THE HENLEY WHALERS - Annual Long Row 2015 & 2016

Version 26/6/17

Henley Whalers Other "Long Rows" - Past & Future

Henley Whalers' Long Row 2015.
Distance . Difficulty . .Logistics..
Voyage report, Pictures, Video.
H&S Section CREW SAFETY, Navigation
. Technicalities . Regulations.

Some Whalers had not experienced the sights, sounds and smells of rowing right through the centre of London. Others have only "enjoyed" it with sweat, tears and abuse during Great River Races, or the torrential rain of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant

To put this right! . October 2015. A "one-day" Long Row from Docklands, near London City Airport (east of EastEnders) to Chiswick.
A sort of "Softies' Great River [Race] Row" (with no training required)!

Woolwich Barrier
Woolwich Barrier

Click any picture to enlarge

The rising tide flows inland carrying everything upon it like an escalator, providing transport for no effort - Isn't nature fantastic?
Gallions Point to Chiswick Quay = 20 miles. Subtract, say 8 miles of tidal flow = 12 miles rowing with no locks. A doddle!

Rowing - The Great River race covers much the same course. Molly typically took 2hrs 40.
This time we allowed 5 hours - a more moderate and "mature" pace.

Friday 16th Oct 2015. - A skeleton crew launched Molly at Gallions Point Marina, and parked the trailer at Chiswick Quay Marina ready for Saturday.
Preparations at GPM . . .
. . .under the flight path of London City Airport

Ready to go
Gallions Lock

Saturday 17th Oct 2015. -
Cars to Chiswick station, then prompt public transport links through to Gallions. The riverside footpath was a bit of an eye-opener, but maybe prepared us for the scene around the marina. "Neo-Post-Industrial"?
Crossing the lock gates en-route to the mooring, acres of mud between us and The Thames made it plain that we'd have to wait a little longer for the tide to rise.
Time for refreshment before making our way to the lock - probably the deepest Molly has ever seen.

12:00 Scheduled. 12:42 Actual. - Out of the lock, on to the Thames. Molly, accelerated upriver by the following tide, briefly hit 6.5 kt. before settling to a steady 5 to 5.5 (SOG).

Lock 2
Gallions Lock

Barrier 1
Woolwich Barrier

Click any picture to enlarge

Barrier 2
Woolwich Barrier
Barrier 3
Woolwich Barrier
Barrier 4
Barrier. Discussion with PLA angel, Nigel

Passing through the Woolwich Barrier - (Above)

Past The Cutty Sark. -

Approaching Wapping - some choppy waters stirred up by passing passenger boats.

Tower Bridge was not raised for Molly but HMS Belfast (to port) and The Tower of London (to starboard) provided grand spectacle. London Bridge, just ahead, was only one mile short of halfway!

The riverside sights of Central London soon followed. Talking of "followed"; we were escorted through "The Bridges" by a PLA (Port of London Authority) patrol boat allocated to keep an eye on us!

Improbable maybe. . . . . . . Faked of course!
Barrier 3
Albert Bridge

Long Row 2015 Vide0

Battersea rail bridge

15:00 Passed Westminster to the tones of Big Ben striking three.

Chelsea Bridge - Drifted upriver while taking a well earned rest and refreshment break.

As the tide rose, the higher water level gradually granted better views of the greening scene.

16:00 Scheduled. 16:56 Actual. - Arrived at Chiswick Quay Marina Lock..
Passed into Marina basin. . Moored. . Slipped. . To cars.

CQM Lock
CQM Lock

".. most enjoyable. .. my thanks re huge logistical efforts. Getting the tide right helped of course ..."
"Bargain! A case of more smiles per Gallions"
[B LV]

"Thanks for making the London row possible and organising the logistics so well.
I don't know how you found Gallions Point or Chiswick marinas, both were perfectly located, both for transport and rowing distance, even if the Offbog rating for Chiswick was less than 100%.
We both enjoyed the row, even the rocky bits at the beginning which all added to the sense of achievement and 10 out of 10 for views of 21st century London.
How can we top this next year?"
[L&T S].

