Help with planning a trip

BillyBloater

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Mrs Bloater has allowed me to disapear from home for four days in July.

I have started planning a trip to have a look at the tidal Thames. Four days would not give me time to get from home (Pangbourne) to London and back, and I am looking at the best place to launch the boat (17ft Larson). And also secure places to moor overnight.

Initial planning leads me to launch at Penton Hook and travel the fourteen or so miles to Teddington Marina in the first day. Overnight at Teddington and travel the 30 ish miles to the Gallions Reach Marina on day two. Reversing the return journey on days 3 and 4.

Does this seem reasonable / sensible ?

Does Penton hook have a good slipway and can I park the car and trailer (at a reasonable cost) until I return?

Should I be looking at alternative launching / mooring sites.

Any ideas or advice gratefully received.

Cheers

Billy
 

DogsBody

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You could always PM Mike_Gates on this forum. He is manager of MDL's Bray and Windsor marinas and I'm sure he'll have all the info for Penton Hook also.

Darren.
 

BillyBloater

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I have just spoken with Penton Hook Marina and launching is not a problem.

My main concern is whether the distances between Penton Hook and Teddington and then Teddington to Gallions Marina are reasonable?

Any thoughts?
 

Andrew_Fanner

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I reckon to take two hours to Teddington and then another two to London Bridge starting from Sunbury, Richmond Barrier open and following speed regs. Downstream of the Wandle (Wandsworth) is derestricted by much > 10 knots and the PLA still grump about excess speed of you are making too much wash.

Work your tides round Richmond and being able to lock into Galleons. Barrier control will expect a VHF contact to request passage, don't know what you do if you have no vhf.

A 17' boat might be "exciting" if the Pool is choppy, ie 09:00-18:00 or so, when the trippers are running.

There are managed slips downstream of Penton Hook, Bridge Marine in Walton is one.
 

ms1

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Would suggest Penton to Teddington fine day one , with overnight Teddington and next day departure to the tideway. As Andrew mentioned choppy in LON during tripper times so avoid this if you can. Gallions can be difficult to raise on your approach, if you want a Marina with the gates already open as you approach and a quick locking you will find South Dock Marina very welcoming (and manned 24 hours). Ideally you should have some reasonable power in reserve to deal with Central London. VHF advisable even if it is just to hear what is going on around you. Allow yourself some time for rowers Chiswick, Hammersmith & Putney area especially at weekends.
 

BillyBloater

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Thanks Andrew,

Sounds like you think I may be being a bit on the cautious side.

How far downstream do you think I could comfortably get bearing in mind I need a mooring and I need to return the next day? If Galleons is easy do you think that Gravesend may be pushing my luck?

Looking at the PLA website the Thames Barrier Looks like it can be navigated without VHF although I am looking at a hand held.

Looking at the tides for the dates I am looking for I can 'lock in' to Galleons at a reasonable time of day. Obviously the tide will be against me for part of the day, Will this mean that I will need a bit more power or will it be that 'uncomfortable' that I should more up and wait? I know what height the tides will be but I am struggling to work out how much effect this will have on the flow velocity.

Thanks again
 

BillyBloater

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Thanks Martin,

Sounds like VHF will be worth investing in. The boat is not short of power - 3.5 litre mercruiser so that is at least one thing I should not have to worry about.
 

ms1

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suggest work back from your locking times right back to leaving Richmond. With 3.5 litre you shouldn't really have to worry too much about what the tide is going, unless you have strong wind blowing oppostte to tide then it will make for more rougher water. I cant imagine you'll experience more than say 2 or 3 knots of tide against you - I expect Andrew knows more than I.
You dont moor up and wait in London you pretty much have to get where you are going as there are no landing stages after Chiswick maybe Chelsea at a push. Prob easiest time to enter any marina in London is at high tide - therefore slack water.
 

Brayman

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The easiest time to get into a marina is indeed slack water but going downstream it's not that easy unless you use the lock at Richmond before the barrier opens. I've never been into Gallions but I understand it has a very large window compared to other marinas. With a boat of your power you shouldn't have any problem with any of them really. The ony problem I've heard of with Gallions is that they don't have much room for visitors, which itself is surprising since they advertise so much.
 

