A story of two sad boats  Once upon a time Belinda and Berty boat lived at Hampton Canoe Club. They cost nearly £2,000 each and they were a sorry sight, battered and dented.  Getting Berty out of the racks his stern had been dropped onto the concrete putting a hole into the boat. Belinda had also been dropped onto her rudder, consequently she won’t steer straight.  When the paddlers were adjusting the footrests and seats they pushed on the edge of cockpit getting out, splitting the cockpit. Berty and Belinda were taken down to the concrete block and Belinda’s paddler decided that they wanted to adjust the seat again so they sat on the concrete to adjust the seat. Unfortunately a lump in the concrete dug into the bottom of the boat, denting it and weakening the bottom.  While they were out paddling Berty capsized next to the bank. The paddlers lifted Berty out of the water while he was still full of water. Because the boat full of water was so heavy they scratched the boat lifting it and the seams in the middle of the boat burst. At the end of paddle, Belinda came into the pontoon too fast and her nose hit the pontoon, putting a hole in the nose.  Berty still had water from the capsize inside the boat and walking back to the clubhouse the water sloshed around causing the bow and stern to swing around and bash into the concrete, further denting Berty.  Belinda’s paddler was tired and tried to carry the boat back by herself but couldn’t manage it, and dropped the boat splitting the bow.  As it had been a long day a drink bottle was left inside Berty, and it had made its way past the rudder to the very end of the boat, which stopped the rudder from working properly. When Belinda was put back into the rack her paddler wasn’t concentrating and pushed the bow into the brick wall at the front of the boats, putting a hole in the bow.  Unfortunately all of these incidents have happened in the last 6 months, and the boats have needed to be repaired more often than usual.  Some boats were so badly damaged it was beyond our local repairer’s capability. So they had to be sent back to the manufacturer which is based in Devon. This involved arranging pick up and drop off with the manufacturer. (Many thanks to Andrew, Norma and Mike for dropping off / picking up the boats.) And the boats were unavailable for 3 months.    Our boats are expensive and fragile so please look after themGet help getting the boat out of the racks so that the stern or bow don’t hit the concrete – it’s particularly easy to hit the clubhouse step with one or other end of the boat. When adjusting the footplate and seat, you can sit next to the boat, on the concrete, to see if the footplate and seat are in approximately the correct position.  The final adjustment can be done in the boat.  When getting in our out of a kayak remember to place one hand flat on the pontoon (or the concrete when outside the clubhouse) and one on the front of the cockpit. The cockpit edge cannot take any weight and it is easy to break a boat if any force is applied. Do not use the cockpit edge to lower yourself into a boat or lever yourself out. Never place a boat where the rudder comes into contact with the ground and especially do not sit in a boat unless the rudder and fin are clear of the ground. The rudders are easily bent and damaged if placed directly onto the ground. No other placid water clubs let people get in boats on dry land, as it’s so easy to damage them. If you think a boat is too heavy for you to carry it to the pontoon from the clubhouse by yourself, ask someone to help you. Never adjust the seat or footrest when sitting on the concrete block near the pontoon. It is too easy to sit on something that damages the bottom of the boat. After a capsize always empty most, or all, of the water out of the boat before trying to lift it out of the river. If a boat that is full of water is lifted you can injure yourself and damage the seams around the middle of the boat.  Come into the pontoon carefully so the nose of the boat isn’t smashed into it. If you give yourself a bit of distance between your boat and the pontoon it’s a good place to practice draw strokes. If water has splashed into your boat while you were paddling, empty water out of the boat at the pontoon, otherwise the water sloshes around as you carry the boat and the bow or stern can bash down on the ground. If you’re tired at the end of a paddle, ask someone to help you carry the boat from the pontoon to the clubhouse. If you put something into the boat at the start of the paddle make sure it comes out at the end.  When putting boats back into the rack be careful not to put them too far in, hitting the bow on the brick wall.    —————- Check that the boats have all of the bolts in the footplates. If they don’t the structural integrity of the boat is reduced and the rudder may not work properly.If a white nut is sitting in the bottom of a Tercel, Cirrus or Hobby it probably fell off the footplate. The Vipers have 4 bolts holding the seats onto the bracket below them, and only 2 bolts are used to adjust the seat slider. If a red bolt is in the bottom of the boat it probably fell off the seat bracket, so put it back onto that. Don’t put 3 or 4 bolts onto the seat slider.  —————-Last but not least, if you notice something wrong with a boat and don’t know how to fix it, write it on the repair log that’s pinned up above the sign-out sheets.

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