Sad news, one of the great characters on our stretch of the river (Horse Reach) has passed.
Francis Spencer owned and ran Hammertons Ferry which crosses the river at Marble Hill Park.
Francis was a great friend of the 14th Richmond Boating Centre and would always give us a cheery wave as we navigated Jubilant or other boats past the ferry, perfectly understanding that we had novice crews and therefore with limited manoeuvrability. Francis also was game to offer his experience when moving or towing boats down river.
I was worried that we could not inspect the moorings again this year, in 2019 the river flow did not drop much below 150cumecs, and the level even during the draw off remained high, this year we had similar conditions, however on the last weekend of the draw off, the flow rate finally dropped marginally below 100cumecs. The river level dropped significantly, but still about a foot of water over our moorings.
I thought… Good enough!… and with Colin’s help checked out the chains and put four new ground anchors into the river bed and laid about 30m of new chain, and untangled one of the pendulum risers.
Was very pleased to have done this, although it was pretty chilly wading in the river in November and the riverbed is very tough (old concretions of mussel shells) to screw the ground anchors in.
Colin and I rechecked the moorings the following weekend, at high tide, and everything seems to be in the right place, and solid. So good for another few years. We still have a couple of new mooring buoy risers to put into place, and have ropes looping the ground chains ready to fit when I get a new supply of chain.
Overall a satisfying job, and thank you to Colin for the support and the photos.
While doing my weekly HQ and moorings check, I decided to have a mini Remembrance Day event on my own.
Remembering …. my Uncle, Gordon Hall, who was an aircraft navigator and died in Italy aged 19. He was one of four boys, with Peter (spitfire pilot) Kenneth (Army logistics) and Geoff (my father) . Gordon was also a Leader in the 14th Richmond Sea Scouts, the training centre I am now proud to run, his name is on the wooden plaque in the HQ.. We have a Thames Watermans Cutter named after him.
We had another visit from a great team from the Good Gym who completed sanding (flatting) the Boat Arch doors, and applying a second coat of teak oil. So now looking as good as new and ready for the winter. I cannot thank them enough, I have been wanting to get this done for over 6 months now 🙂
On another note, the rules for activities under government advice for COVID-19 are continually being adjusted. Our latest Risk Assesments (registered wit he Scouts) are on our Important Documents page.
Finally the annual Richmond Lock “Draw Off” will be
be Monday 9th November to Friday 27th November (see PLA notice)
I will need some help inspecting and maybe re-laying the Scout mooring chains assuming the river does not flood again.
Firstly , sorry for the long delay since the last posting. I have been very busy in my “day job” as the the company I work for was acquired by another … and there is a bit of American “Right Sizing” going on :-/ … So a lot lot to do in reforming teams and calming nerves.
Anyway back to more interesting stuff… we have been hard at work creating Risk Assessments for boating an hte HQ to allow us to restart activities, though sadly, this is not going to be fully deployed till we would normally cease river operations for the winter. All our main events, May Fair, Scout Water Activity weekend and the Great River Race were cancelled, so the centre is ticking over with general maintenance on the building and the boats to keep things in a state of readyness.
The outboard on our support boat Robin Rescue, has been serviced and is now running well again, and the workboat Robin Arundel has a new rudder after an accident by the boat hire business damaged the old one.
Our Centre Secretary (also a Robin 🙂 ) has been hard at work and has created ,and submitted the boating Risk Assessments and “Method” guidance to the Scouts, which has now been accepted, and will soon be on our “important Documents” web page.
The Magistrates rowing Club, The Bench Blisters, have already completed their boating Risk Assessment, and have been running some gentle outings in our Skerry Fan Maker (with reduced crews and during slack tides only)
Finally a group of enthusiastic volunteers/runners from the Good Gym (see link below) have sanded and repainted our boat arch doors with teak oil. I really wish to thank them , they are a great organisation focused on running to keep fit, and then doing a charitable task. their report and more can be seen on their website. https://www.goodgym.org/reports/splashing-on-the-teak .
I have fixed the fire alarm fault – A sensor had failed, so I have replaced and tested it. Please let me know if any other faults or alerts sound or are displayed on the Fire alarm panel or the burgler alarm.
I have checked and bailed the boats, and replaced the loose cover on Fan Maker which is now on the swinging moorings.
The 14th Richmond Boating Center remains closed, as my risk assessment – which is consistent with British Rowing and The Scouts, says – is too risky for instruction of young people.
I am visiting from time to time to check HQ and moorings/boats and do general maintenance. But I am still pretty busy with work and family, so not every week!
The HQ is accessible, and I have put up signage and provided hand sanitizer, antiseptic spray, wipes and kitchen towels in strategic locations. But.. if you need to visit, please let me know first.
The Fire alarm has developed a fault in one of the detectors, so I will order a new one, and replace it. but note the panel will be beeping periodically . BtW if any alarm/alert goes off, please let me know because they should not, and either a real alarm or a fault. I have replaced the starter motor and the pump float switch on Robin Arundel, so she is available for “single person” or appropriate others within govt guidelines… I still encourage any power competent people to keep their hand in, driving her.
Robin Rescue, is temporarily out of use as I took the opportunity for the outboard annual service (missed over the winter)
Our Centre Work boat – Robin Arundel is now operational again after I spent a fun afternoon replacing the starter motor. The motor was damaged when the bilge pump float switch failed at the beginning of the COVID 19 lockdown, and flooded the starter motor. I have now replaced the switch and the solar panel for battery recharge, so apart from being rather grubby, the boat is back to normal operation.
Note for the future : changing the starter motor should really be a two handed task, as you have to reach under the engine from the stern to access one of the mounting bolts, along with unscrewing it with a long bar socket and ratchet from the bow. Also, as with most boats, the engine sump and bilges are not the cleanest of places to be rummaging about …. on the plus side social distancing is not a problem if you are covered in old engine oil and bilge water.
P.S Robin Arundel has an interesting history, and I will write this up when I get a moment.
Guy Brocklebank sadly passed away last week , he never really recovered from an accidental fall last year. For those that knew him , we will not forget the larger than life personality, who was a great supporter of traditional rowing on the Thames, through the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, the TTRA , the Great River Race and many other related organisations, and a great friend of the 14th Richmond Viking Scout Boating Centre. He will be greatly missed.