Sunday, 30 June 2013

Soaked on the way to Scarborough (Fair?)

 You will recall that, although at the time of writing this blog your scribe is in Whitby, you are still at least two episodes behind and I had left you (as it were) in Bridlington. Do keep up.
Despite the LNER* posters encouraging 1930’s holiday makers to holiday in Bridlington I had found the seaside town a bit depressing. The artists’ impressions on the posters showed fresh faced young children and bonny young girls enjoying the seaside. Sadly there weren’t many of either in evidence in 2013. The holiday clientele were of an age, older than your scribe, with set and sad expressions. Vagabond couldn’t wait to leave.
I consulted the weather forecast – NE (again) in the morning but shifting to the West, with some rain. I looked at the tide times and discovered that I had better get a move on otherwise I’d be locked in Bridlington for another day (Rule 2 is never sail at night).  With some initial reluctance, Freddie eventually started. He clearly does not like the “service” that he had been given (by an expert) in the winter. The Insurance Agent (retired) will no doubt be pleased to know that I have decided to regularly service Freddie, unlike my lawn mower which still contains a full sump of oil, vintage 1990. 
Last look at Bridlington from the shore
I took a last look around the harbour.
Then, with the centreboard lowered (I am getting good at remembering to do that before casting off), Freddie pulled us backwards into the harbour pool, where we turned round and then we were off out of the harbour. I reckoned we had about an hour of adverse tide whilst we ran East along the coast to Flamborough Head so we should reach it at slack water when, I hoped, the overfalls would be less dramatic.
We passed a nursury for young sea birds.
The swell was still running strongly and, as we approached the headland under sail, all I could see was a long line of breaking swell stretching as far as I could see to the South East.

The line of rollers
There appeared to be a break in this line of breaking water close into the headland.
I clipped in, started Freddie (no reluctance now, thank goodness) and headed for the gap. There were no breakers but a lot of totally confused waves through which we bounced for about 10 minutes. Then we were through into calmer waters for even the swell had reduced.  Now we could turn North, if the wind allowed us. The nearest we could get to the wind was just W of North and this would run us into the land within a couple of miles.
So we zig zagged in a general northerly direction. The sun vanished behind a thin layer of cloud. The cloud thickened. The wind shifted towards the south and died away. The World at One ruminated over the budget saving and spending statements. The wind came back, this time from the West. The clouds lowered over the inland hills. I got out my waterproofs and put them on.
The Play for the Day started, so it was at about quarter past two when the wind freshened and I put a reef into the main sail. The lump of rock that overlooks Scarborough came into view some way down the coast.
The rain announced it’s presence with a strong, long squall. The rain was thrown down “like stair rods” ** as a Yorkshire clleague  of mine used to say.
It went on and on and on. The misery of it was somewhat reduced by us suddenly finding ourselves in the middle of a race of 707’s. I thought we’d better get out of the way but the race kept following us.
We were now in the offing of Scarborough and had arrived at almost low water, so the harbour master told us to wait for an hour or so, until there was enough water to let us in. So we hung about, getting bounced about by the wind and getting wetter and wetter......After about an hour and half,  we were allowed in.
In the offing of Scarborough
I found the wind was too strong for me to roll up the jib effectively, so I had to go and seek shelter behind Scarborough rock before I could complete it. It reminded me of the time in the middle of the Irish Sea.....
We finally tied up to the visitors pontoon in Scarborough at about 17:30, when the rain stopped. I was wet through everything!
At the yacht club that night, I discovered that the race had been part of the 707 national championship. It’s a good job we had kept out of the way!

By the way, if you have not already noticed, I have updated the map, so you can see where we've been this year, as well as last! 

