Monday, 18 July 2005

happy families

The plan for this weekend was to head for the Deben, and to grab a visitors buoy, or anchor up somewhere…. Unfortunately, the engine that I am getting for the tender failed to materialise as it hadn’t been serviced in time, so we decided that rather than have to row against the tide in the Deben (which can regularly be 4 knots+) we would defer that trip to another weekend. Instead, we decided to have a bit of a ‘doing’ weekend, getting some more of the jobs done, that, like most boat owners, are put off where at all possible!, and then just day sail on Sunday….. as it happens, this turned out to be a great weekend…. We got down to the boat Friday evening, on a beautiful, warm evening… in fact, possibly a bit too warm…. Upon opening up the boat, we were greeted by a blast of hot air…. Its was going to be a warm one….. we still have nice brown plastic covers on all the seating//beds, of 1970’s vintage…. Its designed specially to be as uncomfortable as possible for sleeping on, with an inbuilt capacity to stick to hot human skin…. So hot nights are a little unwanted… until we recover them all, which we are planning to do, and indeed already have the material for… A decent nights sleep was however reasonably forthcoming, and we awoke to what can only be described as a glorious morning…. 07h30, and its already 24 degrees…. Lots of early morning activity in the marina…. As a started, we wandered into Ipswich town to get a few bits… what a lovely town centre, very well appointed…as we walk past various estate agents, SWMBO muttering about the cost of property in the Ipswich area…. Might have to promote that thinking a little bit!… Eventually, equipped with various bits and pieces courtesy of various nick-nack and bargain shops, such as mops, buckets, and 10 metres of speaker cable, we returned to the boat via the chandlers at Haven Marina, where I purchased several items, including a bosun’s chair, waterproof cockpit speaker, small pulley blocks, a couple of split pins, and a load of 2mm rope (or is it string at 2mm?). I had been a little concerned for a few weeks now, that I couldn’t hear the VHF very well while helming, and had decided to fit a cockpit speaker, so this was my first task….. I soon had locker bottoms out, various bit and pieces of the boat removed etc, and had routed the cable in a nice tidy manner between the VHF and a suitable location at the rear of the boat…. I had the sense Thursday night to find an old pair of headphones at home, and cut off the 2.5mm audio plug, so now had all the necessary bits to finish the job….. My next task was to cut the hole for the speaker…. I made a template out of an old piece of cardboard, and started drilling and cutting…. This task has dramatically increased my confidence in Magna Carter (whom we are now referring to affectionately as Maggie), as the panel through which I cut was over an inch thick….. Eventually, after losing at least 1 pint of body fluid through sweat, I had the speaker mounted… my little squirrel stock of bits was starting to prove useful, as I already had the appropriate electrical spade connectors on board…. And after 10mins more work, was connected to the VHF… joy…. loud and clear VHF coverage in the cockpit…. Next, up the mast…. Maggie has a set of stainless rings sewn into the bottom of the main for the purpose of fitting lazyjacks, and a couple of supporting pad eyes riveted to the mast just below the spreaders…. I therefore was unceremoniously hoisted up the mast to tie the ends up, and after a bit of fiddling to get the settings right, I now proudly sport a set of lazy jacks…. I came back down, so fetch the bits that I had forgotten on the first hoist, and after a second visit to the spreaders, had also fitted two small halyards to the already in place eyelets, for the purpose of burgees, and courtesy flags to both spreaders. I have temporarily tied these to the shrouds at the lower ends, but will need to buy some of those plastic clamp-on cleats, or I can see that I am going to spend half my sailing life retying them up…. But now, I am flying the YBW forum burgee proudly from the starboard spreaders! I then tackled the biggest job, and placed the bits of the forepeak bunks that I have made at home in place… look great… good fit, and started to make cardboard templates up for the storage dividers….. it was getting too hot, and by now it was approaching 16h00… so we stopped for a while…. In fact, this proved to be the end of proceedings…. We started to chill out, had a beer, and relaxed…A lovely little Stella came in along side us, gleaming with her woodwork beautifully varnished… and we enjoyed a warm and pleasant evening in the late sun….. Sunday dawned, and after a relaxed and leisurely start, involving a large fried breakfast, and plenty of coffee, we set off for a day sail….. motored out of the wet dock through the lock, and down the Orwell…. Not a lot of wind, so kept the donkey running until we reached Shotley where a bit of a sea breeze had kicked in, and we set the sails, and turned off the engine… What followed was one of the nicest sails I have had in a long time….. with a South Westerly running at about 12kts, and the tide with us, we beated for a while to clear Languard point, and then freed off to reach North up towards the Deben entrance….Reaching in just 12kts the boat was quite upright, and not at all stressed, so I stuck the autopilot on, and we relaxed…. And relaxed a bit more…. 25 degrees… heavenly…. Sometime around 13h00 we reluctantly tacked around, and started to reach back…. by 14h00, we were back at the mouth of the Orwell, and as the run back up the river was dead downwind and the wind had built slightly to about 14 to 15kts, I decided to try sailing her with just the Genny…. She loved it….5 kts over the water, and we sailed all the way back to the Orwell bridge…. She was going very well under just the genny…. Sadly, we dropped the sail at the Orwell bridge and motored the last ½ mile to the lock…. It was very busy, so we had to go on the holding pontoon for a while, but about ½ hour later, we were locked through, and tied up alongiside… we had another excellent arrival at our pontoon… our confidence continues to build…. Ideally we should have stopped for fuel, as we are running a bit low, but the heat defeated us, and we decided to leave it until next Saturday morning…. We packed up, and headed off home…. Just 10mins into the journey, my parents call…. Do we want to call in for tea….. Yes please!… so by 19h00, we are sat in their back garden enjoying a full roast dinner…. Marvellous end to a marvellous weekend….

Miles logged - 22
Total this year - 305

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