"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells"

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Does anyone else hate rowers as much as I do? They have no training, pay next to sod all to use the river and think that they have a god given right to go where they please. I was motoring downriver a few weeks ago towards Mortlake with a spring low-tide approaching (and thus no water, so I was putting a bit of a move on). Went under a bridge, and saw two coxless fours and a single coming towards me, all over the river. I had to use the centre arch (as did the Sealine and Princess behind me) as there was a very tight channel. The fours were trying to race each other (badly) and were weaving everywhere. They suddenly split in two as I was under the arch. Not having anywhere to go, I went astern and stopped. They still hadn't seen me as they were heading straight for me. I blipped the horn and they looked round in fury, gesticulating and swearing, shouting "you're right in the middle of the f**king river!".

Now excuse me, but they have a draught of ooh, about 10cm if it is crewed by a load of lardies. The channel was about 10m wide at this stage of the tide. My draught is 3 feet. At a spring low-tide there is no water at all, which was approaching in just over an hour. So I have to stay in the middle. What are they on!? And if you pass a rower at anything more than tickover, the wash from the props, yes all 4cm height of it, will swamp them and their miserable fibreglass excuses for a boat. Rowers then say that rowers had been there before boats were invented. Yes, but they used high-sided wooden jobs before then.

I pay £450 a year to use the EA controlled part of the Thames, and I had to put the boat through a really stringent BSS exam, putting in a holding tank, diesel drip trays, gas regs etc etc. I also have an ICC and have been driving boats on the Thames and in France since I was 10 years old. I reckon that rowers ought to take some sort of test to check that they know basic col regs and at the very least, be forced to put a wing mirror on their coxless boats. And a fee for using the river. Why not? At least then they may appreciate that there are other users of the river.

The next day, having gone through the Blackwall Point VHF "permission for the barrier, please" malarky, I saw a pair of rowers looking (and swearing) furiously at the tugs/barges/anything with an engine that were passing them as they were rowing towards the Thames Barrier. On the wrong side of the river. No VHF or anything, let alone lifejackets. Good god! I felt like going over and dropping the old CQR straight through their miserable little craft.

All spleen-venting out now. Anybody feel like petitioning the PLA and EA for educating these berks who call themselves rowers and making them take an exam?

They really need a slap. The really do.
 

jfm

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Cor blimey you\'re quite narked aren\'t you

Howsabout just stay in middle of river but display the dayshape for constrained by draught (can't remeber, pretty sure it's a black cylinder but if not it's ball-diamond-ball) then insist on the colregs and hoot at them 4 times ("make your intentions clear") then that's enough diplomacy

JFM
 
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Re: Cor blimey you\'re quite narked aren\'t you

I have a better idea. Next time I will broadside them at 15 knots.

It is pretty unlikely the blasted rowers would know what a cone is for (?yacht that is motoring under power). And I have only got a titchy mast that carries the burgee, RNLI flag and lights so carrying a set of cones etc. is right out.

The last time I bipped the horn five times (?i think that is the right number) the sculler was so startled that they dropped one oar and crashed straight into me.

And what is it with speed limits? I suppose rowers are exempt from the four knot speed limit above Teddington, but their support boats aren't! At 0800 the other day the rowers belted past with barely a ripple, but the support boat with its dirty 20hp two-stroke nearly threw us up the bank.

Phew! No more coffee and Red Bull mixers for me...
 

byron

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Re: \"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells\"

Didn't you know? To be a Rower you first have to learn swear words in several languages, you must not under any circumstances have any maritime knowledge what-so-ever, then you are educated to believe that all other craft will get out of your way even if it means running aground and preferably tearing your props off. Anything more than this then you are relegated to Dinghy Sailor where you honestly believe that power gives way to sail and there's no such thing as "restricted by draught and manorvrability"
here endeth the lesson ;)

©2001
 
G

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Re: Colregs

Oh yeah. It is a cylinder. [smacks head in shame].

It must be all these MBBS Part A exams that I am supposed to be revising for.
 
G

Guest

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Re: Right! learn this

RIGHT THEN...

"Right-left-back is one-two-three
But if it's too-toot narrow then hoot accordinglee"

means : line 1 : 1 hoot to move right, 2 to left, 3 astern
line 2 : prefix above by 2 long blasts in narrow channel




"stay alive - till FIVE"

means a) seeing the view ahead as clock face, give way between 0 and 5 o'clock.
AND also b) five blasts means watcha doing, intentions etc
AND c) a long blast is FIVE seconds


Ooky-Dookey?! (pronounced "OO-ki DOO-ki")

ie. long short long short means: I agree with signal!
 

martin

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Re: \"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells\"

Could not agree more...Totally agree wiv testing them and making them pay money to use the Thames too... My rowing chums seem to think that the whole Motor boat baiting thing is grate fun...but don't realise the danger they are in..

Whenever I turn a corner on the Thames and see rowers coming towards me I have to take a deep calming breathe and chill... I then wait for the abuse....smile and cuise by looking as un flustered as I can....

once or twice i have wanted to sink the bast%^&*s or engage them in verbals...but what good is it.. usually two or three of em...fit buggers and only one of me.. also wiv wife and kids on board not a good example to set.

