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Narrowboat Racing

And with a top speed of 8mph, "Tulip" is really flying today...
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I don't know how many people have visited a stretch of England's beautiful canals - or, for that matter, any canals - but the idea of racing the boats instead of watching them chug peacefully along is one that appeals to me. Races could be anything from 20 to 100 miles long, and crowds would gather at strategic places such as locks and junctions. Obviously strict rules would have to be adhered to to stop the sport turning into a farce: Jet engines would not be allowed on the narrowboats, use of ramming/shunting would be illegal etc. The boats would have a max. crew of 4, and a League would soon develop, as would various techniques - speed locking, fluo-mooring and so on. And of course a prize for best painted boat...
Mr Phase, Aug 06 2005

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       Baked - Haywoods Vs. Smiths (not real names), 2003.   

       I was 13 at the time and was steering the canal boat. Matt Haywood (a year older than me) was steering the Haywood boat. We were really going for it, Matt lost control of his boat, while the parents were in the cabins, cheering us on (my mum and Mrs H. in our boat, Dad and Mr H. in the other boat).   

       In the end, my family's boat won.   

       But still, I love canal boating - especially when I get to steer, so bun!
froglet, Aug 06 2005
  

       It's when you glance down to take a swig of coffee, look up and realise you're heading toward a moored boat that it gets really hairy. Also when that damn lever refuses to go into reverse...
Mr Phase, Aug 06 2005
  

       How do you pass? Or do you run it like a rally, with competitors individually times and released at intervals?
5th Earth, Aug 06 2005
  

       You'd release them at small intervals, then subtract the interval off their time. The intervals would only be 10-15 mins, so events like overtaking and the occasional crash would still be possible.
Mr Phase, Aug 07 2005
  

       I watched "cigarette boats" racing at top speed through the intercoastal waterway, in Delaware. I think it's illegal however.
dentworth, Aug 07 2005
  

       Nice idea. Any time silliness is involved I am game.   

       Push boats for Skipjacks are the opposite of canal boats. Short and wide, with big engines. They were raced for a short while but it was just too insane. This usually happened along with the Skipjack races from Deal Island MD to Crisfield MD (below Delaware).
moPuddin, Aug 07 2005
  

       Cigarette boats are awesome.
Why would rules be required to prevent the sport turning into a farce? Seems pretty farcical to start with. [+]
david_scothern, Aug 08 2005
  

       //I watched "cigarette boats" racing // I read this as "cigarette butts", and imagined a sort of low-rent Pooh-sticks.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Aug 08 2005
  

       The sport would have to be kept nice and eccentric, we don't want it turning into the type of high-octane/money fuelled monstrosity that Formula 1 has become. Hopefully a speed limit wouldn't be necessary, just a regulation on the engine type.
Mr Phase, Aug 08 2005
  

       so [mopuddin],are you in the mid-Atlantic states region?   

       edit to UKers: smart asses
dentworth, Aug 09 2005
  

       //are you in the mid-Atlantic region// Iceland? Azores? Ascension Island?
coprocephalous, Aug 09 2005
  

       heh!
po, Aug 09 2005
  

       Digging through my mental archives.   

       I recall that I tied a narrow boat to a Lock gateway post,(the point where the canal joins the river) and proceeded to use the Lock key to lower the boat and release the water which allows the boat to pass down and out onto the river(a fair drop down to river level)   

       I wonder if You can guess what I forgot to do?
skinflaps, Aug 09 2005
  

       erm...pick up your change when you bought a pint in the obligatory lock pub?
squeak, Aug 09 2005
  

       Nope, that was later, nowhere near the Lock.
skinflaps, Aug 09 2005
  

       no idea, s'flaps but I'm guessing that your face was a picture.
po, Aug 09 2005
  

       Well it (my face) nearly ended up in the local newspaper.
skinflaps, Aug 09 2005
  

       So, [skinflaps], what angle did it manage to attain? Or did the rope break first?
coprocephalous, Aug 09 2005
  

       Correct! [coprocephalous] it maintained at an angle which flooded the bow and a great deal of damage was inflicted to the hull, it got stuck on the ledge at a 45 degree angle and nearly ripped out the fastening for the rope.   

       The Lock keeper was busy at the time.However with all of the commotion he proceeded to remove his cap and had a extremely aggresive fit. I ran.   

       I returned when all had calmed down from the safety of a large tree.It was quite funny really.
skinflaps, Aug 09 2005
  

       Such hilarious events would no doubt take place more often in the high-pressure races where boat teams are screaming at each other to "Get me that damn cup of tea" and "bail it out at once".
Mr Phase, Dec 26 2005
  

       to hit the mainsream thesedays a new sport simply must attract the big gambling dollars. so forget the engines and take it back to the oldschool; with horses. and jockeys. with silly silk caps.
rainbow, Dec 26 2005
  

       Dentworth, I live at the South end of Delaware, and teach in Dorchester County MD. (a bit long after you asked, sorry)   

       Not many narrowboats hereabouts.
moPuddin, Dec 30 2005
  

       Well the Phase family have just booked their 2006 canal holiday, so an oppurtunity to fit in some racing might well arise...
Mr Phase, Jan 02 2006
  

       ha [Mrphase], i can't wait to see the kind of streakers you might get at one of these events.......
mistro, Feb 08 2006
  

       //Sounds a lot like the dragon boat races in Japan// But without the multitude of paddlers, the drum, the speed...
coprocephalous, Feb 09 2006
  

       You'd have to introduce some hard-core anti-doping policy if it's to make it to the Olympics. Decaff tea, anyone?
spinglespangle, Feb 09 2006
  

       Stimulant-filled chocolate digestives would be on the market within days.
Mr Phase, Feb 09 2006
  
      
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