An hour and a half before sunrise and I am in the midst of a twitter storm. Up above me unseen in the trees the neighbourhood avians are performing their dawn chorus a little ahead of schedule. I’d been planning to try out a prototype Anfibio Revo for weeks, waiting for a sunny day while failing to pull off more ambitious test venues. In the end they wanted it back so it feel to a transit of the dreary old Thames through London.
But walking to the station it was clearly far from the predicted freezing night leading to clear skies till noon. No frost glittered on car bodies nor stars twinkled above. Oh well, it’s 6.30am and I’m at the station. I may as well go through with it. Not done the Thames in a packraft before, so there’s that.
At Putney jetty energetic young rowers were hauling out their cheesecutters from the sheds while I fumbled with the Anfibio Revo’s floor pad. At a glance the Revo looks bigger than my 2K so it might be a bit faster. It’s a self-bailer with an unusual drain funnel under the seat (like some Gumotex canoes) rather than the usual lines of holes along the floor’s edge (like the ROBfin; another stillborn test). An 8-mile run along the Thames wasn’t going to tax the self-bailing, but for flatwater the dangling funnel can be pulled in and rolled up like a dry bag to stop the boat filling up.