Laying up Lunch Saturday 21st October 2023
Our annual “Laying-Up” lunch took place at the Three Horseshoes pub in Laleham on Saturday 21st October. The venue was chosen to allow crews to attend by boat if they wished, as there is mooring on the town quay a short walk from the pub. Our usual venue, the Thames Court at Shepperton, was not reachable by boat this year due to the extended closure of Chertsey Lock. In the event, a red-boarded river meant that all members attended by car, with the notable exception of Robbie and Jill who were able to stroll gently from their new home on Thames Side. The three Horseshoes may well be their “local” from now on!
Thirteen members gathered for the meal and were welcomed by Commodore Tony. It was particularly pleasing to welcome Maurice and Ann. Thanks are due to Geoff for collecting them and returning them home. Both the surroundings and the food were excellent. The Three Horseshoes will certainly be on our list of possible venues for future events.
The Runnymede Cruise, October 2023
Whilst recognising that the penultimate cruise of 2023 was likely to be thinly attended, it was nevertheless a shame when one of the only two boat crews signed up for this event, succumbed to covid! Consequently, on Saturday 7th October, Zephyr set forth alone, whilst Ginista languished on her home berth!!
At this point, Geoff and I did wonder whether to cancel the event but as Les & Margaret were still keen to come by car and we had a booking at the Italian Concept Restaurant, we decided to still take Zephyr out for what was promising to be a gloriously sunny weekend.
Les & Margaret duly arrived mid-afternoon and we spent the time catching-up, sitting on the river bank in the sunshine, before adjourning to the restaurant for a delicious meal.
On Sunday morning, Geoff & I took the opportunity to catch-up over a leisurely breakfast at the kiosk, with some friends from the Thames Vintage Boat Club who happen to live opposite where we were moored and who also happen to have a wooden Broom Captain!
Then once we were back on-board Zephyr, enjoying a final cuppa whilst considering our return trip to Penton Hook, it was really lovely to see Mandy & Terry on Lady Farrington, who had taken a detour from their route for lunch at the Swan in Staines, to pop by and say hello. The Weybridge Mariners Club Commodore Roy Nash and his Lady, Gillian, were also on board.
To sum up, our weekend moored at the Runnymede Pleasure Ground, was greatly enhanced by continually encountering sociable and friendly boaters from three different motor yacht clubs, the AMYC, the TVBC and the WMC.
The Cookham Cruise, September 2023
Constantly at risk of cancellation in the preceding days due to significant rainfall, the day of the cruise upriver dawned bright and sunny. Regrettably, the expected four boats were reduced to three as covid impacted the cruise.
On Friday, at 10 a.m., Lady Farrington and Zephyr left Penton Hook Marina and proceeded upriver on the understanding that Beatrice Rose would catch up soon.
Just before Old Windsor lock, Terry asked Geoff if Zephyr’s engine exhaust should be emitting steam, to which the answer was no. However, as the engine temperature gauge indicated all was fine, Geoff decided that the engine filter would be okay until we stopped for the night at Windsor.
Shortly after exiting Old Windsor lock, this proved to be a wrong decision as the temperature gauge suddenly leapt from 70C - 95C forcing Zephyr to pull in to moor just past Kris Cruisers to clear out the filter. Lady Farrington also pulled in intending to stand by and unexpectedly ran aground!
While Geoff cleared the filter and restarted Zephyr’s engine, Sally and a helpful passerby used Zephyr and Lady Farrington’s boat hooks, in an unsuccessful attempt to push Lady Farrington off. Happily, a passing EA patrol boat was spotted, flagged down and subsequently assisted by towing Lady Farrington back into deeper water. This delay enabled Beatrice Rose to catch up as we approached Romney Lock.
After this excitement, we arrived at Baths Island in good time and were fortunate to find sufficient space to moor the three boats together. A couple of hours down-time preceded a very enjoyable evening meal out at Prezzo, Windsor. Mandy’s Gourmet Card further improved the experience by a 25% discount on the food and wine. Thanks Mandy! The evening then concluded with a night cap on Lady Farrington.
At 10 a.m. on Saturday, the three boats set off and arrived early afternoon at our mooring at Hedsor Water, just downstream of Cookham Lock. After a short walk into Cookham, we enjoyed a cuppa and a slice of cake at the Tea Pot Tea Rooms. A fun evening was spent on board Beatrice Rose and included playing Stacking Chairs and Dobble.
