Author Topic: voyages up the river severn  (Read 16783 times)

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Offline phil_kirk

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voyages up the river severn
« on: May 14, 2012, 01:20:44 PM »
Yesterday myself and a friend from thornbury decided to see how far we could sail up the river severn and get back again. It was a small 5.8m tide so not the ideal day for this challenge.

Our stead was one of the club wayfarers.  We left thornbury SC slip way at 12.15 before the water had even got over the end of the main slip way.  At set off down wind (up river) in some quite breezy conditions.  We popped up the smaller kite that we had with us (possibly from a GP 14) and set off on a plane.
After 45 minutes we passed Lydney and were level with Sharpness marina.  It was a bit choppy there as the river narrows suddenly. 

Once passed this point we were in a bit more shelter so we popped the big spinnaker.  This kite had come off a small cruiser. We'd had to rig a mast head kite halyard off the top of the main sail to set it.  Probably some 5m^2 more sail area than the standard wayfarer kite.  Well as it filled the boat popped on to the plane and shot off. With the centre of effort up high it was a litle more sensitive than normal.  The mast tip was flexing a bit but not looked ok.  (We had kept the kicker on and pulled some main in to support it int 14 style.  However when it started bending a bit more we chickened out and took the kite down. 

A few moments later we started touching the bottom with both foils which was strange because we were near the middle of the river and an hour before high water.  We took the main down because we were getting shallower and sailed with just the jib and both foils up towards the bank where we expected the deeper water to be.  We found it. 

We decided that it was time to head back we had an hour in the bag before the tide turned with us but new it would be slower beating back. especially in the 20knot  ;) winds.  (it can't have been any windier because club boats aren't allowed out in stronger winds).

With a reef in and the small jib we initially made slow progress against the fast flowing tide.  We quickly erroded our hour without going anywhere and took a further 30 minutes hour to get back to sharpness.  Now back through now the very choppy bit and then on the tide back down the river towards Thornbury.

We radioed the club from sharpness but couldn't hear there reply.  We got better reception when we were only 4 miles from home and confirmed that we would be coming back to thornbury.

As we entered the pill it quickly became evident that we didn't have long to get the boat out.  The side slipway is mostly covered with mud and there was only just enough of it exposed to get a trolley on.  The main slipway was over a meter above the water level.
With a big rope and several helpers we managed to get the boat on the trolley and out of the water. 

From the chart in the club house we could see that we had got level with Frampton pill before turning around. Approx 13 miles upriver from thornbury. We had been on the water for 4 and 1/4 hours. 

Great fun!

Offline Andrew Whapshott

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2012, 02:00:38 PM »
Cool trip!   :)  I've always fancied cruising a wayfarer, camping like Frank Dye used to.     

Theres a fanatastic tarzan-style vine swing a short walk from Sharpness along the canal.  ::)

Offline john_hamilton

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2012, 02:55:48 PM »
sounds like great fun, would probably get even further in a beach cat with skegs!
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Offline ross_burkin

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2012, 02:59:49 PM »
Wayfarers are great boats. I have good memories of big winds down in Brightlingsea with Scouts with 5-6 boats out on the water with 4 people on board! Several day and overnight trips around the area including a Duke of Edinburgh attempt (it didn't really or out).
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Serious plannage in the works...

Offline JimC

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2012, 05:22:05 PM »
Halo got used as a cruising boat on the Norfolk Broads a couple of times. There's something about  (this was pole kite days) coming down a river with 9 feet of kite pole out one side and 7 feet of boom out of the other. Oh and short tacking up a river in traffic and a bit of breeze, twice as manoeuverable and accelerating faster than anything else, calling at everyone to just hold their course and we'd miss them... And the look on this poor women's face who was stuck below doing the washing up and we tacked with the jib maybe 6 inches away from her window... Fun times...

Offline TSC

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2012, 09:17:56 PM »
On a good tide you can get around the corner to Arlingham (halfway around the big oxbow in the River Severn) and back again, but need a slightly bigger tide and a faster boat. It has been done on Spitfires and F18s.

Phil's effort was pretty impressive this weekend on such as small tide, but the conditions were stunning, although I was most upset about getting mud on my jeans helping drag the old tub out!

Offline simon_jones

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2012, 09:51:17 PM »
Thats not a very nice thing to call Phil. ;D

Offline phil_kirk

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2012, 12:58:19 PM »
Thanks for the help up the slipway Paul and others.
We had convinced ourselves that we would have to leave the boat on a mooring and come back at 1am to get her out. 

