"The Heroes of the Locks" by Alan R. Youngash
The Heroes of the Locks by Alan R. Youngash
We'd been on a journey. Two SeaRays, 4 adults, two children, one teenager and Sally the Shitsu, down to Peterborough from Atherley and were returning after 4 days down and only 2 1/2 to get back. Everything went smoothly both ways until we got back to Young's Point on the return leg. There were houseboats, just out of the gate(or so it seemed), attempting a downstream run. The current at Young's Point is strong enough to cause even the most experienced skipper some aggravation. We had one boat tied on the dam-side and one tied adjacent to the Trading Post.
As I prepared to walk over to the General Store, two houseboats appeared to be trying to negotiate a short-cut "over the dam !!". They were struggling with steerage, and not introducing enough power into the mix. One regained control, the other did not, and was drifting sideways toward the topside of the lock....I was getting really nervous and prepared to fend her off!!!!
He backed her up until he hit concrete and cables and then "gunned" it which promptly left him with no power as the outdrive leapt from the water. Once gravity took over and he was under power again he cranked it upstream and gunned the motor....what a horror show as he headed straight for our other boat tied across the way and unattended. He managed to bring her around missing the innocent victim by about two feet. By this time the owner of the SeaRay had shown up and was in panic mode. There was no one on the stern of the houseboat to fend her off and he was caught by surprise.....all's well that ends well they say but it hadn't ended, just yet.....
When we got to Bobcaygeon it was a "Gong Show" of houseboats heading upstream....11 in all. The Canalmen and Summer Students had struggled to get 5 into the lock while the other 6 bobbed, weaved and drifted in the river. Then they called us in.....I hailed back that we'd wait for the next lock trying to imagine what it would be like getting out of there after witnessing their efforts to get in which was nothing short of a game of bumper cars....off the sea-walls, sideways, and bouncing off each other.
Now remember, there were 11 altogether and they managed to jam one more houseboat and a pristine '09 Sundancer 35 into the lock.....all went well and they did get through after some navigational incidents during the unloading of the lock, but it was a "Gong Show" that's for sure. The show continued below the lock for some time I'm sure as the next 5 were staged. As a footnote, the young people and Canal-men and women are to be commended for their expertise, patience and understanding....they do a great job and are always willing to assist where incompetence or inexperience prevails.
Alan R. Youngash.
Summer of 2009