On Sunday, we lunched at The Ferry and were joined by Tony & Sharon who’d arrived by car to join us for lunch. We decided to complete our meal back at the boats with a banquet of puddings, cake and cheese, sitting on the river bank in the sunshine. I can heartily recommend Mandy’s lemon drizzle cake doused in Limoncello and custard!
After escorting Tony & Sharon off the lock island, our final evening was once again spent enjoying the comforts of Beatrice Rose chatting and drinking!
In the morning sunlight at 8.45 a.m., we left Hedsor Water and headed for home. Beatrice Rose opted to travel direct to her home mooring at Laleham, Lady Farrington initially stopped at Windsor for fuel before joining Zephyr who had stopped at the Runnymede Memorial Park for lunch.
All three boats were safely back on their home moorings by about 5 p.m.
MTYC Club Meet and Masquerade Ball 1st – 3rd Sept 202
Following the success of the combined club cruise to W India dock with Middle Thames Yacht Club last weekend, they kindly invited us to join them for a short weekend break at their clubhouse on the lock island at Sunbury, and their Summer Masquerade Ball on the Saturday evening. Four boats from Albany accepted the invitation: Enterprise, Laird Tommy, Ginista and Blue Dimension. Enterprise and Laird Tommy cruised down on the Friday and moored to MTYC’s visitor berths alongside the clubhouse. Unfortunately Enterprise, with Chris at the helm , experienced a sudden gust of wind just as she was manoeuvring in reverse into the tight space. This resulted in a slow speed collision with one of MTYC’s club boats and the resultant loss to the depths of said boat’s auxiliary outboard! Chris “fessed-up” and the owner was duly informed. It transpired that the outboard was extremely elderly and due for replacement. Negotiations followed, and an amicable cash settlement was agreed, with both parties remaining on good terms.
MTYC had indicated that there would be a BBQ that evening. Chris and Lin and John and Geraldine were ready and waiting; and waiting, and waiting …! Unfortunately, nobody from MTYC turned up! Somehow or other an elderly disposable BBQ was unearthed, and the crews of Laird Tommy and Enterprise managed to cook a meal and amuse themselves.
Ginista and Blue Dimension set out together from PH on Saturday. Their departure coincided with the Dunkirk Little Ships rally at PH. The Little Ships made a great sight, dressed overall and with the veterans sporting their chests full of medals. The weather was ideal, with warm September sunshine. Long may these living pieces of history be lovingly maintained and used!
Ginista and Blue Dimension moored safely alongside MTYC’s clubhouse and Ginista’s new crew member, Donatello the Italian Greyhound puppy, was introduced to everyone. He spent the next few hours blissfully asleep on Russ’ lap!
The Ball started with a very good sit-down meal. Kelvin (MTYC Commodore) welcomed everyone and was helped out with a short grace by Tony (distantly remembered from Round Table days). The evening continued with dancing to a very talented male Karaoke singer. Needless to say, given the age profile of those present, he relied heavily on 50’s, 60’s and 70’s music. All in all, the evening was a great success.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny, and the Albany crews and MTYC members enjoyed a leisurely morning, culminating in a splendid “full Monty” fry-up brunch. After which the Albany boats departed for PH.
Many thanks are due to MTYC (especially Kevin and Dennis) for their generous hospitality.
As always, thanks to those Albany members who attended for their splendid company.
A suggestion was raised that some Albany crews might like to take on dual membership with MTYC which would mean we could use their facilities in the future for similar weekends. Tony will liaise with Kelvin to discuss this further. Watch this space!
MTYC & Albany combined cruise to WEST India Dock August 2023
Our second event in August this year was a joint venture with Middle Thames Yacht Club, who had kindly invited us to join them for a cruise to West India Dock.
Six boats set out to join the cruise from Albany: Ginista, Enterprise, Laird Tommy, Blue Dimension, Lady Farrington and Manatees of Kent.
The six boats made their own way to the initial gathering point at Teddington Lock on Friday 25th August. Sadly, Chris and Sue, aboard Manateees of Kent, were unable to continue the trip as they suffered a fuel injector malfunction on one of her engines and had to return to PH. The remaining five boats from Albany joined up with eight more boats from MTYC.
