London calling

August 15, 2013


While the weather has been much better than expected in the UK this summer, unfortunately we’ve been hundred’s of miles away from our Macwester Malin since early June, and that’s left a gaping hole in our sailing season.

We’re no longer eager to be dazzled by the bright lights of big cities, so we spent most of our time trying to avoid the tourist hotspots. Predictably, we sucked-up every opportunity for a ‘boat fix’, whether that was religiously watching repeats of ‘Coast’ at 8pm on the ‘Yesterday’ television channel, a trailer-sailer parked in a drive way in Horsley, (yes, I’m referring to you ‘Moon Critter‘), or a disparate collection of boats huddled together on the edge of the Thames spotted from a great height on Google Earth.

Surrey Quays (pictured above) was a disappointment. Less of a marina and more of a floating shanty town. I am sorry if that sounds a bit harsh; absolutely no offence to the live aboard occupants there – I can see the attraction of living aboard in a big city such as London …however we were looking for boats that actually sail, and we didn’t travel half-way across the city to view what could be argued is affordable housing.


Our two trips to St Katharine’s Marina were much more fun. Amazingly on our first visit we spotted ‘Tide Head’, the Outbound 46 that berthed alongside us at Port Edgar in early August last year (currently up for sale at £300,000).

Trying not to dwell on the deep-fried delights we could have been ingesting at the ‘Fishcotheque’ over in Waterloo, we enjoyed less-calorific dim sum for lunch at ‘Ping Pong’ before going for one more circuit of the marina. Making our way around the docks we also spotted a Macwester Malin ketch hidden amongst a sea of larger yachts and motorboats (see below).


July and early August brought a heatwave to the UK, with temperatures up to 34 degrees in London. Inevitably we craved to be out on the water, but with no water-based craft to hand we just had to make the best of a bad situation. I shan’t go into detail about our trip to the boating ‘lake‘ at Dulwich Park …suffice to say that by the time I navigated around the pedalos and got into my stride, I had to stop and row back in the other direction. It was an epic fail of diminutive dimensions.

In the end we were away for ten long weeks, and as the weather was the best it’s been in recent years …it was really hard not to feel like we’ve missed out. Next up we’ll be back on the water as soon as possible, although now that we’re back the short-term forecast is looking pretty bleak. Who would have thought that?


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