.Here are a few ideas for the future.

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Henley Whalers' Long Row 2016 - River Wey and Thames

The River Wey is owned by the National Trust.
"A tranquil waterway, running for 20 miles through the heart of Surrey".
Joins the Thames at Weybridge close to a winding stretch known as "The Shepperton Old River" (missed by Molly in 2014).
Downriver, the Thames glides between leafy suburbs past Sunbury, Hampton Court and Kingston to Teddington and Richmond.

Map 1 Wey & Thames
Click for interactive map of locations
Or scroll on down.

Wey Lock
"Bum-on-beam" lock gates. Direct mechanically wound sluices
Dapdune Wharfe
Dapdune Wharfe, Guildford.

Friday 7th October 2016

"The best laid ..."

The plan to launch at Dapdune Wharfe, Guildford, was scuppered by an erroneously moored dredger, abandoned for the weekend, and un-movably blocking the slipway. The best efforts of the friendly National Trust staff were unable to locate the subcontractor with the key.

Stoke Lock, a little way downriver, provided a decent alternative, so finally Molly was launched and rowed back to Dapdune for crew lunch. Thus the upstream positioning row began a couple of hours later than intended. Four stalwart "oarsmen" and helm enjoyed easy rowing to Godalming Wharfe.

Click any "thumbnail" to enlarge

Rowers Head Up toward Godalming .
Four oars pulling gently up toward Godalming


Entering 1st lock .
Entering a lock - Typical foot-bridge

Saturday 8th October 2016

An early-arriving crew member was waiting with the covers off, so a prompt start was achieved. Enthusiasts insisted on exploring "to the limit ...", but rowing became impossible 100 yards above Godalming bridge due to lack of depth and width.


Moored at Godalming
Overnight mooring, Godalming .

Heading downstream, the pictures tell the story ~
Narrow-Boat traffic . Sharing lock .
Narrow-boat traffic, and in Cattershall lock
Smooth waters
Smooth waters approaching Guildford

"Gold Ford" .
The "Gold Ford" which gave "Guildford" its name

Stoke Lock nameplate
< Stoke Lock
Note the age!
Narrowed by trees
Narrowed by trees
Narrowed by reeds
Narrowed by reeds
Constable-esque scene?
Single-sided rowing . Single-sided rowing again .
One-sided rowing in narrow waters
Video - Special technique for navigating through this feature! ~ Two flood-gate-locks were passed under no oars, non-stop, relying only on momentum! Not oarsome! Just Awesome!
"Rehydration" at last! And food .
Rehydration, and food.

Click any "thumbnail" to enlarge.

< Belated but jovial lunch at The New Inn, Send.

Hand-winding lock
Handwinding is normal here .
Going down in lock
Rural Lock.
"Going Down!"
Weir alongside lock
Weir alongside lock
"Anconr" Pyrford overnight mooring
The Anchor, Pyrford. Overnight mooring. (Near Wisley Gardens)

Sunday 9th October 2016

Rural to urban. Sunshine to soaking.

Cast-off was a bit later today (was there a misunderstanding about start time?) but sunshine and tranquil waters fostered good morale and the customary humorous banter.

Those crew who had not been aboard yesterday, soon discovered the delights of this ancient and surprisingly rural-seeming waterway. The encroaching suburbs and motorway are for the most-part hidden by thick belts of trees.

Below Thames Lock, the lowest on the Wey, lunch was found at The Old Crown, Weybridge.

Emerging onto The Thames, one is suddenly struck by how wide it seems, though here, especially around the bends at Shepperton it is still narrow compared with what is to come!

At Hampton Court, black clouds warned of the approaching downpour. From Thames Ditton, past Surbiton to Kingston, visibility was diminished and crew were drenched. Shame no pictures were taken! Spirits were sustained with the thought of soon being able to dry out while wetting the whistle at "Boaters" alongside the slipway at Canbury park.