BillyBloater

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Gallions has a window 5 hours either side of high tide.

I have spoken with the chap at Gallions and they don't think that they will have a problem accomodating a small boat like ours.

Thanks
 

Andrew_Fanner

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>>>
How far downstream do you think I could comfortably get bearing in mind I need a mooring and I need to return the next day? If Galleons is easy do you think that Gravesend may be pushing my luck?
>>>
Yes, and no.

No, you look like you have the grunt to punch the flood if need be and probably the speed to accelarate downstream of the Barrier where I usually do 12 knots or so, Yes because Gravesend has a very narrow window, HW +/- 1.5 ISTR. There is very little in the way of marina mooring, or anything but picking up a buoy, between Galleon's and Gillingham save for Gravesend, otherwise its Grays YC, Erith ditto or into Queenborough, none of which would be mch fun in a 17' boat unless the weather was very clement and even then passing traffic might shake you up.

In your shoes I would investigate slipping as close to Teddington as possible (there is a slip into the tidal side but I don't know about access and then seeing how far I got in half a day, taking into account tides and weather, before returning to Galleons. With my boat Gillingham/Chatham is about 6 1/2 hours from Hammerton's Ferry (effectively Richmond) without going much above 15 knots and I guess you could do better than that given weather and fuel. If you have decent nav lights and safety gear don't rule out night or early morning just as dawn breaks, London is great from the river at night and sunrise over Tower Bridge is a very special sight. You will also find the Pool to be pretty flat too.

Imray C2 shows tidal diamonds for the river.
 

MiskinDriver

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Gallions will have space - there are plenty of empty moorings there.

Access is easy, anytime within the 5 hours either side of the tide. I was resident there until a couple of weeks ago and never had any problem getting in. As long as you know which way the tide is running, then you have loads of space to set yourself up properly. Don't try and use VHF with Gallions, they don't listen. Give em a call on the mobile 5 - 10 mins out and they'll have the gates open for you. Watch it though - they charge £5 each way through the lock! And going out in the evening is a bit of a trek (or bus ride as they say in these parts) there's nothing in walking distance.

Your timings look good to me. As most of it is speed restricted anyway, there's no problem. Though the PLA claim you should stay at 10 kts even in the derestricted bits, nobody (least of all the police) takes any notice. Ease down wherever sopmething is going on - for moored boats etc - but otherwise no problem once you're downstream of Wandsworth (or, practically, Tower). I went up Blackwall Reach at near 30 kts the other day and got passed by the police RIB!
 

jaws

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Having power is one thing, but you need to be carefull as the river is full of rubbish. With a single engine you need to be even more cautious. It might be worth giving London VTS a call before you set off to let them know your plans and estimated arrival time at the barrier so they can look out for you. A VHF is a must and a constant watch on CH14. Also take the london VTS phone number with you just in case.
It's worth doing the journey early in the morning when the river is at it's calmest so you can spot any flotsome and jettsome.
If you are planning on going out when you get to Gallions, I understand that there isn't much there as it's at the end of City Airport. You might be better off coming back up and staying in Limehouse or St Kats.

There is nothing that beats going through central London for the first time on your own boat, however.
 

miket

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Lots of advice on the passage bit, mostly good.
Why Penton Hook?
Try Chas Newens at Putney, sport boat dealer, if he is still operating. This skips the modestly awkward bit around Richmond.
Excuse me for seeming harsh, but you don't seem very well prepared. I am fairly certain that a vhf radio is obligatory through the Pool of London. They even make the sardine cans carry them from Brentford to Teddington.
Are you intending to do this on your own? I am not sure that is a very good idea the first time.
What is the attraction of Galleons Point other than being furthest downstream? I have never been there but thought it was meant to be a dump. Very convenient for slow boats breaking the journey to Ramsgate and France and probably a good option for liveaboards working in London, but to visit? Not for me thank you.
Pick a date when the tide is right for around 06.00 Richmond (HW-2hrs). Down through London in calm water, carry on down to the barrier and on down to the Yantlet Flats, opposite the oil refinery, and drop the hook for brunch. Nothing like a good fry up with the oil refinery fumes. While away the morning fishing, reading, or whatever turns you on and then, when the tide turns, cruise back up to Limehouse, South Dock or St Kats (closed part of June and July) and have a night in a decent marina where you have a fighting chance of a decent meal without walking for miles to find it and probably being mugged on the way!!
But take another crew, preferably one with some boaty skill.
Oh and last point. Make sure you have enough fuel for down and back because I don't think any of the London fuel barges carry petrol. And don't forget the mortgage for all that fuel!
Have a good trip.
 