Most of the crews attended a meeting on Friday evening in the Anglers pub for a meal and briefing, followed by an early night as the start time on Saturday was 0600.
Saturday dawned fine and the flotilla gathered in Teddington Lock, followed by a leisurely run to Richmond. We could not take advantage of the free flow window at Richmond as we were booked into W India dock at 10am. We thus all (bar 1 boat from MTYC) packed into the lock at Richmond (£11 per boat!!) We were already 40mins behind schedule by the time the lock gates opened to start the cruise proper. Russ and Mary aboard Blue Dimension were making their first trip onto the tidal Thames, and Nick (who, with Tracie, were guests aboard Ginista) had kindly agreed to crew with them and offer his considerable experience for the trip. The boats inevitably separated as the cruise progressed, with the faster boats arriving at W India around 1015, only to learn that the lift bridge would not be opened for us. As we were near HW, this meant the early arriving boats had to wait outside the dock until the tide dropped sufficiently to allow us to enter under the bridge. It did, however, allow time for the slower boats to arrive and all entered the lock around 1045am, followed by mooring within the (huge!) dock itself. Moorings are very secure, however, and there are (somewhat basic) toilet and shower facilities available. The rest of the day was whiled away with socialising. Crews did their own thing on the Saturday evening, most eating out in the local bars and restaurants. Tony and Sharon, together with Nick and Tracie and John and Geraldine made their way into town to meet up with Emilia for a meal followed by a theatre visit to see Grease (The Musical) at the Dominion Theatre. This proved to be quite an eventful experience as two rowdy couples seated immediately behind our group eventually had to be escorted from the theatre under arrest by the police (and as an indirect result of a complaint by John!) This delayed the second half of the show by half an hour. The fracas even made it onto Sky news, with showed a video clip in which our group can (just) be made out!
Sunday was a free day, and crews did their own thing, though most seemed to gravitate to the Trafalgar pub in Greenwich around lunchtime! We gathered back at the boats in time for a meal out in the nearby Indian restaurant, followed by a “pontoon party” organised by Mandy at which crews from both clubs mingled to enjoy (more!) food and drink. This finally broke up around midnight.
The return trip was less constrained by timings (though Chris and Tony pressed for an earlier start than had been in the original passage plan) and proved to be very enjoyable. The harbour master had booked a bridge-lift for 0930, so exiting the lock was straightforward. Albany boats led the way in very pleasant weather, with opportunities for photographs as we passed under Tower Bridge and again as we passed by the Houses of Parliament. With the aid of a 2-3 knot flood tide, we made the trip back to Teddington in very good time. Enterprise, Blue Dimension and Ginista paused at Teddington for a late lunch (and to allow honorary AMYC member Jasmine, the Italian Greyhound, off for a pee!) We then completed the journey back to Penton Hook, arriving around 7pm.
Many thanks are due to MTYC (especially Dennis) for the organisation and the original invitation.
As always, the greatest thanks are due to the members of Albany MYC who attended for their brilliant company.
AMYC Windsor Cruise 18th – 21st August 2023
Four boats made the trip to Windsor. Enterprise, Ginista, Laird Tommy and Beatrice Rose.
Chris and Lin aboard Enterprise had arrived early (as usual!) and greeted us onto a bank mooring on Baths Island. The weather was balmy, and we enjoyed a casual afternoon of gossip and drinking.
John had booked us on a tour of the Windsor and Eton Brewery on the Saturday morning, and this turned out to be most entertaining and enjoyable, even for those whose first love is not beer! “Wildman Willy” gave us the escorted tour, which was interspersed with generous samples of their various brews. We followed the tour with a delicious lunch in their bar / taproom before adjourning back to the boats for an alcohol induced nap!
On Sunday morning we were graced with the presence of King Charles and Queen Camilla (aka Chris and Lin) whose somewhat creepy picture can be seen alongside! We had taken the opportunity of booking a table the previous day to watch the ladies World Cup Final in the Windsor Brewery bar. Sadly, England Ladies could not quite clinch the perfect result, losing 1-0 to Spain, but the atmosphere in the bar was terrific. Two crews (Chris and Lin and Tony and Sharon) then enjoyed a full Sunday Roast at Browns Restaurant in Windsor.
Many thanks to John for organising the Brewery trip, and to all who attended for their excellent company.
