All was well. We set out from Crick with Pete reversing Bella into one of the marina entrances to turn around. Back through the Crick tunnel with Maxwell on deck, Pete at the tiller and Elizabeth happily watching the scenery whilst knitting. Of course. Through Watford top, all well, though a strong East wind. Through the staircase, then, with Elizabeth at the tiller for her favourite snappy turn and lock entry of any flight, the drama began. Wind caught Bella broadside, leading to much serious maneuvering (which E seriously enjoys - really! No irony).
Then the gear handle disengaged from the gears. No panic, but no manageable movement. Pete walked to the offside bank, trying to understand the issue. Finally, with E making no headway, she cut the engine and we all began working against the wind to pull push Bella to the towpath side of the pound. With E handling the boat pole, P handling the centre line which E threw from standing atop the roof, and the Watford Lockie letting more water into the pound to float us free of the silt, we finally got Bella safely to the towpath side of the pound. A few long minutes later and P manged to re-engage the handle with the gears. All well!
The rest of the trip was drama free with P in control of the wind as he turned us at Norton Junction to moor up at home home. Mr Well enjoyed watching the splendid turn. More importantly, E was able to resume knitting.