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Manchester Trip 2005

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The Manchester Canal

For many years I had been interested in the Manchester Ship Canal and had always wanted to sail on it, it would be something different for me as I had always sailed on the North Cornwall Coast in rough weather
One day I decided to contact Manchester tourist board and they put me in touch with a skipper who does trips up the canal and it so happened that on the day of my visit none of the ships were operating as it was a week day and most tours took place on the weekend.  I eventually got hold of a skipper of a boat which had 76 seats and was a dutch barge covered in and I said will you take me out on the canal for 10 minutes for 50?  to which he replied 'no I have 2 big engines it would never cover my costs!', how about 70? I replied, 'No, but you are getting close' he replied.  I ended up giving him 100 and he agreed. 
I caught a taxi from Manchester Picadilly to the lauri centre, it was a beautiful day and there was no one around but I told the skipper to look out for me as I was partially sighted and would get lost.  Once more I did feel lonely as I walked on and then this gentleman was walking towards me and as he got closer I said are you the captain of the cruiser? i'm Ed Prynn and shook his hand. 'Come on board' he said.  The engines were running and I decided to pay him before we cast off from the quay and I always find money helps to sweeten things alot. The captain was a merchant man who had sailed the seven seas in all kinds of weather, we got on really well as I had experience myself. I asked him if anyone had been drowned and he said yes for one reason or other.  So he took me a long way up the canal, more then ten minutes, we went under loads of bridges and he blew the horn.  He told me how he takes supporters to Old Trafford on a Saturday, in fact he told me everything I always wanted to know about the canal and I could talk about it all day!
As we turned around to come back he said Ed I know you haven't got much sight but I am right behind you so would you like to steer my boat down the canal?  This was the icing on the cake for me and it's a great honour when the captain allows you to steer his ship.  As I brought her down the centre and under the bridges I thought I would love this job and a great big ship full of people. We finally got back to where we started and my ambition had been filled. 

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