Expressions, translation etc
* LNER London and North Eastern Railway one of the “big four” railway companies of the 1920’s to ’40s’s prior to Nationalisation to become BR
** stair rods were thin poles, usually of brass about 2 ft 6*** inches long and 3/8 inches**** diameter that were used to hold the inside fold of stair carpets in place before fully fitted staircarpets became the rage (for all I know they are back in fashion).
*** thirty inches or about 750 millimetres
**** 1 inches = 25.4 millimetres so work it out for yourself

Bridlington - not much to write home about

We left Grimsby on Thursday almost as soon as the lock was open from the fishdock to the river. It was a bright, still morning, and the tide was still flooding * so Freddie pushed us to seawards. Windfarm support craft shot past with the maintenance workers going out to work.  The sun picked out the industry up river and the imposing hydraulic tower at the entrance to Grimsby.

 Allegedly a gift by a Frenchman, I assume it supplied the hydraulic head to power the cranes in the dock. I crossed astern of an idling tug.
Then we crossed in front of a large freighter which I thought was not under way** as she showed no discernible bow wave. To my horror, as I passed a couple of cables*** from her bow, I realised that the tug was waiting for her to go past so the tug could pick up a tow wire from the boat. We didn’t collide.

Apart from that excitement and a survey ship fussing off to survey, there was little traffic. The pilot books talk of taking extra care because of the large amout of large commercial ships on this busy water way. I suppose it's symptomatic of the economy - there vary little traffic and I cheekily crossed the shipping lanes diagnonally, rather than at right angles as the rules advise (or is it stipulate? - anyway no - one chased me down with blue llights flashing). 

Freddie pushed us out into the sea. Once we had crossed the shipping lanes and had passed Spurn Head we turned northward. The wind picked up from the Nalmost NE (you guessed it – on the nose), Freddie was silenced as we tacked our way northward.  A couple of seals came to have a look and played with us, as dolphins do. They soon became interested in something else and left.

Not much happened for the next three hours. We tacked.
A seal swam behind us for a few minutes and the rather featureless coast of South Yorkshire drifted past.
There was time for a "selfy".

At last a lumpy bit was seen to the north west and eventually Flamborough Head could be seen, with Bridlington a glimmer of buildings some six miles in from the headland. A large swell began rolling in from the NE, almost at 45 degrees to our course.  Waves 6 – 8 feet high, about two lengths of Vagabond apart, lazily lifting her and swinging her this way and that. As we neared Bridlington, the headland provided some shelter and we entered the harbour, following in the wake of a number of fishing vessels that showed us the way in as the usual gloom gathered along the coastline. 12 hours to do about 45 miles.  The harbour was surprisingly busy and we were shepherded to a rather exposed pontoon near the top of the harbour.
‘You can dry out, can’t you?’ asked the harbour master. ‘Good’, he said, ‘that pontoon and you will be on the bottom before full low tide. Be careful, the harbour is busy’. He was right on both.
I had intended to stay at Bridlington for a couple of days. However I found that the facilities were not brilliant (although warm) and the town was decidedly run down.  By the time I was ashore, all the restaurants were shut(even the chippies) so I returned to Vagabond to consult the forecast. The wind would be in the right direction (SW or W) so I decided to go on to Scarborough as soon as the tide would let me next morning.

Translations etc
* Coming in
** Moving
*** one cable is a tenth of a nautical mile – approximately 100 yards

Saturday, 29 June 2013


I hope you, my loyal readers, will forgive me if I repeat myself. I’m writing this “off line” in the hope that I can find an internet connection when I “go ashore”.  This lack of connection to “the cloud” means that I can’t remember (a sign of age) where I left you all. It’s a bit like going upstairs for something and forgetting what it is you wanted when you get there. One thing that I’m not going to do to help me remember is go through the same moves as I made to get here!
We’re at Whitby, rafted up to a pontoon on the seaward side of the swing bridge, waiting for the bridge to open to us boats. There are about 10 tied up waiting and I expect a disorderly queue to form once we get the signal to go, so the muse will be rudely interrupted.
I think I left you all in Grimsby. I have a photo of the ice plant that I wrote about and, if I can get it from my phone to the cloud (see above re connection), I’ll include it here.
Oops, we’ve been interrupted. I’ll post this without pictures as soon as I can find a connection.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


After a weekend of quite awful weather (rain and wind) which I spent at home with the Owners Agent mainly looking for curtains for the new home ( none seen that matched specification) I returned to Vagabond at Wells-next-the-sea on Monday afternoon.
Vagbond didn’t seem to suffered from the weekend of neglect, so, after dumping my now clean washing, I walked up to beach at the seaward entrance to look at the winding channel we had come through.

