Barton Marine was proud to support scow sailors Diana Lewis, Mark MacFee and Sue Law Shapiro on their adventurous sail down the River Thames from London's Putney Bridge to Burnham on Crouch, Essex! The three abled sailors in their scows left Putney Bridge on 7 July at high tide - 6:55 am - to raise funds and awareness for Moonwalk, the fight against Breast Cancer. All three arrived in fine shape on 9 July at Burnham on Crouch followed by safety boat, the goodship Buttercup, crewed by watchful family members.
The three sailors report that tides "rip" down the Thames making steering difficult, but providing "a spectacular" sailing experience as winds raced through the buildings along the shoreline causing mischief with sails and piloting.
Diana Lewis was in charge of giving advance notice to all the Thames mariners and officials to watch out for the three tiny crafts tacking and jibing among the barrage of work boats, commercial barges and water taxis. Even the multiple bridge pilings were a worry at times reported Diana after a heartpounding incident when the tides drew her perilously close to a bridge buttress, which she narrowly missed to sail on with her mates.
Having been forewarned of their journey, the "Clippers and Water Taxis were brilliant," often slowing down to allow the safe passage of the scows before moving on with their passengers down the Thames.
One large container ship actually created a ten foot wake that all three crew members maneuvered with skill and style.
The first night was spent in Havengore Creek after 7-8 hours of stormy passage. While sleeping on the Buttercup with all three scows tethered to the stern, the powerboat broke away from its mooring in the wee hours causing all crew members to scamper to the deck to save the boat and secure a new anchor.
Other highlights included cruising past Parliament to the ringing of Big Ben in the distance, finding the Thames Barrier preparing for their arrival and shining the "green light" for their safe passage through the Barrier, and sailing under the M25 near Gravesend.
The greatest highlight of the trip however, was their arrival in Haven Creek three days later, knowing they were near home and the warm welcome of fans and friends. Barton Marine salutes these three courageous souls and their support crew for their truly magnificent adventure in support of a fine charity.