Tuesday 31 May

We woke early with the boat knocking against the quayside and we started the day with a cooked breakfast.

“Wind” is not something we want this week and all skippers were checking on-line weather forecasts which seemed to vary somewhat.

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Laura came to visit us mid morning with Joseph and he managed half a smile before he fell asleep in the nest of pillows we’d created on our bed.   Laura and I then left Grandad babysitting for an hour while we went off to do an errand.

After lunch Laura left us and Storm and I went over to the museum for our skippers’ briefing.  We expected to hear that the trip was postponed but the pilot was still hopeful.

After we’d covered all the legal points, the H&S issues with what-if scenarios, and the planned route, we were assured we’d have fun!

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To enter this basin, known as THE GUT, we need to lock down through the barge lock  and come out beside the union jack flag visible in the photograph above. We then need to hover here until all eight boats have locked through before before entering the Ship Canal together. This has to be done in the morning.

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The mouth of THE GUT and if we meet anything like this on the Ship Canal then we need to give them plenty of space!

The final go/no go decision will be taken at 5am tomorrow morning and will depend on the strength of the wind at that time.

The lead and back boats were chosen from those boats who’d made the crossing before.  The pilot  will be on the lead boat and he is expecting to be served bacon butties!  The event organiser will be on the back boat to ensure everyone gets across and to chivvy up any slow boats.

The rest of us were asked to buddy up with another boat and to travel within hailing distance of each other.  NB Brankie asked us if we’d like to be their buddy, which was nice.   We’d shared locks with them last week after we left Barbridge.

We returned to the boat after that, pausing at the museum gift shop for some chilled medication, and the quayside was busy with skippers making final engine checks, preparing anchors, chain and ensuring they had fore and aft ropes measuring 15m.    The rest of the crew were advised to check the inside of the boat and place anything on the floor that might fall from shelves and cause damage.

An early night is called for although I’m not sure how much sleep we’ll get with all the excitement.

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