Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The River Trent

The Skipper’s done well since we left the floating pontoons outside Torksey Lock and set off downstream towards West Stockwith. He’s been getting on with it!
It was a passage and a half though! .... It was wonderful!

The blustery ruins of Torksey Castle from the River Trent

For the first half an hour the Skipper really raised my heartbeat to stem the last of the flood tide which was rushing against us and I don’t think ‘JP2’ had revved so quickly for so long in the two years since the ‘Old Man’s been in charge. A fresh to strong following wind against the tide, made the river conditions very choppy and the resultant swell that was building up astern would have been a bit tiresome (even for me!) had we been beating into it.
It certainly would have splashed my nose a bit!
But very soon, after the turn of tide, we began flying along on the swift ebb, and then he took all the power off and slipped us into neutral only going gently ahead when needed, to give me decent steerage way and keep me on track. Had we managed to get some canvass up he could have turned ‘JP2’ off entirely and we could have sailed down with no trouble at all.

The following swell

Around the sharp bends, in the lee of the land where the breeze couldn’t reach us, the conditions were much calmer so that, on occasions, we could see the fish swimming in the churned up murky water around us. But the tide was still simply bowling us along so that in no time at all we were rushing past the Gainsborough Waterfront, now empty of all shipping and looking like a dead town.

Gainsborough Arches

The tidal stream around the buttress of ‘The Arches’

Half an hour later we came upon the narrow lock entrance of West Stockwith very suddenly around a sharp bend to starboard. The lady lock keeper was waiting for us with the gates wide open and ready for us to go in.
Now! Knowing the Skipper and his devious ways, I expect he’s told you that he took us into the lock perfectly .... No problem at all!
Either that or he hasn’t even mentioned it.
In fact, just between you and me, he made a right ‘pig’s ear’ of the operation and we hit the downside knuckle and then slid ignominiously into the lock!
He managed to turn about to stem the tide okay and gradually with our revs high we inched our way forward until we were abeam of the entrance. Then the lock keeper gave us the signal to shoot in and that’s when it all went wrong.
Because at this stage ‘JP2’ was revving flat out to get across the ebb, when we did reach the calm water just inside the entrance, the Skipper had to stop and then go full astern to avoid hitting the lock cill ahead of us, which I have to say the old chap did very well, to pull me up in time, with my stem just kissing the stone.
In fact (but he was lucky!) I wasn’t injured at all. It had just been a graze really along my starboard side and nothing was damaged on board. I just felt so embarrassed that my skipper had let me down in front of all the gongoozlers watching above. And I cannot remember my previous skipper Ian ever doing that to me, so why couldn’t this one have been less careless and got me in clean as well!
Don't think he could have been concentrating at all!

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