Victor is not a happy bunny

Published: Sunday, 08 January 2023

I'M NOT a happy bunny at all after digesting the information about 'sticky fuel' from River Canal Rescue.

It did good I reckon in bringing it to boaters' notice, as it is somewhat dangerous if your engine seizes-up—as that is obviously what can and is happening.

RCR told of jobs where the injector pump racks had seized solid and the nozzles were blocked, and when replacing the plunger filter head, it found the fuel had a sticky, syrup-like substance. Alongside stuck injection pump racks, injectors and filter head plunger failures, it also had cases of fuel filters blocking with wax inside them.

Telling that the problem is increasing at two to three a week, and the possibility of other firms being presented with the same problem, RCR is in discussion with several leading fuel analysis companies together with a university lab to get to the the bottom of the problem.

But what particularly bothers me is that one of the two boaters who told of their experiences filled-up with diesel twice at the same place we do—Sawley Marina.

Robin Sundt told he topped up at Sawley then took to the tidal Trent to get to Boston then back again, which could have had a disastrous result should his engine have given up the ghost on the fast flowing tidal river. In addition to taking on diesel at Sawley he did so twice at Burton Waters Marina and finally topped the tank for the winter back at Aston Marina.

Which brings me to our own diesel problem on out last cruise when engineer Philip at Oxley Marine on the Staffs & Worcs pumped the dregs out of our diesel tank that were far from clear—and now has us greatly concerned.

One thing for sure. We will be thinking twiceor even thriceabout filling-up at Sawley again until it is all sorted...

What a difference

Our Thomas was quite chuffed to receive the information from Dudley Taylor concerning the 'great deal of effort' he received from the people at Canal & River Trust to get his boat through the stoppage at Stewponey Lock on the Staffs & Worcs—it certainly shows it will do its best to help boaters.

How different from the contractors who held up boatersus included—at Irvin's Lock on the Leicester Section taking a week to attach two strips to the bottom gates, together with a bit of maintenance, and who would not let anyone through though the strips had been positioned, until late Friday, as of course the job, as is now only too usual with contractors, takes from Monday to Friday. 

And needless to say would have taken just a day in the old days before contractors darkened our waterways...

After learning that the trust was forced into having contractors instead of its own work people (though it does get away with a few local teams) I have to admit it is not really to blame.

But about the lack of maintenance resulting in so many stoppages, I still believe it is to blame, as so much cash is wasted on other things with six legal eagles springing to mind, eh?

So it continues

So I might as well tell of two more stoppages our Keith reports, adding to the four already reported this month that are keeping up the trend.

The poor Leeds & Liverpool Canal of course with its third stoppage already this new year with the ground paddles on the top lock on Barrowford Flight needing a repair, though not told why.  Only that the flight will not be open until Monday 23rd January—now a two weeks job!

Then the Grand Union comes to a standstill at Ironbridge Lock (77) with we are told the cill all clogged-up, this time however the trust's own operatives will attempt to clear it, so it looks as though it will soon reopen.

All it remains is for me to wish all you boaters a Happy New Year and trouble-free cruising.

Victor Swift