Sunday, 15 July 2012

All Ready But Nowhere To Go

It's not easy being on a tidal river - having to wait for the high water at a time when we could all be present - and with the ghastly weather of late, this was the umpteenth aborted attempt at actually going out on the river.

Mike - who I'm confident knows a thing or two about ropes, hooks, cleats and knots - gave me a first-class lesson in how to get untied. Paul followed his instructions to a tee. Jane tended the geraniums, and I said how windy it was and that I don't think we should go out in it.

I was overruled and so we got ourselves prepared. We sat in the cabin and waited for the tide to come in. And we waited some more. I was poised to lower the shiny new motor into the water and start her up with the key that was all ready to be turned.

The water level rose. The boat began to float. How exciting, I thought. But then the tide went out as quickly as it had come in, and we were left on the mud again with nowhere to go.

There was much talk of neaps and springs, and how we should have been better off next week when the spring tide was due. So we called it a day and agreed to try again next Thursday.

At least Jane managed to get the geraniums dead-headed.


  1. Hi Neil
    Rob from Brixham here. At least you had time on your boat with friends and any time spent on board is prime time and better than watering pot plants at home.As for the tides when you go out on Thurs it will be springs. Make a note of the length of time that she starts to float before dead high tide say for now approx two hrs then allow the same time minus 45 or even an 1 hr until you know the rivers behavior to give yourself a safety margin for any thing that might slow you up. So that would give you floating time and a deadline for mooring up at Wivenhoe of 3hrs. Always better safe than sorry.
    Depending on the nature of the river it sometimes empty's faster than it fills because it is pushing against a flowing down river while on the flooding tide and once the slack water period has passed and the ebb is under way all the water flows downhill to the sea all in the same direction. Every tidal river is different and should be observed of its own unique behaviour.this is governed by length of river and how many creeks it has to empty and such like. Also how far up the river you are.Your speed will be also effected by the direction of flow.It will take you less time if going with the tide flow than against to get back. IE if your motor pushes you at a speed of max 6 mph on a canal with no tide that is the speed it will not exceed.However going with a tidal flow add the speed of the tide say approx 3 mph to your motor speed giving you now a potential speed of maybe 9 mph.But if you are travelling against the flow you must subtract the tidal flow speed from your motor speed giving you a forward speed of only 3 mph .Thus greatly effecting the time to get back to your mooring if your battling against the tide before there is not enough water at Wivenhoe under the boat to moor up. Another piece of advise if there is not much water under the boat tilt your outboard up a notch or two to give you prop clearance of the bottom to protect from damage to the gearbox or prop.
    We are coming up to Essex on the 26th of this month to visit family just for a couple of days to Wimbish and hope to see Ann and would be nice to see you as well.We have a lot in common Neil as I am in the same profession as you are and also a musician.
    Take care. Love to Jane and Ann from Rob the salty one and Karen formerly Schlette from Debden.
    Tight lines and smooth sea's.
    Ps: Keep the blog going.

  2. Hi Rob
    Thanks for all your excellent advice. As you can see from the latest blog, I finally did it! Nice and slow. I'm working locally this week, so if you manage to get over to Wivenhoe, you'll find a few beers waiting for you on board!

  3. Hi there me hearties.
    Sorry could not make it Neil as our stay was so short and just too much to cram in what with a huge BBq and visiting family and sisinlaw over from USA. Brought a 100 mackerel up from Brixham for the family caught the night before i came up. They were very much appreciated.
    Glad your trip was a success out in your own boat for potplants , just a magic feeling isn't it.You are now becoming a salty mate .
    All the best for now and get out and catch some fish to cook up on board, nothing like it with a bottle of white or a couple of real ales.