« Hunton Bridge to Harefield | Main | Harefield to Brentford »

June 11, 2004


your wonderful daughter chloe!

ello dad! hope your doing ok on your own! Noticed u didn't put the picture of our boat on the pagent page! never mind! see u soon. have a good trip. look after my doggies and don't 4get their pills or 2take dinners out of the freezer. take care daddad. if ur lucky i may bring u a litte sumthing back from spain!
talk 2u soon! love chloe!
web site looks great by the way! can't believe u've written so much! keep goin. hope you get some sunshine then u can put those nasty blue hotpants on again!

Tina Webb

Brilliant! Thanks for the invaluable information. I am facing the scary prospect of handling my 61 foot live aboard on my own after my partner bailed out. I will practise all this on a nice quiet canal in the hope of gaining the confidence to branch out on my own.

Martyn Brown (NB Gavotte)

I like all these suggestions.

I have a lot of trouble single handling my li'l boat. (a 34' with a slow revving Lister SR2 engine). It tends to wander about a bit more than larger boats. Seems weird but for ease of handling go for a 55ft with a Jap Beta engine. I heard your sharp intake of breath there!! I prefer the Lister myself, even though it frequently makes me look like a complete beginner, because there is so much more to learn it's more fun.

One other tip I've had from other single handers is to have a short lasso rope that may be looped over the top of a lock gate (opposite the balance beam) whilst going in downstream. The forward momentum of the boat entering the lock closes the gate for you and stops your boat at the correct position in the lock. Obviously do this slowly at first until you get the knack otherwise you'll snap your rope or pull your deck cleats off!

Cheers buddy
Keep chugging

Martyn Brown (NB Gavotte)

ps (To previous posting)
Take rope off before opening paddles to empty lock so that your boat doesn't end up in the cill!! (Ahem!)

Jay Thornton

Thank you very much for the above information. I am planning on traveling solo on a narrowboat next year and your tips have helped make me less nervous about going it alone.

Chris B

just about to buy a boat! intending to do 12 months mostly single handed!! internet making it easier to get all the info i need!! been looking at a 54ft er!! sure that will do all i need!! hope to see you on my travels!! looking forward to the free'er lifestyle!! Chris

Alison Crichton-Stuart

please could you inform me where you got you windlass belt, After having picke our boat up in Crick and taken it to our mooring in HBishops Stortford I found (as a women) that I needed somewhere to put my windlass when doing the locks. I have tried to find a holder on the website and I have had no luck. Alison September 17 2010


This is wonderful. Thank you. I've been considering retiring to a live-aboard narrowboat when I come of age, but the thought of single-handing was quite daunting. This is just what I needed to encourage my dream.


Thanks for this. Really useful advice and makes my first dip into going it alone a lot less daunting. Other loners may find Colin Edmondson's 'Going it Alone' has slightly more detail for £4 but not a lot. Cheeers.


Thanks for your comment. Remember! Just take care.

Dissertation Writing

Great to tell about the operation on the British Canals,and they have are a major part of the network of inland waterways in the United Kingdom and also they have a colorful history, from use for irrigation and transport, through becoming the focus of the Industrial Revolution,the thoughts and the details are really useful that you share.

Dissertation Sample

I would like to thank the author for this marvelous efforts .I appreciate your efforts in preparing this post. I really like your blog articles.


This is really interesting. I would love to do this as I own a narrow boat but have split with my partner. Do you realistically think a woman could handle a 60ft narrow boat? I'm quite strong but won't be offended if you think its too difficult! Anybody else know women who boat single handed?


Without knowing you I cannot answer with respect to you personally, but women do single hand. It's not so much strength, but know-how and common sense. Where are you based?


hi just read your article about handling a narrow boat single handed,I'm in the process of selling my wide beam and buying a narrow boat, on my own!!!SCARY!thank you i found your article very helpful

Sheila Carrington


Just found your comments on single-handed boating. I have now given this up as could no longer afford to keep boat after divorce. Even tho have suffered from arthritis since I was 40 (I'm now 68)did boat solo for several summer seasons on a 42' boat and later a 70 footer. Did have company of 2 dogs tho which as a lady by herself were very reassuring! Did find it difficult to climb the ladders with the arthritis but otherwise fine.


Must be a sad moment to have to give up the boat, a decision I guess we all have to face at some time. Reassuring though that you still felt able to cope single handed with some disability.

Sheila Carrington

Thank you for your comment. Yes it was sad but also missed grandchildren when they were young. Would have been able to help now! Was a bit slow but everyone was very helpful when they were around. Agree with the comments about the central rope. I could never understand why hire boats didn't have these.


@Julie, I bought a 60ft narrowboat back in May 2011 and brought her down to Surrey from Northampton to Surrey's River Wey. I came via the Oxford canal and Thames. I had a few problems along the way but lessons learned quickly. I am single handed female of 54 years, with just the dogs and now live aboard. I am just about to reverse my last trip and head for Rugby area; I miss the travelling. Operate slowly and with purpose of everything you do. Method and planning ahead paramount, including which side the towpath is or the ladder in the next lock. Centre rope is your best friend (besides dogs!)I haven't taken the helmsman course, I am self taught from 12 years of hiring, but if I settle long enough to do one I think there will be lots of ways to do things easier. Most of all talk to other regular boaters, listen to them and watch them and try it. It might not work for you, but at least you gave it a go. Good luck from Sue on NB My Lady.

Mike Fisher

Thanks for the comment Sue. The Oxford Canal is notorious for its lifting bridges which are always a challenge. I try to use the Dukes Cut to the Thames to avoid those on the stretch to Isis Lock. Mike.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Other Areas of this site

My Photo

Welsh Highland Railway

  • Dscn3519
    A record of our trips to the Welsh Highland Railway to help in laying track as part of the restoration effort.
Blog powered by Typepad

July 2024

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31