The ‘tide was making full’ as they say, rushing up the channel at a good three or four knots.  I looked out to sea and was staggered by the surf across the bar. There was no sign of that from the seaward side when we came in. I was also amazed to see a large windfarm off shore. There had been no sign of that either.   I was glad the fisherman had shown us the way in and realised how poor the visibility had been. 
I spent the evening wondering whether we could make the 50 mile trip to Grimsby in one go or

whether to stop off at the small haven of Saltfleet.  To be honest, all the stuff I had read about the place rather put me off – the general recommendation was don’t go there unless you had local knowledge and certainly not at spring tides (which were on Tuesday).

In the end, I compromised. I put the entrance to Salfleet into the GPS as a way point (just in case) and put together a passage plan for Grimsby.  The course was approximately NNW. The latter was slightly complicated by the situation at Grimsby: the very high spring tide meant that the lock gates into the old fish dock would only be open for an hour at a time – ending one hour before high water and starting one hour after high water.  So we needed somewhere to park (anchor) if we arrived in the middle of the window.
Tuesday was bright and sunny, with what wind there was coming from the north –almost bang on the nose again. Freddie was going to be busy......
We pushed off at 07:15, with the tide still making at bit, so we pushed against the incoming stream out to the bar and then through the waves making the surf. I clipped in. It was uncomfortable and the tide was pushing us hard to the east – the wrong way. Nonetheless, up went the sails and we set off – at three and a half knots to the north east, mostly due to the tide, almost at right angles to where we wanted to do. This lasted for about 5 minutes. Down came the jib. On went Freddie and we turned in the direction we want to go in. With Freddie going full chat, we managed to “motor sail” at two and a half knots in the right direction and this went on for the next couple of hours.

A large tug went past in the other direction, towing what looked like a very large fender.
Gradually, the tide eased in our favour and the wind veered a little towards the east of north. Another wind farm came into view as we crossed the expanse of Wash.
Behind it I could see the roller coaster at the holiday camp in Skegness. 

 I refilled the motor fuel tank and started worrying that I would not have enough fuel to make the trip.
Our speed increased and we sped along at a tide and Freddie assisted six knots. The wind freshened a little, so I gave Freddie a rest and we actually sailed for a bit (not in totally the right direction, but near enough). It looked as if we’d get to Grimsby in time to catch the open lock gates. We’d still got another 3 hours of tide in our favour. An aircraft flew past, very low and slowly. It made a return run half an hour or so later.
The wind died.  On came Freddie and we pushed on. We came up to the Wainfleet bombing range and I debated whether to do through it, or divert to miss it. In the end, I did a bit of both, cutting across the NE corner.
We had just cleared it when, with a roar, two pairs of jets sped across the sky......

I had hoped we would get up to the entrance to the Humber before the tide turned against us again. We missed this tide gate by about a mile – that mile took us an hour to get through, as the north sea flooded south to fill the Wash. Eventually, we passed the point where the flow divided and we were now being pushed into the Humber at about 7 knots.
Freddie was throttled back.  The wind had died completely, so the mainsail came down and the tide (and a little Freddie) pushed us up past Spurn head and into the entrance to the Humber. We now had company. Wind Farm support vessels anxious to get the staff home for the evening, local fishing boats anxious to off load their catches and large freighters aiming for the docks up stream.

