Sunday, 16 April 2006

its begun!

Got down to Maggie Thursday evening by about 20h00.... traffic was suprisingly light for a bank holiday weekend... Spent Thursday evening just kicking back... getting a few little jobs done, just tweaking here and there... Friday morning dawned, and we decided to set off nice and early for a sail, perhaps out to Cork Sands?.... on went everything, and ******.... the wind speed, log and depth sounder all reading nothing.... just rows of zeros..... So.... I spent the next 2 hours taking the shelf units out of the space above the chart table... it appears this is the only way to access the back of the instruments.... The wind speed gauge was easily fixed... a loose connector on the seatalk bus, and all was well... reading direction and speed, and seemingly consistent with observations.... still nothing on the others though..... Next, I pulled the log..... a quick twirl by hand, and a reading appeared.... OK... so thats working..... but still no depth.... I spent an hour tracing the wiring back... all seemed OK..... all this time the wind was blowing 10kts and the sun was shining..... getting more and more frustrated, I tapped the sounder transceiver with a spanner... and 'boing'.... it popped into life..... Great.... I then spent the next hour reassambling the shleving unit.... Eventually, by midday, we slipped the marina.... the new berth proved a lot easier to exit, and before we new it, we had locked through and were out in the river.... bliss... the season has begun! We motored a short way, and soon had a full set of sails up.... downwind in 10 to 15kts and sun shine.... heaven...... Maggie waltzed along, and we were soon down by Harwich.... given our later than intended start, and the appearance of some cloud, allowing the early season to reveal its true temperature, we decided to turn around and head back north..... Maggie sailed nicely on the wind for a while, but it was getting pretty darned cold.... the kids retired below, and in no time had decided that the pilot berths and sleeping bags looked comfy and the sound of gentle snoring emitted from the companion way.... SWMBO supplied an appropiate quantity of coffee and soup, and by the time we reached Pin Mill, I decided to drop the sails and motor, as it was a bit cold for short tacking! We motored through the lock and into the marina.... the wind, from the south made the new berth really easy, as we were blown on.... so we were soon tied up and secure... A grand meal of sweet and sour chicken was rsutled up, along with home made bread cooked in the oven aboard, and we tidied up.... Fellow forumites, Beancounter and SWMBO came over, and we enjoyed a couple of bottles of good wine, and a few hours of pleasant company, before retiring to bed exhausted.... It was our first sail, and it showed! Saturday dawned, and a hazy fog hung in the air, and was supported by a distinctly cold feel.... it was decided that I would do some more work on the forepeak berths, with able assistance from M, while SWMBO and C made there way into town for a spot of retail therapy. A couple of hours later SWMBO returned to find the trim fitted and the first section of wall carpet nearly cut to shape and ready for gluing... As the sun had made itself known, we decided instead to head for Pin Mill to grag a buoy for some lunch... The wind has swung to the South and so the departure was a little more interesting, but lots of throttle saw us easily clear.... we locked out and into the river... What followed was an extremely pleasant sail... it was a beat up to Pin Mill, and we held full sail in the 15kts, and short tacked the few miles up the river.... tacking on average, I guess, every 3 minutes..... great fun... a great shakedown, and a real vindication of the placement of the winches under my cockpit arrangement.... we got a real routine going, and the tacking was coming on to be quite slick... Basically, I took the working sheet and uncleated it.... SWMBO took the lazy sheet on the winch with handle in place.... I then started the turn from the helm..... as the bow passed through the wind, I held it there for a second or two, and at the same time paid off the now lazy winch while SWMBO took the slack in on the now working winch.... I then lent over and cranked a few turns on while SWMBO tailed... and I gradually let her take onto the new tack.... nothing revolutionary.... just nice to be able to do this, as the previous cockpit layout made it very difficult... Within a few tacks, we were able to get it so that the handle only needed a few short turns just to put some tension on..... We were delighted.... not hard work, fun to do, and must have looked quite slick! it only worked because with the new winch positions, I could reach to winch while also maintaining control over the tiller..... We soon reached Pin Mill, and I rather reluctantly dropped the sails and headed for a buoy.... We decided that I would helm, while SWMBO garbbed the buoy with the boat hook..... the first we reached, she grabbed, only to find that the pick up buoy was hopelessly wrapped around the riser..... I had a go, and I couldn't get it free either, so we abandoned that one, and went for another.... much better... although SWMBO did struggle again to grab the pick up buoy.... she's just not strong enough, sos suspect that a better strategy is for SWMBO to helm, and for me to grab the buoy in future....this one also proved troublesome.... the thing did eventually lift though, and revealed a rather wimpy looking rope attached to a better chain, with a length of pipe to protect the topsides.... It was all rarther tangled, and I didn't trust the rope at all, so we ended up with the chain bashing the nose a little, as there was a strong tide flowing given we were just 2 hours after HW, and loads of stinking rotting weed all over the bow.... still we were on... A short lunch, curtailed by both my unease with the mooring arrangements, and the reducing temperature.... While we ate, we overheard a Mayday... (details withheld as required by the licence), for a MOB..... full credit to the crew... a calm and controlled handling of the situation..... and a happy outcome with only 3 minutes in the water... well done whoever you were... we were suitably impressed with your management of the situation.... We unfurled the genny for the dowwind leag back to Ipswich, and enjoyed a much warmer sail back.... Soon locked in, and relaxing, enjoying a marvellous Spaghetti Bolognaise, and a quiet evening..... Stopped over Saturday night, and then dived off home Sunday morning for family Easter lunch duties...... All in all, a perfect shakedown weekend..... winds pretty tame, weather, although chilly on ocassions, pleasant enough..... The season has begun!!!!!!!

Miles this weekend: 24nm
Miles this season: 24nm
Miles since this blog started: 805nm

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