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.