We assembled at Bray MDL Marina; some came by boat, some by car, some by train ...
Apart from Albany's usual care to ensure that no attendee suffered from thirst or hunger <grin>, various eggstrordinary events were organised. In order to refresh catching and throwing skills we started by standing in two parallel lines throwing and catching lemons to each other. Then once competence (or in some cases incompetence) had been demonstrated we prgressed to throwing eggs .... then it was onto building improvised egg transporters. These proved surprisingly protective and eventually had to be tested by dropping from the bridge over the marina entrance.
On Easter Sunday we progressed to Easter Bonnets, both those which had been produced previously at home, and those improvised on the day. Overall a splendid weekend of fun. The photos give a flavour of some of the activities.
To get the season started Albany MYC held a fun event in the hall of the Sea Cadets at TS Black Swan. As always Albany aim to have fun both on and off the water! Here's a view of the hall just before the event started, and also a view of our Commodore, Vice-Commodore, and Treasurer admiring the arrangements. Apart from the excellent buffet, members also enjoyed a nautically themed quiz.
Members from Penton Hook and Shepperton marinas assembled at Teddington on Monday 2nd August and enjoyed a pleasant dinner at the nearby Anglers pub.
The next morning Lockdown Dream, Venture, Purple Orchid, and Beatrice Rose set off for Limehouse where we were joined by Mojito coming from the Medway.
That afternoon we visited the Museum of London (Docklands) which was well worth a visit: there’s a lot to see! In the evening we had a splendid dinner at the La Figa Italian restaurant near Limehouse.
The following day we were joined by John and Geraldine, and Philip who came by public transport. One group visited Tower Bridge and its engine room below ground; if you have never seen it then please do visit, just watch out for the stairs as there are a lot of them. The other group made their way to Greenwich, visited the Cutty Sark, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the Gipsy Moth pub. That evening we all ate at the Cruising Association.
On Thursday morning Venture set off back to Shepperton while the remainder of the group continued to Chatham. Unfortunately, Purple Orchid had to turn back as her engine began to overheat due to duckweed blocking the raw water inlet. Venture and Purple Orchid joined up and proceeded to Teddington where Purple Orchid was able to clean the blockage from the filters and proceed safely. Mojito, Beatrice Rose and Lockdown Dream continued to Chatham. John Cochrane joined for the trip to Chatham on Lockdown dream, which was the first time she had been used at speed, her new owners (David and Linda) were very happy to try her at full throttle, apart from having minor issues with the trim tabs. After a couple of days Lockdown Dream headed back upriver, the return trip was uneventful apart from heavy rain in London which caused poor viability. Beatrice Rose followed a few days later while Mojito remained in Chatham.
To mark the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the founding of AMYC in 1971, a club meeting was organised for the weekend of 21st / 22nd August by Robbie and Gill. The plan was to meet on the Saturday at Windsor Marina, where moorings had been reserved.
In the event, only two boats were able to attend, Beatrice Rose and Purple Orchid, but we were joined at various times by the crews of Mojito (Nick and Tracie), Venture (Maurice and Ann), and Sea Quest (Geoff and Sally) not forgetting the dogs, Leo and Shadow!
A gazebo, resplendent in 50th anniversary bunting, was erected on the grass area near Windsor Yacht Club. A great “bring your own” picnic was then enjoyed, followed by ultra-competitive games of giant Jenga and skittles. I’m sorry to report that the girls were mullered by the boys in both events!
An excellent takeaway supper of fish and chips was then eaten aboard Beatrice Rose, followed by the consumption of a considerable quantity of malt whiskey. This resulted in a very good night’s sleep!
The Sunday morning was a leisurely affair, with crews mostly attending to their ablutions! Dress code for the afternoon was club regalia and straw hats for the gentlemen and posh frocks and fascinators for the ladies. Ten members then gathered in the gazebo for prosecco and a speech and toast to the club delivered by the Vice Commodore Tony, as David, our Commodore, was regrettably unable to attend. The agony of the speech over, we adjourned to the Oakley Court Hotel for an incredibly civilised tea on the terrace, with views over the lawns to the river. The weather was most obliging, remaining sunny throughout. Some excellent photographs were taken and hopefully will appear in due course on the club website.
On our return to Windsor Marina, an ominous black thundercloud appeared, prompting a rush to get the gazebo packed away before members made their separate ways home.
