You may know that you can look up a register of all the licensed boats on our inland waterways. The list currently resides on Canalplan if you haven’t noticed it before. All kinds interesting things can be seen there, some of them very surprising. Who would have thought that there would be 32 boats called Hakuna Matata but only two steel narrowboats called Herbie! There’s a Herbie II and a Herbie III and a number of GRP Cruiser Herbies including a Herbie IX. “Oi up”, I hear you say,” the title of this post says Herbie is unique, and there are two of ‘em”. Ah, but read on for the literally incredible difference in our boat. Yep, I do mean LITERALLY incredible. Note this is NOT written on April 1st, it is genuine. If you don’t believe me look it up for yourself.
Looking into the detailed record of our boat in the listing, I confirm things I spot every year on our licence application, but cannot change. In Herbie’s dimensions section we see the following:
“Length : 15.24 metres ( 50 feet ) - Beam : 2.08 metres ( 6 feet 10 inches )” so far, so good, but wait, –
“Draft : 5.48 metres ( 18 feet )”.!!!
Blimey, no wonder we run aground now and then. I thought we had plenty of headroom inside, but the bilges must be enough for an extra couple of decks below. Maybe that’s where the cannons ought to go and then we could have the powder magazine in the Orlop deck like on HMS Victory.
Reading on we come to the details of the propulsion unit and it says:
“Power of 999 HP”!!
Crumbs! I reckon we should get an uprated gearbox and a bigger prop. With 18ft draft we could have a huge one then we could go water skiing down the canal.
How these figures got there I can’t imagine, although it could be that the 999 HP is a default for “not known”. I know we are supposed to be living in a post truth society, but this takes the biscuit.
Talking (admittedly obliquely) of fakes, you might be interested in a true wildlife story. A while back I wrote that I am woken most mornings by the call of a red kite over our house. We’re quite used to him or her now, but we still look up when we hear his cry, because like me, he’s a handsome devil. Well the other day I heard it and when I looked up he was nowhere to be seen. What’s more, it wasn’t the time of day he normally patrols over us. Then I heard the cry again from our neighbour’s roof and I looked up to see an imposter. Would you believe it the flippin’ starlings have learned to imitate the call of the kite!
Is nothing sacred?