Coxes Mill
Coxes Mill (KM)
Thames Lock 1 . Thames Lock 2
Leaving "Thames Lock"
Click any thumbnail to enlarge

Tap below Thames Lock
Hmm ~ "To raise water level, open tap?"
Storm Coulds over Sunbury Weir
Storm clouds/ Sunbury Weir (KM)
Tracks and Stats Boaters, Canbury Park, Kingston
Journey's end. "Boaters", Canbury Park, Kingston

These are displayed in "ViewRanger".

Just click the links >
Select "Cycle Map" option.
Stats show on the right of each map
Graphs below each map

Friday - Stoke Lock to Dapdune Wharfe.
Afternoon Dapdune Wharfe to Godalming.

Saturday - Godalming to Pyrford.

Sunday - Pyrford to Canbury Park, Kingston.

" was a historically interesting “navigation” – remarkably early 1653 construction. And beautiful countryside for much of the way, with no houses to be seen." PM. "The long row was an absolute delight both days; merry company, gorgeous scenery and tranquility." IZM

"Good – the location was very scenic, it would be worth doing again; organisation/research was very thorough; excellent company, as always!
Bad – NT sandwiches on Friday (but not the organisers fault); cold/wet weather
[Sunday - Ed] – maybe we could do a future one earlier in the year? (it still might rain but should be warmer)
Ugly – EA barge on the slipway! (again not the organisers fault but shows how important a “plan B” can be)"

Thanks again! . SM.

"... a wonderful row and I found the tiny but deep locks quite fascinating ! It was like taking a step back in time. The history of the locks and the route was interesting especially the Thames Lock .... not sure if this is the name.... the one where we went down, turned a corner and had to wait for the next stage..... technicalities rather vague sorry! The company was good, the scenery peaceful , spoilt only by the rain at the end!! Thanks for all your research which made the whole experience more fulfilling and complete! JB.
".. yet again a good Whalers experience. Yes, the last hour or so was hard going but that's what makes it worth doing. You wouldn't push yourself that hard on your own, I suspect. Well, I wouldn't! You have a valuable formula there, so keep it going. Thanks." BL-V Almost "home" (Monday)
The day after
Almost "home"
Between Aston slipway and Henley
"... most enjoyable days out thanks for your organising skills, impressed as ever..." DC.
"I enjoyed my day out on the Whaler. I particularly liked the canal section. Thanks for organising it." ST.
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The material below is primarily for Webmaster's future reference

2015 Long Row Tideway "elf-n-safety" section.

LIFEJACKETS - MUST be worn by all crew from boarding onwards till Putney, unless authorised.
Weather - Bring suitable rain and sun protection. Food & drink.

NAVIGATION (Mainly for helmsmen)
The section through "the bridges" of Central London demands knowledge of the regulations (including special sound signals), understanding of the tide which can run at more than 4 knots between the buttresses, and an alert and astute hand on the helm.
Powerful currents push in mysterious directions.
Passenger boats "take no prisoners".
Don't worry; we have plenty of local experience. (eg PW. 10 years working on the tideway + 10 Great River Races).
Helmsmen - See the sections on Technicalities & Regulations.

2015 - TECHNICALITIES, Tides, etc. (For those interested):-

The tides are fairly strong on each of the potential weekends.
With an average rowing seed of say only 3 knots, and an average tidal flow of say 2 knots, Molly will be achieving a Speed over the Ground (SOG) = 5 knots.
Say 20 miles to cover = 4 hours of gentle rowing! (During which the tide will carry Molly 8 miles, so crew row 12 miles!)

So ideally, exit Gallions Point Lock 4 hrs before required arrival time at Chiswick Quay.
Gallions Lock earliest opening time is 5 hrs before HT. On 17th Oct this makes opening time 11:48.
So - Exit Gallions Point lock at 12:00. = Arrive Chiswick Quay lock at 16:00.
If there is a strong westerly wind, it will be necessary to work a little harder!.

A "Passage Plan" and RIsk Assessment have been compiled. - Hard copy provided for helmsmen and other interested parties.

P.L.A. Regulations, etc. - Perusal suggests the following would be advisable/essential.
Courtesy mast + flag to enhance visibility. Especially important in the busy areas.
Must carry VHF. London VTS. (AKA “Woolwich Radio”) Ch 14 - Ensure proper VHF protocol.
Mobiles. (London VTS. 020 88 55 0315.)

