A repair story from Muchgigglin

Here at Clements Engineering we regularly have urgent repairs to carry out on propellers and stern gear. Anytime a repair comes in we know that the boat owners want things turned around as quickly as possible. Following a repair we received the following story from Julie & Tone Ferne, the owners of Muchgigglin.


We should never have attempted the Walsall Canal.  Not only was it a nightmare of criminal activity, but it was also a Fly Tipper’s paradise.  Whole rooms of furniture floated past us on the murky water – a 3-piece suite here, a dining chair, an occasional table – so it was no real surprise when we picked up a fully sprung mattress and ground to a halt.  We managed to limp home to our marina, but irreparable damage had been done to our propeller.

Propeller in need of repair

The hydraulic gear ratio had also been recently changed from 2:1 to 1.5:1 which resulted in being somewhat “over-propped”.

Our propeller was a Crowther phosphor bronze classic but bent horribly out of kilter.  Crowther as a company had ceased trading so we researched alternatives and listened to recommendations from fellow narrowboaters, RNLI Lifeboat skippers (we are both ex-crew, so we had the contacts) and from the Skipper of the Fisheries Protection vessel based in our home town of Shoreham by Sea.  Clements Engineering, it seemed, was the only place to go.

Logistically this was an interesting project.  We had to wait for Covid restrictions to be eased in order to drive to our boat in Alvecote Marina near Tamworth.  We then had to cruise to a dry dock near Rugby which took 2 days.  A Hire Car was ordered, picked up and driven at crack of dawn to Clements arriving at 7.45 in the morning.

There were several sharp intakes of breath as the true extent of the damage to the propeller was examined.  Having left it in trust we headed off to St Neots’ for breakfast.  We expected to wait around 4 hours for work to be completed but we were delighted when we received a call some 2 hours later to say repairs were completed.  Our propeller was presented to us, fresh from the workshop, gleaming, still warm and in pristine alignment.

Fitted next day by my husband Tone, we eagerly awaited the filling of the dry dock to enable our escape and propeller trials – 2 days of cruising back to our home marina.

Repaired propeller on Muchgigglin

Result.  Our boat cruised beautifully, gracefully, seamlessly home and we are totally delighted in the re-profile of our propeller, the help and advice given, and the expertise and precision of Clements Engineering made this a wonderful experience.  We are delighted.

All of us here at Clements Engineering wish the owners of Muchgigglin many happy cruising times on their boat.