Sunday, 6 July 2008

Pirate invasion

What a brilliant weekend!The weather realy looked like it was going to let us down, and I had messages from all sorts of different sources with people calling off their attendance at the Pirate weekend.... we'd had 22 boats planning on coming.But not deterred, we carried on.We did manage to get to the boat by 20h00 Friday despite having to detour for C to take a music grading exam, and had every intention of setting out for the Backwaters that evening..... but Dave and Louise, our guests for the weekend were delayed by an accident, and didn't arrive until 22:00, so it was too late, and we decided to leave the next morning........which dawned wet and cold. However, by about 09:30 it had stopped raining, so we set off out into about 20kts of wind... the skies grey and not overly warmLeaving itself was dramatic... the wind was sufficiently strong that the stern was seeking the wind, and despite several attempts to get her to push her bow round the corner, she was having none of it, and so I had to reverse along the marina until there was a large enough space to turn her around.... i'd watched several other boats have the same problem...... on the way, calls from more pirate casualties calling off.... I felt quite low about it all, and I know SWMBO did.... but we decided to press on....We made our way down the channel into the Backwaters to see a boat making its way out dressed with a pirate flag... it was Hilsa, Mr Slow_boat!So he did a U-turn and came back..... well at the least there would be the two boats!!!!!Anchoring proved troublesome.... as per last year, the wind direction made it hard to judge where to drop the hook as slight misplcement meant either being right out in the channel, or in water too shallow for safety.... not aided by it being a lareg spring tide with just 0.1 above LAT at LW!So.... 4 attempts finally saw us in.I dropped the tender in, and popped over to introduce myself to Duncan, and thankfully saw another boat arrive.....By the time we'd got ourselves sorted out, there were a few boats in the anchorage complete with Pirate flags.... maybe it wasn't going to be a disaster..... and then the sun came out!And wonderfully, it shone for the rest of the afternoon and evening...We had a very leisurely afternoon preparing, and by about 16:00 went ashore....By now we had 8 boats at anchor.... so we introduced ourselves to a few new friends, and said hello to a few old ones...Clive had arrived in Sirenia and had briefly tied up alongside us, to which we grabbed the opportunity to transfer our heavy bag of firewood to his boat, as he was putting her ashore later... he then set off to motor the 1/2nm to Titchmarsh to fetch a few arrivals by land.... yes some folks had even driven there!By 18:00, we were settling into a decent pirate camp, and BBQ's were being lit.... it had become pleasantly warm, the wind had moderated, and life was looking good... the fire was built, and ready to light....

And then two more boats arrived.. PyroJames in his beautiful wooden craft (see elsewhere on Yotblog!) and BastonJock as well.... he, like Clive, put his boat ashore.... only he managed to find an even muddier spot than Clive!And so the evening progressed..... the fire was lit, much grog was consumed, the kids did sack races, and egg and spoon races... the adults did the same, only with a far more competitive streak!, and the beer and chocolate relay went down a storm....Duncan entertained the kids.... or rather they wouldn't leave him alone!

And then finally, as it got dark, Duncan finished of his starring role by fetching his Sax and treating us to a Jazz rendition!

With songs around the fire, much socialising, and general merriment, it was a very tired Morgana family that finally crept off to bed at midnight.... or at least tried to...SWMBO and the kids rebelled, and decided that the better option was to jump on Sirenia and as she floated off, to be ferried in much better style than a small wet tender.... so Dave and I took the tender route and waited..... and then Clive called.... "i've got a rope around my prop"So he had to beach again and wait until LW to clear it.... which meant a ferrying trip for the kids.... soon done, and then we all retired exhausted to bed.We awoke Sunday to a grey day again, and considerably more wind...We'd left bags on Sirenia the previous evening, and had to wait for her to refloat, which wouldn't be until midday, so it wasn't a rushed morning!We had the odd visitor or two, and then by 13:00 pulled up the anchor, and motored out of the Twizzle.It was blowing pretty hard, gusting well over 30kts, so we elected to motor the short distance back.... which was fine....The lock however was a different matter!I new it was going to be interesting with 30+kts of wind blowing straight into the lock, and had this confirmed when the lock keeper announce on the radio, "only one boat at a time" despite there being room for 3 or 4...I motored down the channel into the lock which was quite lumpy, and could see, to my horror, enormous chop at the entrance.... this neccessitated much more throttle than i'd normally use to get in safely, and even then I was grabbing big handfuls of helm to keep her from hitting the entance gates.... gulp!We went into the lock, which is quite short, still doing 5kts... and less would have seen us swept against the gates, and then threw her into full reverse to try and stop her.... which we just managed... plans to go port side too were abandoned as she was swept against the starboard side... the anchor scraped painfull along the lock wall, and two warps were desperately thrown over cleats and the crew hung on for dear life.... Lousie jumped onto the helm once we had warps over cleats and gave her a handful of reverse to stop her from ripping the warps out of people's hands before they were made fast.... wow, what a drama!Gettin out of the lock was just as traumatic... we were pinned against the side, and it took lots of throttle and full lock on the helm to get out without scraping our way down one side.....So I was nervous about our berth!It was however, slightly less challenging as it was thankfully upwind.... and with a group of other skippers assembled to grab lines (they'd all had the same lock dramas!), we were manhandled into our slot, and finally tied up.... phew....So... summary.... what a great weekend.... the weather relented perfectly to give us a great evening... the company was superb.... thanks all.. we had a wonderful weekend.
Miles logged 12nm
Miles this season 345nm
Miles since this blog started 3,282nm

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