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.
Several visitors who sailed in Bass week have left their boats at the club for the FF Northerns over the August bank holiday weekend so, with many other fifteeners from other clubs expected, the entries for the two day event should be high. To get the entry fee discount of £10 you need to enter online before this coming Sunday. Just go to the club website and follow the link to the FF Nthns.
Remember it’s a camping weekend with camping and caravanning allowed on the Friday, Saturday, Sunday nights..
You will see that the Fixture List now has almost the full line up for the Championship events next year. We start with the Mid Winter Championship at Datchet on February 1st and this time it will be a one day event. There will then be time for early season tuning up at Datchet’s Winter Warm Up and the Bewl Valley open meeting plus, no doubt, some others before the Southerns at Hayling Island. This is being combined with Haylings’s 60th anniversary of the Bulwark Trophy which is being held over the Bank Holiday weekend 24th – 26th May. Next up will be the Inlands which will be hosted by Grafham on 21st/22nd June, always a popular venue and well attended.
The Nationals will be a four day event from Saturday 5th to Tuesday 8th July and will be hosted by Parkstone YC. This will mean that the Nationals will have been held at a Southern venue for two years running and the background to this is that Parkstone are keen to host this event but were unable, at this time, to commit to doing so in 2015 as there is the possibility that they will then be in the process of major building works on their clubhouse. Because of this uncertainty, we have been pleased to go with the suggestion that they hold the Nationals next year instead. After that, we will revert to alternating between Northern and Southern venues. A short event of four days was decided on as there will also next year be the European Championship in Majorca. The dates for this are 14th to 19th September.
The Northern Championship will be held at Bassenthwaite on 23rd & 24th August so there will be plenty of time to pack up the boats and get them down to the Med. Then up to Loch Lomond SC who are running the Scottish Championship on the weekend of 4th & 5th October.