Ships Log Earth Date 24th May

Rebel T
Tim Walsh
Fri 1 Jun 2007 08:45
Dear Reader,
A different day today, we were officially up at 5am so as to be shipshape
for both the arrival of the sailcover, it having been treated to minor
changes and scheduled to arrive 6am. Also we intended to leave at 6am or
soon after in order to catch the tide through the Needles Channel and then
westward towards Plymouth. I say officially because un officially we had a
number of alarms go off at about 3am. These were letting us know that we had
low voltage. Therein is another problem me thinks, we will deal with it in
Plymouth. The boat seems to be sensing that if at the moment it plays up, it
is likely to have money lavished on it. Something akin to a child that
senses a parent in an awkard position.

The cover was fine and we fitted it and left about 6.30am. It was gloriuos
this morning, sunny with a thin veil of seamist,and just a whisper of wind
from the North. We motored out through the needles channel in company with
nearly half a dozen other yachts , all presumably taking he tide west. Half
way through the channel we were engulfed by a fog bank. I am always shocked
at the speed with which fog disorientates one. I dislike fog far more than a
gale, which I utterly detest anyway. We are fitted with radar and gps
chartplotter and specifically for this seasons voyage an AIS radar.
I stayed on the wheel, the boat being on autopilot and kept a strict watch.
Trevor went below to start radar watch. Mike likewise took up visual watch.

There were various vessels on the radar, we tracked them, keeping each other
updated throughout. our speed being around 6knts. in the middle of watching
and discussing a blip on the radar to port of us there suddenly appeared
square across our bows perhaps 100feet off a great long yacht about 60ft
long with 2 masts and its mainsail up. We turned hard behind it and all was
well, but where was it on the screen! it had a reflector in the rigging.
this was a big vessel, maybe 60 ft. once over the shock we tried to
understand how we could have missed it, but couldn't. within 20 seconds it
was gone again off to starboard and still nothing on the screen. We ran up
and down the ranges but nothing at all. It was a classic yacht and looked as
though it was built of timber, it was akin to an Ocean Youth Club type,
Master Builder style. I put it down to the radar being behind the furling
genoa and perhaps thereby in a blind spot. I wasn't convinced but could
come up with no better solution. Clearly thereafter we were all on jangled
nerves, but all went well, we saw and avoided 4 vessels by radar but saw
none of them. about 30 mins later we saw the same boat again as the mist
cleared, now about a mile off to starboard, still no radar image. I hate fog
even more now.

Thereafter there was a little wind so we hoisted all working sail and made
south West towards Start Point in a light North Westerly. All went well for
an hour or so when we caught an unseen object on the props. The engines lost
revs and began complaining awfully. We immediately went to neutral, upon
inspection we could see a large something around the starboard prop. Mike,
( a commercial diver God Bless him ) stuck his head under water with mask
and snorkel and diagnosed a big clump of weed and rope. The boat was
stationary by this time and as Mike dived in the clump came away on its own
thankfully. We proceeded at less revs for a while to ensure the prop. was
ok. All seemed fine so back up to 2,500rpm.
The balance of the day was glassy flat, bearly even a ripple and as so
often happens one sits at the wheel on auto just keeping watch, the rest of
the crew slowly slip into a torpor. True , "Water, water everywhere and
ne'er a drop to drink" It struck me how easy it would be to go mad if left
alone motionless in the doldrums. My particular madness would be the sea, I
just know I would get voices in my head and eventually leap over the side,
either to embrace the sea, to fight the Sea Gods that were holding me back
or just in frustration. Still....moving on!! as the day passed we made such
good speed that ETA Plymouth came forward from lunchtime tomorrow as it
were, to about 3am. So being as the forecast was clement for the following
day Captain decided to steer a little more to the North ans duly arrived at
8.30pm at Dartmouth. The harbour master allowed us to stay in prime position
on the town quay as we promised to be gone by 7am. This allowed us to
rampage ashore. a Chinese meal and a pint before bed.

Morning of Friday the 25th May we sailed and motored around Start Point and
arrived without incident at Plymouth. Mayflower Marina proved friendly,
pleasant and efficient and remains so to date.
Since arriving we have set about getting the last items ticked off the list
of things to do. ineviateably new items have crept back on, but all in all
we are finishing off and am hoping to get to the , "Polish the stainless"
job as it is always last on the list.

We have software to download GRIB files on board and the weather from now
till Sunday when we start is volatile to say the least, there are a number
of deep lows coming across the Atlantic producing South West gales in the
Biscay. This is exactly what we don't want. I am putting my trust in the
fact that by the time Sunday arrives, the predictons will change. If not,
then my plans will change !! A gale encountered at sea if unavoidable is
part and parcel of it all, but setting out into the teeth of a gale off
Lands End is quite another. It will be "Kettle Time" as far as this skipper
is concerned!!.