Tight mooring? No problem!
A very tight mooring. But believe it or not, we got in without touching the other boats, shouting or gesticulating wildly (and ineffectively) at each other. Oh how things have changed! When we started boating on the Thames in 2009 we thought we had it sussed because Mr J had sailed yachts in Greece, I’d done a bit of sailing in Brazil and we’d spent a week on the Canal du Midi together. And we did have it sussed to a certain extent. But we didn’t have it completely sussed, which meant that when our mooring attempts didn’t quite go to plan - in the lock lay-by, in the locks themselves, along the river and in the marina – our blood pressure went up, followed swiftly by our voices. So when we upgraded from a 3 ton plastic cruiser to a 27 ton steel barge, the first thing we did was sign up for the Bisham Abbey Sailing School’s practical boat handling course. Because if you get things wrong in a 27 ton steel barge, you can do a lot of damage. And I have to say it was the best thing we did. The stream, the wind and some nifty bow and stern springs do most of the work now. And because we do things properly, discuss what we’re going to do in advance and understand what we’re doing – and why we’re doing it – we barely raise an eyebrow these days, let alone our voices. It’s bliss. As a lock-keeper said to us recently, if you’re going to spend thousands of pounds on a boat (of any size), you should spend a few hundred pounds learning how to use it properly. Because you’ll enjoy it so much more. He was right. And we do.