Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Grab handles - to keep or to scrap?

This picture shows three special features of Herbie. The first is Pete (see cast list opposite), who is now extra special because in his spare time besides maintaining his day job in computing, and putting four or five new bathrooms in his house along with associated plumbing and wiring and flooring, new boiler and loads more, has studied and has just qualified as one of those guys who can certify domestic electric jobs. He makes me feel very inadequate sometimes. Congrats Pete.

The second special feature is Herbie's unique (?) hinged hatch over the rear doors.

And the third - this is where I need some opinions - is the wooden grab handle you can just make out near the top edge and directly above the RB of HERBIE. Here is a better picture, featuring Peter (not Pete, see cast list also).

I've never seen another narrowboat with these handles. They work pretty well when stepping onto the boat from the bank after pushing out, and for hanging on to when standing on the gunwale. And as you can see, they are also handy as a temporary thing to hang a fender rope from.

However, like the lifting hatch, we are suspicious of them as they are somehow not very narrowboaty, certainly not at all "trad".

It occurred to me today that as we will remove them when we do the paint job, then now is the time to decide if we want to keep them? Or not.

Would you have them on your boat (if you had one)?


Anonymous said...

Yes! Anything to grab hold of is most welcome :-) Really useful for hangers-on and, as you mentioned, that extra fender needed in an awkward spot on some moorings. I know I'd like them on my boat.
- Carrie

TMW said...

If they are useful then keep them! Other NBs will want them, too!

To see rusty mailboxes go to my blog:

James said...

At the end of the day it is your boat, of course! Maybe it's worth removing them for the painting, and then not putting them on, and seeing if you miss them.

Personally, I wouldn't have them there, because around the stern of the boat if I want a guaranteed hand-hold I hold onto the edge of the hatch. And, me being me, I can see myself hooking a bit of lifejacket or belt-loop or similar into a handle like that and getting yanked back at an inopportune moment!

Bill Rodgers said...

I suspect "traditional" narrowboaters customized their boats to suit their needs. So if it suits your needs then I'd call it traditional.

Neil Corbett said...

Thanks very much everyone. Last night I asked myself the question "if we didn't have the handles any more, would we miss them?", and the answer is probably yes. I'll ponder a bit longer though.

James: experience shows that we don't get snagged on them at all as they have nice enclosed curvy ends. Now the little hooks that hold the bungees from the tonneau - I catch on them every time!

Anonymous said...

I'll just add my hap'orth

If you're used to having handles to grab then leave them on - you're bound to go reaching for them if they're not there and end up in the drink :-)

Sue, Indigo Dream

Simon said...

Salad Days had them before she was reborn as Tortoise - just two brass handles, on each side at the rear end of the cabin sides. I didn't find a huge use for them (useful to grab, but so was the edge of the cabin side, or the handrail on top) so not reinstalled with the new sides.

Consider yourself spared a rant about 'traditional' - so few of our boats are in any way traditional, and I like variety & imagination...