January was not particularly exciting which is good and bad. Good that the weather hasn’t been so dreadful as to flood the Thames and bad in that it’s just been wet enough to restrict me moving around. So I was delighted to see just over a week ago that the forecast was for a long period of fairly dry weather and the Environment Agency boards were slowly changing from red (you’d have to be mad to go out) to yellow ( stream decreasing but be careful). I decided on a simple trip to Marlow and back over a week.
The boards were all yellow and I felt it worth gaining the experience, I was going upstream so knew I’d have more control. Leaving my mooring at Windsor is not easy going upstream as I’m so close to the low bridge. This needs to be negotiated smack in the centre as the arches are pretty close to my roof. I do an S type departure but this time the current had me drifting so I threw away the first attempt to give myself more room. The second attempt worked a treat. The river was not at all scary but the current took me in some odd directions. I enjoyed trying to evaluate what was happening to the water and the boat. Angela Dawn handled beautifully, to cruise at 4 knots I needed 16 – 1800 RPM, compared to normally 11 – 1200 RPM. Where the river was compressed such as round islands or narrows the speed would quickly bleed off to 2 – 3 knots. Maidenhead road bridge was particularly interesting. It’s a large brick bridge with wide pillars compressing the water between them. After negotiating the rowers from the local club I lined up very carefully and advanced slowly. Once under the bridge the boat almost stopped and took a boot of power to pop out like a cork on the other side.
I spent several days at Marlow enjoying the river walks and pubs and waiting for the water stream to decrease. I would not have gone downstream on the first day, certainly it would have been dangerous to negotiate the bridges as I’d have struggled to get the speed down. When I did return to Windsor the yellow warning were being removed yet I still cruised at 5 knots with the engine mostly in tick over at 900 RPM. I stopped at Cookham Lock for the night to fill up with water and give the batteries a charge. This meant turning 180 degrees in the cut so the power cable would reach and squeezing into a snug space between some maintenance barges. In the morning I had to turn around again to enter the lock.
Back now at Windsor and planning to head to Teddington and maybe stick my toes in the tidal river for a few hours.