Best defence so far has been acidentally knocking throttle as i pass and then shouting deep appologies as cruise into distance..chuckle chuckle... important not to chuckle until little way away though..
 

markc

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Re: It was me behind you!

Hi Doug

It was me behind you during that incident [Fairline, not Princess :)), and my mate behind me in the Sealine.

If you are interested, they then proceeded to shout and swear at me - I don't know if you saw, but I totaly lost it with them. The same happened to Phil in the Sealine.

We moored up at Chiswick pier and I asked the chap what planet the rowers were on and I found out some interesting info. Rowers belive that when rowing with the stream, they are allowed to occupy the centre of the river and when rowing against the stream they are supposed to be at the sides. As we all know, this is not correct, but hey!

I have now decided, upon this basis, that if I encounter rowers doing this, I will stick to the 8 knot speed limit - even if I am pushing the tide. I'll keep the hi-fi up loud and wear mirror shades and pretend that I am the only one on the river - just like them!

Mark
 

colinroybarrett

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Re: It was me behind you!

I believe that I’ve seen these “rowing rules” actually written down somewhere, is it in the PLA booklet, available from Richmond lock?

When it last happened to us, we’d just left Richmond ½ tide lock and were chasing a large trip-boat in about 2 inches of rising water. Since he seemed to know where to find the deeper water, I was trying to catch up with him.

A lone rower, coming upstream was way over to our port side, ignore him I thought; next thing I hear is a stream of invective, he’d shot right across river and was crossing our admittedly rather hefty stern wake. Got his smart white shorts a little damp!

They certainly do seem to be “Bears of little brain” when it comes to interacting with other river users?
 
G

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Re: It was me behind you!

At last! Someone to corroborate my story! Sorry - thought it was a Princess - didn't look too carefully. It was entertaining watching you have a go at them though. You got stuck at Hammersmith bridge didn't you? I think I also saw you the next day outward bound from the Barrier when we were inward bound (having met an uncharted sandback in the Yantlet channel).

We accidentally (honest) knocked the throttles once as rowers went past. It was a coxed eight full of enormous blokes. We were about 50 metres past them, time to open the throttles a little now, we thought. Put them forwards a bit and the sudden wave swamped them. They rowed to the bank, tipped their boat over and glared at us. One of them starting running along the bank ...

We continued at much faster than 8 knots until they were out of sight!

Those rowers in the middle of the river were the most unfit that I have ever seen! They looked glad of the opportunity to stop. We were probably doing them a favour stopping them - if they had carried on uninterrupted it looked like a few of them would have had heart attacks!
 

duncan

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Re: It was me behind you!

Think we are in danger of missing something here - there are reasonable rowers out there - the majority maybe - and being considerate to their needs (wake!) doesn't cost a lot and helps keep the majority of both sides recognised as reasonable people.

On the other hand obviously unreasonable behaviour of the type sited at the start of this thread is eventually going to land someone in trouble (probably cold water if you go around pretending you own the place in a fragile unmanoeverable craft with 2" of freeboard on a tidal waterway)
 
G

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Re: Right! learn this

Thanks for the rhyme, I have printed that out and will learn it! I do sympathise with the experiences with rowers - we have them on the Itchen at Southampton and they are annoying with the yelling through megaphones and the support boat wash BUT we have several clubs and they are not all the same ... [I don't row btw] I've found that the smaller crews without support boats and a cox with a big mouth are more corteous and friendly [will thank you for not making wash, etc and will stay out of the way. But the bigger [university] crews are the worst with a cox AND the even bigger mouth in the support boat who is at least 15 feet away from them and you would think he was on the stage at Glastonbury!!!!

So my feeling is that you have to assess your prey and if they are the latter then sink them, ram them, drop CQR's through the boat, puncture the support boat, hey mow them down with an Ouzi [if you have one] but don't expect them to actually learn the rules - they are at Uni remember, us peasants cannot be more clued up than them now can we! Or contact the club and try to reach an understanding with them if you have not quite given up on the human race ...

The human race is just that - a race for whatever 'group' you are a member of to come out as the superior! Whether that group is skin colour, language, hair length, waist size, hearing ability, gender, motorist, pedestrian, yachty, motorboater or rower! My feeling is that we should at least try to soften the boundaries and if you can give a little and you get thanked then great if you get sworn at then don't give up on all the rest because of the ignorant, arrogant few ... I'm going to shutup now!
 

peterandjeanette

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As a previous answer mentioned "support boats" I would add to the debate of the pompous a**holes who drive these things. Their only purpose in life is to embarrass as many motor boat helmsmen as they can by shouting as loud as possible through their megaphones in an abortive attempt to enhance their own ego. My reply to them has appeared through an electronic musical megaphone I bought many years ago. If they think they can attract the attention of those bystanders in the gardens of the local hostelry or lining the nearest bridge for their special edification to upset me then they haven't heard my reply - yet.
 
