WE'RE OUTTA HERE
2ND SEPTEMBER 2011 – WE’RE OUTTA HERE
Without a doubt Arnamentia was dressed far more smartly than her motley crew who assembled at Lymington in glorious sunshine on Friday 2nd September. We were joined by many friends and as always on such occasions, time raced by, assisted in its flight by one or two last-minute panics. We cast off more or less on schedule, motoring up river a little before turning round to pass our friends again and salute them. Whilst the ensign dipped, Chris Austin and Bob Raley lined the rail giving an impressive demonstration of how to present arms with deck brushes. There was, in Brig Richard Nugee (Cdre RAYC), at least one officer of General rank in attendance, after all. So, a General Salute must have seemed appropriate to the bilge rats. It may not be saying much, but it is to be doubted that anyone has ever seen Austin and Raley perform smarter small-arms drill. Meanwhile, there was more than a tear in one lady owner’s eye as she looked back. It was a wonderful send-off and we are very grateful to all the family and friends who went to considerable trouble to get there from all points of the compass and despite New Forest weekend traffic.
We sailed across to Yarmouth, accompanied by Chris and Penny Copeland in Jukebox, to see if we could link up with the assembling RAYC regatta fleet. We didn’t spot any boats as they, presumably, battled their way up to Yarmouth from Gosport against strong spring tides. So; enough already, let’s go! Earlier forecasts had indicated east sector winds and the promise of a spinnaker run west. Yeah, right! As we entered the Needles channel, down came the mist and the wind went well west of south. By around 2000, once we were clear of St Aldhelm’s Ledge (St Alban’s Ledge if you prefer to believe the Hydrographer rather than Peter Bruce), the wind died whilst the clag thickened and dampened. The next 6 hours saw good but chilly and soggy progress, assisted by iron jib, radar and AIS as we dodged quite a lot of unseen shipping in the gloom. Without radar and AIS we’d have been a great deal more anxious than we were. We were able to hoist sail again at about 0400 in a southerly Force 3 and good visibility to beam reach our way past Prawle Point and into Plymouth. We arrived well ahead of schedule at around 0800 on Saturday.
Chris Austin now leaves us. As ever, he leaves a hole and a tidier and better sorted ship. We very much hope that he and Ann will be able to rejoin at some later stage. Jon and Carol fly to Ireland and return on Thursday 8th September. Bob Raley remains aboard with a long list of jobs to keep him occupied. Andy Anderson joins us on the 8th and the intention is to leave that afternoon for Bayona. However, it all rather depends. Our VHF radio is simply not performing as it should. Having done one or two fault-finding tests we suspect the transmitter itself rather than the antenna, receiver or the connections. So, we need to get someone aboard first thing on Monday. With luck it will be resolved by the time we want to leave on Thursday. If it isn’t we won’t. So, we’ll see. The last thing we need to hear on Monday is “We’ll sort that out d’rectly”. We think we know what “d’rectly” means in the West Country!