Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Sharpness to Bristol? - No!

Sharpness to Bristol via Portishead was planned for Wednesday 5th June, out on the morning tide
to Portishead then out from Portishead on the early evening tide arriving Bristol, stay overnight and return to Sharpness on the morning tide on Friday, however this was cancelled because the wind speed combined with a high tide that was too risky for a Narrowboat, so option B was a trip to Tewkesbury and return to Sharpness Friday.

Wednesday 0800
Wye Invader two departed Sharpness 08.00 and arrived at Gloucester Lock at 12.09, we were Locked down 12.15,  by 12.30 we were on The Parting and the tide was still on its way in, we had been informed that there was a lot of flotsam i.e. trees (and anything else that could float!) in the channel for the next 2 miles. The next 12 miles were soon covered and Wye Invader Two arrived at Upper Load Lock at 15.16, the journey was uneventful apart from the cold wind blowing up the River Severn. We cleared the Lock and was soon on the River Avon and then Locked up in Tewkesbury by 16.00.


Thursday 11.22
Wye Invader Two cleared the River Avon and then moored in Upper Load Lock on the River Severn, by 11.45 the Lock was lowered and the gates were opened, were soon out on to the Severn and the next 11 miles to top of The Parting soon passed. I phoned the Lock Keeper and was informed that there was again, flotsam in The Parting. The Parting was clear all the way down to the second to the last bend, as Wye Invader Two entered the bend it was blocked by 2 large trees wedged across it. The tide was just about to turn, so Wye Invader Two was used to push the trees apart, as the river tide picked up speed the trees soon parted and we eased through and rounded the last corner, the Lock was then 200 metres ahead. At 14.05 we locked up, I spoke to the Lock Keeper and was told the trees would be cleared the next day.

We waited until 13.00 for the rain to stop, it was still raining when Wye Invader Two left Gloucester  and we finally arrived back at Sharpness at 16.30.


Thursday, 16 May 2019

Stourport - Just for fun!

As the lock at Gloucester had re-opened and the weekend weather was set to be fine it seemed like a good idea to go to Tewkesbury and try the lock out for the first time this year. Wye invader left Sharpness at 08.15 hours and after stopping for fuel at Saul Junction we arrived in Gloucester 12.45 hours. We locked down in the refurbished lock by 13.00 hours then proceeded up The Parting and on to Tewkesbury mooring up on the Town Wall at 16.10 hours.

Sunday morning and on the return we decided to go to Stourport and as the weather was still fine, it was 09.30 hours as Wye Invader Two cleared the lock and turned onto the River Severn, Worcester was cleared by 13.30 hours and we arrived in Stourport at 16.45 hours.


Wye Invader Two departed Stourport on Monday at 08.30 hours and arrived in Worcester 11.00 hours, it was then on back to Tewkesbury and The Parting, we locked up in Gloucester at 16.30 hours.  As the manned bridges over the canal close at 18.00 hours we stayed in Gloucester andthe return to Sharpness would have to be continued Tuesday.

On Tuesday Wye Invader Two departed Gloucester 08.50 hours stopping for fuel in Saul Junction and we arrived back in Sharpness at 12.30 hours, the total distance covered over the 4 days was about 120 miles.


Monmouth - Skippers Log

Download a copy of the the Skippers Log for the Wye Invader Two trip to Monmouth.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Back to Normality!

Easter Weekend and it was back to reality after the Wye Invader Two trip to Monmouth on the one of largest tides of the year so far! The Bank Holiday weather was set to be the hottest so far this year so it was decided to go to Gloucester on Good Friday, stop for fuel in Saul Junction on the way and then on to Gloucester to stay over and have a look at the currently closed Gloucester Lock and try to get an under-standing as to why it is taking so long to repair.

Friday 0815 hrs. Wye Invader Two departed Sharpness Marina, as the wind was blowing strong from the North East as soon as the bows were free of the mooring, the wind took Wye Invader Two bow first down the Marina, as we do not have a bow thruster this required going astern to exit the Marina.

0830 hrs. As Wye Invader Two left Sharpness the skies were clear of clouds, the wind was still blowing from the north east and it’s cold!  However, there are no other boats or very few moving on the canal and it’s a beautiful day to be out.

1015 hrs. Wye Invader Two stopped at and moored alongside the fuel stop just short of Saul Junction

10 30 hrs. As there were no other boats on the canal we soon cleared Saul Junction and passed Hardwick off to the starboard side, by 1125 hrs the canal then moves into a cutting and is sheltered from the wind as we pass by Quedgeley and a definite improvement as far as temperature is concerned.

1200 hrs. Wye Invader Two passes under Llanthony Bridge and into Gloucester Docks, there were 2 Wide Beam Barges moored on the west side just short of the lock entrance and 4 Narrowboats on the finger moorings by Dr Fosters in the north east corner, not what you would expect on a Bank Holiday. In the lock, the water had been stopped from the river side and 2 pumps were dealing with a small amount through the lock gates from the dock. A friend had made enquiry of the Canal Trust and been told that the lock will be open on the 28th April. we all hope so!

RETURN TO Sharpness Saturday.

1030 hrs. Checked the engine and gear box oil, started engine and cleared the mooring, the wind had eased, the day was warming up and there was very little cloud about. The journey back was a very pleasant one, Gloucester Rowing Club was out on the canal in force and, by the time we had passed through Saul Junction the rest of the boating community had decided to take full advantage of the day.

Wye Invader Two arrived back at Sharpness and was soon moored up, fuelled up and had spent a very pleasant 2 days on the Sharpness Canal.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Recent question asked.

An interesting question was recently asked on the Wye Invader YouTube page about the trip to Monmouth, the reader asked if I thought it was "somewhat irresponsible to attempt the trip in those conditions?". I replied with the following…

"Many thanks for your comments. I appreciate your concern and would stress I did not undertake the trip lightly. I’ve spent many, many years studying the tides on both the Severn and the Wye, essential for the original trip with the 130 foot Wye Invader trip to Hereford in 1989 and again back down to Sharpness with Wye Invader in 2012/13. Wye Invader Two has an uprated engine, a new gearbox in 2018, larger propeller and extra cooling tanks, along with all safety equipment such as lifejackets, radio and flares and, just days before had been subject to 5 months out of the water for full winter maintenance including a new starter motor, new water pump, all new marine spec hoses, all new filters along with a complete back to metal hull service with new bitumen. I have a Day Skipper Tidal and RYA-MCA Coastal Skipper and YachtMaster Offshore qualifications and would not have attempted the trip to Monmouth had I thought there was any significant risk to my crew, Wye Invader Two or myself."

Just for information the qualifications I hold are:

  • Day Skipper - Tidal
  • Dutch Barge Course (2 days - Friesland) - Carmel St Quentin
  • Inland Waters Helmsman Certificate
  • Day Skipper - Sail and Power Craft
  • RYA/MCA Coastal Skipper & Yachtmaster Offshore
  • RYA Diesel Engine Course
  • RYA/MCA Small Craft Sea Survival Course
  • RYA Dayskipper commercial endorsement
  • RYA International Certificate (Pleasure Craft)
  • Marine Radio Operators Certificate of Competence