The Eventider's News


Issue Six, Spring/Summer 2006 




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This page will be a collection of snippets and information, gleaned from owners and friends, newspapers, magazines and scurrilous here sayas well no doubt,  hopefully all factual, as far as can be ascertained, and maybe humorous, we all need a giggle some times!  Have you found a snippet we could add?



  January 2006, a bit early for Spring maybe, but looking ahead..... 

Harwich Harbour

I have just received this from the Harwich Harbour authorities.   It is their excellent guide to the harbour.  I shall be passing copies out at Danbury, but if I run out or you cannot get there, a simple phone call to 01255 243030 and you can get one in the post.


New PLA launches

I have also heard from my contacts at the Port of London Authority, that they are getting a new sort of fast, low wash patrol craft, designed to be more friendly towards small boats!  the vessel is to be made by Eco-Cats and will be operational late 2006.  It will have  a platform at the rear and an open deck with a central 'island' deckhouse.  Sounds like one of my former work boats, the Targas that are used as Police boats now.



The Walton on Naze Sculpture

The Story in the last Scran Bag about the Walton Sculpture as a landmark raised a smile at the WFYC.  they think the story emanated from an accident on an inshore drilling rig.  It lost a load of scaffold tubes and poles off the Naze, thus the story! 


PLA Guide to the River


Many Years ago there was a little booklet published by the PLA about the Thames.  It was the first attempt to try and help the visiting yachtsmen on the tideway.  In my little way I helped with subsequent editions by offering snippets to various  PLA officials over the years.  I'm pleased to say quite a few of the suggestions found their way into the book, well now there is a new edition, hot off the press.





New Thames safety guide

A new guide for recreational users of the tidal Thames is now available. The booklet is written for anyone who uses a yacht, motorboat, speedboat, RIB, sailing craft, dinghy, rowing boat, canoe, narrow boat or other private leisure vessel on the River.

‘The tidal Thames – a guide for users of recreational craft’ is available free from the Port of London Authority (PLA). The 30-page booklet explains the key rules that apply on the tidal Thames and outlines basic safety procedures. The guide covers the entire tidal Thames from the estuary all the way to Teddington in west London, some 150 km (93 miles) in all.

Amongst the contents featured are:

safety advice

navigation rules

radio and emergency communications

water sports regulation

Richard Everitt, PLA chief executive said:

"The Thames is popular with users of different types of leisure and recreational craft. The tidal Thames is also one of the UK’s busiest commercial ports, with a wide variety of commercial ships coming and going. With such a mix of traffic, it is vital that all recreational users understand the safety rules that apply on the River."

For a free copy of ‘The tidal Thames – a guide for users of recreational craft’, contact Martin Garside, PLA, 7 Harp Lane, EC3R 6LB. Tel: 020 7743 7915. Email:

Note to Editors:

The Port of London Authority is responsible for safety on 150km (95 miles) of the tidal Thames from the sea to Teddington.


11th January 2006

Thames Barrier

After nine months of hard work, the Environment Agency has completed its assessment of the current condition of the Thames Barrier - with excellent results demonstrating the resilience of the Thames Barrier and the superior performance of its components.

The survey of each of the Thames Barrier's piers, gates, and the associated defences at other locations on the River Thames had been planned for a number of years. The results will inform the Environment Agency's Thames Estuary 2100 project - which will ensure the continued performance of the Thames Barrier for the next 100 years.

In order to complete all of this work to the highest possible standard, the Environment Agency employed a number of contractors and consultants including Metalock, Halcrow, Atkins, Volker Stevin, and High-Point Rendel, the original designers of the Thames Barrier.

Working together, the Environment Agency and its contractors have used the latest technology including robots, 3D infra-red imaging, electro-magnetic and ultra sound measuring equipment to perform a range of tests on the Thames Barrier. These tests included assessing the current condition of each of the barrier gates, both inside and out, and testing the thickness and adhesion of the current protective coatings.

The results of this revealed that despite 21 years immersed in the River Thames, the protective paint coating on the gates is still in very good condition. There is very little wear and tear on key components of the structure - indicating that the Thames Barrier is extremely robust.

The information gathered during the survey will now be used in the next stage of the project - which will determine the best maintenance plan in order to keep the Thames Barrier in full working order in the future.

Thames tidal flood risk manager, Andy Batchelor said: "There has been some very complicated and technical work conducted over the past nine months, and we have been very impressed by the performance of all our contractors. London currently benefits from one of the best levels of flood protection in the world - however, climate change and rising sea levels mean that this level of protection will gradually decrease. This project will help to ensure that the Thames Barrier continues to provide an excellent level of protection.

"However, living in the flood plain is never without risk and I urge Londoners to also consider the steps that they can also take to protect themselves from flooding. Information on how to do this can be found at our website"



Tip from John Stevens.....

Duh… why didn't I think of that!

No Sand Epoxy Surfaces
Epoxy will not stick to the poly bags we wrap our epoxy cans with for shipping.
Simply apply the epoxy and evenly press the plastic across the wet epoxy and wait for the epoxy to harden.
Then peel off the plastic.




A modern sailor's lament, sent in by Bill Wallace King.

I must go down to the sea again, in a modern high-tech boat,

And all I ask is electric, for comfort while afloat, And alternators, and solar panels, and generators going,

And deep cycle batteries with many amperes flowing.

I must go down to the sea again, to the autopilot's ways, And all I ask is a GPS, and a radar, and displays,

And a cell phone, and a weather fax, and a shortwave radio, And compact disks, computer games and TV videos.


