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TheMuffinRanger

A few hints for a future voyage?

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17 hours ago, OldGoat said:

 

 

I'd rather be on the Thames when there's a 'bit of flow on' than the Warwickshire Avon in the same conditions...

I've been on the Avon when there's a bit of flow and have a dent on the bow to remind me. I also have another dent from that horrible swingbridge on the K&A where there is a cross current. In fact there's quite a few dents and scrapes, none of which were my fault....

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Wow cheers for all the advice guys I just thought for the price of the course I should just get a radio I’m a bit of a doomsday planner tbh the anchor is a 10kg danforth with 5m of 6mm chain then the rest will be rope  I assume from what I’ve read and understood this should be ample for my 40ft nb? So do most recommend I reverse my trip and go gu first then Thames? 

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IMHO go downstream and plan to come off at Brentford - less stress, less cost - I remember a chat many years ago with the lockie at Limehouse who said in his view narrowboaters were complete idiots to do the Limehouse/Brentford stretch and even if you attempt it is incredibly busy so it wont be relaxing just sit in Gordon Ramseys pub and watch for an hour!

Teddington to Brentford merits careful thought/planning but is very enjoyable and the lockies make sure you don't go off at the wrong times etc.

Obviously the usual health warnings apply regarding being sure of your boat and its fuel system in particular.

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4 minutes ago, Halsey said:

IMHO go downstream and plan to come off at Brentford - less stress, less cost - I remember a chat many years ago with the lockie at Limehouse who said in his view narrowboaters were complete idiots to do the Limehouse/Brentford stretch and even if you attempt it is incredibly busy so it wont be relaxing just sit in Gordon Ramseys pub and watch for an hour!

Teddington to Brentford merits careful thought/planning but is very enjoyable and the lockies make sure you don't go off at the wrong times etc.

Obviously the usual health warnings apply regarding being sure of your boat and its fuel system in particular.

That is what I would do, I have never been in or out of Limehouse but have read a few tails of trying to turn and get in. Coming out is much better I understand but then if the timings are wrong the river is very busy

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4 minutes ago, Halsey said:

IMHO go downstream and plan to come off at Brentford - less stress, less cost - I remember a chat many years ago with the lockie at Limehouse who said in his view narrowboaters were complete idiots to do the Limehouse/Brentford stretch and even if you attempt it is incredibly busy so it wont be relaxing just sit in Gordon Ramseys pub and watch for an hour!

Teddington to Brentford merits careful thought/planning but is very enjoyable and the lockies make sure you don't go off at the wrong times etc.

Obviously the usual health warnings apply regarding being sure of your boat and its fuel system in particular.

IMHO the lockie was talking rubbish, it is a wonderful trip through London on a narrowboat, and coming out of Limehouse is easy you just go straight ahead and the river turns you round to point in the right direction. I wonder if he was the same lockie who a few years ago sent us out at Brentford on what turned out to be a falling tide in the middle of the afternoon, so that we grounded in the channel below the lock just before reaching the river and had to sit on the mud there until we floated again in the middle of the night. When we asked him afterwards why he had done that he said "I never did understand about tides but I sent you out then because I wanted to get away and have a tea-break"

 

Having said that I agree, go downstream and come in at Brentford.

  • Greenie 1

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That’s it decided then downstream it is thanks again for all the help I was more just wanting a heads up on the trip as I’ve never planned or taken on such a long voyage across multiple waterways while I feel confident with my abilities I always flap about these things haha

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1 minute ago, TheMuffinRanger said:

That’s it decided then downstream it is thanks again for all the help I was more just wanting a heads up on the trip as I’ve never planned or taken on such a long voyage across multiple waterways while I feel confident with my abilities I always flap about these things haha

And going into Limehouse or Brentford?

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There are arguments for going upstream or downstream on your first Thames trip, in the end I think you should be fine either way, but shouldn't go below Brentford without someone experienced aboard.

Going upstream it's easier to control the boat because against the flow you have more time to think and it's easier to come on to a mooring facing that way. You can moor facing downstream in a flow, but you have to steer in carefully and your crew needs to be on the ball at jumping ashore and getting the stern line around something. In a flow always tie the upstream end first, or the current will catch it and swing the boat round. However when approaching a lock, once you're in the lock channel it's like a canal, the only flow is from filling or emptying the lock.

