The Saving of the Barge

 

EYC uses a steel barge named This'll Do to maintain its moorings on the Thames. On March 10th 2019 during ferociously high winds, our moorings barge sank. On the same day, a cruiser broke free from her moorings, and the 5th Brass Monkey race was abandoned. However, club members refloated the barge the following Tuesday in a heroic act of seamanship.

The moorings maintenance effort in ongoing - anyone able to volunteer mid-week would be hugely welcomed.

The following poem by Mick Kemp details the effort:

 

Author’s note: I hope my good friend Jimmy S will forgive my use of a well-worn stereotype to provide a humorous and wholly fictional climax to the story, which is otherwise (loosely)based on fact. I would also like to assure readers that no Wallet was actually harmed, either in the action described or the making of this poem

On a windy March day, in 2019, when few folk were around

As the tide rolled in towards the shore, The Barge was not to be found

The winds had sent great rolling waves, engulfing her and more

Filling her up with mud and Thames, and pinning her to the floor

 

That day was the lowest tide of the Springs, and as it fell away,

About six inches of gunnel showed, not much with which to play.

The Boys debated long and hard, what actions might transpire

But all knew well that each new tide would be a little higher.

 

Nought could be done without a pump, on that they all agreed

And no pump that was big enough could be found with any speed.

So, despite the engine spoiling with the water seeping in

Another fourteen days must pass before work could begin.

 

 

But Tuesday morning, bright and clear, a miracle did provide

A change in wind and pressure that produced a lower tide

And Richard B, with a dinghy in tow, wearing a dry suit, too

Saw three proud inches above the ebb on the gunnel of This’ll Do

 

Quick as light, he saw a chance and, bucket in his hand,

He jumped in and with a cry for help he bellowed to the land.

His call was heard by two more Dicks who joined him in great haste

And soon a Ron, a Jim and Roger, Buckets in hand, gave chase

 

Now the finest Working steam pump, would be an also –ran

Compared with whirling bucket , in the hands of a frightened man.

That these six men were frightened, none of them sought to hide

For they knew, they’d have to swim for the shore if they failed to beat the tide.


 

It has been estimated, by a mathematical son of a gun

That those six men between them shifted sixty metric tons.

To say their work was frantic, would understate the case

Each man drove on for far too long at a superhuman pace.

 

 

Then a nameless freighter thundered by, unswerving in its track

And several tonnes of muddy Thames were thoughtlessly handed back

Its bow and stern waves crashed aboard, the water level rose

Eliminating half an hour of desperate, fevered throes.

 

 

At this setback, the gallant six were struck completely dumb

Their aching bodies in revolt, Their minds and senses numb

Then came a pleading Scottish voice, which trembled with despair

Ye MUST redouble yer efforts boys, Ma WALLETs dropped doon there!”

 

 

Work was, indeed redoubled and the tide was kept at bay

Then, with half a metre freeboard, This’ll Do was under way!

So they towed the barge some way inshore, to sit on higher ground

And mud and debris was dug away (though the wallet’s not been found!)

 

Since this was writ, lost boards were found; the engine has revived

And This’ll Do, with her gallant crew, have happily survived

In the annals of Erith Yacht Club, their names will be writ large

Three Dicks, Ron, Roger and young Jim, who saved the Moorings barge!

   
© Erith Yacht Club