Ship's Log Earth Date Tues 22nd May
Tue 22 May 2007 12:30
I write this log retrospectively, I am a bit of a retro guy actually.
Sunday about 2pm we arrived at Dover. We anchored in the outer harbour for
about 3 hours then set off again bound for Brighton. For those among my
readers whose skills lie outside of tidal minutiae, the reason for our stop
was not a pot of tea but because the tidal streams that flow round England
come from the Atlantic and round the top of Scotland, then down the North
Sea, and at the same time up the English Channel and attempt to get up the
North Sea. Anyway the meet just south of Dover. Now , the clever bit....If
you time matters properly you can come South with the tide to Dover, wait a
while while the tide fights itself and then get on the Channel side of the
tide and carry on South. This is quite an unusual situation and I always
feel smug when I get it right. In fact Trevor got it right really but I am
the skipper so the true glory is mine, isn't it?
During our stop in Dover the wind picked up from the North East which meant
that we could sail with the spinnaker up. Spinnakers are dramatic things, it
can be rather like going for a drive in the car with the throttle flat to
the floor all the time, this being the case and me being somewhat timorous
under all the confidence and bluster, had a decision to make. We have on
board a number of spinnakers, but one in particular arrived from Germany the
day before we departed home. It is the largest of them. It is a Parasailor,
this means that it has a parawing built into it to give lift and drive,
quite specialist but considered by many of my betters to be just the ticket
for a fast cruising catamaran. Now of course people think it is a fast
catamaran and that I like to sail it "Briskly, with a will" this is because
in the yacht club that's what I tell people, well, you would wouldn't you.
Thing is a big spinnaker is a handful at the best of times, it was easy
ordering it, I felt like a proper hardened racing type, I walked tall, just
like the other boys, then it arrived and other boys admired its quality and
wondered at its size, of course I basked in the adulation, but then it goes
onboard and sooner or later one of the crew wants to get it up. well it's
time to stand up and be counted.
Bon- Bon Farrant, (a crew member and altogether good fellow ) and myself
worked out a failsafe system that if rigidly adhered to, ought to render the
whole thing safe. As the old salts say, any idiot can get a sail up, but it
takes a man to get one down. So there we were, I was compelled by peer group
pressure to get the sail out. We keep it in a long sleeve which should allow
it to fill in a controlled manner and also to be collapsed in a controlled
manner. It is done by pulling a string which in effect pulls a sleeve over
the sail from top to bottom thereby forcing the wind out a compressing the
sail into what is called a snuffer, a long cloth tube. Having said the
above , last season in the course of developing an effective strategy for
this, we had a snuffer man pulled 8 feet in the air when the wind got back
in the sail unexpectedly and we didn't let some other strings go properly
at the right time. Control was restored immediately by me screaming, "don't
let go, don't let go". After a while, the wind eased and he came down again.
Still all that is behind us now.
That sail is 75sq m, this new sail is 120sq m. I know , I know, what the
hell did I buy such a monster for? really just to be flash. Anyway, before
we even took delivery it was dubbed, "Maximus". and now here I was about to
let it out of it's bag. I went through the system again we pulled it up, but
still in the snuffer, checked no strings were tangled, checked we all had
gloves on.(sails like Maximus just chew up fingers if they are left in the
wrong place). All crew stood ready...in my most authoritive voice, I called
forward to the snuffer man, "Release Maximus ".
Mike pulled his string and the snuffer rode up in the air releasing 120sqm
of exquisite terror. Bang! Maximus filled, all the strings seemed in the
right places, Rebel gave a lurch and we were off down the channel at 9 odd
knots in only 12knots of wind. The wheel was suddenly very sensitive, but
all in all Maximus was in benign mood. All parties on board praised the
strength and beauty of the mighty Maximus loudly, roundly and within
Maximus's hearing as an offering of respect in the hope that Maximus would
be appeased. He was.
We sailed at fine speed, all the way to Beachy Head where the wind died,
Maximus allowed himself to be snuffed, the engines were started and we
motored into Brighton marina at about 5am Monday morning.
We had by then been sailing for more or less 25 hours, so we were all cold
and tired. I slept until 2pm. The crew were up at 9am and all was ship shape
when the Kapitan crawled out of his sleeping bag.
That is the funny thing about sailing long hours to get ahead of the game,
you render yourself comatose the day after. A bit tortoise and hare really.
The remainder of the day of Monday was spend on emails and chores. Trevor
achieved online status with the satellite system we have installed, we did a
lot more organising and digesting of kit that had been piled up in the
forward cabins. The pressurised water system decided to play up. Mike set
about it with a will and after a while it yielded up its secret...a clogged
filter. I was relieved. about 9pm we again set about a task, to demolish 2
more trays of Colette's home cooking, sent aboard in frozen state with idiot
proof, " how to cook" instructions written on top. Chilli and rice with
granary bread and butter. Don't you just love ladies that can cook!!
So now it is Tuesday, about 12,30pm. We are off Chichester on our way to
Lymington. We got up at 4.30am, dieseled up and have motored all the way so
far. The port engine developed a diesel smell about 8am, we investigated and
found a filter bowl weeping slightly. seems a shame but I suppose we can't
all be happy. We gave it some advice with a spanner and it stopped it's
weeping. I will look in on it later in the day to see how it is progressing.
Rang ahead and booked a berth at Lymington. next task is external spruce up,
Lymington is very upmarket and one wants to look ones best. Lunch can't be
far away, so we will dig down into the freezer again and see what Colette
has for us!
Mike's favourite colour is silver, his favourite food is flapjack and his
most favoured tool is a knife, he says , " A Big knife". Little known fact
about Mike is that his cutlery is all George Jensen Copenhagen.
Today I have mostly been sitting at the wheel doing emails or down below
My most favourite thing at the moment is a pair of Kashmir socks that I am
currently wearing. It is possibly the first time in my life that I can
recall my feet saying lovely things to me. I like it.
Speak soon. stay golden.