For the past few days it had been raining in Wales, the river had started to rise, we now had enough depth of water at Wilton Bridge to float the Wye Invader, we removed the wheelhouse cabin because there would not be sufficient clearance. Wye Invader’s air draft without the cabin is 3 metres and we were all most there. The only other option was the arch nearest to Wilton but that was full of trees which only left the centre arch and what what made it more difficult was the bridge is skew and not at right angles across the river.
As I lined up the Wye Invader, her beam was just over 5 metres, and her length 38 metres in front of the ships wheel, the arch is between 7 or nearly 8 metres wide. The starboard forward bow had to be almost touching the bridge on the starboard side as we exited the bridge, the port side of the Wye Invader had to be as close to the downstream side as we entered the bridge arch.
As the bow cleared the upstream side of the bridge, the river current started to push the starboard bow to port, the wheelhouse was soon clear of the bridge arch. The river was fairly wide at this point and Wye Invader cleared the bridge upstream by about 75 metres, with the bow sat on the bank, so we passed through and under the most difficult bridge on the river with no bow thruster and no damage to crew, bridge or Wye Invader!