Missing Link log 25 August 1999

Crew: Kim Hollamby, Toby du Pre, Emma Parkin, Jennifer Laird, David Tierney.
From: Gillingham Marina, River Medway, Kent.
To: West India Dock, River Thames, London.
Port engine start hours: 558.0. Finish hours: 563.2. Hours run: 5.2.
Stbd engine start hours: 557.2. Finish hours: 562.2. Hours run: 5.0.
Log start: 6523.9nm. Log finish: 6578.2nm. Distance run: 54.3.

Navigation log (full commentary follows below)
Paid berthing fee two nights ‘27.00.
0830: through lock. Diesel 399.99lt ‘100.00.
0857: underway.
0927: stood off Montgomery taking pictures.
0937: wpt 134 Nore Swatch 51 28.20N 000 45.70E.
0943: wpt 133 0.5nm W of W Nore Sand. 51 29.30N 000 41.80E.
0947: wpt 132 E Blyth. 51 29.70N 000 37.90E.
0955: wpt 131 Mid Blyth. 51 30.00N 000 32.50E.
0959: wpt 130 W Blyth. 51 29.80N 000 29.10E.
1030: off Tilbury Docks.
1057: Dartford Bridge.
1150: Margaret Ness. Called and received permission to transit Thames Barrier via F span.
1207: Thames Barrier.
1225: off West India Dock entrance. Checked in and told that lock gates not open until 1330 lock time.
1300: passing underneath Tower Bridge and then turn off HMS Belfast.
1335: entering West India Dock lock.
1400: locked out.
1405: secure alongside Haines 380 Sea Mouse.

Kim Hollamby:

It was good to visit Gillingham Marina again. I like the place because it makes some attempt to offer rather more than just a conventional mooring facility, something that will be significantly reinforced when a new leisure centre, under construction alongside the lock, comes on stream in March next year.

Our plans had originally called for us to do much more on the Medway, exploring other marinas and also the lower tidal creeks that I have passed on many occasions but never entered. However, rain and wind made such things futile, especially as one of my crew was suffering from a cold and the other was tired.

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So we cut our losses and decided to run for London. We’ll try to call back in the Medway on the way home if the weather is kinder.

Yesterday we had several readers and people from the trade seek us out. Two of them, Fletcher Faro owner Jennifer Laird and broker David Tierney from Shoreline Associates both made late decisions to join the crew of Missing Link for one leg, so our number aboard today rose to five.

If they had opted to do the trip to see the sights, they were to be sorely disappointed for the first hour or so of the run which was in visibility no better than a mile and often less than that. The mist and flat sea did however add a different ambience to the wreck of the Montgomery as we paused to have a brief look, our second this week (see Grand Tour Day 129), before heading up Sea Reach where the sun finally started to break through.

The wreck of the WWII ammunition ship Montgomery

Theoretically there was no speed limit for us to obey on the run to the London on Water event at West India Dock, but the Port of London Authority are very sensitive about boat wash. Their Notices to Mariners No4 states “Experience indicates that, in the area above Gravesend Reach, a speed in excess of 10 knots through the water can be liable to injure or endanger persons, other vessels or property.”

Given that we would be one of 400 boats heading for London on Water, I was fairly sure such things would be monitored particularly closely. So I decided upon a plan where we would go as fast as possible up to Gravesend Reach, then drop right off the plane to 7kn and let the flood tide do all the work and save us some diesel.

The idea worked really well, giving all aboard a chance to take a good look at the Dartford Bridge, the Thames Barrier and the many shoreside fea


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