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Strange 'tidal waves'


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#1 KARACE

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:10 PM

At the end of May this year I was on my brother's NB and we made the trip from Limehouse to Brentford.
We stayed over night in the basin and set out at 6am from the Limehouse lock. It was a fantastic morning, brisk with the sun rise behind us as we made our way up the Thames. We had made no special preparations for the trip as the water was calm as a mill pond. I'm not sure of the exact time, but I would guess, around 6.30am I was at the tiller when all of a sudden several large waves started the boat into a severe pitching motion. The frequency and length of the waves was such that it lifted the bow (about 3 to 4ft.) and plunged it into the front of the next wave. I kept the bow turned into the waves and we did not even take on any water but the water was spraying high into the air as we hit the waves. The whole episode only lasted about one minute, about a dozen waves but it seemed like half and hour!!
I have spent quite a few weeks on NB's over the years including a trip on the Thames from Teddington to Henley and back so I'm not a complete novice but this event was quite scary and I have experienced nothing like it before. (I have sailed around Vancouver, so waves don't normally scare me!).
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon, is it some kind of Thames tidal 'bore' like the river Severn?
Bye the way it was NOT from any other river craft, we encountered many regular bow waves and they were tiny in comparison.
Also, I would recommend the trip to anyone who loves NBoating and I would do it again in a heart beat. Through the middle of London on a NB on a sunny morning, priceless!
Looking forward to hearing from all you experienced, long time NBers :cheers:

Edited by KARACE, 26 September 2011 - 10:02 PM.

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#2 Tim Lewis

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 09:46 PM

At the end of May this year I was on my brother's NB and we made the trip from Limehouse to Brentwood.
We stayed over night in the basin and set out at 6am from the Limehouse lock. It was a fantastic morning, brisk with the sun rise behind us as we made our way up the Thames. We had made no special preparations for the trip as the water was calm as a mill pond. I'm not sure of the exact time, but I would guess, around 6.30am I was at the tiller when all of a sudden several large waves started the boat into a severe pitching motion. The frequency and length of the waves was such that it lifted the bow (about 3 to 4ft.) and plunged it into the front of the next wave. I kept the bow turned into the waves and we did not even take on any water but the water was spraying high into the air as we hit the waves. The whole episode only lasted about one minute, about a dozen waves but it seemed like half and hour!!
I have spent quite a few weeks on NB's over the years including a trip on the Thames from Teddington to Henley and back so I'm not a complete novice but this event was quite scary and I have experienced nothing like it before. (I have sailed around Vancouver, so waves don't normally scare me!).
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon, is it some kind of Thames tidal 'bore' like the river Severn?
Bye the way it was NOT from any other river craft, we encountered many regular bow waves and they were tiny in comparison.
Also, I would recommend the trip to anyone who loves NBoating and I would do it again in a heart beat. Through the middle of London on a NB on a sunny morning, priceless!
Looking forward to hearing from all you experienced, long time NBers :cheers:


Perhaps you should have gone to Brentford :-)

Tim
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#3 KARACE

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 10:07 PM

Perhaps you should have gone to Brentford :-)

Tim


Thank you, I have corrected my error.
Do you have something a little less critical and a little more constructive to add? :rolleyes:
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#4 blackrose

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 10:21 PM

I heard that the river bed in the pool of London is stepped across the river where it's been dredged and filled in some places. I don't know how true that is? Seems to me that a few tides would soon smooth out the steps, unless they were built up with rocks? Anyway, it could be that the incoming flood tide on which you were travelling met the steps at the bottom of the river causing the waves you describe. If it was as calm as you say and there was no other river traffic I can't think what else it could be?

I've also hit some big waves (where there was no other traffic), travelling downstream on the ebb tide around Wandsworth, but I put it down to the oncoming head wind.

Edited by blackrose, 26 September 2011 - 10:25 PM.

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#5 PhilR

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 10:21 PM

If it was a tidal bore it would have been behind you when travelling from Limehouse to Brentford.

I am not aware of any significant tidal bore on the Thames, but (off topic!) on 15th Sept I was lucky (by sheer coincidence) to be in Hangzhou to witness the highest tidal bore in the world - you would have certainly known about that one!!
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#6 hamsterfan

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 10:34 PM

i pretty sure that it is caused by a combination of tide, eddies and wind, the tide ebbs slower than it floods which if i recall creates an inbalance when the tide turns back to flood.
another strange one is the way the night tide is calmer than the day tide? no idea why but using the drying ground at isleworth the boat has come off the bottom without so much as a nudge in the early hours!
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#7 bizzard

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Posted 26 September 2011 - 10:45 PM

Not sure about this,but virtually all tidal rivers do have a bore to a lesser or larger degree
As somewhere along a rivers length an incoming tide collides with the outgoing tide, heaps up and moves along,in which direction depends on the volume of on either side of the hump of water also whether or not the wind is blowing with or against an outgoing or incoming tide,and it all normally begins at a bend or a narrowish part of the river but after a short while will sort itself out and roll along less turbulently until the full tide direction change has taken place and all is serene again. The river Severn is a severe one because of the very large rise and fall of the tide and quite narrow constrictions,and bends which all make things worse,plus wind speed and direction.
So if you'd left Limehouse lock Against the out going tide which met the incoming tide exactly where you were.this is probably what happened.As Blackrose said,also a bad irregularity on the river bed with a fast current hitting it will hump up the water. There are a great many variables.
I've Sailed dinghy winter series races through there, Greenwich to Putney and met the bore usually on a bend also on the river Crouch right upstream ay Hullbridge it can be quite a huge hump of water but soon evens out.
Hope this helps,its difficult to explain bizzard.
PS Why not ring the Thames River police at Wapping,Their river museum is also next door,near the Prospect of Whitby pub. They're very helpful.
Their little museum is a gem,they keep it locked but will show a party around if you ask at the police station a couple of doors along.

Edited by bizzard, 27 September 2011 - 06:28 AM.

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#8 bluegreencanal

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 08:37 AM

At the end of May this year I was on my brother's NB and we made the trip from Limehouse to Brentford.
We stayed over night in the basin and set out at 6am from the Limehouse lock. It was a fantastic morning, brisk with the sun rise behind us as we made our way up the Thames. We had made no special preparations for the trip as the water was calm as a mill pond. I'm not sure of the exact time, but I would guess, around 6.30am I was at the tiller when all of a sudden several large waves started the boat into a severe pitching motion. The frequency and length of the waves was such that it lifted the bow (about 3 to 4ft.) and plunged it into the front of the next wave. I kept the bow turned into the waves and we did not even take on any water but the water was spraying high into the air as we hit the waves. The whole episode only lasted about one minute, about a dozen waves but it seemed like half and hour!!
I have spent quite a few weeks on NB's over the years including a trip on the Thames from Teddington to Henley and back so I'm not a complete novice but this event was quite scary and I have experienced nothing like it before. (I have sailed around Vancouver, so waves don't normally scare me!).
Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon, is it some kind of Thames tidal 'bore' like the river Severn?
Bye the way it was NOT from any other river craft, we encountered many regular bow waves and they were tiny in comparison.
Also, I would recommend the trip to anyone who loves NBoating and I would do it again in a heart beat. Through the middle of London on a NB on a sunny morning, priceless!
Looking forward to hearing from all you experienced, long time NBers :cheers:


I feel like a real coward as I wont do rivers...now I definitely wont :-(
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