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Plonk

Total embarrassment!

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Having been happily (and safely) pottering up and down the K&A for some years including the Avon down to Bath, we ventured on the river Kennet a month or two ago on our way to Aldermaston. The first lock after Newbury towards Reading incorporated a winding hole and lively, as it seemed to me then weir stream, although the weir was not in sight! 

Foolishly it turns out, I thought I could wait in mid stream for the lock to be ready and the following boat to catch up. 

I soon found myself caught in the weir flow and pulled sideways across the weir channel. We are 2ft 3" and 60ft long, so the turning effect was quite alarming.

Not knowing quite what to do for the best, I panicked and wedged my nose in the lock entrance and scraped my way in when ready. Also scraping off lots of blacking  on lock projections in the process! Yikes!

Question? how should I have handled it?

I suspect that the best course of action would have been to allow rotation into the stream 180 degrees in line with the weir flow and power away, but I was chicken to experiment in case I made things worse and the flow too strong for my engine (36 hp). Would the current have been as strong as it felt (due to my lack of experience on the Kennet and our draught), cos on reflection i doubt a winding hole would have been there if it was? Does anyone have experience of this particular weir?

Yours in embarrassment Plonk(er).

 

Edited by Plonk
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one of the challenges and thrills of boating is occasionally trying to do the unlikely and getting caught out.  The important thing is that although you may have appeared a little bit foolish, you got away with it and recovered the situation.   Happens to me all the time. ................... even a wrinkly has a lot to learn !!

  • Greenie 2

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Pilots say "any landing you can walk away from is a good landing".  I wouldn't sweat it, your boat is safe and no one got hurt. Plus you are a lot wiser!

 

Hard to say what you should have done since we were not there but again, your boat is safe and no one got hurt.

Edited by Kudzucraft
  • Greenie 1

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All I can say is if you haven't had loads of embarrassing moments like this, then you are not boating enough. 😁

  • Greenie 3

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39 minutes ago, Kudzucraft said:

Hard to say what you should have done since we were not there but again, your boat is safe and no one got hurt.

 

My advice would be to tie up on the landing stage! 

 

Or hover midstream some way back from the weir stream junction. Curiously I cannot recall this particular lock. I rarely go east of Newbury.

 

 

 

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That lock is a bugger. For two years we had one of those lovely on-line moorings outside Ham Basin right opposite the lock landing and watched many many incidents.

There are actually two weirs down there and we have been stuck on the first one after messing up the winding there, not helped by over hanging trees.

 

In any significant flow the answer is to tie up on the lock landing which itself is not easy as its stopping on the flow. Stern rope first essential. When the lock is ready just creep round the corner into the lock hugging the bank.....using a stern rope to crew on the towpath if there is a lot of flow.

 

We saw a fair few boats coming up the lock and taking the turn wide and slow and getting turned almost 180 degrees to go forwards down that weir stream.

 

If you had let the flow turn you to go backwards down the weir stream then your engine would easily make headway against any non flood flow, but the turn into the lock would then be very very difficult.

 

...............Dave

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Thanks for all your comments.

The flow was not too strong, but I think being deep drafted and 60ft made things feel worse than they were when I was sideways across the flow. 

At least we managed to shoot the rapids and bridge at Midgham without incident !

Frouds Bridge to Cropredy next week. I will be treating the rest of the lively river Kennet with much more respect. Hopefully older and wiser!

At least on the Thames we are going uphill!

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In any flow the Kennet can be a very very difficult river, once you turn onto the Thames you can breathe a sigh of relief, but do watch out for Reading and swot up on "High Bridge" so that you are ready to get through it without incident, it can be difficult in a longer boat. I actually worry about High Bridge more that I worry about Midgham/Woolhampton.  Did you know that Woolhampton was "renamed" because the railway companies feared that people bound for Wolverhampton would go to Woolhampton by mistake????.

 

................Dave

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I got a scare there once, in fact it was there where I realised the Kennet can be an evil bugger. My boats is 57' with a slightly deeper draft and it too has left a fair amount of blacking all the way down the East Kennet to the Thames .

