Handbrake Turn, Breach 30. 9th March


In my last post I got distracted by the blue tarpaulin at the western end of the cofferdam. I’m still not sure why this is there but a comment from David has confirmed that the leak last week, that filled the cofferdam up was at the eastern end. A void adjacent to the eastern end of the piling, on the south bank, allowed water to fill the dam back up. This was mended, but there seems there must be another leak somewhere as the cofferdam is still quite full, well it was a couple of days ago.

The extra raft at the western end is also most likely to increase the amount of water being pumped round the site, trying to keep up with water that is used at the docks.

It is thought that there are voids and leaks all along the aqueduct on the north bank, so not just one hole. The extent of these won’t be known until the cofferdam is fully drained. At the moment the best case scenario is that the canal will be closed for a couple of months, worst case until the end of the summer. But until the engineers can get a better look they obviously can’t really say.

It’s been two months since we last checked on Oleanna ourselves, others are doing a great job of checking her ropes when the levels alter, but today we paid an essential visit to her. Our Boat safety is booked soon and we knew of a few jobs that needed doing before hand.

Mick picked a hire car up from Beerhouse who are working out cheaper than Enterprise at the moment, £10 cheaper if you call them rather than booking online too. Not a pristine car, bumps and scrapes, but we weren’t bothered.

The trip over the Wolds was lovely, snowdrops filling the verges and reaching up into the woods. Daffodil leaves stretching up towards the sky, hopefully they will be in bloom the next time we do this drive, some of the roundabouts are spectacular.

Spring spinging

The level in the docks still isn’t what it was when we first arrived in September, but today Oleanna was certainly afloat and not sat on the bottom. It was a big step down, no need for the booster block though.

Masked up we went to check in with Laird at the marina. No new news regarding the breach and our only possible escape route would be if we dig a tunnel.

Then it was time to get on with jobs.

A kitchen shelf made to measure, it just needs an extension for the starter battery

The battery terminals needed some form of covering, this is so that you can’t drop any tools on them. A piece of wood would do the job. An unused shelf from a kitchen cupboard had been brought with us. This proved to be the right size for the leisure batteries, but the starter still needs something. We took measurements and will look for either a piece just for the starter, or see if we have a slightly longer shelf that would cover all batteries in one go.

Mick started her up, first time, no grumbling. She was left to run, the leisure batteries already at 100% from the solar, but the bow thruster battery could do with a charge.

I measured up the poppers on the front door blinds. One is broken so needs replacing and I’m wanting to make us two new blinds for when the original ones get too tatty, due to our second mate! The poppers appear to be 12mm diameter, so I’ll need the press stud side and a die to fix them to the cloth. I’m hoping a costume friend may just have what I need to do this.


The red grabrails are all looking very faded, apart from where I touched them up recently. Somehow the red mentioned in the boat bible isn’t the correct colour, but when we were last in Sheffield the painter there gave me a tin of the right colour. I’m wanting to get a new tin to have enough to do all the grabrail, plus this tin reacted strangely when applied.

Cratch rolled up

One place the Boat Safety will need to get to is the gas locker in the bow. Oleanna is on a short pontoon, moored stern in, so not the easiest place to get to. So next job was to wind. We’d chosen today to do this so as to avoid a named storm that is due tomorrow.

Untying all the ropes holding Oleanna to the pontoon took quite some time. The fender eyes on the gunnels are useful in such situations, but really awkward to get to when your boat is lower than the pontoon. Mick had to lie down and then lean over the edge to feed ropes back through the eyes. I could reach the bow rope from the cratch, but this took quite some feeding too.


With the cratch cover rolled up both sides and the pram cover lowered we were ready to move her for the first time in six months. No chance of pushing off, she just drifted away from the pontoon and we were off!

Even though all we were doing was winding, just standing at the back felt good. The lady from the Dutch Barge two boats over waved to us as we pulled out of our mooring.

Winding in a marina can be dodgy. Usually the wind will pick up as soon as you want to turn and you end up being pushed towards lines of moored boats. We once got to meet a whole new section of boaters at Crick Marina doing this, everyone trying to give you a push in the right direction away from their boats!

A different view

Marinas have people who watch and the space required to manoeuvre is never luxurious, so the odds are always stacked against you. Mick brought Oleanna out, turned her into the gap almost opposite, then swung the stern round. A touch of bow thruster whist turning meant we kept away from other boats. Reverse, forwards, reverse and then an extra boost of power to finish the turn and we’d finished our handbrake turn and headed back to our mooring.

Only five minutes until we were back tied up, facing the other way. Then the rope tying started again, leaving enough slack we hope for varying levels, but tight enough that she won’t be blown all over the shop in the next storm. The plank that had been positioned to stop us drifting under the pontoon was leaned over a touch. The corner of the pontoon could possibly just catch the gunnel if the levels came back up. A Tilly fender was also added into the equation.