Useful to carry - Copies of:-
Risk assessment
PW’s Boatman’s licence, Yachtmaster Cert, VHF Cert. Evidence of 10 Great River Race participations.
Copy of “Rowing Code”.

Points from “Rowing Code
(PW has hard copy) and PLA regulations:-
Contact London VTS.(AKA “Woolwich Radio”) when leaving Gallions Point inbound. Again at Cherry Garden Pier and Chelsea Bridge.
P15 Lights for poor visibility/night. (White, 180deg - Bow flashing, Stern steady)
P25 Restricted zones. Fairway 75m ether side of bridges (+full width @ Kew rail & road). No stopping, turning, crossing, overtaking, baulking.
P38 Sound signals - (Some not generally encountered elsewhere - Important near passenger boats)
P39, 40. Bridges. Closed arches & marks.
P52. Inform London VTS  if intend to row into or through central London, above Cherry Garden Pier- See P 90.
P113. “Coxes.. MUST wear lifejacket”.  (PW – Maybe carry one for helm in case challenged. Other crew optional?).
“Working the slacks” is expected in designated “Rowing Areas”.
Rowing with the tide. Always row on the Starboard side of the fairway. Leave the inshore zone for rowers "working the slacks".
Give way to vessels over 20m.
P112>91 Useful diagrams etc, Lower area directions. Read from P112 backwards.
P89, 90 “Rowing in central London” See video at, "films", and "Rowing".
P86>55 Useful diagrams etc, Upper area directions. Read from P86 backwards.

Tidal strong current issues. Use "Perspectives" to assess drift in order to avoid hard objects. - (PW)
Passenger boats (1) "Stern-Fetch" onto piers in following tide. (2) depart from piers without warning. - (PW)

LAST MINUTE - Check latest PLA Notices to Mariners . Weather forecast. - (PW)

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The material below was the 2016 "Wey and Thames" PRE-EVENT information, Retained primarily for Webmaster's reference.

Fri 7th - Sun 9th October 2016.

Car Shuffling notes added 6/10/16.

Friday 7th Oct 2016 - Times See Car stuff below.
Check river/lock closures riverweyconditionsnt.
Car shuffling - Godalming/Guildford - See below.
Launch at Dapdune Wharfe, Guildford. + Do registration & get Windlass on deposit.
Row upstream, 5 miles, 4 locks to Godalming Wharfe. Moor overnight. Allow 2 hours (more if short of crew).
Go home.
Dapdune Dapdune

Saturday 8th Oct 2016
Car shuffling - Pyrford/Godalming - See below.
09:30 Muster at Godalming Wharfe.
10:00 cast off Godalming.
Row downriver through countryside to Guildford, 6.5 miles, 4 locks.
Late morning re-hydration if required; on the approach to, or in central Guildford. (Amended 27/9)
Rural pub late lunch further downriver. (Amended 26/9)
Afternoon, more countryside downriver to Pyrford, overnight mooring. 8.5 miles, 6 locks.
Secure and cover "Molly" for the night. Rehydration at "The Anchor" (only to justify parking, of course!). Go home.
Total for day = 15 miles, 10 or 12* locks. = 6 hours navigating + Faffage & Food.
(Wey locks are quicker than Thames locks. See picture above).
*(Two of the locks are flood gates used only in times of flood).

Godalming Wharfe
Optional late-morning refreshment stops in Guildford.
"The Britannia", "The White House" (right), or Dapdune Wharfe NT (above)
The White House, Guildford

Click to enlarge.

Late lunch stop at Send.