BillyBloater

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Thanks for the comments,

Don't worry about 'being harsh' I am fairly thick skinned! As I said in my origional post I am in the process of planning this trip for July. So you are correct when you say I am not very well prepared yet.

I will be accompanied by a crew of 2 others who between them have a reasonable amount of varied experience - including a few channel crossings in a home built 14ft runabout (some years ago using an Esso road map to navigate, but that is a different story!).

The reason for starting at Penton Hook is that this will enable us to cover as much of the Thames between home and London as we can in the time we have available. If we go with this plan then I will cover the Pangbourne to Penton leg on another occasion.

I will check out Limehouse as an alternative to Gallions as it would be nice to go out for a bite to eat. We would also be looking for accomodation that will not break the bank if any one has any reccomendations.

Thanks again for your help - This forum really can be very usefull at times !!

Cheers.
 

Brayman

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[ QUOTE ]
We would also be looking for accomodation that will not break the bank if any one has any reccomendations.


[/ QUOTE ]
Now that really puts a different complexion on it, I would say that puts Galleons out of it. I'm sure there must be something around Limehouse but, being able to stay on board, it's not an area I'm familiar with, land based accommodation, that is.
 

Andrew_Fanner

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Join the CA and go for a cabin at ther clubhouse. No idea if non members can do that. You can go for a drink though, the food is quite tolerable too. Failing that there are lots of eating places in walking distance, from fish n chips to excellent curry. The "delights" of Canary Wharf are a short DLR hop from Limehouse.
 

Nat

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Hi There Billybloater
There is no such thing as cheap accomadation anywhere round Limehouse, St Kats
or Canary Wharf. You will find a of Formula 1 at Barking along with a few other spots which are nearer Gallions. If you really want cheap try the Californian Pub in Nth Woolwich. Caters for workmen & not exactly the ritz. Ask for Ed the Shed.If you decide on Gallions there is nothing within a £5.00 minicab ride. even to the nearest station. If you go out in Canary wharf be prepared to pay a wopping £3.50 to £4.00 for a bottle of Bud, Corona or similar. However there is a large wetherspoons where the prices are ok. If you manage to get into Limehouse there is an exellent Chinese in Commercial Rd called the Tai Pan within 5 mins walk, they do a 14.50 per head all you can eat menu & the food is great. If you use the main restaraunts in or around the wharf ie Groucho Grill.China Gdn, Somollenskis you wont get much change out of £100.00 for 2 depending on how much you drink. I live in the area & know most places first hand.
So if you eat & drink as much as your name & pic suggest it could be a expensive trip
cheers Nat
 

BillyBloater

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Thank You Nat,

Always good to get some local knowledge.

I think that I may cheat and either drive or catch a train up between now and the trip. This will give me a chance to decide on the best way ahead.

Names and Pics mean very little - I am really 8ft tall and weigh 6 and a half stone. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Cheers

Billy
 

Black Sheep

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On radios - not compulsory at your size, but really really useful (& interesting) to keep a listening watch on VTS frequency so you know what's going on (ch14 in Town, ch68 in lower reaches) . You can contact the barrier by phone.

I'm not a powerboater so can't advise on times/speeds. But Andrew_Fanner is right that Gravesend marina is only accessible at the top of the tide. Visitors buoys outside though, but it's a lumpy place to spend the night. Can you sleep aboard?
 
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