26/9/08

Met with Steve at Port Glasgow again.  There was a southerly wind of 12-14mph but at Port Glasgow the water was calm.  We headed across the estuary to Helensburgh with the wind on our backs - the water conditions got steadily worse eventually reaching 3ft chop with waves on the beach at Helensburgh.  We headed west into the Gare Loch and passed through Rhu Narrows.  This loch has a 12knot speed limit which I couldn't keep to with the wind behind the craft - even on very low power I could only slow to around 19mph.  As this loch has a nuclear submarine base at Faslane, the police launch is very active - we decided to turn back again into the wind and cross over to Gourock.  the wind had picked up a bit again making progress very slow.  the water state got steadily worse the further out we got and both of us started to crab away from the wind.  In the middle the chop was over 1 metre but we eventually reached the other shore east of Greenock after 6-7 miles of sideways travel.

We then cruised upriver to the Erskine Bridge then headed home.  Pics are in the Videos and Pics section.

25/9/08

Travelled up to Loch Fyne for a few days work.  I cruised down the Loch intending to reach Tarbert but had to give up at the main turn (about 16 miles) because of the very rough conditions - the main loch was almost flat calm but as soon as you reached the south turn the water was 1-1.5metre chop on a swell Surprised

23/9/08

Met with Steve and Trev at Port Glasgow for a cruise around the Clyde.  Beautiful day - sunny, warm(ish for OctoberSmile) and no wind.  We cruised upriver right through the centre of Glasgow past the old shipyards.  The river is only navigable up to the tide gates at Glasgow park.  Pretty interesting cruise as you pass everything from derelict industrial wasteland, modern riverside apartments, old city centre buildings and many bridges of all shapes and sizes.  We even managed a few seconds on the lunchtime BBC reporting Scotland news - they have a camera pointed upriver on top of their riverside building which uis used as a backdrop for the news programs

We then cruised back down river into the main estuary and travelled up the river Leven through Dumbarton.  there wee quite a few fishermen on the river do we turned around after about 6 miles or so.  We then headed out towards Helensburgh where we stopped for fuel (hovercraft and human Smile) before carrying on across the main estuary (about 6 miles of open water) to Dunoon.  The tide was in at this stage and there was only a small patch of beach we could land on.   We then crossed over to Gourock - it was a bit rough and the big ferry was coming up the estuary causing some wash.  Then it was back past Greenock to Port Glasgow.

There are pics in the Photos and Videos section of the trip under Clyde '08

21/9/08

Took a cruise up river from Berwick.  Weather was excellent for this year - warm, sunny and no wind!!  We came across a rescue helicopter (Sea King?) hovering in the middle of the river around a bend.  I had second thoughts of hovering under it as the down wash covered the entire width of the river!.  They were winching a paramedic onto the bank.  I hovered over to offer help if they needed it but all I could do was give the paramedic a lift back up river to his ambulance!


12/9/08

Travelled 320 miles south to the river Severn for the (now!) annual Severn Treasure Hunt.  Arrived early afternoon and helped a bit with the booking in and setup.  It started to rain and only stopped for a half hour or so in the early evening.  Managed a short 1/2 hour cruise around sunset with Steve.


13/9/08

Treasure hunt took place mid day.  Was better prepared for the conditions this year - the Severn is an interesting river (50ft tidal range, deadly mud/sand banks, very steep river banks, huge standing waves that appear and disappear within a few minutes).  I carried Dave, Steves mate, and Nathan on the hunt.  We managed to complete all but two of the hunt destinations and came in 9th out of 16 - better than last year for somone who lacks any competitive instinct!.  It was quite enjoyable overall.  Steve and I (With Philip as passenger) took a long cruise upriver after the event (around 60 miles).  We were eventually stopped at the rail bridge in Gloucester - the river level was so high that there was less than 2m clearance under the bridge!

14/9/08

After a very foggy start, a large group (around 21 craft) cruised down to the Severn Bridge (about 11 miles).  After a short break half of the craft returned to the launch site to leave for home and the others continued south and into the river Wye.  Steve had some minor technical difficulties so I stayed behind until he fixed them (only took a few minutes). 

 

The River Wye is very tidal for the first ten miles or so but has some spectacular scenery (Chepstow Castle, Tintern Abbey, cliffs and deep gorges).  Unfortunately, because of the high river levels and the low tide there were no suitable landing points until we got further up river.  We passed the main group returning back downriver after 12 miles or so and continused on to the turnaround point at Brockweir.  Unfortunately we missed the land mark and kept gong up river for another 7 miles or so to Bigsweir until we eventually gave up and turned.

 There are more pics and video clips available from the "Videos and pics" and clips side menu 

5/8/08

I was returning from a cruise up to the top end of Loch Fyne when I spotted a large Navy frigate steaming up the Loch at a fair speed. It was on a parallel but opposite course around 0.25mile to my left. OK I thought, I'll just carry on and pass by safely. WRONG!! About two seconds after this pic was taken the frigate (L83, HMS St Albans) executed a 90 degree turn to port directly onto a collision course with me (I was amazed how fast it turned - about 4 seconds)!  Should I turn right or left (behind the ship)? I shuffled to my right a bit towards the shore but the frigate kept coming toward me (maybe I'm paranoid but I'm certain it altered course again to make sure!). I was running out of options at this point so I tried the VHF just in case someone wasn't paying attention. No answer, so I took the next best option - full throttle and up to 45mph. I passed the bow by around 200 feet - far too close for comfort! Further on I then hit the ships wake at over 40 mph - not a very pleasant experience!! 

 Do navy ships observe the Collision Regulations (it would seem not as the frigate deliberately altered course onto a collision heading? Also, they obviously ignore comms on Channel 16!! OR is my radar/sonar signature too weak to be detected and there was no visual watch? Who knows - I'll steer(!) well clear of naval ships from now on!

4/8/08

Still on Loch Fyne! After an early morning shopping trip to Inveraray (by hovercraft of course - it's quicker and no parking problems!) Steve turned up with his Vanguard.  We set off down the Loch, stopping at Otter ferry on our way to Tarbert (about 30 miles or so).

 

 

It is pretty open water - we cross sections about three miles wide at times.  The water conditions can change dramatically as you travel over these areas.  Weather was a bit windy at times but no rain!

 

 Waiting for the ice cream delivery in Tarbert harbour!

The harbour was full of yachts and work boats we passed through (at the 3mph speed limit!) to reach this end shown above (which was too shallow for boats - perfect for hovercraft though!).  There were no slipways to tie to so I just left the Prospector floating on the water (Steve got his nose onto the disused cobbled slip.

28/7/08

More cruising around the Loch - I travelled under the old road bridge next to Inveraray Castle.

 


 

27/7/08

Took Prospector to Loch Fyne and left it there.  Weather was excellent for and evening cruise.

 


 

21/7/08

River cruise with Andy and his two friends.  Weather was warm but river was busy with fishermen.  Very windy in estuary.  After turning at low speed the wind blew so much spray over the craft that the engine cut out - first time that's happened for a couple of years.  After I got it home I started to check the ignition system and discovered that one of the distributor cap retaining clips wasn't attached (I must have dislodged it while replacing the lift bearings last week Undecided )!

 

 

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