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Old 27 March 2005, 16:20   #1
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Boatrace, and a lot more!

As planned I travelled to London today with three friends to watch the boat race. I didn’t take the RIB – too many complications. We watched from the Surrey side just next to Barnes Bridge. A bit drizzly but exciting nether-the-less!



It was what followed that was of most “excitement”:



We were walking back to the car along the river, stopping to film passing boats. As we got to Hammersmith Bridge we noticed a large passenger barge coming towards the bridge. Today was a very high spring tide, so clearance under the bridge must have been about 10 feet. We watched on as the barge attempted to proceed under the bridge! The inevitable happened, and the barge hit the bridge, getting totally jammed. It then swung round so that the bow hit one of the pillars holding the bridge up. The tide was still rising, and the boat started to lean over to one side…


Three or so minutes later the passengers were on deck in lifejackets, and two RNLI “E class” Ribs turned up with blue lights flashing. The 8 passengers were transferred to one of the RIBs and taken away. Over the next few minutes five or so other police/PLA and RNLI RIBs turned up, and attempted to remove the barge from under the bridge. By this time the police had closed the bridge…..



Ten minutes later the boat was still stuck, and having tried to pull the barge out, the boats proceeded to try and ram it out. With probably well over 1500hp of RIB and police launch (5 or 6 boats in all) power, the barge slowly edged it’s way clear of the bridge, accompanied by the sound of bending steel, breaking glass and cheers from the hundreds of people that had stopped to watch. Presumably the barges’ engines must have been in operable as the barge was towed back down river.



With the whole thing on film I gave the BBC a call, hoping to get my footage on the tele! They called me back a few minutes later saying they wanted to do an interview for the radio news! Having got all that out of the way we were driving home, to hear my interview on the leading story on the 5 o’clock news!



A very exciting day out! (Lots of pics to follow when I download them from my camera).

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Old 27 March 2005, 16:55   #2
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Fantastic Tim.

Can't wait to see the pics!
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Old 27 March 2005, 16:59   #3
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Here are a selection of shots. I've just captured these from my video camera so they're on the small side. Might post bigger ones if I have any decent ones!
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:00   #4
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Oooops, try again Tim !!
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:02   #5
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More....
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:04   #6
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And more....
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:06   #7
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And more.....
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:07   #8
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Nearly there
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:09   #9
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Thats all!
Might be able to mange some video in time...............
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Old 27 March 2005, 17:59   #10
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If people are bored and want to hear my amazing radio debut (a somewhat edited version I might add!!!), they can do so by following the following link and listening.......(requires real player)

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/londo...ndon/normanjay
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Old 28 March 2005, 07:26   #11
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damn that lousy boat
hammersmith bridge has been closed all morning adding about an hour to my travelling today (i usually just nip across quite easily)
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Old 28 March 2005, 08:13   #12
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Just read on the BBC website that it's going to be closed until tomorrow!
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Old 28 March 2005, 08:19   #13
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arse
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Old 28 March 2005, 09:42   #14
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The RNLI rib in the picture is a serious bit of kit. It's an E-Class, 9m long. It's got Foam sponsons, and has an open stern, with twin Jet Drive engines made by Steyr. The one near me in Gravesend has twin 240hp engines (aluminium) giving it a top speed of 41kts, with limited loss of performance in heavy weather.

Apparently the designers say the hull will not go faster than 41kts, but someone at the station reckons that by fitting twin 350hp jet drives, they "might" get 45-48kts out of it, so they're going to try it! They're constrained by having to be on the scene of a shout in under 15mins for shouts on their patch, so need something as fast as they can get, carrying all their safety kit, and being able to perform in heavy weather.

I was lucky enough to get a spin in one of the E-Classes in the early days before the RNLI overhauled them, and with the buckets controlling the jet engines, from 40 knots they can stop the rib in about 2 boat lengths by reversing the buckets. Turning was also pretty impressive, and the helms can make the rib go sideways!

All in all a very cool rib with a fair amount of power behind it!
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Old 28 March 2005, 14:19   #15
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There will be hell to pay after this years event.

We saw the barge being removed from the bridge on the way back upstream and the whole cabin had shifted back. Even with the Police Delta and the launch they were struggling to get it on a mooring!

The Police Targas who charged off downstream after the event caused a 50ft canal boat to sink just upstream of Hammersmith Bridge. It nearly sank the pontoon it was attached to as well!

Plus one of the umpire boats was holed near to Barnes Bridge. Fortunately it was saved after being driven up a slipway!

That aside I had a wicked day on the ISIS / GOLDIE race. It was quite sobering to see the guys on board my boat from Oxford (who lost the Isis/goldie) so upset. They had given absolutely everything for the last year to a twenty minute race and lost. I must say regardless of the result all the competetors did a bloody good job.

Sorry we didn't get any photos!

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Old 28 March 2005, 14:29   #16
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The barge is the Richmond Venturer, which is run by the River Thames Boat Project www.thamesboatproject.org

The Venturer exists to get people onto the river who may not otherwise be able to, particularly children, the elderly, and disabled peple. The boat is specially adapted to take wheelchair users (it even has a lift!) and the main hold is a classroom. Some of you may have seen the Venturer at the London Boat Show this year, although they were a bit tucked away out of the main run of things.

When I lived in London I was one of the volunteer crew on the Venturer, and I know that they are always looking for more help. It's a great way to spend a day!

John
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Old 28 March 2005, 14:33   #17
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great pics tim

sorry i could not make it with you but it seems the best plase was on the the bank with the rib at home

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Old 28 March 2005, 14:49   #18
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I think someone at Gravesend is pulling your leg. Even downhill with the wind behind them, we struggle to get 40kts. But the station boat is away getting the 256's fitted. Nice.
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Old 28 March 2005, 15:19   #19
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With the "old" configuration on the Tiger Marine E-Classes they struggled to get 38kts. The RNLI have since altered things like the weight distribution in the rib and such, and can now get 41kts out of it. That is a gps reading, so might be some tide in there.
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Old 28 March 2005, 18:36   #20
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Quite a Lot of tide!
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