Carry on – Up and Down the Avon

The Cabot Cruising Club has been taking advantage of the lovely sunny weather and the easing of lockdown restrictions, with a couple of boat trips.

Our first venture of the season was up-river, to ensure that all boat systems and crews were functioning! About 70 people aboard 13 boats nosed out of the Basin on Saturday 3 April in glorious spring sunshine. Weaving amongst willow fronds, we pottered up the Feeder Canal, through Netham Lock and into the Avon, where we found groups of paddle boarders, canoeists and even swimmers!

Several boats negotiated Hanham Lock and for some, it was a first – mastering the sequencing of sluices, swinging the great gates and juggling boats and lines (and dogs!) in the confines of the small lock. As the two pubs were still covid-closed, we picnicked briefly on their berths, we then turned for home. Since then, word has it that one of our members has just bought the Hanham Lock Cottage – so will it be picnicking in his back garden next time….?

Emboldened by our up-river experiences, our next flotilla embarked upon a Channel Dash – Saturday 24 April, departing the harbour on the first lock-out, racing down to the Channel and returning in time for the last lock-in; all on a single, rising tide.

This time a dozen boats and about 50 brave souls took part. The sheltered gorge was beautiful, with sightings of deer and heron chicks on the banks and a plethora of other small craft enjoying the sunshine. The open Channel, with its predicted “fresh wind from the NE” was a different matter and the wind-over-tide, choppy sea caught some by surprise. They discovered, the hard way, that high speeds + choppiness = lots of broken crockery!

We all locked-in on time, however, with many a tale of derring do, no real damage done and were back in the tranquil shelter of the Basin, in time for sundowners.

We’ll have a few more Dashes, then an overnight in Portishead before we begin to plan more ambitious voyages to Cardiff, Lundy Island and maybe even down to Padstow…….

Mike Pope
CCC Boating & Sailing

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