Monday, 5 May 2014

3 Steps To Barge Parking

The stunning 'Thalatta', 150 tons cargo capacity and originally built at Harwich in 1906, has recently undergone a million pound refurb which took the best part of five years. As Thames barges go she is in pristine condition and was coming in for a pre-season spot of routine maintenance. Having the job of parking her in confined waters could be knee trembling to say the least. I think its fair to say most sailors, even us micro-cruisers, would be able to helm 80 or 90 foot of Thames sailing history in open water, but once in close quarters, be it a creek or narrow channel like this one at Fullbridge, River Chelmer, the mustard is cut by very few, rare men indeed.
  The concentration needed for this little maneuver was sharpened to a razor's edge by having a moored barge just to the right and one on my side of the quay, just a few feet away from where I was stood taking these shots. As well as the confined waters there was a third element, a fair tide, running at a knot and half  - possibly more  - under her way as well. Timing was a major factor in the movements as the barge Gladys had, moments earlier, came out of the dock and was on her way downriver.
  Having the experience of crewing on board these barges in various scenarios I know first-hand how easy it is to all go horribly wrong, which makes it all the more pleasing when you see it done so seemingly effortlessly. If, like me, you find it hard to focus concentration to the point of a dart in flight toward the bulls-eye, here's how to do it with 90 foot of Thames barge scratch-free in 3 easy steps.
Dry dock flooded and ready for Thalatta to arrive.

The bow swung over. At this point the tide could take the stern.

Full rudder and a  few thrusts of her engine.
She's in!
Wack the kettle on then?
Links to Thalatta


Unknown said...

Cracking. Love the blog, read it every week. I just bought Winklers Tales, it's great to know other people enjoy the same things. We made a punt years ago, I shall dig it out again. James.

Creeksailor said...

Thanks James.