More on the M6 Incident – There must be some Lessons in Here Somewhere!!

Yes, that’s my boat!   I was about 50 yards in-front of the truck when that happened!

So, after the joys of a 7 hour drive up to Windemere on Friday afternoon, the return journey turned out even better!   We left RWYC at about 4.45 pm and I dropped off my crew at Oxenholme Station just after 5.  After getting something to eat and checking the trailer at Keele Services I thought things were looking better than Friday.  Then at 8.15 pm my tyre blew and I had to pull onto the hard shoulder underneath Junction 7 of the M6 just north of Birmingham.  After inspecting the shredded remains of the tyre I concluded the compressor foam kit in the car wasn’t going to help much so I phoned my breakdown assistance company to explain the problem – giving them details about the length of the boat and trailer.  A recovery truck turned up about half an hour later but took one look at the keel and decided he couldn’t get it on the back of his rig without scraping something.  He drove away saying the breakdown company would call me when they had found an alternative.  Forty-five minutes later I got a call from them saying they couldn’t find another truck so it was up to me to sort out the situation from the side of a noisy M6!  The only slightly helpful suggestion they made was to call up the Highways Agency from the nearest SOS phone box.

After a weird interruption from some foreigners waving a jump lead cable around, I walked down to the SOS box.  The Highways Agency advisor tried to get hold of an emergency tyre repair company after some problems reading the size, in the dark, on a deformed tyre.  After various calls they gave up on that idea (it was late on a Sunday evening by that point) and started to arrange a “Statutory Removal”.  Sometime later a Highways Agency Patrol Vehicle drove up and set out their cones and warning signs and waited with me until the removal vehicle arrived (we spent a lot of time talking about the benefits of standing behind the crash barrier in the cold).  Remarkably a very similar looking truck, as at 9pm, turned up at about 1215 am.  After some thought about the trailer overhang this recovery driver managed to winch the boat onto the back of his truck by using a couple of blocks of wood under the wheels to avoid the rear of the trailer and keel touching the tarmac.  So by roughly 12.30 pm the boat was all ready to drive off.

I then walked off down the edge of the hard shoulder to my car, which was parked far enough away to allow the recovery truck in.  Then BANG and I turned around to see what you can see in the pictures.  A blue Audi (A5?) had driven into the back of the patrol vehicle and ended up next to the central reservation just behind me.   I went back to the patrol vehicle to see whether I could be any help but the recovery driver seemed to be immediately in control of the situation and was running around checking on the situation of the casualties.  Luckily the two highways agency patrolmen managed to climb out of their vehicle in one piece after a minute or two in total shock.  As soon as they were out they got on with their jobs of making the rest of the situation as safe as possible.  They advised me to leave (probably because they didn’t want me going to sleep at the wheel as well).  I finally got home without the boat at 2.40.

Yesterday afternoon I bought two new wheels (so I can keep the surviving wheel as a spare) and I collected the boat today from Warwick Services.  I am off sailing tomorrow evening at Datchet.

 

Mike Clapp

Flying Fifteen #4027

Great Fleet Progress at Aldeburgh …..!!

As the Aldeburgh Flying 15 fleet has now completed its first year of revival, I thought I would send round for information a brief report to highlight what has happened and plans for the coming year.
  • A spree of end of season boat-buying has taken the fleet numbers from 3 at the end of 2016 to 13 at the end of 2017.  And more interest is being expressed by other so we are hoping for further fleet growth during 2018
  • The majority of boats being bought are early gold fleet boats – with sail numbers between 3400 – 3700: built by Ovington, Coryn or Dingwall, relatively cheap but with solid hulls and decks and plenty of life left in them
  • We also lost a boat – sunk and written off – number 2552 Ffaux Pas. A 30 year old buoyancy bag burst following a major broach and swamping.  No one was hurt but a salutary lesson for all.
  • During the season we have been joined by a  number of visitors  – ex Aldeburgh classic 202 Silver Fox down from Scotland and boats 3181 and 1543 whose helms sail on the River Deben – the next river down the coast in Suffolk, where facilities don’t really work for dry sailing fifteens.  We are hoping to coax these two boats into our fleet on a more permanent basis
  • We had 8 fifteens compete at the Aldeburgh Classic regatta and the same number (but not all the same boats) at  Aldeburgh Regatta week. The 15s had their own class start for the first time in many years at regatta week.
  • The 15s have also become the mainstay of the fast handicap fleet at Aldeburgh for weekend racing
  • The Aldeburgh Yacht Club has agreed to invest c£8,000 in a new winch to aid dry sailing of the 15s and other fleets, and also implement a potential solution to fix the dropoff at the bottom end of the slipway which makes fifteen recovery at low tide a real pain
  • In 2018 we are not intending to host an open meeting but visitors are very welcome to attend the Aldeburgh Classic regatta (June 16-17) and Aldeburgh regatta week (19-25th August).  We plan to hold our first open meeting at the earliest in 2019.
  • I doubt many Aldeburgh  boats will be tempted to travel much elsewhere in the near term, but over time a few may be seen on the circuit.
May I thank everyone for their support and good wishes over the last year.
Kind regards
Nick Barker
AYC F15 Fleet Convenor

Next Copy of “FF World” Magazine – a Message from the Editor …!!

FF World
 
Calling all Fifteen sailors: I am looking for interesting articles, reports, photos, anecdotes, technical tips, previews, for the next issue of FF World, due to be published before Christmas. Copy deadline early November – I can accept anything up to 9th November at the very latest. Also happy to carry adverts.
 
Crispin Read Wilson
mobile: 07887 767564