Trip Start Feb 17, 2011
15Trip End Apr 28, 2011
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Member of potential crew came aboard, previously from a 700 ton steel tug, think he thought he was still on it. Dirty boots on seats; demanding full English breakfast, would not give a hand with cleaning or food preparation but said he would help with getting the boat ready. After 22 hours of rudeness and complaints, topped by the remark that he thought it would be an interesting experience to try human flesh, (we all locked our cabin doors that night), we thought that it was better that there was a parting of the ways at this point. When he left, unfortunately, two of our new strops for the lifejackets disappeared at the same time. After his departure, we discovered damage caused by his drilling to the portside locker and that our tablecloth had been superglued onto our beautiful wooden table. We all felt safer in our bunks following his departure
Andrew, a new crew member then joined us in the evening. A very lovely charming man.
Made cheese and chutney sandwiches and soup for lunch. Cooked chicken and vegetables in spicy tomato sauce with noodles, green salad and fruit dessert for dinner
Still working madly to get the boat commissioned in time to get out tomorrow which is the plan. We are two days behind schedule due to the navigational equipment not co-ordinating with the pc, wrong size anchor and damaged life raft having being delivered and myriad other problems.
Food: Bran flakes and fruit, yoghurts, coffee and tea, shore power so microwaved baked potatoes and had them with tuna, sweetcorn and mayonnaise and salad, followed by fresh fruit
Left Burnham at 8.30. Drizzling and overcast and foggy. Andrew is skippering, working our way along the Crouch which is full of sand banks and working our way out with a falling tide – 2.4 m depth at times. Andrew practicing for yachtmasters licence so we are using buoys as weypoints as we make our way out towards the Thames estuary. Wow! Just seen seals on mudbanks, amazing they seem so incongruous here. Chicken and vegetables and bacon in spicy sauce with potato farls.
Terrifying trip overnight from Ramsgate to Portsmouth. Freezing cold, gale force 6, thick fog. Cold and wet and scared. Happy to arrive at about 08.00 after a 24 hour journey and to have a hot shower and to get feet on land. Relieved. Had sausages and mash and onion gravy in a converted lightship in the harbour and a couple of cups of coffee. In the afternoon Andrew and I went into Portsmouth town from Haslar port on a ferry to try to sort out problem with the pc navigation programme to no avail. However did get an Internet connection for emails at The Old Excise House which is now a pub.
Monday 27 February
Left Haslar marina in Gosport and sailed to Cowes, I.O.W. Andrew bought Musto boots and Sticky and I bought Quaysider boots and Gill helmsman gloves – what a difference they make. Feel much warmer now than in Colin's size 8 wellies. Bought lots more food, chicken, bacon, salad, fresh fruit. Making sure we eat a lot of fresh produce before we start the Bay of Biscay leg. Not able to refuel in Cowes unfortunately. Came to Walsash Marina for the night. £26 a night but no facilities – no toilets or showers. Andrew knows people at the sailing club here so they were kind enough to allow us to use their hot showers which was marvellous even though it was about ten in the evening. Baked potatoes with sweet corn and tuna and apple pie for dinner.
Tuesday 1 March
Came out of Warsash. Practiced three different manoeuvres for man overboard and mooring skills and passage plans for Andrew. Moroccan lamb with couscous for dinner. Washed the special boot mat that we had bought for the yacht at Warsash and left it to dry on the quayside and sailed off without it. When we called, it was no longer there so that was a pity.
Wednesday 2 March
I was very sick this morning think it might have been the three glasses of red wine I had at the sailing club. Luckily Andrews's exam for Yachtmaster practical was put back to 1.00. The examiner lives in Warsash, so handy that we are staying at the marina here. Unfortunately due to horrible weather conditions, tides, currents, winds etc. the boat was grounded twice. Nigel Rennie was the examiner; he was very fair but had to fail Andrew. Because a night passage was part of the exam, the examiner needed to eat dinner with us. I had prepared a chicken and carbonara spaghetti unfortunately he was vegetarian and only ate fish. Aaaagh! So had to improvise and made a vegetarian pasta for us all out of cauliflower cheese, peas, Philadelphia cheese and mixed vegetables – it was actually very nice. Very cold coming in, dropped Nigel off at Walsash and stayed here for another night.
Thursday 3 March
Went over at 07.00 from Walsash to Hamble Point marina. Maricom, came from their service centre here and a couple of guys spent two hours trying to get the GPS chart plotter at the cockpit table outside talking to the pc inside – luckily it seems to have worked. Sorted out the radio also and informed that the slave set outdoorsnhad condensation inside its window and needed to be sent back. Cooked English breakfast using gas and microwave mixture.
