WHAT a beautiful weekend we’ve just enjoyed. Temperatures up into the high teens, wall-to-wall sunshine and memories of that abysmal winter rapidly vanishing into a distant haze.
Wandering down by the Thames at Walton over on Sunday, I enjoyed the sight of a number of boats pottering up and down – their owners taking advantage of the balmy weather to get out on the water ahead of the crowds – and good luck to them.
My brother and I have some work to do before we can even think about getting our old Seamaster Admiral cruiser, Terra Nova, in the water, however.
At the end of last season when she was taken out of the river for her winter sojourn ashore, one of the left hand wheels on the heavyweight trailer she uses snapped its bearing and literally fell off.
Fortunately, the old boat was undamaged in the accident and Alan and I put it down as just another one of the many winter jobs that would have to be taken care of.
And then, of course, came the floods.
The boat was stored right at the back of the Bridge Marine yard in Shepperton but it won’t come as any surprise that the constant rain and lack of flood prevention in our area meant that she might just as well have stayed in the water!
The floodwaters virtually covered the trailer and for a while it looked as though Terra Nova was floating albeit tethered to her trailer in the yard.
So obviously that precluded any repairs for several weeks.
And since the weather has improved, my wife and I have been incredibly busy preparing to move home which has knocked any chances of repairing the trailer on the head.
Indeed, our decision to move closer to our daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in north Essex has called for a fairly major rethink on the whole boating situation.
I may still continue to work for the newspaper group spending part of my time in the office and part of the time working from home – I’m waiting to hear whether that’s a scenario they are happy to accept.
But whether that happens or not, it’s looking likely that bruv and I will have to sell Terra Nova which will come hard after all the work we’ve put into her and all the fun we’ve had in her on this lovely stretch of the Thames – and beyond.
Two trips from the Medway back to our home base in Shepperton – one when we bought her in the first place in 2008 and one when we sailed her back down to do some exploring of the creeks and inlets around Chatham were fantastic experiences.
We’ve had our trials and tribulations with her – losing an anchor that snagged on an underwater cable when we moored up at the entrance to the Medway was a pain; finding the engine overheating as we headed towards the Thames Barrier and having to moor up alongside a barge that made a decent attempt to smash Terra Nova’s davits thanks to the wash that was caused by the heavy traffic passing towards the Pool of London and nearly ripping out a cleat when we forget to slack off a mooring line in Gillingham Marina lock were all learning experiences.
But in truth, the old girl has never let us down and if we do decide to sell her, I hope she goes to someone who will lavish as much care and attention on her as we have – and who will continue to have fun with her.
Anyway, I’ll keep you informed on what’s happening, boat wise.