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Old 04-06-2012, 07:29   #1
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Atoll's Adventure, Offshore in a Canal Barge!

last week i was asked if i could deliver an 80 ft canal barge from grimsby on the east coast of the uk (north sea)to the thames estuary,,off shore for about 190 miles,then 110 miles up through the tidal thames river,and into the upper reaches that are fresh water and locked (21locks) to henley on thames.

the barge is 80 ft over all powered by a ford dover 134 hp engine,and 60 tons,with a maximum speed of 4.5 knots in flat river conditions.

there had allready been two other attempts at doing the delivery by another skipper,but due to weather and fuel problems and getting towed in by the coast guard! the job was passed on to me.........sucker!!!!!!

we left grimsby monday 2 hours after hw giving us a 2knot push down the humber river for the 15 miles untill it meets the north sea.

conditions were excellent with only a 2 ft chop and were able to maintain 5 knots.
that evening we turned south,against the ebb,and found the best speed was 1.5 knots against the flow! this was going to be a long trip.

the next morning found us about 50 miles further down the coast.

when we checked the fuel we found that,instead of the gallon an hour @ 4.5 knots that we had been assured by the prev skipper and owner was the cosumption,it was more like 2 gal's at 2.5-3 knots!!!!!!
leaving us short on fuel,so we decided to do a brief stop in great yarmouth later in the day.

my fault really as i knew the consumption should be nearer 1.5-2 gal per hour.
but there was nearly 200 gallons of contaminated fuel that might have been used in an emergency.

more to follow,a few photos of the humber river and the north sea.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:41   #2
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

At least you didn't have to mix it with the flotilla on Sunday !

Looking forward to the next instalment.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:45   #3
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

atoll--wow--sounds like sooo much fun in the cold water--you are brave! (or something)
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:58   #4
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

great yarmouth was interesting getting into,as the currents on the outer banks run fast, and tidal stream in the river that constitutes the busy harbour.

fortunately our arrival coincided with hw slack so the harbour enterance was easy,after the offshore channel that we went through at 7.5 knots!,
that is 3.5 knots boat speed and 4 knots of current.,hard to stop!!!

as the fuel dock for small craft no longer is open we had to continue another mile up the river were we were able to tie up nearby a fuel station and carry another 200 liters on board using jerry cans.

by now the tide had changed and the river was in full ebb at about 4 knots!
so had some dinner and a short sleep,then pushed off again around midnight at low water to catch the flood tide going south.

the following morning found us in thick fog,off of harwich,one of the busyiest ports in the uk ,though we knew there was a ship passing every 15 minutes we only saw 1,and canal boats dont generally have radar!!!!

that night we dropped anchor off "foulness sands" in 7 m of water about 5 miles from the nearest land!
light winds and fairly protected from swell by the estuary and nearby sandbanks that just exposed at low water.

some photos of the enterance to the thames estuary.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:19   #5
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

reaching sea reach bouy#1 we called up london vts,that co-ordinates the traffic on the thames and let them know we were coming,and our max speed was 3.5 knots,and proceeded on up the river untill hw slack,then asked permission to anchor in "mucking flats" and wait for the next flood tide 6 hours later,it was a great feeling to have land all around us,and no chance of big waves!

the barge in any thing over 3ft waves would have become very unstable and have no steerage,plus the propellor being only 8" below the transome,cavitated in any revs over 1400!
the next section brought us up in to london proper,and we tied up to one of the vts barges,just after tower bridge,to wait the next tide at 04h30.

the guys from london vts were great,finding us somewhere to tie up,and coming by in the launch and asking if we needed help tieing up,that can be difficult with 3 knots of current from behind!
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:25   #6
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

looks like a tough but fun trip......cool looking barge, btw
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:29   #7
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

Great Job! Sounded like you were the right man for the job !
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:35   #8
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

04h30,after some dinner and a sleep had us pushing off with a slight current against us,which was great as the next section envolved going under 17 bridges,where you can get swirling eddies making steering difficult under the narrow spans.

today was also the day before the queens jubilee celebration with 1000 boats coming down to take part,so added care was needed,fortunately we passed most of them in richmond and teddington lock.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:45   #9
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

reaching richmond lock was a great relief as we would now only have 21 locks,44 miles and flat fresh river/canal and very little current to navigate till "shamrock" reached its new home.
along the way we saw the queens ceremonial barge and lots of traditional river craft all dressed up for the celebration.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:54   #10
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

Quote:
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reaching richmond lock was a great relief as we would now only have 21 locks,44 miles and flat fresh river/canal and very little current to navigate till "shamrock" reached its new home.
along the way we saw the queens ceremonial barge and lots of traditional river craft all dressed up for the celebration.

Really like the boats in photo 6. Amazing trip and great sight seeing!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:02   #11
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

What a great trip, and with perfect timing too! Love the Queen's Ceremonial Barge. And those UK marine place names are always priceless, "foulness sands" and "mucking flats" are typical brit place names that say it all. Here good old Cook gave us "Point No Point" and "Useless Bay" and other similar examples...
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:04   #12
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

the last streach was through beautiful english coutryside,surrounded by stately homes,castles,wildlife and other river users.

over the 7 days of the 300mile trip we averaged 2knots,burned about 150 gallons of fuel, ate 30 bacon sandwiches,stopped 6 times,for 5 hours between tides and had maybe 20 hours sleep!

would i do it again.........a definite maybe!!!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:19   #13
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

wow!!!! pretty!!!!!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:44   #14
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

Quote:
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wow!!!! pretty!!!!!
a few more misc.pretty pictures for you!
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:51   #15
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Re: atoll's adventure,offshore in a canal barge!!!

some more
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