On a summer’s evening in August, a number of Albany members gathered for a barbecue, at Geraldine’s invitation, at the Penton Hook Marina BBQ area and despite the weather, a good time was had by all.
The weather was typically British in that sometimes it was dry but mostly not! However, this did not dampen our spirits as we enjoyed the food that we had each brought with us, cooked on the BBQ by John, together with a tasty range of salads, rolls and some utterly delectable strawberries and cream all of which were organised by Geraldine. Mandy shared a delicious home-made Lemon Drizzle Cake and Mary shared some very moreish chocolates.
All of this contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable and very sociable evening as can be seen from the photos.
Special thanks must go to Geraldine for both suggesting and organising this enjoyable event and to John for managing the BBQ with good humour despite the constantly changing weather.
AMYC Cruise to Sonning 28th-31st July 2023
Following last year’s successful cruise to Sonning’s Mill Theatre, it had been decided to make this an annual fixture. So it was that six boats met up at Sonning on Saturday 29th July.
Three boats (Ginista, Zephyr and Beatrice Rose) set out together from PH on Friday 28th July. The crews had gathered on Ginista the evening before for drinks. Sally, Geoff and daughter Helen then ate aboard Zephyr, while Tony & Sharon and Robbie and Gill adjourned to PHYC for a pleasant supper meal. The three boats made a prompt start next morning for the gentle cruise to Bray. All responded to the VHF “cast off” message, but only Ginista and Zephyr arrived at PH lock. Where was Beatrice Rose? Surely Robbie couldn’t get lost already? He appeared 5 minutes later, rather sheepishly admitting that he had pulled away from the pontoon without disconnecting his shore power (we’ve all done it at some time!) Cable issue sorted out, the three boats then took it gently to Bray, where moorings had been reserved for us. Robbie’s usual luck held, as he got a place right outside the Mediterranevm restaurant After a wash and brush-up the crews gathered for drinks on Zephyr. Sally produced a strange (but tasty) selection of hors d’oevres, including cheese for Tony (Sharon having forgotten to bring any – arrrgh!) We then tottered the few steps to the restaurant, where we enjoyed a very good (if expensive) supper.
We made another prompt start on Saturday morning for the rather longer leg of the cruise to Sonning. The three boats became four when we were joined by Blue Dimension (Russ and Mary) at Henley. For future reference, this leg took approximately seven hours. Moorings had been reserved at the stretch run by Sonning Boats and Launches. This is on the towpath on the right (upriver) side, below Sonning bridge We arrived to find that Chris and Lin (aboard Enterprise ) and Terry and Mandy ( aboard Lady Farrington ) had beaten us to it, both having already been up river. Enterprise and Lady Farrington had found moorings on the opposite bank, outside the Coppas pub. Ginista, Zephyr and Beatrice Rose moored on the Sonning Boats side (Robbie actually grounded and had to deploy his passarelle to get ashore) while Blue Dimension slotted in behind Lady Farrington. We thus ended up with half the club boats on one side of the river and half on the other. Notwithstanding, we met for drinks on Enterprise. (Lin makes a great Pimm’s, and even had a potted mint plant for that authentic touch!) We were joined on Enterprise by David and Linda and Les and Margaret who had both made the journey by car.
After a break to wash and change, we met up at the bar in the Mill Theatre for drinks, followed by an excellent buffet meal in the restaurant, all included in the ticket price. We were then treated to a fantastic show, entitled “Dazzling Divas” performed by Issy van Randwyck and her backing musicians. This relates the lives and legendary music of Billie Holiday, Marilyn Monroe, Patsy Cline, Janis Joplin, Karen Carpenter, Mamma Cass and Dusty Springfield. Issy van Randwyck was not a name familiar to any of us, but she put on a tour de force performance, seamlessly integrating some of their best-known songs into the (mostly tragic) life stories of these great artistes. She received a very well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the show. We returned to our boats and hotel still buzzing with enjoyment.