We all agreed it had been a splendid weekend, most ably organised by Robbie and Gill to whom we extend our thanks.
Here’s to the next fifty years of successful club boating!
Cruising at last: AMYC says goodbye to lockdown blues (hopefully!).Eight-day upriver cruise 29 May to 5 June:
For the first cruise of the year, the Club went upriver. Some of us met on Friday evening and enjoyed a meal at PHYC. Six boats, Lockdown Dream, Purple Orchid, Bagpuss and Co, Beatrice Rose, Enterprise, Breakers 2 and Sea Quest started out from Penton Hook on this very enjoyable cruise for our first stop at Bray Marina.: To add to the excitement on the way upriver, one of our boats lost one of their engines then had an altercation with Windsor bridge!! That afternoon we had a pontoon party and a few drinks to name the Commodore’s new boat then we all went to dinner at the Mediterraneum restaurant. It was a lovely evening to all be together but sadly the food was disappointing, and the service was poor so we won’t be in a hurry to visit there again! On the Sunday morning four boats left for Cookham, arriving there later in the day. We spent two days there although only one was originally planned. This was mainly due to hold ups on the river caused by a body being found in the lock cut at Boulters Lock. On the first evening we found a fantastic Thai restaurant with great food and service and the following day we had a Club BBQ on the sunny riverbank. Four made it to Henley, then Beatrice Rose stopped at Thames & Kennet marina while the remaining three pressed on to Pangbourne where they stayed the night. In Pangbourne they found a fantastic pub/hotel called The George and had a surprisingly wonderful meal in beautiful surroundings. For the return journey the four boats regrouped at Henley for the night, fought their way through persistent rain to Windsor marina and, having largely dried out, got back to Penton Hook the next day. All the club members had a fabulous time. We were spoilt with glorious weather although there was one day of rain. Below are a few photos to give a flavour.
Windsor cruise 12th and 13th June:
The following weekend we ventured out again to Windsor; this replaced the planned Cookham cruise, partly because passage through Windsor was likely to be slow due to security precautions for President Biden’s visit to the Queen at Windsor Castle. Four boats intended to set out: Lockdown Dream, Enterprise, Bagpuss & Co, and Purple Orchid. Sadly the Commodore didn’t make it out of the marina on Lockdown Dream as he managed to get a rope around his propeller. A painful lesson on tidy ropes was learnt by all. The three other boats moored on the island and the Commodore and his partner joined them later by car. They all enjoyed another wonderful club BBQ.
Saturday 17th April 2021 marked the occasion of the AMYC Boat Handling & Manoeuvring Day. The location was mainly around the marina and lake at Penton Hook and involved experienced club members teaching inexperienced club members, basic techniques. The aim being to ensure that if the key crew member of the boat fell overboard or became incapacitated, the remaining crew member could retrieve the casualty and/or get the boat to shore.
Participating boats were Purple Orchid, Breakers II and Sea Quest and assisting crew were from Lockdown Dream, Mojito and Venture. These arrangements enabled us to conduct the exercise in a socially distanced covid-secure manner.
As one of the novices, I really appreciated being taught how to manage my boat knowing that others were looking after the ropes and keeping watch on our surroundings.
Key skills included turning the boat in four directions – forwards/backwards, right/left; mooring in different locations around the marina; operating the radio; navigating out on the river; and retrieving a fender from the water, a technique otherwise known as ‘Man Overboard’!
The Man Overboard practice occurred unexpectedly, for me, as the Commodore threw a fender out into the lake and shouted “Man Overboard” and, “Quick Sally, Geoff has fallen off the boat!” My initial reaction was, why has he chucked one of my fenders into the lake? However, once I managed to manoeuvre the boat sufficiently to retrieve it, everyone on board then had the opportunity to practice ‘saving’ their respective partners.
After the lake manoeuvres, we headed out onto the Thames and I was really pleased that, with a bit of guidance, I managed to both moor Sea Quest on the lock mooring at Penton Hook and take her back off again. Luckily the lock was on ‘Self Service’ and there were no other boats about.
I learnt the importance of manoeuvring the boat slowly and the need to practice lots.
Thank you to the club members who gave their time and expertise to support this training.
I really hope that we can make the event a regular addition to our annual calendar as I know of several other club members who would like to join the next one.
Sally, Sea Quest
We were due to return to Penton Hook on Wednesday 19th August 2020.