The mast head kite was about the same are as a 505 kite.  That was a giggle. The mainsheet was a bit short. The hull was a bit flexible.

We took a Radio, flares, tools, food and water just in case we got marooned anywhere.

We did speak to the rescue boat at Lydney yacht club on the way up but they had all gone home on the way back.

When we went aground near high water we realised that there was a distinct possiblitiy that we could get stuck there unless we could make good progress back. 

I would like to see how far you can get on the tide but not restrict ourselves to getting back on that tide.  Could easily stop for some shopping in Gloucester.


Offline Neil C.

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2012, 01:59:48 PM »
I read an excerpt from Frank Dye's book somewhere last year (Y+Y maybe?), where he describes a coastal passage across the Wash from Norfolk to the East Coast. It sounded horrific! They were sailing a Hornet with a sliding seat, the crew had very little sailing experience, no wetsuits, no rescue boat, high winds and a capsize out at sea. All good character building stuff!!!
Well done Phil, I think this kind of thing is great. I take the ferry from Stranraer to Belfast once or twice a year. On a nice summer's day I think it might be feasible to do it in a sailing dinghy, with a following wind and a big rescue boat in attendance. Not that I'm volunteering personally! 

Offline Will_Lee

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2012, 02:00:18 PM »
It is traditional to make the ~60 mile trip to Seville from the sea on a single tide. The tide gets later with you, so you are in the same favourable tide for ~6-8 hours.

W


Offline phil_kirk

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 12:57:24 PM »
Same thing hppens on the Severn. In 13 miles the tide was an hour later than at Thornbury. I suspect if you didn't loose the main channel and had a reasonable tide to get over some of the sand banks without taking a contorted route you could get beyond the tidalart of the river and keep going.

Offline TSC

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2012, 09:23:48 PM »
In order to get out of the tidal part, you need to shoot the Severn on a big tide ie 9m+. with favourable wind 20kts from the SW and get to the wier just South West of Gloucester. The wier is submerged on big tides, sufficiently that a lifting keel cruiser can get over. We have had a couple of boats give it a go over the last 10yrs including a Jeanneau Sun 2000, and also a Wayfarer. In both cases these guys locked into the Sharpness Canal at Gloucester, and motored back down the canal, to reappear on the river at Sharpness for the sail back to Thornbury.  Perhaps your next adventure with Jeremy, Phil?

Offline john_hamilton

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2012, 11:20:51 PM »
getting over the wier sounds cool, cherub sailors daytrip (obvciously not in 05 cherubs, although i reckon slippery could make it)
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Offline phil_kirk

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2013, 01:48:11 PM »
The next River Severn Challenge took us South to a small island Called Flatholm. About 3 miles off Cardiff.
So from Oldbury (TSC) we started with a reach to the bridges in sunshine and had our first cup of tea made on the gymballed under thwart stove.

Between the bridges it went a bit shifty and we had to beat.  By the time we had reached Avonmouth we had a good F4.  We took a reef in the main and furled some of the jib.  It slowly got stronger over the next 15 miles and 4 hours until we had a solid F5. If we strayed out of the main channel into shallower water the waves got very steep and we got quite wet. it was possible to make more non salty tea in these conditions but holding on to the mugs, tea bags and the mess tin from the stove was a challenge. We finally landed on the small beach at Flatholm at 7:15 pm after 6 hours of sailing.  After a few photos we set off back again.  Down wind initially with the reef in whilst Jeremy made dinner.  but then with the reef out and kite up.  We have an old style 505 kite now which fits the boat quite well but provides more power than the Wayfarer one.  Off Portishead at 10pm the wind headed us so we dropped the kite and headed up to sail directly to the new bridge. The wind was also a lot lighter. Our course took us out of the deep water channel and we were about half way between England and Wales when we went aground.  A slightly sureal moment. once under the new bridge we had to find somewhere to stop for an hour to wait for the overfalls under the old bridge to disapear.  We eventually paddled in to Cheptow Sailing club, a muddy pill similar the Thornbury.  We went aground a couple of times because in the dark the water and the bank were difficult to distinguish.  So after a beer on the boat we set off again.  A bit of breeze allowed us to sail under the old bridge but failed us half a mile short of TSC. So the paddles came out again.

Quite a little adventure and lots more learnt. 

Offline Neil C.

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Re: voyages up the river severn
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2013, 09:29:56 PM »
That sounds like a properly epic adventure Phil. It was only when I read it the second time that I realised you ran aground in the middle of the Bristol Channel at 10 o'clock at night, I.e. in the dark!!!