Day 8

Curse of the Nene strikes again. Though to be fair the problems seem to stem from poor work on the Ouse. Ever since I set of there has been more water in the bilge than normal so a couple of days ago I gave it a thorough pumping and greased the gland and tightened up the gland nut. Then forgot about it because I was more worried about the prop coming loose.

Today Mark of Nene Marine arrived at White Mills to look at the prop problem. To do a proper job he would want the boat out of the water but said that could wait until the winter, meanwhile he’d get the nut really tight. I only had gas pliers so it wasn’t really that tight. He had a socket set with a great long lever and a huge Stilson wrench to clamp on the propshaft to stop it turning. The best place to get a grip of the shaft is up by the engine end so I took up the floor and cockpit steps. Just alongside the flexible coupling water was bubbling up through a crack in the hull. Not a huge amount, but worrying.

While I was leaning on the Stilson and Mark was down the stern end holding the socket wrench, the leak stopped. But returned when Mark came back. It seems that the extra weight up front pushes the bow lower and increases pressure on the crack. With the prop nut so tight it’ll probably need a grinder and nut splitter to get it off Mark got some epoxy putty out of his van and fixed the leak. Phew. I’ll keep an eye on it and buy some epoxy next time I see a Halfords or the like.

When Seren is next out on the bank I’ll check but judging by the position of the leak I guess that the crack is where Brearley’s had their chocks. It’ll be easy to tell because there won’t be any antifouling there. The big question is though, where do I go to get it taken out next time? Not too far from home and cheapish?

After all the drama I got off to a late start, leaving White Mills about 11.45. Eight locks later and a few excursions down the weed hatch I got to Northampton around 17.00. Canal tomorrow (hurrah) 17 locks on the Rothersthorpe flight of the Northampton Arm. I may not do them all in one day.

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