New Inn, Send

Anchor Pyrford
Saturday night / Sunday start

Click pictures to enlarge
Pyrford upstream

Sunday 9th Oct 2016
Car shuffling - Kingston/Pyrford - See below.
09:30 Muster at Pyrford.
10:00 cast off Pyrford.
To Thames. 5 miles, 4 locks.
Thames Lock closes at 13:00. Arrive before 12:40 otherwise wait till 14:00. Return Windlass. Re-claim deposit.
Via "The Shepperton Old River" (missed in 2014 by taking the shortcut along the rather booring Desborough flood relief channel)
Sunday Lunch - Pubs at Weybridge, Shepperton or Walton.
On past Sunbury, Hampton Court and Kingston.
To Canbury Gardens, Kingston. Slipway.
Slip "Molly" out. Rehydration at "Boaters" pub. Go home.
Total for day = 15 miles, 6 locks. = 4½ hours navigating + F&F.
Boaters pub
Canbury slip

Canbury slip.

Long Row Distances compared:-.
2016, Wey and Thames. 30 miles, 18 mainly quick locks. Two days (+Fri, 5 miles, 4 locks).
2015, Woolwich to Chiswick, 20 miles (helped by tide), 2 locks. One day.
2014, Henley to Walton, 36 miles, 14 locks. Two days.
2013, Lechlade to Abingdon, 40 miles, 14 locks. Two days.
2012, Abingdon to Henley, 40 miles, 12 locks. Two days.

Links to previous Long Rows. - Suggestions for possible Future Long Rows

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Car/Road stuff - Friday 7th Oct 2016
Maps 1, 2 & 3 below.
Car shuffling RB towing+JB&PW. DC&SM own cars.
Muster @ Dapdune 10:30 for 11:15 cast off.

Godalming. Wharfe & Parking - See Saturday below.

Slipway. Signposted Dapdune Wharfe National Trust
Lat,Long 51.243893, -0.5791192
Access off Woodbridge Rd, Guildford Lat,Long 51.241955, -0.57631457
Easy trailer turning. On site parking.

Back to Friday, River stuff

Car/Road stuff - Saturday 8th Oct 2016
Maps 2, 3, 4 & 5 below.
Car shuffling SM co-ordinating.
Muster 09:30 Godalming for 10:00 Cast off

Godalming Wharfe. Lat,Long 51.1869, -0.6053195
Short term free parking at adjacent Sainsburys for kit-drop.
Nearby long term free on-street parking at:-
a Langham Park. Lat,Long 51.186615,-0.6025396
b Catteshall Lane. Lat,Long 51.185146,-0.60502595
c South Hill Lat,Long 51.184887,-0.60429734

"The Anchor", Pyrford Lock. Lat,Long 51.323204, -0.49002615
Access off A3 at Lat,Long 51.310867,-0.46876195 (near M25 Wisley exit).
Follow signs "RHS Wisley".
Continue on narrow lane beyond Wisley Gardens.
Choice of the pub's 2 car parks.

Back to Saturday, River stuff

Car/Road stuff - Sunday 9th Oct 2016
Maps 4, 5 & 6 below.
Car shuffling ST co-ordinating. RP towing.
Muster 09:30 Pyrford for 10:00 Cast off
Beware Henley Half Marathon may affect traffic.

The Anchor, Pyrford Lock - See Saturday, above right.

Canbury Gardens, Lower Ham Road, Kingston.
Slipway Lat,Long 51.420555,-0.30504766
Boaters pub Lat,Long 51.418625,-0.3057289
Nearby long term on-street free parking on Lower Ham Road.

Back to Sunday, River stuff

Maps for Car/Road stuff 2016

Map 1 - Friday - Dapdune Wharfe/Slipway Area. Lat/Longs above.
Map 2 - Friday (+ Saturday for some?) - Otimum route to Godalming/Guildford. (Know a better way? -Tell us!)
Map 3 - Friday & Saturday - Godalming Wharfe and Parking. Lat/Longs above.
Map 4 - Saturday & Sunday - Optimum route to Pyrford, then Godalming. (Know a better way? -Tell us!)
Map 5 - Saturday & Sunday - The Anchor, Pyrford. Lat/Longs above.
Map 6 - Sunday - Canbury Gardens, North of Kingston. Lat/Longs above.
1>Map Dapdune. 2>A331ToGodalming. 3>Godalming Wharfe Parking. 4>M25. 5>Map Pyrford. 6>Map Canbury

