So what makes a winning crew member?
Someone who is not on board just for the ride, but is willing to brave the elements, to tread the muddy towpaths and heave the lock gates. And someone who is a good companion, on board, in the pub.
Note that family members are exempt, as are previous winners - in case they get too big for their boots.This year we have three very worthy candidates. It'll be a hard choice.
1. Pete - who crewed for us from Cowroast to Buckby - including a detour up the Wendover Arm. Enduring very mixed weather and a difficult stretch towing an engineless boat through Milton Keynes, Pete worked like a trojan and was selflesly keen to assist with carrying (on foot) a large quantity of beer up the hill from Tring brewery to the canal.
2. David (AKA rainman) who turned out to crew in the full knowledge that it would be a wet and miserable day - not for the first, or even second time I might add! Dedication has its rewards and we did share good weather from Bedford to Godmanchester later in the trip. David sometimes brings chocolates, which makes up for the fact that he doesn't drink beer!
3. Simon (of Tortoise fame) - who cycled up from Brentford to help us down the Hanwell flight, and taught us a great deal about pubs in Brentford. I aslo recall pleasnt evenings around Herbie's stove drinking Jim McBeams.
All should be proud of their nomination, but there can only be one winner. Stay tuned.