The Thames has many islands in it. Some of them you can go either side of, some you can't. Going downstream you really need your map, because while the lock channel is generally signposted, it isn't always and the signs can get hidden by vegetation. You don't want to be heading for a weir from upstream, they have a lot of water going over them even when the river is on green boards.

The main advantage of going downstream is that it's free energy, you will use a lot less diesel.

Also, it's easier to get your bow and stern lines round bollards in a lock if it's full, there's a bit of an art to doing it from the boat when your deck is well below the lock side. But lock keepers will usually help you by taking a line round a bollard and passing it back to you, or if the lock is on self service your crew will have got off on the lock landing to operate the gates and sluices, so they'll be up on the lock side to help. And there are (slippery!) steps in the side of the locks.

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27 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

And going into Limehouse or Brentford?

I was thinking Brentford

 

I think I’m going to have to study the maps and decide which way round to go like you say upstream and downstream has their advantages but tbh if it’s only saving diesel going with the flow I’m not sure that warrants the extra hassle so to speak? How much difference does the flow generally make to fuel consumption?

 

 

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All the above is very good information - just putting my two-penn'orth with some extra pointers.

FWIW, I keep our boat on the Thames and cruise a lot up an down. we have done the London transit in hire boats and our own. - thus have some experience. The downstream challenge is turning below across the River below the lock as there's a lot of quite fast moving traffic, especially in an underpowered hire boat. Less of a problem, perhaps if you perform that manoeuvre when there's no other traffic might be a contra argument.....

You should carry a radio - but you don't have to take the exam if you are only listening and may transmit in an emergency (though 999 might be more successful in summoning help). Unless radio masts have improved - nobody will hear you Teddington to (say) Wandsworth...

Nobody, but nobody uses VHF above Teddington (I took my set off years ago)

6mm chain is a bit thin. I'd consider a length of 8 or perhaps 10mm with a long length of 12 -14mm rope 

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23 minutes ago, TheMuffinRanger said:

I was thinking Brentford

 

I think I’m going to have to study the maps and decide which way round to go like you say upstream and downstream has their advantages but tbh if it’s only saving diesel going with the flow I’m not sure that warrants the extra hassle so to speak? How much difference does the flow generally make to fuel consumption?

 

 

In that case I would also go with the downstream unless you intend travelling on red board which I wouldn't. For most of the summer you can moor with easy facing up or down stream and the river is easy to turn in if you want to point upstream.

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3 hours ago, Peter X said:

There are arguments for going upstream or downstream on your first Thames trip, in the end I think you should be fine either way, but shouldn't go below Brentford without someone experienced aboard.

 

I was single handed the first time I did the Thames, including Teddington to Brentford. And nobody had told me the significance of yellow boards! A bit hairy, but I made it.

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All I would say I that I had a wide beam canal boat wedged between my stern & bank and the house wall opposite in the Osney gut where he tried to moor facing downstream with some flow on. You can't easily turn a typical narrowboat in there to face upstream for mooring. It took a hell of a lot of pulling to get him alongside. So if the OP intends to go downstream go straight form the canal through Osney lock and be  quick with mooring to the upstream Osney lay by, The weir pull their (other side of the cut) can be fierce. Also don't panic when your make your turn into Brentford. A typical narrowboat will be carried broadside down the rive for some distance.

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3 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

In that case I would also go with the downstream unless you intend travelling on red board which I wouldn't. For most of the summer you can moor with easy facing up or down stream and the river is easy to turn in if you want to point upstream.

And remember that navigating on red boards probably means that you will be uninsured (going against advice) and therefore against the bylaws so you could be challenged at any point! Apart from not being for the faint hearted - some locks require you to pass quiet close to the weirs. What is OK for the experienced is not necessarily safe for everyone. Can't recall whether you are single handed but having at least one crew does help with the navigation - as mentioned there are quite a few islands and the main passage is not always obvious until the last minute. Also, below Brentford it is important to dopwnload the guide to the bridges - there are plenty of them and each has its own rules about which arch to use.

 

All that said, the doom-mongers are not being helpful!

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