Despite my most diplomatic efforts to have a London start sanctioned I now have to report a change of plans.
Port of London Authority are the controlling body for activities on the Thames and understandably like to know what is going down (unfortunate use of language, given the context) on the busy bits of river, so these are the people I contacted to arrange a Tower Bridge start. With some help from Phil Holman (Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre) I presented a seemingly reasonable passage plan request which was returned with (what seemed to me) a genuinely regretful rejection (albeit one based on a questionable interpretation of their own bylaws).
To cut a longer story short I appealed, had my application reviewed by their panel, and was rejected again.
The official reason for the rejection is that PLA consider windsurfing to be one of the ski sports covered by the 2012 by-laws:
13. WATER-SKIING AND OTHER SIMILAR ACTIVITIES
13.1 A person must not engage or take part in water-skiing, aqua-planing, paddle boarding, swimming with a board, kite-surfing, wake-boarding, parakiting, or any similar activity...
Apparently windsurfing is covered by the "any similar activity" catch all. Whereas if I had been asking to sail down the Thames in a dinghy that by-law wouldn't have been a stumbling block.
Oh well, maybe there will be a change of heart once I've made it round. Better to direct my energies elsewhere than get too upset by this.
So, new start will be from my home patch, specifically the iconic global landmark that is Clacton Pier. Really not much change from London Bridge then.
This change means my start date is not determined by tide times as before, so I am taking the opportunity of getting on my way a little bit earlier. New start date/time will be 10am on Sunday 7th June (as Clacton is close to London the rough timings of when I expect to be at different parts of the coast don't change).
My apologies to anyone who had been thinking or made any plans to come along for the proposed London start, I know there were a few of you and really do appreciate the support.