Labelled up, another on the door

After eating our pack up the next job was the fire extinguishers. Oleanna has three. The ones at the stern and bow are both in cupboards. When they were fitted we were warned that we’d need to label the cupboards for the boat safety. So big labels went inside the cupboards and smaller ones on the outside. Each fire extinguisher was turned upside down a few times before going back into position.

The third one has for sometime lived in the gap between the shower and bathroom door. This means it is near the centre of the boat, close to the multi-fuel stove and not in the way. We’d never got round to fixing it to the wall.

A quick check with our Bubble Carpenter Frank as we’d be screwing into laminate. Franks final words were ‘don’t mess it up!’ Small pilot holes were followed by slightly bigger ones then the bracket was screwed into position. Job done and not messed up.

Tilly’s paws absent

The CO alarms and heat sensors have all had their batteries removed whilst we’ve been off the boat, saves some poor neighbour having to live with a dying battery and the beep that accompanies it. Each detector was checked in turn and then the batteries removed again, these will go back in on the day of the test.

We might wash the ropes

After six months of sitting still Oleanna is showing it a touch, both inside and out. All the ropes are turning green, the cratch and pram cover could do with another spray of Wet and Forget. Inside the bathroom windows have been left ajar, the plastic frames now covered in a thick layer of dustyness. These got a good clean, sadly my faithful assistant wasn’t on hand to inspect them from the outside, leaving her stamp of approval on newly cleaned glass!

If only Oleanna 25 times bigger was so quick to clean

A sweep through and a tidy in the galley. The wine cellar emptied of the bottles we’d stocked up on for Christmas, this gives access to the Alde Boiler. Jobs done, just a couple of things to sort on the morning of the inspection.


Mick had chance to have a chat with Geoff. We’d been hoping to see if anyone else was plotting an escape. Apparently someone had approached either ABP (who run the docks) or C&RT to see if it would be possible to use the lock out onto the Ouse if half a dozen boats got together to share. Sadly this will not be allowed. So currently the only way out of Goole is on the back of a lorry.

Looking back towards the docks

Before heading for the house we turned left out of the marina and drove down to look at the caisson. Lisa had mentioned that the top metal stop plank had been removed the other weekend and that the gates had been opened.

Gates open a bit at the caisson

The area has had a tidy up since we first came to have a look back in December and sure enough the caisson gates are open a bit, red lights indicate that the navigation is closed and you certainly wouldn’t get a boat through the gap.

Across on the southern bank the top stop plank lay. Not just a foot/eighteen inches deep but around three foot. All the pumps and pipes have gone from here, most probably to the breach site.

The water in the docks was slightly lower than that in the cut, causing there to be a flow over the rest of the stop planks. I suspect the remaining planks are being left in to protect both the docks and the cut. Should the level drop on one side, there is still something to hold back the water. So unless a lot more water gets pumped round the breach site, Oleanna is likely to be at her highest right now.

Looking towards the breach 4 miles away

Here’s hoping the cofferdam can be emptied and work of a solution started soon.

No going anywhere

Back at the house Tilly was waiting in a window for us. Her plight of cat food pouches having hit the main stream media after she’d brought the situation to their attention this morning. Apparently the shortage is due to the increase in pet ownership during lockdown and pet food manufacturers are finding it hard to ramp up production to keep up with demand. Don’t worry Tilly you’ve still got another 60 pouches to go before we have a problem!

0 locks, 100 meters, 1 wind, 2 girlie button presses, 3 extinguishers, 5 signs, 1 piece of wood, 1 more needed, 3 down to 2, 1 water tank almost empty, 12mm popper, 3003, 1 plank jauntified, 2 tyre fenders, 2 ham butties, 0 milk, 3ft stop plank, 1 red light, 0 escape, 2 thank yous to David and Stuart, 1 cat staying out of the media hype, 2 months of pouches, 1 blog with all photos again.

Later this month we will be changing our website hosting. Readers shouldn’t notice anything different and those who get an email each time I post should still get one. I will do my best to inform you of the last post before we move, JUST IN CASE!

4 thoughts on “Handbrake Turn, Breach 30. 9th March

  1. Sandra Walsh

    Hi both. Great to move if even a little! No idea when we’ll be back on board Areandare. We’ve just had our BSC done – cost a fortune as someone else had to do whatever work needed to be done, rather than the usual of barry doing it. Ah well, the price we pay to be living in a ‘C’ free country I guess.

    Just a thought, when you move (or now), is there a reason you post the whole post by email? It means you’re losing website clicks as you can just read the whole post in the email without clicking through … Which is what I generally do 😉

    1. pipandmick Post author

      Hi Sandra
      We’re hoping we have everything covered, but there are a couple of things we will be keeping our fingers crossed over.
      Regarding posting, I know we’d get complaints from some long standing readers if they had to click to read the full post. Even just changing the time I posted every day caused consternation for some.
      Carry on enjoying your time in NZ. Will you be able to get a vaccine there or wait until you return to the UK?

      1. adrian2013

        Sandra is obviously not a like button pusher! I say in jest as as soon as you hit that like button in the email boom opens up the post in Safari and I love that ???

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