The two-way split in the Albany fleet continued next morning as Ginista, Zephyr and Beatrice Rose set off back to PH (not before Robbie had managed to unground) while Lady Farrington and Blue Dimension headed further up river, and Enterprise returned to Henley. Zephyr moored at Cookham for the night (surprisingly, there were quite a few mooring spots all along the route) while Ginista and Beatrice Rose pushed on to Bray just as the rain started. Ginista must drop her radar arch for a number of bridges, including that at the entry to Bray Marina. This involves unzipping the rear canopy – no problem in the dry, but a recipe for a soaking when the rain falls, as it did, just as we were mooring up. Zips also become stubbornly recalcitrant just when you don’t want them to. The result was that Sharon looked as if she had fallen in! We eventually made her (Ginista, that is, not Sharon) watertight and adjourned for a well-earned dink and a meal aboard.
We made our separate ways back to PH on Monday morning. Ginista had to time her departure to take advantage of a lull in the rain to avoid a further soaking but managed to keep dry throughout the trip. All was going smoothly until we arrived at Bell Weir lock. There was much activity as we arrived, with a team of divers setting up their equipment. We were ushered into the lock but were then told that there would be a delay while the divers went down. This turned out to be about 40 minutes. Just as well there was the final day of the Ashes test series on the radio for entertainment. (What a game and what a series!) The delay allowed Zephyr to catch up and we then cruised on to PH.
All in all, a very successful cruise, with the high spot, definitely, the great show at the Mill Theatre. Thank you, Albany, for such a good turnout and for your excellent company. We will certainly repeat the fixture next season.
On cruise from Penton Hook to Eastbourne
Started Friday 16th June 2023 to Monday 26th June 2023.
On Cruise were:
Ginista - Tony & Sharon accompanied with Jasmin
Laird TOMMY XX - John & Geraldine accompanied with Wendy (John’s Cousin) for part of cruise.
Friday 16th June 2023
John picked up Wendy from Heathrow airport after flying from Santiago Chile to spend just under 3 months visiting family in the UK.
We headed off at about 15:20 and headed for Shepperton and had an enjoyable evening with Weybridge Maniers playing Skittles against a members housing association. Unfortunately We were on the losing team with Weybridge.
Saturday 17th June 2023
Left Shepperton about 09:45 heading for Teddington then Chatham.
Laird Tommy popped into Shepperton marina for some fuel and purchased a burgee flagpole so he could fly his Vice Commodore flag.
Ginista carried on to Teddington to walk Jasmin and wait for Laird Tommy.
Through Teddington lock at about 13:00 and headed down river to Chatham marina and moored at 20:05. Sharon made a nice meal for the 5 of us on board Ginista.
Sunday 18th June 2023
Leaving Chatham heading for Dover.
Left moorings at 12:00.
Ginista led the way through the Princes channel and we moored up at 18:30 in the new inner harbour.
We dined out in the Dover Patrol to celebrate John & Geraldine’s 40th Ruby wedding anniversary.
We met Ross Fisher who was rowing from Battersea to Felpham, Bognor Regis. He started on 13 June and after a few mishaps on route, (including falling into the marina at Dover and damaging his phone) he completed the row on 25 June, with the wind mostly against him all the way. He was hoping to raise £5,000 for Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice in Sussex. I now see today he has raised £10,000. (Both boats made a contribution to his charity)
Monday 19th June 2023
Leaving Dover to head for Eastbourne our final destination of this South Coast Cruise, before we turn around and head home, after a couple of days in Eastbourne.
We left the marina through the West side at 10:45.
Just after 11:00 Laird Tommy lost power in one of its engines, but managed to get it started again.
However, at 11:15 both engines lost power and after trying on numerous occasions to restart the engines nothing was happening. Even tried the usual IT reset but that didn’t work.
We are now drifting about 5nm outside of Folkestone and at the mercy of the sea with a slight swell.
Ginista’s crew offered to come along side Laird Tommy to raft the 2 boats together and then return to Dover marina.
However, the swell picked up and caused the 2 boats to rock about which made it very difficult to level the 2 boats to tie them together, even after the second attempt.
After the 2 boats sustained minor damage it was decided to abort this manoeuvre, and Laird Tommy would send a Pan Pan message at 12:15.
Unfortunately this wasn’t heard by anyone, apart from Ginista, who reported that it was a very good & clear message. (Forgot to switch the vhs radio to high power to broadcast the message in the heat of the moment, hopefully won’t forgot next time, if it happens again 🤞).
Laird Tommy then proceeded to call 999 @ 12:17 and ask for the Coastguard, which successfully worked.
