Teddington rally from The Tamesis Club.
A few facts, I live down a busy single-track road in the land that the Department of Transport forgot aka the Surrey Hills. Towing the Edwin James, which is 21 ft long, 24 ft on a trailer, my final destination was a slip in Teddington. To get there I had to face school traffic in the Surrey Hills, the M25 roadworks, heavy traffic and google maps taking me down all sorts of tiny roads in the busy London suburb of Kingston-upon-Thames. I find a playlist of Whale sounds very calming in situations like this.
The slip was at the Tamesis Club, a traditional, small, dinghy sailing club situated on the River Thames just down river from Kingston-upon-Thames. If you like boating but don’t like electric boats this would be an excellent place to learn to sail.
In total we had 3 boats in the rally, they were The Edwin James, Silent Adventure and BW11 owned by Roger and Evelyn Richardson who live just a little downstream. We set off promptly at 10 o’clock as was the plan and collected Stuart James our esteemed chairman and my daughter Poppy, who had just finished her final year at Kingston University.
What was lovely about having my daughter around is that she massively reduced our average age, and it got me thinking about having a more family, grandchildren etc etc feel to our future rallies, this would perhaps be more possible in the school holidays. Ice creams will be found.
After picking up the late joiners we headed upriver on a beautiful summer’s day past Hampton Court and all its history, Molesey Lock, not to be confused with Oswald Mosley but it does help me remember the name of the Lock. As always the helpful Thames Lockkeepers were there to assist with making boating on The Thames a particularly relaxing day out.
Continuing upstream we went to the north of Tagg’s Island to marvel and ogle at all the houseboats alongside the river and fantasise a life different than ours.
We then went north of Garrick’s Ait, opposite Garrick’s temple to Shakespeare. Thank goodness for Google because if I wasn’t so honest, I might claim to already know this quote, but here goes…. ‘Fortune brings in some boats that are not steered’. Sometimes I have the feeling that steering my boat is somewhat of a mystery, the motor and throttle and tiller were all once part of a Minkota electric outboard. The methodology I employ is to try a little bit and if you appear to be going in the right direction, the right way, continue, if not, just look confident and bluff it.
The company was good on The Edwin James for this stretch of the journey there were four of us, myself, Iain Sommerville, the EBA Web Master, Barry Goldring and my daughter Poppy. It turns out that my daughter is an excellent listener! Passing to the south of Platt’s Eyot. An ait is a small island in the river and ,according to the Oxford Dictionary, an eyot is another name for the same. Apparently ait in Latin means pleasant, likeable, fine or excellent. I would agree. Very soon we passed into the Sunbury Lock and shortly after we reached The Weir Hotel and had an excellent lunch overlooking the river and our boats. The Weir is a great pub and I would recommend it as a destination any time of the year.
It was nice at the pub to talk in more depth to Roger and Evelyn who now are retired but Roger used to run a furniture company and you may even have some of his furniture in your house. No its not Ikea. And Evelyn was still teaching music.
Also joining us at The Weir was Jonathan Evans, a Welshman from Cardigan. Being a Welshman myself that’s a proper bit of Wales. Jonathan, a man of means and obviously committed to the cause, has two electric boats, a 40 ft Narrow Boat, Nuera, he designed and built 10 years ago with a 14kW Lynch thruster in each corner for propulsion and steering (featured on Waterways World at the time) and a 14 ft 1950’s motor boat that he took the V8 out of over lockdown and fitted a 14kW Lynch motor. Jonathan suggested next year that we should meet on The Avon for a rally and I second this as a good idea.
After lunch Poppy headed off in an Uber to her summer job and we headed back to Teddington. The race home is always, always won by Nick Goldring. As you might have seen from the pictures Barry Goldring joined us on the Edwin James upriver. And he proudly talked non-stop about his brothers achievements in the electrical world, appearances on Tomorrows World and shows with Andrew Marr to name but a few. Nick doesn’t talk about these achievements, he doesn’t have to he just drives one of his three Tesla’s.
After exiting Molesey Lock and passing south of Ravens ait island we felt a small smattering of precipitation. The optimist in me was proved wrong and shortly after a smattering turned into a deluge. Stuart James who came downstream with us had his vape extinguished. In fact it’s the closest I’ve come to being underwater without being underwater. A real Jacques Cousteau experience. Stuart James departed at Kingston to make good use of the hand drier in Browns Bistro. I’ll of course offer my services as a character witness if needed at the magistrates court, our seats did get very wet your honour.
What’s the definition of smugness? Nick and Barry sitting out of the rain and perfectly dry under Kingston Bridge in the zippy Dory Silent Adventure …”thought you would have been here by now”, said by both Nick and Barry in unison.
Half an hour we waited like trolls under the bridge before we proceeded downstream for a quick recovery at The Tamesis Club.
The next meeting is at Harleyford Marina on the 13th July. It would be lovely to see a big flotilla and some of your friends and family, please check the EBA website link below for future dates.
If you’re not a member but would like to join, please click on this link: https://electricboatassociation.org/membership-join/membership-registration/