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  • Weekend humour

    Just to lighten the weekend up a bit, true story, no names changed to protect the innocent because [a] I've forgot most and the rest aren't innocent anyway.

    Slight bit of history for non UK readers.

    The canal system in the UK was started about the mid to late 1700's and soon covered many 1,000's of miles of waterway carrying trade goods all over England.
    Although it had a great impact on life it was short lived due to the railways and these gradually fell into decline and disrepair.

    After WWll they stared to make a come back, not as a trade route but more for leisure.
    Many old canals were cleaned, repaired and used by weekend boatmen with anything from the original narrow boats to pleasure cruisers.

    Rewind back to about 1973-74 when I was working at a local truck garage and had recently got married to Gert.
    To get a bit of extra cash I used to drive for a local wrecking firm at nights and weekends doing breakdown and crash recovery work.

    One Saturday I got a call could I come in and deliver an engine to a guy.
    Turns out that a guy with a boat had bought an engine off Len for his boat and wanted it delivering to the dockside and lowering into the boat. Got up the yard and the engine was a Cummins V8 out of a Ford truck.
    Now these were big brutes and heavy to boot, I seem to think that they were called 540 or suchlike.

    Because of the size of the engine I asked about the boat, remember inland canal system only.
    Len didn't know and he's already been paid so I was told to swing the engine up behind the jib on the old Diamond T and deliver it to the dry dock.

    Gets there, no problems but empty dry dock and no boat.
    Asked around and no one knew anythng about this.

    Just then I spotted this little guy jumping up and down on the towpath on the other side of the canal. Walked over the bridge and spoke to him.
    It turned out they wanted 10 pound to use the dry dock and he thought this was too much so he'd moored the boat on the tow path side and wanted me to back down and swing the engine in.
    Diamond T is about 8' 6" wide and the tow path is about 8' which would have meant I'd have the outer of the twin rears over the water.

    Then I looked at the boat.

    This was about a 25' cabin cruiser that would have originally had a twin cylinder diesel or a small 4 cylinder petrol engine in it.
    I asked the guy if he realised that this engine I had was far to big but he insisted that his friend "who was an engineer" said it would go in.

    I told him it was far too big but he insisted that his friend "who was an engineer" said it was OK.

    Well not wanting to take the engine back and incure Len's nasty temper I gently backed down the towpath, lifted the engine and swung it over using one jib.
    Gently lowered this engine down and the boat was getting lower and lower into the water.

    I repeated that it wasn't going to go, it was too heavy for the boat but he insisted that his friend "who was an engineer" said it would fit.

    At last the strain gauges started to let off but by this time the boat was really low in the water. When the weight came off there was about 3" free board all round to this little craft.

    Finally the bloke realised what I'd been saying and in a very quiet voice he said.
    "It's a bit low in the water, what do you think I ought to do ?"

    I replied you want to get your mate "who's an engineer" to come and nail another plank on all the way round.

    Scoped the jib in, secured the hook and away we went.

    I often wonder what happened to this craft. We never got a phone call to lift it out again.
    It was that low that the wash from a passing boat probably sank it.
    If not the torque reaction from hittng the starter on that V8 would have flipped it under.

    John S.

    [This message has been edited by John Stevenson (edited 06-18-2005).]
    .

    Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.




  • #2
    V-8 Cummins, lands-a-goshen, never thought we'd hear about that engine again. We were playing 'district engineer' for Dick Chaney's Halliburton Oil Well Cementing Company out of their Santa Fe Springs yard (Los Angeles) when a new cementer arrived, sporting an International Harvester V-8 for the road engine and twin V-8 Cummins engines driving triplex pumps on the deck. This was about 1962.

    The IH V8 up front was a gasoline engine, sounded healthy but had a bad habit of needing constant repairs. The Cummins engines were a dissapointment, they could not hold a light to the Big Cams which had been developed and proven. To their credit, the V8 Cummins were light weight and sounded for all the world like a healthy V8 should. We found out that the engine was made in England and gave it a little slack, but it was really a boat anchor, at best.

    The canals of Scotland, would be interesting to the river rats floating/playing on the Colorado, today. I pulled up info on the canals after a trip to the UK, where we observed them from the comforts of a train traveling from London to upper Scotland. Very interesting history when northern Scotland was all timber. Your canal boaters of today deserve a high thumbs up for their lifestyle. It's gotta be fun/relaxing.

    While visiting the grandkids in North Carolina, a trip to the Outer Banks included a visit to George Washington's canals leading north. These canals, barely 8 to 10 feet wide, were 'engineered' by George himself, a landsurveyor. History, history, history------------

    G

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    • #3
      Reminds me of a crazy bastard I worked for.He loaded a 671 Detroit diesel in a 18' flat bottom to bring it out to a river dredge we were working on.That boat had 3" of free board too,and the cg was all wrong.still with a prayer or two he made it.

      Who ever said God looks over fools and small children was right!
      I just need one more tool,just one!

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