68 OPERATION RECOVERY
It’s a sad sight to see a historic hero with its helm on the bottom but expert help was at hand at Tooley’s Boatyard
What happened when historic wooden working boat Hardy sank while waiting for a vacant slot at Tooley’s dry dock...
While awaiting a vacant slot in Tooley’s Boatyard at Banbury, an oak plank on the hull of historic wooden narrowboat Hardy sprung, causing it to imitate a submarine by diving promptly to the bottom of the Oxford Canal. It isn’t known whether a passing narrowboat hit Hardy causing the plank to come adrift.
Tooley’s had acquired the boat built by Nursers at Braunston in the 1940s. They have plans to restore the boat, possibly adding a new forward cabin.
During torrential rain a diver entered the water and secured a weighted tarpaulin over the breach in the hull. Two substantial pumps were then deployed and alongside the boat’s overworked bilge pump, pumping operations began and two hours later Hardy was finally hauled into the dry dock. Tooley’s staff are being advised on the restoration by Ian Staples, who has been involved in the restoration of 37 wooden narrowboats. Full details of the restoration project can be found on Tooley’s website.
Heading back to the dry dock
Divers start the pumps