Friday, 29 January 2016

Blown down the River Trent to West Stockwith

29 January 2016 Blown homewards!

Despite good balloon fenders, the very strong wind moved Annie about on the pontoon below Cromwell Lock.
The plan arrived at, talking to the excellent Cromwell Lock Keepers, Chris and Sean, was to arrive at Torksey three hours later, at 10AM, then wait there 90 minutes until after flood at Torksey, then travel down to West Stockwith, arriving about 2PM.

swinging downstream with the current before casting off the stern rope

nav lights on!

We could see - honestly!

We set off in the pre-dawn half-light, letting the current turn Annie with just the stern rope attached (we normally moor with bow pointing upstream). With navigation lights on, we headed down river the fifteen miles to Torksey.

... by the light of the silvery moon! ...

Did you know that the unused Besthorpe gravel extraction wharf still has lights at night?

Luckily, the strong wind was usually behind us, but our steering arms still got plenty of exercise today. It's ok having a powerful engine, but wind and higher revs make your muscles grow!

... no charge to pass UNDER Dunham Bridge!

Annie and Liana waiting for the tide to turn at Torksey

At Torksey, we chatted to the lock keeper, confirmimg our plans. We were ready for a cuppa around the stove. He encouraged us by saying that most people hit the wall at West Stockwith ..... :/

site of Roman ford at Littleborough

near Knaith

West Burton Power Station

Gainsborough Bridge

The wind abated a little on the way to Gainsborough and the sun came out. There are some pretty reaches of the river along here - but watch that S bend with the concrete sand bags that are 10 metres out from the inside of the bends, some just under the surface! We use the old (I prefer this)  and new photographic versions of the Boating Association Chart 2 and John Lower's guide as guidance on the Tidal Trent.
This time, we contacted West Stockwith by VHF (crackly) and mobile as we passed Gainsborough moorings, and were advised to push on to West Stockwith, which we did.
John turned Annie to face  upstream against the current after we passed the lock, then approached keeping about twenty metres off the bank until almost there, John watching for directions from the lock keeper, who stands at the lock entrance to help. Finally, when level with the lock and about five metres out, a sharp turn and burst of power let Annie turn into the lock entrance and out of the current without scraping her side - hooray! We always fit longer ropes for rivers, but here we get lowered down their own ropes to hang on to. A (folding?) cleat / T stud near to the cratch might be handy here (we have seen a couple of boats with these fitted), helping the crew at the bow to avoid drifting as water rushes in as you rise in the lock.
Anyway, we were allowed to leave Annie at the visitors moorings in the basin, safe and sound.
Moor on the pontoon if you need to stop in Gainsborough - but moor against the current.

North of Gainsborough
Annie in West Stockwith basin

The wind from behind was blowing John's hat off - hence the yellow hood!

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