These are the adventures of Andy and Sally Rawnsley on their narrowboat "The Puzzler". We have been living on the boat for over eight years now and are still loving it. Our Ulster born Shih Tzu, Shannon, has grown up, and has taken over the boat! After three wonderful years in Ireland, we transported The Puzzler to The Netherlands, and spent a year there. In 2015 we went southwards, to reach the north of France by June. After glorious weather throughout the summer, we arrived in Roanne in late October, and enjoyed our winter in this friendly port. We cruised extensively in France in 2016, returning to Roanne for a second winter.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

1st - 2nd March. Erne Head of the River

It is the Erne Head of the River competition today, with teams coming from all over Ireland, and also some from England. Queens University are turning the stern of their boat over here, ready to fix the two halves together. Their rowing shoes can be seen, already fixed into the boat.


The coach is lining up both halves of the boat, ready to bolt them together.

There are boat trailers everywhere at the Round "O", with oars and equipment stored in the bottom for travelling. These oars are ready for collection by the crews, when they are ready to launch.

Special pontoons have been brought in to make launching the boats easier. This eight is going into the water from the inner jetty.

The outer boat here is the famous crew from Moseley on the River Thames, in England. The combined age of the crew adds up to 533 years!
Crews are queueing up to launch their boats from the pontoon on the outer jetty. Some boats are launching further downstream at the Portora Boathouse. All the boats have to row upstream the full length of the course which, at six kilometres, is the longest in Ireland. There are 70 boats here today.
The Head starts at 2.15pm. The first boat coming through the Enniskillen Bridge and passing the Round "O" to complete the course just past the Portora Boathouse is number 1.  This is the Galway composite crew. Have they retained their title from last year? We will have to wait and see.

The Head of the River is a time trial, so when a boat catches up with the one in front, they know that they are doing well!

Once the eight oars are out of the boat, they have to be carried back to the trailer. There are different ways of carrying them. Here two of the crew are finding it quite easy.


However this man, going for the independant single carry, seems to be finding it quite a struggle!

Back at the trailers the boats are taken in half again and loaded up. Most of these trailers can carry six full length boats, if fully laden.

It is not often that we see such activity in the park at the Round "O".

Galway did come first, being fastest over the course. In second place was the University College crew from Dublin, with Queen's University from Belfast in third place.

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