Had a lift from Sue of Sea Ventures to Mercury Marina to drop off the temporary life raft. I waited at the Mercury marina whilst the rest of the crew sailed up from Hamble Point to Mercury Marina to pick me up and then on to Deacons Marina to check out a bolt cropper system – unfortunately not good enough or secure enough to cut through 12 mm stainless steel rigging on the boat however. They did say that a man with a hacksaw who has to get through rigging can be very effective! I do not like this thought. Dropped Andrew off so he could take train back to Wimbledon. We will sorely miss our crew member and hope he can join us on another leg later. Tide and wind coming in from different directions, so was not easy at all to moor up and we had to use roving fenders to prevent damage. We moored up at Deacons on an outer pontoon and then had to take a little raft over from the pontoon to the other side. Saw Andrew’s boat 'Papillon', he is leaving his syndicate this April as the other guys are racers and he just wants to tootle around bays. Had a drink at The Lucky Sailor or the The Happy Sailor (?) and Andrew went off on the train home from there, to change into his evening suit to go for dinner this evening at the Savoy! Bit of a change.
We came back to Hamble Point to moor up, tried out the storm jib on the way and then had to pack it up in a north easterly wind. Had chicken jalfrezi and rice and vanilla cheesecake for dinner. Went to the pub but it was shut, very cold and forlorn looking around here. Up at 08.00 tomorrow as we are awaiting riggers from Sea Ventures to come to sort out the slab reefing rather than a one line reefing system which is not good and has put considerable strain on the mast and the headsail. Hope this will not take too long to do as we need to be over at Hythe Marina for the Man Overboard Convention being given by Sticky.
Stayed at Hamble Point marina.
Friday 4 March
Came over to Hythe Marina which is absolutely beautiful for the Convention. The office were very happy to see us as so much kit had been delivered that they had no room to move about in the office. There was an enormous anchor, cockpit cushions and the most enormous pallet of food which was sent to us for a very reasonable price by The Tanfield Food Company. Gorgeous food from local farmers in the North East that has already been prepared and is in sachets that can be microwaved or heated on gas. We will be carrying out a focus group assessment on these meals. Already very excited about tasting them as they sound delicious. Man Overboard Convention - had an evening meeting with an address by Sticky Staypleton our skipper on safety. All participants brought drinks and food and had a buffet dinner afterwards.
Saturday 5 March
Started early with an address on first aid and recovery of crew from sea in meeting hall. Demonstration in marina from various participants as to devices that they all use to recover potential overboard crew members from sea. Went out in a very powerful black RIB called Vampire with Dead Fred, a very heavy mannequin that was used as a dummy crew member. We threw Fred overboard numerous times and had to haul him in every time so all boats could have a couple of goes at trying out their various recovery techniques and devices. The member of crew would probably have expired before they were recovered in most instances.
Fantastic three course lunch at La Vista Italian restaurant, goats cheese starter, turkey fillet in cream sauce and tiramisu. In the afternoon, Sticky and I went out in a RIB to watch the various boats practicing out in the Solent using the devices that they would use to recover a body from the sea. Definitely feel that most efficient and quick method is to crash stop and heave to with engine on. Using a 6 to 1 pulley device such as the Sticky Staypleton Patented MOB Contraption!
Colin had to stay on the yacht in the marina as the men were coming to look at the generator as it was not working correctly. I think he would have been much warmer there.
Richard, Peter and Keith, friends came down from Collingham to Hamble Point Marina where Richard’s boat, Lionheart is moored. They attempted to come into Hythe Marina but unfortunately the harbour office did not hear them, so they sailed back to Hamble Point and then came back in the car to Hythe Marina! We went out to a lovely restaurant Hobbitts in Hythe Village and had another fantastic meal.
Sunday 6 March
Slept in until 08.00, marvellous, you soon realise that to be warm, to have sufficient sleep and to have a good meal are the most comforting and important things in life. Showers, clean clothes, make up, hair and nail care are all of secondary importance. However when on land - to have a hot shower with clean clothes is one of the most fabulous things to look forward to. I never could understand inmates of Big Brother getting desperately excited at the thought of a Twix or some other food of which they had been deprived. However when freezing cold on the helm, the thought of a cup of hot soup or a cup of tea in half an hours time takes on an importance that is quite extraordinary. It is like a beacon of light that you look forward to so much. Sailing is very salutory.
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