We actually arrived back on Friday 11th September which was 23 days later!
While at Chatham all members made the most of their enforced visit.
We had a couple of very successful barbeques, several meals out at local restaurants which were all carried out in a Covid social distancing way.
Members made full use of the Chatham situation with trips out to known areas of beauty for an extended lunch and a practice at dropping anchor.
This is not an activity very often carried out on our normal waters of the non-tidal Thames, so all members benefited from this experience.Hammersmith Bridge had been closed to all traffic travelling over and under. As the picture shows the three red symbols of no entry were firmly affixed
This information was discovered on our arrival at Chatham on Thursday 13th August.
This caused great consternation amongst all the members that had travelled away from their own moorings. Luckily for the majority who were MDL members the thought of paying additional fees was not a worry.
Venture however, had to act quickly to cancel their Shepperton affiliation and join MDL to avoid what looked like being an extensive and expensive stay at Chatham.
Luckily they were able to join MDL, and Shepperton generously cooperated with refunds and accepted the situation.
The trip to Burnham-on Crouch went ahead, superbly organised by Maurice Marshall of Venture.
The boats that went to Burnham were; Venture, Jacamar, Beatrice Rose, Breakers ll, Purple Orchid and Mojito with the crew from Enterprise lll on board as their boat was having some turbo engine problems.
The fight to get back under Hammersmith
After much discussion by email with Mr Anvar Alizadeh, the Highway Structure’s Manager at Hammersmith & Fulham Council, and the PLA, which went on for several weeks a glimmer of hope emerged. We were grateful for the interest and support of both the ATYC and the RYA.
We were to be given a one-off slot of time to pass under Hammersmith Bridge.
Members details were requested. Boat names, lengths, widths, air draft and deep drafts, plus all contact details were sent off as requested.
We finally hear back from Mr Alizadeh. The transit day was given to be Friday 11th September.
The times of transit however for each boat varied by five minutes, starting at 06.00am to 07.00, with slots also given to Upper Thames Motor Yacht Club who were in a similar predicament and moored up in St Katherines Dock.
It was decided as a club to travel back upriver on Thursday 10th September and moor overnight at Imperial Wharf near Battersea pier and railway bridge due to the early start needed to make our transit times.
Below, we see Bermuda Blue following Beatrice Rose through the Thames Barrier. Bermuda Blue passing the House of Parliament and a few of our boats birthed at Imperial Wharf.
Most boats arrived in London and were moored up by about 17.30 hours and plans for a night out and a few celebratory drinks were consumed on various boats prior to a meal in a local Restaurant.
Martin Spriggs had attracted media coverage by the BBC news and a number of members were seen on national television explaining our situation.
Nobody had a late night and several members had to get up and ready at 05.00 the next morning.
The view of darkness from Enterprise was what all members had to experience. Luckily the tide was coming in and there was a little ambient light from the footpath lighting on shore. Because of shallow waters and no room to turn at this point one had to steer in reverse to exit the moorings. Fortunately the tide was not that fast so we avoided any problems.
A sense of relief and excitement filled my mind at getting on the open, dark and flowing homeward Thames. From a personal perspective I know that I left far too early to get to my 06.25 slot under Hammersmith Bridge. But I didn’t care! They couldn’t stop me now!!
Bermuda Blue and Enterprise drifted slowly and steadily through Wandsworth and Putney as the expectation grew. I thought I would get past the Fulham flats first and then call the Hammersmith Guard boat to request transit.
The only troubling thought was that I was half an hour early, as was Bermuda Blue behind me.
So without further hesitation, I called up the VTS guard giving my boat name and requesting transit, which was confirmed immediately. Yes, we may have jumped the queue, but with nobody else around we passed under the Bridge with a feeling of great relief. Bermuda Blue seen below followed close behind me. Now for Teddington and then home to Penton Hook with a slowly emerging sunrise.
This is just my story and I am sure every skipper in this particular Albany fleet has their own stories to tell.
Chris Barry, Enterprise III
Innocently we planned to continue AMYC’s return to boating programme after the tribulations of 2020 with a cruise to Chatham and Burnham. After lots of planning eight of our boats gathered at Teddington on 12th August, ready for departure the next morning. We enjoyed a pleasant socially distanced meal that evening at the Anglers pub and retired for the night. Up at the crack of dawn ready to start locking out at 7-30 am, we needed three locks to fit us all in. On our way down the Thames as we neared the estuary Venture was boarded by the Border Force. They were very pleasant and simply asked a few polite questions about our route and the purpose of our voyage.
