Hot off the press, here are the Marathon Challenge results.
Congratulations to Richard and his team on Tawny Owl for an outstanding result!
1 Richard Powell on Tawny Owl with 635.2 points
2 Tom Murkin on Diesel And Dust with 609.8 points
3 Sarah Edgson on Canis Major with 554.6 points
4 John Mosley on Firefly with 513 points
5 Charley Johnston on Felonious Mongoose with 501 points
6 Thomas Loos on Charlene with 495.04 points
7 Ivor Chambers on Atlas with 479.56 points
8 John Hammond on Muskrat with 472.4 points
9 David Bell on Panatha with 467.6 points
10 Jill Shepherd on Cobbett with 424.52 points
11 Paul Roe on Our Little Nightmare with 422.5 points
12 Steve Green on Goosander with 404.72 points
13 Brian Spooner on Wild Rose with 380.84 points
14 M Rose on Goliath with 343.64 points
15 Stuart Makenson on Red Wharf with 328.5 points
16 D Guttridge on Hannah Rose with 303.4 points
17 Damien Campbell on Spartan & Pheobe with 300 points
18 Tug Wilson on Golden Eagle with 261.76 points
19 Peter Scott on Copperkins II with 259.4 points
20 Ian Hindle on The Cat Who Walks By Himself with 241.76 points
21 G Wallbank on Yardley with 186.4 points
22 Laurie Booth on Carrie with 131.2 points
Harald Joergens was the professional photographer on Felonious Mongoose, and the he is in the process of putting the marathon photographs on his website. Take a look – follow the link.
As a personal comment, not only is Harald an outstanding photographer, but he was also great to have as crew.
If there was a prize for the best photographic record of the marathon, we would undoubtedly have won it!!
John did seriously well on the questions (or at any rate when compared to Harald and I!) Particularly impressed with the blue bricks, on which I failed dismally. (Harald was helming the boat – so I cannot blame him for our failing to get this one) Muskrat is the first boat I’ve had contact with who got the answer to this one.
As a first time entrant, I don’t know what the answer is to fairness on boat lengths etc – I see the point in terms of speed, however I suspect (though note absence of certainty in my comment) that the smaller boats have a manoeuvrability bonus.
What the balance is on these I’ll leave up to Roy. There were certainly a lot of us within a one hundred point range.
We add our congratulations to Richard and his crew on Tawny Owl, a fine competitor for the past three challenges and a worthy winner this time. And congratulations too to all the other competitors and to the organisers and helpers at Longwood. It was a great weekend. Charley has invited contributions so here is ours.
When we saw the scoring system for the 2013 challenge we knew our run of good luck and a fair wind towards winning was over but we decided we’d give it our best and have a relaxed and enjoyable cruise. At only 35 feet long, as compared to the 70 foot boats, we started with a deficit of 35 points and also needed to travel twice the miles to stay level – a non-starter as our top speed in deep water (not known on the BCN) is well under 4mph; our 2-cylinder Lister is over 40 years old, and since adding a new bottom plate to cover the abraded original and replacing the old leaky fibreglass cabin with a steel one a few years ago we now draw 28 inches and are rather underpowered. So our route planning focused on where it would be nice to go combined with the stretches carrying higher bonus factors, and with a bias for locks where there was no penalty for being short. We did briefly toy with the idea of building a 35 foot prow or bowsprit, perhaps with a seat at the front, but decided this was not in the spirit of the challenge!
I was on my own for Saturday morning and started from Wolverhampton top lock a bit after Sarah and crew on Canis Major who had arrived and got in position on the starting line while I was asleep. When I caught up a little later at an unusually wide and straight bit of the Curly Whirly she gracefully waved me past – thanks. First stop was Sneyd Junction, to find the blue bricks (with blue canoes and blue police signs as distractions), then on to Grove Colliery Basin and the birch tree with a yellow ribbon before returning to the Walsall locks where two of my sons joined me; 22 miles of very attractive canal but no locks so far. Down the locks we went and into the deserted Town Basin, with its new Premier Inn, then along the Walsall Canal with a late lunch on the move, up the Ryder’s Green flight passing Charlene and Panatha and to the Brades Hall locks via Caparo precision steel strippers and a close encounter with Felonious Mongoose at Albion Junction. There was a mini-gathering at these locks, with Spartan, Phoebe and Diesel & Dust all going the other way.
Once up and heading towards Oldbury we passed Tawny Owl again (the first time had been at Goscote) and then headed up to Titford Pools; the last half mile or so is in serious need of debris clearing and dredging. Keeper’s Cottage beside The Navigation was found, then we turned back, down the attractive Spon Lane locks, along Telford’s magnificent New Main Line below his aqueducts and astonishing Galton Bridge – what a genius! After a well-earned stop for supper with the full moon for company, Edward got some sleep while Henry and I continued via the Soho Loop. Exploration at the bridges soon solved the Centre of the Earth riddle – it’s the name of the park across Asylum Bridge – and then we crossed the Main Line into Icknield Port Loop where the excessively bright lights made counting the chimneys on the old building quite a challenge (we thought there were three). It was 11.30pm at Old Turn but we decided to press on for a bit longer so went down the Farmer’s Bridge locks (all set against, several with the bottom gate open – ugh!) before mooring above the Ashted locks at about 1.00am.
Up again – at least Edward and me – at 5.15 on a glorious morning to continue our cruise down to Salford Junction, via the patch where Cornerstone AC has an interest, and then up the Perry Barr locks where we had our third, and worst, encounter with propeller entanglements, a sari this time which of course turns into a tightly wound rope requiring serious and prolonged attack down the weed hatch with a serrated knife to get rid of. The quantity of floating rubbish at the top lock was unprecedented and we extracted about a skip-full onto the bank before making use of the very welcome CRT shower there. As we left, a CRT team turned up to remove the rubbish, but as we cruised along the splendid high-level stretch past Hamstead we could see there would be plenty more drifting their way.
With Henry up to lend a hand, we joined the procession up the Rushall locks to join the fun at Longwood. After about 22 hours of cruising to complete our planned route in lovely weather (what a contrast to last year, and even to the previous Friday), 55.5 miles and 80 locks, and all the questions on our route dealt with, we’d had a really enjoyable time. And it was excellent to see so many others enjoying the fascinating and varied BCN system and to find almost all the parts we cruised in good condition. Many thanks to Roy, John and Brenda for all they do to make this event such a success. We hope to be there again next year.
John, Henry and Edward of Muskrat