Twice this year I've been at the control of a craft with just a rudder & throttle for directional control. Firstly for a week on holiday and secondly on a day trip with some friends. No wings, no tail, no ailerons & no elevator - sounds like not a lot to do then?
Well the mode of transport was a narrowboat on both occasions and very enjoyable they were too. The week holiday was from Willington Marina in Derbyshire during which we had mixed but dry weather. Some days were calm & hot, others were cool and windy, the wind having more of an influence than might first be expected on a vessel weighing around 20 tons! Having my wife and daughter with me worked very well as it meant they could enjoy looking after the locks whilst I struggled with controlling the boat, hmm or was the other way around ;0)
We travelled along the Trent and Mersey Canal and visited Shugborough Hall then we turned back at a winding hole a little further along the canal. Turning around a narrowboat is fairly straightforward provided it's done slowly the technique being to get the bow into the V shape winding (turning) hole and then swinging the stern almost to the far side of the hole before reversing out back into the canal. Some straightening up after that is needed but that's pretty much it. The last day was really windy and steering in the crosswind was quite tricky but we coped okay.
Having enjoyed that relaxing holiday earlier in the year I was pleased at the opportunity get on the canal again nearer home when a group of us hired a narrowboat for the day. It was a fantastic day, calm hot weather and a couple of other chaps on board to share the driving. How many miles did we cover? Not many, didn't want to, it was more about relaxing and enjoying the experience which we certainly did so the journey was just Middlewich to Lostock Gralam where we stopped and a fantastic picnic courtesy of our wives.
Guess what holiday we've got booked for next year. Now if I can find a nice bit of canal for my catalina...hmm :¬)