I must go down to the sea again, with a freezer full of steaks, And all I ask is a microwave, and a blender for milkshakes,

 And a water-maker, air-conditioner, hot water in the sink, And e-mail and a VHF to see what my buddies think.

I must go down to the sea again,  with power-furling sails, And chart displays of all the seas,

and a bullhorn for loud hails, And motors pulling anchor chains, and push-button sheets,

And programs which take full charge of tacking during beats.

I must go down to the sea again,  and not leave friends behind, And so they never get seasick we'll use the web online,

And all I ask is an Internet with satellites over me,  And beaming all the data up, my friends sail virtually.

I must go down to the sea again, record the humpback whales, Compute until I decipher their language and their tales,

And learn to sing in harmony, converse beneath the waves,  And befriend the gentle giants as my synthesizer plays.

I must go down to the sea again, with RAM in gigabytes,  And teraflops of processing for hobbies that I like,

And software suiting all my wants, seated at my console, And pushing on the buttons which give me complete control.

I must go down to the sea again, my concept seems quite sound, But when I simulate this boat, some problems I have found.

The cost is astronomical, repairs will never stop, Instead of going sailing, I'll be shackled to the dock.

I must go down to the sea again,  how can I get away? Must I be locked in low-tech boats until my dying day?

Is there no cure for my complaint, no technologic fix?  Oh, I fear this electric fever is a habit I can't kick.

Apologies to John Masefield.



Sea Fever
John Masefield


I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a gray mist on the sea's face, and a gray dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
All I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the seagulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.


Hello All,

I think I prefer the John Masefield version! That said, I'm all for improving real safety systems on boats, even if they happen to be electronic. I've just returned from the DSC (VHF with digital) course and very impressed with the extra features that it offers, not the least of which is the use of GPS link for auto transmission of GPS position in a real life Mayday emergency. On the DSC course, also reminded that the coast guard no longer need to keep a headset watch on channel 16, just speaker broadcast if they hear it. Also, non British registered vessels apparently no longer need to listen on channel 16. With shore CG range limited to around 35 miles, a serious concern without DSC for the longer passages.

John Smith




Thanks to John Stevens and PBO for this one...  Have you got any of these, I have, will be checking mine!  
Man injured by exploding flare 'stable'

A Yachtmaster instructor seriously injured by a handheld flare is reported to be in a stable condition. The 51-year-old man was rushed to hospital last week after a white handheld flare exploded in his hand and entered his abdomen. He suffered broken bones, burns and severe internal injuries that required 18 pints of blood.

The man's wife and daughter are with him at the hospital, where he will undergo further surgery tonight. According to the vascular surgeon the internal bleeding is under control, but there is a long way to go yet.

The flare's manufacturer, Pains Wessex, is recalling two batches of its White Collision Warning (MK7) Hand Flare, which the company says could malfunction with a risk of personal injury. The flares have been distributed in the UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Holland, France and Italy, and the lot numbers are 2045 and 2046. The flare is sold on its own and is also contained in the Collision Warn-Off Kit and the ORC RORC Distress Kit.

If you own a Pains Wessex white collision flare, please check its lot number, which is ink-jetted on the tube. If yours is from one of the above batches, please return it to the place of purchase. If this is not possible, call Pains Wessex, tel: 02392 623962.

Alison Panes/ Practical Boat Owner, 13 April 2006


Have I not been warning this for years?!?!?  Look back at the earlier editions of the Newsletter...  It now appears I was right!!  Sadly I don't think we shall be around to see it! John

The Earth loses its magnetism


Scientists have known for some time that the Earth's magnetic field is fading.

Earth magnet, BBC
The field is mainly dipolar - but there are anomalies

Like a Kryptonite-challenged Superman, its strength has steadily and mysteriously waned, leaving parts of the planet vulnerable to increased radiation from space.

Some satellites already feel the effects.

What is uncertain is whether the weakened field is on the way to a complete collapse and a reversal that would flip the North and South Poles.

Compasses pointing North would then point South.

It is not a matter of whether it will happen, but when, said scientists who presented the latest research on the subject at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

But when is hard to pinpoint. The dipole reversal pattern is erratic.

"We can have periods without reversals for many millions of years, and we can have four or five reversals within one million years," said Yves Gallet, from Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France, who studies the palaeomagnetic record and estimates that the current decay started 2,000 years ago.

Flip or flop

Over the last century and a half, since monitoring began, scientists have measured a 10% decline in the dipole.

At the current rate of decline it would take 1,500 to 2,000 years to disappear.

By Molly Bentley
in San Francisco


For more go to....

Lifted from the PBO site  for info on the upper Thames!
£4.75 million upgrade for River Thames

The River Thames is to receive a £4.75 million upgrade this winter, with major improvements to 19 locks, the Environment Agency has announced.

Better mooring facilities, new lock gates, improved walkways and refurbished locks are just some of the renovations being carried out from Rushey Lock in Oxfordshire to the last lock at Teddington, from 1 November to the end of March 2007. Other improvements include new shower facilities and public toilets.

The work is all part of the Environment Agency's contribution to the Thames Waterway Plan - a strategy to rejuvenate the River Thames. The Plan is being delivered by the River Thames Alliance, chaired by the actor and boating enthusiast, David Suchet.

To help boaters plan their journeys on the river this winter the Environment Agency has produced a map detailing what work is taking place and how long locks will be closed for. For the latest version please see For electronic updates email or call 0845 988 1188 and when prompted press 1.

Click here to download a map showing what work is taking place (308kb jpeg file)



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