In this month’s Confession, we hear how a Sealine owner was forced to break into his own boat, while his wife was driving it
My wife Wendy, her sister Maureen and myself decided on a cruise from our home moorings in Farndon, Newark-on-Trent to the east coast.
We planned to stay at Gainsborough, waiting for the flood to reach Keadby, before setting off for Hull marina.
After leaving Gainsborough, we received a call advising us that the Hull lock was inoperative, so we rang South Ferriby lock control to see if we could gain access. They said it wouldn’t be a problem.
The next morning, after a few drinks and a good night, we decided to head towards Brigg, but Naburn lock was flooded. With the water flowing fast at the time, the air draught on the bridges was pretty tight, so I helmed from the flybridge to monitor the situation.
Maureen decided to make a coffee and returned saying she was unable to open the cockpit door. I asked Wendy to take over the helm (not one of her favourite pastimes) and went down to have a look.
Now, if you know the Sealine 360, it has got a convex sliding door, which I thought I could lift to help slide it along, but to no avail.
I then tried the hatch above the forecabin, but it was locked tight. I had visions of breaking the glass, (costing a fortune to replace) and the worry was that I had started the engines from down below and the ignition keys were not in the flybridge switches, so I would be unable to turn the engines off.
Meanwhile, Wendy was shouting to me, “Another bridge coming up, will we get under it?”
“How do I know I’m down here, just keep your speed down together with your head,” I answered.
Then I looked to see that one of the sliding port windows had been left unlocked, so access could be gained there.
This meant hanging onto the outer rail and swinging my legs in through the window. After almost ripping the blinds off and knocking everything all over the floor, I was stuck at waist level halfway through the window when I heard Wendy screaming about fishermen.
Now, I’ve never understood why fishermen sit on one side of the river and fish on the other, but all I could see now along the river was poles being dragged back onto the bank.
As we cruised by, I gave these anglers (who were standing with their mouths open) a confident, “Good morning”, while I hung precariously out of the window. After 10 minutes of wriggling and writhing, I was able to get in and unlocked the door.
We finally reached Brigg, where the commodore allocated us a berth and took our lines. At the clubhouse bar later I mused what would’ve happened if Sealine had made their windows any smaller.
The moral of the story is, if the catch on the door accidentally drops, make sure you have a key on the outside. We have, now.
The author of every confession we print wins the original Stephen Shaw cartoon artwork (above) and an Icom IC-M23 Buoyant VHF Marine Transceiver handheld VHF radio worth £165.
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