Antiope unloved in a London Dock
With a bit of courage, a survey, sea trial and a huge leap of faith, we became her new owners, with co-conspirators Roger and Robyn who have been working alongside us on this project for the past two years.
The deal done, we had a hasty planning meeting before our new partners had to fly home that same evening back to work and family in Australia.
For us, a run up the Thames to check that the essential systems worked seemed like a good idea, also a chance to visit friends in Shepperton, and to the familiar non tidal waters that we knew from Water Gipsy days.
We were learning more every day as we delved into Antiope’s past, finding papers and records in various drawers. She learnt that she was built to cross the Atlantic and explore polar waters but more of that later.
We quickly gained confidence in her good natured handling ability. But it was clear that recent years of neglect demanded a haul out for a good bottom paint and to give us the opportunity to set her up for European waters.
Burnham on Crouch came up in conversation as an affordable place to do the work. So here we are. We had an interesting run down the Thames in typically stormy July weather, vivid memories of estuary shallows and tidal currents times came rushing back. Many centuries of silt have washed down the river and settled in a web of very tricky sandbanks. Wind turbines now march out along these ridges. We had to voyage 8 miles out to sea before there was enough water for us to turn north and head back inland and up the river Crouch for a well earned beer. Burnham can still boast 15 pubs,
4 yacht clubs, and a yacht marina that did not exist when I last sailed here.
Hauling out at Burnham, ready to start work on the hull
Charles and Annie