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See below, videos of some of our boat club members enjoying their various vessels.
Thames Estuary, 2020
We set off from Teddington the day before and picked up a visitor mooring at Thurrock Yacht Club for the night. After a noisy night with the prop turning in the current we cast off around 11a.m. to drop with the tide to Isle of Grain and up into The Medway.
Old Oak Weir, Medway
After leaving the tidal section up river past Gillingham we entered the locked section at Allington. Moorings on the lower river are scarce but once at Old Oak Lock you can stay on the lock walkway and enjoy peace and quiet.
Swift Ditch, Abingdon
Most years we like to explore the backwaters and help keep these rights of navigation open. You enter at the second entrance upstream and shoot the weir. You pass through the earliest lock chambers on the Thames adjoining Andersey Island. The current runs fast and the journey takes an easy 90 minutes. its peaceful and opens out into wide pools and finally under a bridge and back out into the main river. A bow saw is often required to clear hanging branches.
Stangate Creek, Thames Estuary to Medway
Once we turned into Medway Estuary with the turning tide behind us we made way to Port and immediately Starboard into Stangate Creek, a sheltered and popular anchorage.
Teddington to Limehouse Basin 2022
The two crews consisting of Timmi, Ian, Jon,Claire, a chicken called Wiz and a dog named Billy moored the night before at the bottom of a friends garden.We checked oil, coolant and fuel and a visual scan of the engine bay. Life jackets on and away.
Wiz getting his last walk in before the voyage. We had a narrow window for arrival at Limehouse due to water levels allowing around 3hrs for transit with a bit to spare just in case. We locked through at 10.30 a.m. making Richmond lock Barrier for 11.03. We had called London V.T.S. and listened carefully to the VHF for bulletins.
The link here provides excellent information on all aspects of this journey
Dutch Courage going through Richmond Barrier
Within 2 hours we were passing through the pool of London gathering speed with the falling tide speed over ground 8 knots. This area and below becomes very chopped up due to the waves from Clippers and other commercial craft operating in the area. the waves reverberate off the embankment until the tide drops to reveal beach areas that absorb the them.
Dutch Courage just appearing under the iconic Tower Bridge
At this point we were punching a 3 to 4 foot swell with only 20 minutes left to enter Limehouse lock. We had phoned them and they were on stand by. Just as we thought all was going well we noticed our friends bow wave drop and Timmi waving from the foredeck, we started to turn back as Ian rang to say he had no propulsion. Luckily we had talked of what to do in an emergency and went alongside tying the two boats tightly and taking them under tow.
Progress was difficult and the boats were crashing together, we quickly got crews to adjust fenders and made our way to the lock entrance in a very strong tide, first approach was a bit clumsy and we had to pull away and go for a second go under the watchful eye of the police launch who had heard my radio call but stood off offering no help at all! We pushed sideways toward the lock entrance and once in the slack Ian and I pushed the bows in with our thrusters. We only just fitted widthways but breathed a sigh of relief to be in, the lock staff brought us slowly up and let us have 10 minutes to get calmed down . After giving us keys and directions to the pontoon they met us to take lines and settle us in.
Once safely inside we lifted the engine bay cover to find two bolts lying in the bilge, further inspection revealed the last two bolts still in the drive coupling flange were sheared off. We unbolted the flange and drilled out the studs before walking to a local Screwfix for some new ones. Ian bolted it all up with a bit of LocTite and we were back in business. Meanwhile a celebration dinner was booked at La Figa near the basin and celebrations were in order.
Carnage below deck!
Don't forget to close the drawers and stow everything safely ! Following day it was decided to arrange a night out.
Ian took on the job of tour guide and booked The Mousetrap for us. It was a great night out and good to see London in better shape. We cant remember who dunnit.
And then there were three. Claire had to go to Canada so Ian once again took on the entertainments officer role. We walked from Limehouse to the cable car ride over the river.
The Tour Guide and First Mate dont like heights!
The Dome looked great inside and after a wander around looking at various displays including a few done by Ian and Timmi. Then onto a Clipper for a high speed run up to the start of our walk.
On the 16 May after seeing more friends and having a huge breakfast we checked our locking times with limehouse, handed back the keys and set out into the tideway for a more leisurely run back up to Teddington, as you reach Battersea Power Station the river calms immediately and its a gentle cruise home. We heard the radio broadcast from a nearby barge refer to us as "Yuppy Yachts" which made us laugh. Arriving at Teddington I stopped and Dutch Courage pushed on back towards Reading.
What we learnt:
Check all times with each other and then with the lock keepers.
Make a note of the weather expected and if tides are large or small.
Have anchors at the ready having let them go the day before to make sure all runs smoothly. Listen in to VHF for reports.
Have phones charged and secured ideally in a cradle.
Have the dinghy ready and started that morning.
Get heaving lines out and free from tangles.
All other lines secured so they cant hop in and meet your propeller & probably mostly important plan together what you will do if disaster strikes, in our case it saved the day.
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