YM Feature editor stranded on waterlogged Thames

Fans of Yachting Monthly features editor Dick Durham’s blog will be keen to hear Dick’s latest news as he tries to sail up the flood-stricken Thames on a borrowed Drascome Lugger. Dick took delivery of El Fideldo last Saturday July 21, from Sarah Black, director of RYA Environmental initiative the Green Blue, and plans to use it for ‘an environmental voyage’ up-river, but hasn’t managed to sail it yet, as he is stuck in Gloucestershire due to ‘unprecedented flooding’ in the Thames area. According to the Times newspaper, an estimated 90,000 gallons per second of water were flowing down the river last night.

Currently moored at Riverside Marina, Lechlade, Dick and his son Richard, 7, walked to St John’s lock, the highest on the Thames, to ask the lock keeper if it would be possible to set sail this weekend. ‘No’, was the firm reply – the lock has danger signs posted all over it, and, if Dick had gone ahead while the water levels were so high, he would have faced an unnavigable river – all the signs and posts are underwater – and might even have sailed unknowingly over a weir.

‘Richard should have been looking at kingfishers – instead he’s been staring at a patina of petrol’, Dick said, ‘as all the petrol pumps are underwater. You can see tens of Gaz and propane bottles just drifting down the river.’ Locals are out on their canoes, and Richard has improvised, paddling about on an old railway sleeper to fill up the hours. ‘We’re still planning on setting sail this week, but it’s a true Waterworld out there at the moment, so we’ll sit it out’, said Dick. We’ll keep you posted here.