Message originally posted by gavinparson on 23-Aug-09 at 10:32 PM:

The family and I set off for the Thames cruise at 7.30 am and arrived at Putney Embankment at around 9.am.
Duncan arrived shortly after with his boat and was joined after a while by two friends with two more speedboats. Scott and Tom Tilley then turned up with their Flying Fish.
The boat crowd then spent a while putting the boats in the water whilst I waited for some more hovercraft to arrive.
I waited and waited but unfortunately no more turned up. It was a beautiful sunny day and the river was idyllic.
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We prepared to leave and the three of us in my craft set off downstream. Looking back, the Tilleys seemed to be hesitating so we stopped on the beach to wait for them. As they didn't seem to be going we hovered back to find out the problem. Apparently the engine wouldn't rev properly so they set about trying to track down the source of the problem.
I waited a while but as time was getting on and we were likely to lose the tide, we set off.
As we cruised along past Wansdworth and Battersea it was calm and picturesque.


And so it was all the way past Westminster until with plenty to look at and many people waving from houseboats, riverside apartments and boats we passed. Eventually we reached the South Bank where we stopped on the beach at Festival Pier.


Shortly after, the boats turned up and joined us on the beach. A police launch came over and two officer asked us some friendly questions and wished us a good day.

After a bite to eat we set off again heading towards the docklands.
During much of the trip my daughter sitting in front of me, held on tight to the throttle and dozed off.

As we went through the busy part of London, as expected, the passing sightseeing boats and river taxis produced plenty of wash which became quite considerable as we passed Tower Bridge.
We pressed on and at time my wife urged me to turn back. I tried to keep near the right bank to avoid the worst of the chop and went behind pontoons wherever possible.

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Eventually we approached the Dome and it really was quite rough on the river and I was glad of the sight of a small beach where we could stop. So we stopped on the beach and eventually the boats caught up but seemed to think we'd broken down. Dunc came over and checked that we were alright and I told him that the Dome was far enough and we were turning back.

I topped up the fuel tank and we set off into the surging mass of water. Here the river taxis travel really fast and cause a lot of wash. I managed to avoid the worst of it by keeping to the bank again.

When we got to the Embankment area and up past Westminster, it was very hard going with a strong headwind and an incessant 2 foot chop. I had to follow the middle of the river to avoid the big boats moving off the piers. The craft slowed down until it was almost stationary trying to fight through the chop. With a sightseeing boat not far behind I was keen to not get bogged down in its path. I carried on flat out and moved over as far right as possible as I passed the Houses of Parliament.
Eventually it flattened out as I approached Battersea and was once again quite pleasant on the last leg.


When we got back to Putney the boats were already there. After a short break I gave some rides to the boat crew before loading the craft back on the trailer and we all left for home and a nice KFC dinner.

Thanks to Duncan for laying it on and I'm totally surprised that there weren't any other craft there on such a nice summers day.