Despite earlier concerns about the weather it was actually quite clement. We were welcomed by our Commodore on Mojito when we entered the Medway. Sadly two boats suffered mechanical problems with one, Bagpuss & Co, having to be towed to safety into Chatham Marina.
Our arrival was celebrated that evening with drinks and nibbles aboard Mojito followed by an enjoyable meal at the nearby Italian restaurant Villagio.
Our innocent joy was not to last: the next morning we were greeted by the news that Hammersmith Bridge was in danger of collapse and had been closed to navigation. Then there was another message suggesting that navigation might be possible through one arch. Then finally confirmation that passage through the bridge was completely impossible, preventing a return to our home berths at Shepperton and Penton Hook on the non-tidal Thames. After much discussion we decided that the best thing was to continue with our plans and see how the Hammersmith situation developed.
That evening we had a splendid barbecue, accompanied by Pimms, at Chatham Marina with the cooking expertly supervised by Chris and Tony:
A good time was had by all; as the evening progressed there may have been some singing to sustain our spirits in the situation. Fortunately most of our members have not attempted to make a career in the music industry <grin>.
Saturday dawned fair and we set out to our next destination, Burnham on Crouch. After a pleasant trip we all moored in Burnham Yacht Harbour and enjoyed its peaceful location and the pleasant stroll along the riverside into the town.
An enjoyable socially distanced dinner at the Swallowtail Restaurant in the marina completed the day.
Sunday was spent either exploring the town or relaxing onboard. In the evening the more energetic of the group walked into Burnham to enjoy an excellent curry. Here they are looking pleased with their adventure:
Monday saw us returning to Chatham to complete a very enjoyable cruise.
Of course due to the closure of Hammersmith Bridge we cannot return by water to our home berths on the non-tidal Thames but fortunately we have all found a safe haven in Chatham Marina to wait and see if the Hammersmith Bridge situation improves.
Here’s a few photos taken by members on the voyage down the Thames and back up the Medway to Chatham:
With new and established members of the club this is always a favourite trip. A short excursion down to Teddington, where we assemble before embarking on a short trip down to Hammersmith bridge and back.
Luckily for us Teddington lock had just returned to normal service on the 1st of July, so our planned trip on the 13-14th was able to go ahead.
Some of our members hadn’t previously ventured onto the tidal Thames, or were relatively new to boating, and we were all feeling “boating deprived” after the Covid-19 lock-down. So following relaxation of some of the restrictions, a group of us took our boats down to Teddington on the Monday afternoon and moored up ready for an early start the next day. Club boats Beatrice Rose, Breakers II, Enterprise, Purple Orchid, Sea Quest and Venture were joined by guests on Life of Sundays. Evening refreshments were enjoyed on the river bank in a socially distanced fashion, and then some of the party enjoyed a socially distanced dinner in the garden of the nearby Anglers pub, while others ate on board.
Unfortunately the vice commodore had to work that day, but was able to join us later and act as experienced crew for Sea Quest; similarly Martin from Breakers II had to stay behind while Emilia acted as crew on Purple Orchid.
We locked out at 7:30 on the Tuesday morning by prearrangement with the helpful lock keeper at Teddington. As there were so many of us we split into two groups with Enterprise taking the lead and Venture bringing up the rear. Our schedule was planned to take advantage of free-flow through the Richmond lock and weir.
Checking the headway gauge at Chiswick Eyot for Hammersmith Bridge showed headway of 4.8 metres, so as planned we all had plenty of space. After passing through Hammersmith Bridge we proceed down to Harrod’s repository, then retraced our route back to Teddington, apart from Beatrice Rose who carried on to Chatham. Once back at Teddington we moored up again and enjoyed mid-morning refreshments before returning to our home berths.
Glad to be back out an' about; emergin' from lockdown wiv a bit of swashbuckling pirate activity. Suitably attired and with dinghies at the ready.... let the fun commence.
The 4th July, it was, so we held a mini Boston Tea Party - yes tea was deposited in the marina -
Even attacked by a marauding party from London River, who it seems were checking the grog at Penton Hook Yacht Club!
Fabulous day with Picnic lunch and drinks, socially distanced of course, and more revelry in the evening at the Penton Hook Yacht Club.
<more pics to follow>