with flags flying Dick's Folly sailed down on Friday 18th May with Richard as skipper, and crew of Martin, Chris, Ray and Tracey.

In common with many narrowboats there is always a concern about where and how you can turn 70 feet of boat in the 30 feet or so wide canal. In this case, they chose where the River cuts across the canal near Batchworth Lock. Richard put the bow into the upstream side and then, just as you do when turning a car, used reverse and forward to achieve a 180 degrees turn. He then had the delicate task of steering the boat backwards some 200 yards and easing it up to the opposite bank to moor up. This year we were next to Persephone who shares a space at our base. Persephone is owned by Phil Bassett, former Chair of the Project and owner of Boatshed Grand Union [] who were sponsors for the RWF.

Throughout the weekend there was a brisk trade of enquirers and lots of people sharing their memories of past times on the boat. This was the first chance for the public to walk through the boat and see all the improvements since the refit. [It had been our hope to get the boat back for last year's festival but due to a number of circumstances it did not return until a week afterwards.

Martin managed to take a couple of pictures [see our news page] during a lull in the crowds, when Judith was able to have a well deserved sit down.

Dick's Folly A to Z of Volunteers

Continuing unmasking the unsung champions who are the mainstay of the Project and the A to Z of tasks that they do. The growing list can be seen on this page.

M is for base-side Maintenance crew, who keep the landing stage and three sheds shipshape. Heading up that crew is Martin who always has a smile on his face, as he deftly draws a screwdriver from one pocket and a power drill from the other.

R is for Rickmansworth Waterways Trust who have been running the festival for the last 20 years. It takes place in May each year [see their website in a new window/tab]. The Project has firm links with the RWT: DF acted as a floating committee room during its early days. DF has also taken part in the festival's Tug of War.

W is for Winding Hole. Because the width of a canal channel [about thirty to forty feet] is less than the length of a full-size canal boat it is not usually possible to turn a boat in the canal. Winding holes are typically indentations in the off-side [non-towpath side] of the canal, allowing sufficient space to turn the boat.

Angi Naylor
Project Volunteer


Dick's Folly narrowboat.


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