G

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Re: \"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells\"

As former rowing coach on both stretches of the river you mentioned. Putney and Greenwhich. As well as a motor cruiser
owner. I an disapointed that you should take such an arrogant approach to other river users. Rowing at full press, looking the wrong way is exciting and dangerous. Not only from the Gin Palace owners like yourself,but the river itself and the odd shopping trolley falling off the briges. Stopping an eight at speed requires teamwork and skill, an error and your likely to get a blade in your face or the shell swamped. You will know that the current, particularly beyond Tower Bridge is difficult to swim against. The last thing you need with novices is to turn them into the rat invested water. I would suggest to you that the numbers of people getting pleasure from the river in those boats, probably exceeded the total number a crew in all the boats mentioned. I should admire their courage and remember we are now in the age of Mobile phones and your boat has a name on it. Live and let live. Oh! by the way how many Gold medals do you have, Steve Redgrave rows at Putney.
Allow yourself more tme, and enjoy the trip.


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duncan

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Re: \"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells\"

I am confused as to the point you are making; sorry, it's probably me.
I am sure that everyone here can agree over the live and let live element - in fact I think that is the underlying message from all elements of this thread - but in order for this to take place there has to be both an acceptace of other users and the fact that changing circumstances may result in a need to alter 'normal' behaviour.
I think this thread, as many before it, is focussed rightly on the latter element (notwithstanding some of the overly aggressive stances indicated - but not meant literally (?))
Getting all agresive about a powerboat in the way, without consideration of the fact that at that particular state of the tide it can't is the example under discussion.
At the danger of widening it, firstly exiting and dangerous are generally limited to restricted (safe for others) enviroments and secondly I think you will find that some of the UKs waterskiing elements who frequent this arena have achieved much to be proud of over the years.
 

byron

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Re: \"Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells\"

According to this ex-coach Rowers can do what they wish and act dangerously putting themselves and other craft at risk because of mobile phones. As for Steve Redgrave whom I happen to know being a Leander man myself, he deplores the bad behaviour so often exhibited by Rowers. As regards gold medals, what the hell has that got to do with some oiks causing dismay, consternation and disharmony?

©2001
 
G

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Interesting points.

Before you take the crews out on the river, do you instruct the crews as to the way of the river? Do you teach them how motorboaters, narrowboaters and barges operate? I used to row in a coxed eight at Putney, and the training before I got in the boat consisted of telling us the names of the different boats/rowers etc. Wherever possible, I use one engine to minimise wash and I always go to neutral or tickover whenever I see a rower well in advance to let the wash die down. However, there are some times when I need two engines, such as when going against the current or when I need manouverability - a motor boat cannot move with water going against the rudders/using the engines.

If you don't want to fall into the river at Greenwich, then why do you row there? It is a treacherous part of the river (if you don't have an engine/safety equipment) and it is a working port that has a high volume of shipping going about. Why should commercial traffic (which outnumbers pleasure cruisers at that point) slow down and compromise their schedules (which they must maintain to remain economically viable) for two rowers? At the very least, the rowers should have a VHF and lifejackets. I have never seen a crew with either, at any part of the Thames.

If you have a mobile phone, good for you. Who would you ring, by the way to report a boat to? I am curious, because there are many rowers that I would like to report. Will you ring the PLA, the EA, the SSR or the home port of the vessel? Will they do anything about it?

Nice of you to call my boat a "gin palace", but it is only a Moonraker! An oldy but goody.

The crux of my argument (ready?): I spend a lot of time educating myself, attending courses, practising in marinas, asking people who have more experience, reading magazines/books/guides/RYA publications to make sure that I am safe and that I follow the rules. Remember, the river is an element that can very easily be lethal. Many motorboating (and yachting) rules are to make sure that no accidents happen and that lives are not at stake. You can drown in two inches of water. I objected to those in the original post because I was passing underneath a bridge. I had to stop the engines, thereby losing control. I could have drifted into the supports of the bridge, smashed the boat or been knocked overboard, hit my head and drowned. More at risk are those in the rowing boat. They did not have lifejackets which would have inflated had they falled in and been knocked unconcious. I did not wish to be responsible for their injuries/deaths so I made them aware of where our three boats were. In return I (and the other boat crews) received a load of abuse.

We are all on the river to enjoy it. I am making the point that I believe that rowers should be better educated, be more aware of other users and show the same respect to other users as we try to show to them. The rowers should have been aware that I was forced to use the middle span as I was restricted by draught. If I had used the correct horn signal, would they have understood it? No they would have thought that I was being flashy and superior. Yes there are poor motorboaters, but there are many more poor rowers. I have been passing rowing clubs with no one in the water and they have shouted abuse because they feel that they are the ones with the right to exclusively enjoy the river. Why?

I think that each crew should carry a minimum of one qualified rower who is trained to react to river situations involving other boats. Why would rowers object? It is their lives at stake. And would you object to having to carry a mirror to see what was in front of you? Or would that lessen the danger, and therefore the excitement for you?

And finally: What on earth are you talking about with Steve Redgrave!? Michael Shumacher is multiple World F1 Champion - does that mean I can drive flat out round the M25?!

Sorry about the long ramble.
 
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