Hoe Mill to Rushes Weir wild open boat paddle 10th March 2019

It was windy, very windy. As I was unloading my open boat and pushing under the fence at Hoe Mill lock the telegraph pole I was standing beside shook violently, followed by a big cracking sound, and a tree, 30 feet from me fell down , blocking the whole road. Wow, so pleased I wasn’t standing beside that, or that my van wasn’t under it. 10 minutes later the rest of the Open boaters started to arrive and all parked under very old trees, and after a quick rethink, the penny dropped and then they re parked away from the trees. Happy bunnies. James and I went two up in my OB, and Barry and Kevin R, the die hards, paddled solo – oh regret on their behalf.

Lets say that the desired direction of travel and side of the river wasn’t always happening due to the very strong F6 – F8! winds. Serious boat trimming went on amongst our solo paddlers.

The intrepid duo didn’t suffer half as much. Somewhere along the way Barry got out and walked, then paddled. Kevin moored up and joined Barry, and later Barry Kevin and James all joined together and then James went solo, Kevin joined with John, Barry was on his loansome.

Hope you’re keeping up with this. Rushes Weir came into sight and after a quick play in the wier, we had a break.

James, “I’ve not done this before” Rushes Weir.

It was then Sail paddles up and away we went back to Hoe Mill. James and I took off at a great pace with the wind filling the sail paddle.

Kevin had varying degrees of success, although appeared to be scooping more water than wind. Eventually Barry and Kevin rafted up and they managed to get going under sail.

Kevin and Barry. Kevin’s new tactic was to stand up and blow into the sail.

Getting back to Hoe Mill didn’t take long at all. Really good fun in seriously windy conditions, this was followed by a pint in the pub afterwards. Thanks to my fellow paddlers, James, Barry and Kevin R.

Kevin, with red sail already to fly.
Submitted by John H 120319

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