We're off - at last!
After completing (almost!) what seemed like an endless list of jobs on the boat, we finally slipped our moorings on the Hamble, bound for Dartmouth, on Friday 23rd May. Plans to set off earlier had been amended in light of the sad loss of Steve's dad, and so in the end we were only a day late leaving - this day due to Steve deciding he would clean up and grease the terminals on the anchor windlass. Not a big job in the normal run of things, but it developed into a full strip-down of the windlass and motor as it had completely seized. (Note for future - service annually!) Without the help of the guys at the LSP and use of workshop facilities, we would have been held up longer, so many thanks to them.
Then there was the watermaker to check out. This had been low on the priority list, but we felt we should check it out before leaving England. The makers have agents worldwide, but we felt it would be better to get it operational and learn how to maintain it here, since we have only a smattering of foreign languages between us (dos cervezas, por favor!) and neither of us had used one before. To cut a long, boring and expensive story short, we now have a fully operational watermaker which produces very drinkable water - we don't suppose many people have knowingly drunk river Hamble water!
Bob Bowlby, who will complete the crew for the trip down to the Med, had joined us on Thursday, so by Friday we were all set. We left our remaining car with Clive to sell for us (anyone interested in a well-used but still game old Laguna?!) and with a North Easterly 5-7 setting us fair for the West Country, cast off the lines and were away.
It was a fast and uneventful overnight passage to Dartmouth - well apart from a rather close look at the Mew stone as Steve decided he wanted the boat turned into the wind to put away the sail! Now safely alongside in Dartmouth, we have spent the last couple of days doing more little jobs and checking out the local watering holes. Chris added to her boat skills by learning to do an eye splice and to drive the rib (though not at the same time!) Having only driven a dinghy a couple of times before, and that with a 2.5hp outboard, it was quite a different experience with a rib with a 15hp outboard! Possibly Bob regretted encouraging her to try, as he took most of the spray and was drenched by the time we arrived back at the boat. But, as he frequently says, the only way to learn is to have a go!
We are now waiting for the weather to pass through before setting off for Plymouth, either later today or tomorrow, with a possible stop at Salcombe if weather and tides allow.