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Old 14 July 2008, 19:10   #1
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Going on the Thames!

Hi, I'm new...to this site and Ribs!

Some friends and I have recently bought a Rib and want to use it on the Thames. We're relatively in-experienced, but reasonably sensible...ish! We are thinking of putting on in Richmond and going into london to see the sites.

Are there anythings we should look out for or is it better to wait until we're all competent?
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Old 15 July 2008, 02:45   #2
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Hiya Bow and welcome to Ribnet

There is a wealth of experience and good advice to be had on here !
Experiment with the search thread , and seek selective advice about training and possibly Thames trips............

I'm on the Thames myself this week , but berthed at Gallions Point Marina in North Woolwich. A trip through London is absolutely fascinating , but it can get very busy with site seeing , taxi and other vessels .

You may want to buzz through London ( downstream from Wandsworth Bridge - 8 Kt limit upstream ) before the prospective new speed limits come in .

A 7M rib is a serious piece of kit , and I'm guessing that at least one of you has a PB Level 2 qualification . If not I think you may need to address that as a matter of urgency . Of course there is no substitute for real experience.

What does the team think ?................
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Old 15 July 2008, 17:28   #3
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Thanks Bern

Yeah your right...too serious really. We started looking for a 5 mtr with a 70 hp ish engine, work was quiet so we started scanning the net. After a bit of research i thought a 6 mtr with a 115 would be better...a few weeks later and I'm not sure how, but things had morphed into a 7.5 mtr with a 250 mercury!
One of us has his pb2 and before things go much further the rest are going to do the pb2 course, next month has been arranged i think.
Unfortunately the guy with his pb2 can't make the weekend. As you can imagine though we're keen to get out and i thought a gentle trip on the Thames would be ok as long as we are carefull and don't get too excitable!? We've hired canal boats before, but never been on the Thames in the tidal section.
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Old 16 July 2008, 05:41   #4
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Yeah your right...too serious really. We started looking for a 5 mtr with a 70 hp ish engine, work was quiet so we started scanning the net. After a bit of research i thought a 6 mtr with a 115 would be better...a few weeks later and I'm not sure how, but things had morphed into a 7.5 mtr with a 250 mercury!
One of us has his pb2 and before things go much further the rest are going to do the pb2 course, next month has been arranged i think.
Unfortunately the guy with his pb2 can't make the weekend. As you can imagine though we're keen to get out and i thought a gentle trip on the Thames would be ok as long as we are carefull and don't get too excitable!? We've hired canal boats before, but never been on the Thames in the tidal section.
I'm quite new to ribs too (this year) but have many years experience in sailing and other water activities. So I can empathise on wanting to get out on the water.

Clearly, a 250 7.5m rib is tad different in performance terms from a canal boat in perhaps the same way that a sports car is from a milkfloat. So I really would recommend a PB2 as the starting point - this is how I did it and, even with lots of water experience, I learnt a great deal about handling fast boats.

For me, it was the low speed handling that was the key / trickier bit. It doesn't take long to catch on but it's really helpful to be shown and practice the 'right' way of doing those initial 'leaving the pontoon / approaching the mooring' type manoeuvres. (Which are of course the prime opportunities for making mistakes in front of the inevitable audience.) These will be the things you are looking at on your first trip out.

In honesty, I wouldn't do a first trip out without someone who is more experienced (I was nervous with my rib on the first outing and I'm perfectly happy manoeuvring a 40ft yacht in the confines of the Hamble river or sailing offshore.)

However, I guarantee that you will have a huge amount of fun - we haven't stopped grinning this year.

Take it (real) easy. And don't forget your insurance for the Thames!
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Old 16 July 2008, 06:30   #5
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Are there anythings we should look out for or is it better to wait until we're all competent?
Taking your own boat on the tidal Thames is fantastic, but your plan is probably not the best choice for your first time out for a number of reasons:

There are a few small slipways around Richmond, but none of them are particularly suitable if you're trying to launch a largish RIB as a beginner. Parking may also be a problem. Have a look at www.boatlaunch.co.uk for some more details.

You will need to check the tides as there's very little depth below Richmond at low water. You'll probably need to go through Richmond Lock either on the way down, or on the way back.

If you launch at Richmond, then you have 10 miles with an 8 knot speed limit until you get to Wandsworth Bridge. It's a great place for some gentle boating, but a bit of a drag if you really just want to go and see the sights.

The tide on the Thames can be very fast, and if things go wrong they can go wrong fast. You need to be prepared to deal with things like a fouled prop quickly.

If you do decide to go for it then launching at Putney would probably be a better option. Better still would be to head for the south coast and find somewhere a bit less challenging to get you started.

You'll have fun whatever you do!

John
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Old 18 July 2008, 15:11   #6
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hey bow - nice boat by the way!! the Thames is a pretty cool place to go boating - I haven't got tired of whizzing past the tourist sites yet, but without meaning to repeat what's said I'd definately try and get someone who has a bit of experience to go out with you. The tide plays a massive part in what you do, from launching, to coming alongside/leaving/confined turning etc.

if you do go out though my suggestions are -
stick to the right of the channel, only use the middle 3 arches of a 5 arch bridge, and middle of a 3 arch, keep an eye out for logs/bodies/debris, take a knife to clear the prop of rope quickly and avoid the big boats regardless of who has 'right of way'! - they don't seem to want to stay clear of the smaller boats! other one is keep the wake down when passing harbour master/police station/fuel barges. apart from that generally ok to stay on the plane. oh yeh, take a camera too!!
cheers, steve
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