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Old 06 January 2016, 18:30   #1
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Country: UK - England
Town: Margate / Ramsgate
Boat name: Ballistic
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Engine: Yam HPDI 250
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Thames trip for New Year

Quick photo diary of my recent trip from Ramsgate upto St Kats before new year, on the river NYEve and back to Kent last weekend.

Total distance 225nm spread over 4 days on the water (3 days and 1 night), approx fuel 300li in my 7.5 sxorpion / 225 Opti. My friend in his custom RIB "storm chaser" (ex-biffer) used roughly the same amount of diesel in his 250hp / 8m cabin RIB although we didn't meet up until the end of day 1...

Day 1 was rams to Queenbourgh via WW2 forts + Kentish Flats Windfarm, plus a round trip from Queenbourgh upto Chatham and back for some food.

Met up with Storm Chaser in Whistable at dusk and enjoyed the hosparility of one of my commercial customers moored there (tea and toilet stop).

Ran through the swale albeit a falling tide in the dark, there was plenty of water never less than 8ft !

Stopped briefly at Queenbourgh for coffee exhibit infact turned into mulled wine and then wizzed the 1/2 Hr / 10nm upto Chatham.

Chatham don't sell fuel after dark !! This means I now don't have enough fuel for my round trip unless I come to Chatham jn the daylight en route home. Pain.

(Red cans on rib are carried empty for this exact eventually - I can refuel 100li in one hit with the help of a friendly mini cab...).

Back to Queenbourgh for the night. A very friendly all states pontoon and only 10 a night.Click image for larger version

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Old 06 January 2016, 18:40   #2
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Country: UK - England
Town: Margate / Ramsgate
Boat name: Ballistic
Make: Ballistic
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,835
Day 2 - 50 knt gusts, luckly we're Not really at sea !

I wouldn't usually take two days to get to London. It's a nice 3-4 HR trip in the summer !

But the forecast was aweful for today so I Reddied the rib yesterday and got away at lunchtime. It seamed a shame to "do the thames" in the dark so here we are with a whole day to kill.

Lovely breakfast in the queen Phillipa B&B Queenbourgh and kit up in full foul weather gear.

Nothing eventful really and we're quickly in gravesend where you can tie up for coffee. And a warm up.

Then the barrier and the very annoying 12 knt speed limit.... Past the dome and then the interesting part !

Call in at our moorings to pick up some friends for a run through central London down the eye and back...

Then unpack the rib onto a friends borrowed yacht. Luxury accommodation for 5 nights in St Kats. My mates roughing it on storm chaser !!Click image for larger version

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Old 06 January 2016, 18:46   #3
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Country: UK - England
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Left the ribs for a day or two, then got afloat 2200 31/12 and down to Houses of Parliament before the river was closed at 23:30 (only for an hour).

A real prime spot. And the most electric atmosphere.

Jostling for space on the river not for the feint hearted however !!!

After the fireworks ran down to Greenwich to cross the meridian... Well
Because we could really.

Put ribs to bed at 01:00Click image for larger version

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Old 06 January 2016, 18:55   #4
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Thames trip for New Year

Then another 2 days without getting afloat... Did the London tourist thing...

Locked out of St Kats on the tide 0800, left ribs on pontoon for an hour to grab some breckie and proceeded at a hugely fuel in-efficient 12 knts for a while down the the barrier...

It's raining so Geko helmets come out to play. They hinder Comms onboard but really are great at keeping you warm and letting you drive a rib in rain !

Given a fairly horrible forecast, we stopped at gravend again but for fuel
Not coffee. I had used 230li since leaving Ramsgate, less than 50 miles
Home from here but I always like a significant safety margin where fuel is concerned... 50nm = 60-80li of fuel... I have 70. That's too close for call !

I add 80li as we can carry two cans each.

Jennifer can't carry two cans. And I can't carry three. Mini cab !!!

Onwards to the estuary. Under the M25... Sorry no real
Photos as its just so wet !

I'm very glad my scorpion has a bow tank. Light on fuel she's so much more comfortable with some ballast up front in a head sea. Infact she rides lovely with the bow tank full yet still trimmed out slightly.... The pay off is reduced fuel consumption but we press on at nearly 30 knts in fairly bumpy conditions.

Jennifer drives the whole section from Gravesend while I Nav, and tweek tanks and trim... a quick chat in sea reach and we decide Sunday roast in Queenbourgh is in order.

This means we'll be on a rising tide by 1500/1600 so can get thro the swale to shelter a little from the 35kn southerly winds.Click image for larger version

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Last photo scorpion co-pilot Jennifer on the left looking rather wet and storm-chaser co-pilot Amanda competing for the drowned rat look on the right...
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Old 06 January 2016, 19:03   #5
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Country: UK - England
Town: Margate / Ramsgate
Boat name: Ballistic
Make: Ballistic
Length: 7m +
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Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 2,835
Thames trip for New Year

And home time !

It's stopped raining. But it's dark. I love night time RIB'ing. Lucky jeni and I share the driving and she's as capable as I at navigating (at speed) so one drives and the other navigates. Ive setup "atlantic explorer" specifically for this... Although the helm has a small 7" plotter, I rarely have it on the chat page usuall just big screen depth heading and SOG data (I have a fluxgate electronic compass which is far superior to any magnetic steering compass at 30+ knts) - the "proper" 14" plotter is right infront of the passenger (co-pilot) and can be both read and operated at 30+ knts even in a F5-6. Yes seriously.

Anyway back to the trip. Working like this once through the moorings we can proceed safely at 25-30 knts buoy hopping in the dark. It's exhilarating in less than 10ft of water in a narrow channel.

The swale provides some shelter but once off Whistable still in the shallows it's fairly bumpy. We push on at 20-25 knts.

The diesel rib catches a pot off Margate. A constant risk inshore at night. No damage done luckly ! It's a black marker pot so we proceed at 12-15 knts for a while until clear of them.

Then it's really lively the last 5nm around N.Foreland. Really really bumpy, in the dark. Awesome !! Lucky this is my home waters I think to myself... I'm not easily phased but these conditions approaching an unknown port at night would be pretty damn challenging !Click image for larger version

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Old 06 January 2016, 19:07   #6
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Photo of dash "Atlantic Explorer". Customised by me.Click image for larger version

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Old 06 January 2016, 19:16   #7
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Thames trip for New Year

Not many photos of my own boat in this thread; so here she is in flight !

My favourite photo of my favourite boat - taken by Alex "whisper" en route Guernsey > Alderney 2015.

Happy New Year RIBNET !

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Old 06 January 2016, 19:26   #8
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Thanks for your posts, enjoyed reading all about it.

Two great boats there Especially the yellow one
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Old 06 January 2016, 19:41   #9
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That was a great read. Sounded like a lot of fun.

Thanks for posting.
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Old 06 January 2016, 19:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whisper View Post
Two great boats there Especially the scorpion one

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