Click for full sized versions

Back to River stuff

2016 Wey and Thames - Technical stuff, factors TBC, etc :-
Sunset 1820+
No known river/lock closures (see riverweyconditionsnt) except major regatta at Dapdune Wharfe 23-25/9/16.
Nav licence for River Wey. National Trust members get discount! See 2016 Visitor pass. (or here?)
Lock windlass (winding key) obtainable on loan/purchase from various places.
Overnight mooring at Godalming Wharfe has resident boats alongside. Free onstreet parking nearby,
Overnight mooring at Pyrford, "Anchor" seems quiet. Free parking at pub. (Drinking would be diplomatic!)
Car shuffling times from/to Henley/Godalming/Pyrford/Kingston To be checked
Car parking 4 relevant locations checked.
The time per lock is less on Wey (hand-wound & balance-beams) than Thames, maybe 5 to 10 minutes.
All river miles and lock counts checked.

Sunday. Must arrive Thames lock by 12:40 = Must dep Pyrford 10:00.  Crew muster at 09:30?  (Last year we cast off from UTRC at 09:30 after dressing Molly.)
Wey/Thames lock hours. 0900 – 1300 and 1400 - 1830 or sunset (whichever is the earlier). The lock actually closes at the stated time so last passage 15min earlier. See Information for boat users 2014.

Slipways - Checked:-
Dapdune Wharfe, Guildford. Already discussed with authority. Good parking, turning, slipway, crew boarding.
Canbury Gardens (Kingston). Public slipway off Lower Ham Road. Lots of free on-street parking. Pub nearby.

Slipways not selected/required:-
Farncombe Boat House is said to have no slipway or crane.  Getting one in by road for one lift is prob silly price
Teddington - Two options on port side close below Teddington locks.
Ham House - Stb side. Used for Great River Races.
River Lane, Petersham - Stb side. Used for Great River Races.
Richmond, "White Cross" pub, Water Lane - Stb side.
Richmond Bridge.
Ducks Walk Richmond
& several more including Twickenham.

Tides . Richmond. All adjusted to BST/GMT as appropriate. Now not required due to non-tidal slipping.

Sun 2nd Oct Low tide12:08, 0.08 m. High tide 16:33, 4.86 m.
Ie, Steady level till wier opens at 14:33. High at 16:33. Falling till 18:33, then steady.
We wouldn't attempt Teddington to Richmond between 14:30 and 16:30.
Doesn’t look good, but need to calculate what our arrival time is likely to be.

Sun 9th Oct High tide 08:39, 3.58 m. Low tide 15:57, 0.28 m. High tide 21:08, 3.49 m.
High at 08:39. Ie, Falling till 10:39, then steady till weir opens at 19:08.
I.e. OK to depart Teddington for Richmond all afternoon till 18:30.

A way to obviate the tides could be to find a Molly-worthy slipway, plus parking, between Molesey lock and Teddington. – Improbable - Research required.

Summary of points for reccie:-
1 Godalming – Overnight mooring suitability. Shuffle cars parking. =Done.
Bus connection to Dapdune. = 16:15 Bus 71 from Borough Hall Stop E Bridge Street. Arr Friary Bus station 1630. Walk.
2 Farncombe – Fall-back overnight mooring. =Phone 01483 421306 if required (or just turn up?)
3 Dapdune Wharfe, Guildford - Molly+trailer access, & parking. Slipway suitability.  Shuffle cars parking. =Done
Registration/license – Lock handle = GET AT DAPDUNE ON FRIDAY
BW / Toilet key.= NOW DONE
Is there a useful Guildford/Godalming Park-And-Ride? =No benefit.
4 River Width “… between Broadoaks Bridge and Send Church Bridge (approx. 1.5miles downstream of Guildford) is probably the narrowest due to bankside vegetation.” =NOT RE-CHECKED
5 Pyrford area– Overnight mooring/s suitability.  Shuffle cars parking. =Done.
6 Richmond / Ham / Tommy-Steele’s corner – Slipway – Parking. Tides. =N/A. (Found better solution at Canbury Gardens, Kingston).

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