A general broadcast was made by the Coastguard to see if any boats in the area could assist, but no response, so the RNLI Dover lifeboat was deployed @ 12:54 to assist and tow Laird Tommy. It seemed like a long time but finally you could see a high powered boat heading to our position, which indeed was the lifeboat, arrived @ about 13:30 and now about 3nm off the coast of Folkestone.
Contact was made on the radio and instructions given while they circled us and as they saw 2 cleats on the bow they asked would we accept the tow. Laird Tommy was quick in giving a positive response.
So the RNLB City of London ll 17-09 lifeboat (the largest in the fleet) Dover’s Seven Class All-Weather Lifeboat (ALB), started to reverse as close as possible so they could throw the throwing line onto Laird Tommy. Geraldine and John had both moved to the bow of the boat to catch the throwing line which they managed to catch between them on the first attempt. We then proceeded to pull the throwing line in and drag the towing rope through the sea till we had the bridle to attach to the 2 cleats and then the tow back to Dover started.
Once permission was granted to enter the outer harbour the lifeboat came to a stop, as it was very calm and the tow rope was removed and the lifeboat manoeuvred to our starboard side and then we were rafted to the lifeboat for the short journey into the tidal harbour and moored up on the hammer head opposite the lifeboat station at 14:55.
Once moored, one of the RNLI mechanics came on board to offer his assistance, accepted and I was on the phone to the boatyard and between the 3 of us, and after about 0.75 hour we managed to start both engines.
The boatyard think I might not have had the throttles in neutral which stopped the engines starting, I thought I had them in neutral but in the heat of the moment who knows. Next time I will check that first. Big learning curve.
The boatyard think the engines may have cut out for 2 reasons.
1. A bit of dirt went through the fuel pump which hopefully would have cleared.
2. The propellers may have picked up something to make then stop and shut down the system, the sensors are very sensitive. But by the time we got back to Dover marina it had cleared.
When we checked the on board computer system there were no faults recorded for either the port or starboard engines.
We decided to be prepared for any further problems and the chandlery at Dover have made up a tow rope of 36 meters with a bridle each end.
Hopefully we will never use it 🤞
The RNLI crew were brilliant and as a thank you to them, we gave them a crate of beer, to show our appreciation and a bottle of Brandy to Tony and Sharon, it was so nice to know they were right beside us in case of further problems.
We started the engines at 16:45 to leave the tidal harbour and proceeded round to the new inner harbour and moored at 17:17 next to Ginista.
Out to Cullin’s Yard pub and restaurant for a meal, a quirky pub to say the least.
We have noticed that we are famous and on social media on Facebook - Dover RNLI Lifeboat Station and Twitter - @DoverRNLI
Tuesday 20th June 2023
Staying in Dover marina
Some shopping to replenish supplies.
Wednesday 21st June 2023
John walked Wendy to Dover station so she could start her journey to Liverpool to see her Mum and family.
Plan to leave Dover today at 12:00 however, a bank of fog/mist descended over dover and we lost sight of the castle and the white cliffs so decision taken to remain in Dover marina for another night.
2 friends of John & Geraldine who live near Deal came over to see Laird Tommy and they brought fish & chips on board for the 6 of us.
Thursday 22nd June 2023
Started engines at 06:49 to head to Ramsgate, just a short hop to see what happens to Laird Tommy.
Out the harbour @ 07:11
John slowly took Laird Tommy up to 20 knots and everything seemed ok so he open the throttles to the max and got up to 33 knots, with no problem.
Got into Ramsgate Harbour and moored at 08:50.
Walked into Ramsgate to the Wetherspoon’s for a well deserved breakfast.
Then went shopping for more supplies.
In the afternoon Sharon & Geraldine decided to go for a swim off the beach outside the Wetherspoon’s pub, while Tony & John took Ginista round to the refuelling pontoon.
We went out to IL Tricolore Italian restaurant.
Friday 23rd June 2023
Left Ramsgate harbour at 07:00
Ginista took Queens Channel and then Four Fathoms Channel and Laird Tommy took the inner inner channel through South channel and Gore channel and joined Ginista through Four Fathoms Channel.
Turned onto the Medway at 10:00, outside Chatham lock at 11:10.
Laird Tommy took on fuel at 12:00 and then moored at 12:08.
Geraldine prepared a meal onboard Laird Tommy for the 4 of us.
