As you could imagine Fiona and I were very excited about sailing back to our
new found home in Southampton and there was nothing going to stop us. It was
not all smooth sailing however right from the word go, after taking
possession of the yacht 3 weeks prior, our learning curves went into a
negative incline. All we thought we had to do were a few checks and have the
boat lifted into the water then presto we were ready to go, that is what the
salesman told me. This was definitely not the case, just finding someone to
help sail the boat back with us was a nightmare.
We arranged for a yacht master to sail with us but they cancelled the day
before we were supposed to leave. After ringing every sailing school and
delivery service I managed to find a delivery skipper to come along.
Naturally I said we only need him for a couple of days until I got the hang
of it and I would then set him down somewhere and sail back with just Fiona
& I but and I mean a big but I am very glad that he agreed to stay on.
From the moment we were picked up and placed in to water I had absolute no
idea of what to do, I remember the yard crew making comments like now is a
good time to see if you have a leak, you might want to start the engine now
and put her in that berth over there. I think they new that I was a complete
novice. Anyhow once the engine started up Fiona and I spent the next hour
trying to park the boat in the berth, after the first 20 minutes I did not
care at all what berth we were put in I just wanted to be tied to the
finger. Quite a shock really after learning on a yacht that was so
responsive it was like steering a bike with loose handle bars. This is
normal apparently for the type of hull I have, you see the better they are
made to cross oceans and the heavier and longer the keel is the harder they
are to maneuver. I guess that is a positive then.
Well we celebrated in good fashion, we did not smash the champas across the
bow but we pretended to and then made an executive decision that it is
proberly best drunk. You will also see I am stuffing my face with chicken, a
food very dear to my heart, not to mention a can of Stella, so it turned out
by the end of day one, a perfect day, Beer, Chicken and my beautiful woman.
First thing the next morning like 7:00AM Richard Snowball of delivery
skipper arrived and showed us the ropes, literally, I had never even pulled
the sails out until the morning we left. Everything worked and off we
sailed, it was absolutely fantastic to be sailing our yacht home, it was an
adventure in itself that already felt like all the effort had been worth it.
After about 14 hrs we were passing the cliffs of Dover, the big white one's
ask Fiona about them. Anyhow we rounded a point and got hit head on by the
wind not far from Dover harbor, it was blowing a force 7 and the sea state
was horrid, short step swell that crashed across the entire deck. It was
good to here that the Richard reckoned that any other boat he had sailed
would be on the bottom of the ocean now but I think he was just saying that
to make me happy. Next problem was the radio, it decided to stop working
lucky Richard had bought his handheld which did the trick. Then just for
good measure the mechanical mechanism connecting the binnacle (Steering
wheel)to the rudder failed right out the front of the Ferry entrance in
Dover the busiest harbor in the UK. Not to worry we got out the emergency
tiller and some how managed to safely make it into port.
More to come on this adventure this is only day one 11-07-2007...........