14 November 2018

Training and more training

by: Myron

The message on Tuesday night was that the excavator had broken down, so no hoppers to move Wednesday.  Great, that means we can have a badly needed training day, moving hoppers.  Not so, come the morning they had fixed it.  No worries, we just reverted to Plan A, which is the ‘throw them in at the deep end’ method of training. It can be quite effective.  Two of our qualified skippers were just about ready to command Margaret in anger with hoppers attached.  I had two trainees on Goliath for a final assessment, and couldn’t do both, so I put one skipper one charge in the morning and the other in charge in the afternoon. More on them later.

So, off I trundled with our two trainees for an intense day of locks, manoeuvres and barge pushing.  They both passed all the tests with flying colours.  So we are very happy to announce that Gayle Collins and Steve Jones will now become members of one of the most exclusive clubs in the world, being a skipper in the Boat Team on the Cotswold Canals.  Well done!

Meanwhile Weedie was making its presence felt, going to investigate the weed situation down past Boakes Drive to the Ocean.  They reported making two passes on this stretch, one down and one up, but apparently not much weed was actually picked up.  It seems it is now dying back for the winter.  Just as well because we hope to take Weedie out of commission soon, to fit a new mesh.  I can report that another skipper gained his Weedie endorsement on Monday, well done Richard Farrer.

Arriving back at the Ryeford dredging site, it was apparent that no boats had been sunk.  In fact asking around it appears that several hoppers had been successfully moved without incident.  Skippers and crews seemed to have carried out the task if not completely elegantly, then reasonably competently and safely.  That’s ‘training by remote control’, only recommended if you are pretty certain of the outcome.  Several more of our skippers also got some valuable experience helping them towards the highly prized ‘Margaret with Hoppers’ endorsement to their qualifications.  So another well done to Jenny Kingston and David Pashby.

So that’s five new qualifications this week. A good haul but we need more.