Saturday 24th June 2023
Decided to stay in Chatham marina for a lazy day, walking around the Island of St Mary’s and a bit of retail therapy.
Had our evening meal in Popadom Indian restaurant.
Sunday 25th June 2023
Cast off at 10:50 through Chatham lock at 11:05. Heading for Teddington.
12:04 As we were about to leave the Medway we saw the Sheerness RNLI inflatable D class lifeboat out on the water. Then all of a sudden they were right beside us on our starboard side. I was about to slow down when they indicated for me to keep going as they appeared to be on a training run and explaining things to one of the crew how our boat and their rib affected each other being so close. It was thumbs up as they left then they went through our stern wake, the fishtail but then they came along side our Port side and did the same. Then more thumbs up another ride over the fishtail and off they went. Feel part of the RNLI family now. 😂
Onto the Thames @ 12:15, Tower Bridge @ 15:20.
Arrive early at Richmond so went through the lock, out at 17:43.
Through Teddington lock and moored at 18:40 after John did a parallel manoeuvre to moor in a space just large enough for Laird Tommy.
The towpath was very busy with over a 100 young adults jumping into the river and having fun.
Had a meal at the Anglers.
Every evening we ended up on either boat for a night cap or two.
Monday 26th June 2023
Heading for Penton Hook
Cast off at 11:28
Sunbury lock 13:20 had a long wait and it was very windy.
Moored up in Penton Hook at 15:35
Very enjoyable cruise, good weather and great company.
The main event in June has been the South Coast cruise to Eastbourne.
Two boats made the trip, Genista, crewed by Tony & Sharon and Laird Tommy xx crewed by John and Geraldine with John’s cousin Wendy in attendance, fresh from a flight from Chile!
The cruise was due to start on Friday 16th June, but this clashed with a skittles evening at Weybridge Mariners . The clash was resolved by mooring at Shepperton on the Friday evening to allow the two crews to attend the skittles, along with Les and Margaret who attended by car. Weybridge Mariners put on a most enjoyable evening, as usual. The skittles match was actually between them and the Gaylard Skittlers. Albany joined with WMYC but to no avail as the event was won comprehensively by the Gaylard Skittlers.
The two boats cruising the South Coast set off at a civilised hour the next day in order for Laird Tommy to take on fuel at Shepperton Marina, aiming to arrive at Teddington Lock around midday. From there we cruised on to Richmond in time for free flow through the barrier in the early afternoon, followed by the run down through London and on to Chatham. This was a pleasant and unremarkable trip in good weather, arriving at Chatham in the early evening, where Sharon prepared a splendid meal for both crews aboard Ginista.
As John has already written a comprehensive report of the cruise, I refer readers to that for further details. Suffice to say it was a most enjoyable event, with just enough incidents to keep it memorable (Laird Tommy being towed back to Dover by the RNLI after an electrical gremlin stopped both engines and having to delay departure from Dover as sea fog descended and the castle and White Cliffs disappeared from view) The Commodore would like to record his thanks to all involved for their company and hard work. Hopefully we can get more boats involved next year.
The other event in the month was a visit to the Thames Small Boat Club 70th Anniversary celebration held at their clubhouse on Steven’s Ait, just below Kingston Bridge. Ginista and Laird Tommy made the short cruise down from PH on Saturday 8th July, timing our departure to avoid the thunderstorm that was forecast for lunchtime. The river was packed with paddle boarders, wild swimmers and small yachts, not to mention the Kingston Rowing Regatta which was in full swing as we passed through. This meant the trip of approximately 10NM took three and a half hours! We arrived at Steven’s Ait around 6pm where excellent moorings had been reserved for us. The event started at 7pm with a welcome drink (we managed to get a whole bottle of prosecco between the four of us) Tables were arranged beneath open marquees, and there was a large open grassed dance area. Fortunately, the evening weather was dry and balmy. The buffet consisted of a hog roast that had been cooking slowly all day. This was really excellent. We had a good chance to swap tales with officers from TSBC and also spent the evening on the same table as Kelvin, Commodore of MTYC. This proved useful as we were able to discuss details of the upcoming events with MTYC at West India Dock and their annual ball. We even manage a few dances to the DJ’s music whenever he played something we recognised! We departed sharp at 9am the next morning for a much less fraught trip back to PH. Many thanks to TSBC for their great organisation and best wishes to them for the next 70 years!