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Woolhampton knocked my boat around a bit when I was trying to get into the lock going upstream. The river was still in spate after a recent flood and in those conditions it's almost impossible to get into the lock cleanly without hitting anything. I thought I was doing ok until that weir steam caught my stern. I've no idea what it's like going the other way.

Edited by blackrose

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39 minutes ago, blackrose said:

Woolhampton knocked my boat around a bit when I was trying to get into the lock going upstream. The river was still in spate after a recent flood and in those conditions it's almost impossible to get into the lock cleanly without hitting anything. I thought I was doing ok until that weir steam caught my stern. I've no idea what it's like going the other way.

Is that boat still moored by the lock entrance at Woolhampton with the tyres/fenders all along the side?

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On 14/07/2019 at 05:21, Wanderer Vagabond said:

Is that boat still moored by the lock entrance at Woolhampton with the tyres/fenders all along the side?

Sure was last year when we went passed.

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On 13/07/2019 at 22:21, Wanderer Vagabond said:

Is that boat still moored by the lock entrance at Woolhampton with the tyres/fenders all along the side?

Yes.

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I have done the entire length of the K&A many times, usually in late spring and mid Autumn when the flow on the Kennet can be quite challenging. I realise that you have discovered this by unfortunate experience but, in future, carefuly studying the waterways guide ahead of a days journey should equip you with advance knowlede of where the Kennet flows into and out of ther canal, so you can make sure of a secure mooring before reaching a lock when there is a potential side flow. You presumably have not yet attempted Reading, but there are a couple of places where particular attention is required:- County Lock as you enter Reading, although shallow, has a fierce weir next to it and you should moor on the designated landing before the bridge and not attempt to enter the lock until it is set with the gates open. Brewery Gut in town, which is one way and controlled by traffic lights, can be very exciting (or terrifying!!) going downstream when there is a good flow, and you may well need to exceed the 4mph limit in order to maintain steerage..

 

 

Edited by David Schweizer
  • Greenie 1

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I used to be moored on the Kennet in Reading, just below High Bridge.  The difference between a gentle flow and a full flood is incredible.    I was going downstream in a full flood, the boat facing upstream, with enough engine to allow us to slowly go backwards downstream.  This allowed good control, any trouble, just wind on a bit more power and you stop.  BTW, that was on Jaguar with an 18 horse Lister and a big, slow prop.

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10 hours ago, David Schweizer said:

I have done the entire length of the K&A many times, usually in late spring and mid Autumn when the flow on the Kennet can be quite challenging. I realise that you have discovered this by unfortunate experience but, in future, carefuly studying the waterways guide ahead of a days journey should equip you with advance knowlede of where the Kennet flows into and out of ther canal, so you can make sure of a secure mooring before reaching a lock when there is a potential side flow. You presumably have not yet attempted Reading, but there are a couple of places where particular attention is required:- County Lock as you enter Reading, although shallow, has a fierce weir next to it and you should moor on the designated landing before the bridge and not attempt to enter the lock until it is set with the gates open. Brewery Gut in town, which is one way and controlled by traffic lights, can be very exciting (or terrifying!!) going downstream when there is a good flow, and you may well need to exceed the 4mph limit in order to maintain steerage..

 

 

Given that this limit is intended to reduce the wash from boats, surely the 4mph limit is speed through the water rather than speed over ground, after all if the speed of the current was 4mph you'd be travelling at the limit but creating zero wash (and of course have no steerage whatsoever over your boat). I have always regulated my speed on how much wash I'm making rather than some arbitrary figure, after all, in a shallow canal pushing at 3mph is going to create a bank damaging wash so saying,"But I wasn't breaking the 4mph limit" isn't much of a defence when you can see the damage you may be causing.

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The Thames Conservancy made it plain that the limit was 7 knots through the water.  They also said "Watch your Wash and slow down if necessary". 

4mph is 3 1/2 knots for you ditch-crawlers.

 

 

 

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