This morning I took my brother, sister in-law and lovely nieces for a cruise on the Medway, in strong wind and with fast river flow… it was super fun!
Recently we’ve had a lot of rain, so the river level is slightly higher than it has been and the stream is running fast. I didn’t check until I got home, but the environment agency are actually advising against navigating due to the fast flow. Whoops!
The wind was also very gusty (gusting 20-25mph southwesterly). If you’re thinking of going out on the Medway in the winter, then click on the above link and check the levels and flow for yourself… you should of course heed their advice as well, so that you don’t get in to difficulty or find yourself getting told off!
Needless to say though, we had a great time. The gusty wind and fast flow made it more exciting. Heading downstream towards Maidstone, we had the wind behind us and so although we were only doing 1-2 knots in terms of engine speed, we moved much quicker through the water. Heading back upstream was definitely more challenging, the wind was on our bow, and the flow was obviously against us. So although in terms of engine speed we were doing approx 8-9 knots, we were only moving at approx 3-4 knots through the water. The gusty wind and difficult flow also meant that I had to be completely ‘on the ball’ in terms of helming, as it would be easy to get pushed on to the banks if not. This type of navigation is definitely not for you if you’re new to the water.
Another plus for taking Scally out for a cruise today is that she had a great run on the river – good for her engine as we head in to winter – as she has been rested for the last few weeks. I have been intentionally delaying winterisation though, as in my mind the season isn’t over yet! I am not a fair weather boater, so am hoping to have a few trips over the winter (dependent on EA advice of course!) and so, although I do intend to winterise her at some point when the weather really turns cold, I am also planning to continue to use her as much as possible. I wasn’t the only boater out on the River today, but as I passed Wateringbury, Bow Bridge and various other marinas it is fair to say that most boat owners have long gone, the boats are covered or lifted and are all looking very sad.
I don’t currently have cabin heating installed though, so over the next couple of weeks I will be investing in a good heating system to ensure that I can keep cruising through the winter – without too much complaint from my children or husband!
Today was fun, but obviously if you are planning to go out on the River Medway in the winter, do check the EA advice on fast flows and river levels to make sure you are having fun, but staying safe.