I guess I should give an update on Jim's progress. He is currently still at Irthlingborough, having made it through Billing before the cutoff point which was yesterday, and has been able to afford to sit out the bad weather of the last couple of days. He's also between crew members, but I gather that PJ (that is Steve who had the National D3 that he was rebuilding until he found himself an ideal boat complete with engine) is joining him tomorrow via a complicated arrangement of car and boat movements in conjunction with some Canadians who do things with fruit flies in Moomin's basement. Well, I think I got that right.
Jim is whiling away some of the time tussling with the gearbox. Now, this I am having some trouble grasping, but it is something to do with various bits of play along the linkage finally having added up to too much so that it is now hard to maintain the necessary thrust to keep it in gear. Little niggles over time - the broken connection of the vertical rod into the shift bit; the replacement of a vital spring - have added up into a nuggle (as in many a mickle makes a muckle) and the upshot seems to be that it's hard to go forwards slowly or backwards at all. (See! I said it didn't bloody reverse and I was right). Jim was even on the phone to Allister at RN this morning (who put him onto the vital nature of this spring), so when I heard this I was starting to worry. However, I just spoke to Jim and he seems confident that he'll make it back to Bill Fen, albeit without going slowly. Basically, the gearbox seems to have reverted to what it was like when we first got Warrior - but at least we're better at steering now!