Visiting Rossiters Boat Builders in the Great Storm of 2013

Having planned to visit our boat builder at Rossiters in Christchurch during Susannah’s visit over from Ireland, we were a little unsure as to the forecasted threat of the #UKstorm2013.  However, Susannah’s flight from Bournemouth was already booked and not delayed or cancelled, so we decided not to postpone our visit to the boat build, and to instead go with the flow and see what happened.  Either we would make it or we wouldn’t, and either way Susannah had a flight to catch.  I was up at 5am, and 6.20am we met up at the train station in Henley-On-Thames.  When I checked the trains on the internet at 5am all looked good apart from our last connection from Basingstoke to Christchurch, but the train after ours was set to be running as normal. On arrival at Henley, the trains looked to be running fine, and only at 6.30 did we discover the delay for the train from Twyford. No worries, we would simply get the next one from Twyford to Reading, and the train after the one with the issues from Basingstoke, looked to be running fine.

We made it to Twyford, and then discovered the train running from Twyford to Reading was delayed, but eventually arrived in Reading, in reality we probably could have walked to Reading faster than it took us by train, but given the weather forecast we expected it all to be running in this way, and were impressed at the number of trains still running, most of the ones going north seemed to have minimal disruption, and the ones running to Plymouth and Cardiff were also running fine. The issue was to get immediately south. It took us longer to get from Henley to Reading than it probably did to get from Reading to Christchurch!

Best case scenario we would make the boat builder and Susannah’s flight, worst case Susannah would just catch her flight, and if the flight was cancelled then even better, at least we would be near enough to take the next one (on Thursday!).

We worked out that we could make it south, albeit by a rather random route, from Reading to Bath Spa, to Westferry to Portsmouth, and luckily the wonderful Cat offered to pick us up from Romsey (first stop after Salisbury on the train to Portsmouth) and from there we could drive to Bournemouth Airport for Susannah’s flight, and then to the boat yard, and Rossiters could drop me off at Southampton airport station after the meeting for a totally smooth journey home.

Had we not had Susannah’s flight to catch, we wouldn’t have bothered trying to get to the boat builders, but actually it was a great day for getting to know each other better, dealing with the weather and the unknown, and chatting about team and project stuff. And we got to see the boat builder and catch the flight.  It also gave us the chance to see how amazing our support crew are, and to have a mock up of the logistics involved in us arriving from sea and keeping everyone informed. It was our first mini adventure together, knowing that we will be spending 8 months at sea together in a small space, feeling sleep deprived and munching on loads of calories and trying to entertain ourselves. A perfect day’s training!

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Blue skies at Reading train station.

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Still blue skies, and feeling positive.

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Susannah at Reading station, several hours after we set off from far away Henley.

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The heavens open as we arrive at Bath Spa, followed by glorious sunshine.

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Feeling hopeful about a train to Southampton, maybe Susannah will get her flight after all!

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Next train, since the Southampton one was cancelled. Portsmouth, but now delayed.

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Waiting for any train to arrive so we can travel south.

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Portsmouth train now cancelled.

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Portsmouth train arrives from Westferry and we make it to Romsey where we get a lift to the airport and the boat yard. Result!

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Boat cabin, all ready to go.

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Boat electrics

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Solar panels and cabin hatch.

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A fours boat and an 8s boat.

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A solo or pairs boat

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