The wind farm support vessels were very useful to us –  I had to look into the light to seek out the entrance to the Grimsby fish dock.  Although there was a good landmark near the lock, I ws not able to see it until we were less than half a mile from it, the visibility was so poor.
We finally entered the dock at 19:00 and were tied up in the Marina by the time the lock gates shut. 55 miles showed on the trip, in just under eleven hours. If it hadn’t been for Freddie, we’d still be out there....
By the way, the Marina is in the former fishdock in Grimsby. It's surrounded by industrial derilication, particularly the former "largest ice production palnt in the world". This looks as if it was locked up on one Friday and then someone threw away the key. The chutes are still in place, awaiting the next trawler to arrive for it's supply of ice. Through the windows, you can see the machinery is all still in place but the windows are broken and the roof is coming off...
The museum of fishing, three or four blocks away, is worth the visit.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Early start and Radio4 gets us to Wells on time

Our next port of call from Lowestoft was to be Wells-next-the sea, a journey of about 50 miles with no (repeat no) emergency stopping points on the way.  The coastline here is scoured by the tides and is eroding rapidly, so there are no bays or inlets in which to find shelter. Until you get to Wells. Here the situation changes for Wells is continually silting up. What was a  bustling port even only 50 years ago, is now a place that almost dries out at low tide, so access gain only be gained a couple of hours either side of high water.  This meant that the leaving time from Lowestoft was critical to make the arrival time of (at the latest) 18:00.
I was planning to leave about half past five in the morning but, after a night of what seemed like cat naps I was awake at 4 a.m. so we managed to leave Lowestoft at 05:10 (earlier than planned for a change), out of the harbour into the calm North Sea, Freddie pushing us on against a strong tide and with what wind there was coming from the north (on the nose again).   It was sunny, with a bit of mist to the East that soon evaporated as the shorebased Wind turbine at Lowestoft slowly disappeared from view.

I had remembered that my mobile phone can receive FM radio and had found the head set in the cutlery drawer in the galley. *
I fiddled about and found BBC R4. I heard the shipping forecast for the first time this trip. It confirmed the forecast I had downloaded from the web. Light winds from the north, moving to the E, becoming light to variable at midday and then going to the NE F3 -4.  It could rain at any time, apparently.  I made sure that the wet weather gear was easy to get to in the cockpit lockers. 

After a couple of hours, the Today programme had finished and we had passed between Gt Yarmouth and the large offshore windfarms.  Melvin Bragg was leading a discussion about some 17th Century French Economists (advocating a planned economy based on agriculture and none of this nasty industrial revolution stuff) when, as forecast,   the wind veered to the NE but had not dropped. Our course had now turned to the NW, so we could sail. Off went Freddie and we stormed along at a tide assisted 6 knots. 
An ugly looking working vessel passed us as it bustled off on some errand to the South. It looked a bit as if it had been designed on an "off" day for it's Naval Architect. 
Womens Hour came and went. Our course now moved more to the eastward as we ran along the top of East Anglia. The wind had moved a little more to the E and started to waver in strength.
Now was the time to empty the water ballast to improve the acceleration in the “puffs”. 600 bilge pump strokes later, the tanks were almost empty.
 Kate Aidie presented From our own Correspondent. Not much changed in our world. The scoured coastline drifted past.  The wind came and went, but thanks to the lightened boat, Freddie stayed quiet. A radar dome appeared on the shoreline to the accompaniment of the 1 o’clock news. Black clouds built up astern and I donned the water proofs. They went away again and the sun shone. I took them off.
Happisberg appeared, together with some slight overfalls on the water. We bounced through them and slowed down. They clearly marked that the tidal stream had changed direction. Never mind, we’re ahead of schedule, and we’re still making 5 knots......
The Afternoon play held me spellbound for 45 minutes (I’d taken the headset off to miss the Archers).
Cromer came and went. A steam train puffed along just behind the shoreline.
Dark clouds piled in the sky to seawards and astern. I woke up to the environment. We had been gaily sailing on a broad reach and the true wind had risen to about 15 knots. We still had full sail up and were unballasted. I’d better do something about it so started to bring us head to wind to make some sail plan changes.
That’s when the squall hit us, flinging hard rain at us and making Vagabond heel so sharply that I thought we were going to capsize. I picked myself off the cockpit floor and climbed up to the windward side of the boat whilst releasing the main sheet and putting the helm down harder to turn us more quickly into the wind. In the meantime, Claire Baldwin was walking the West Highland Way in my headset.
We didn’t capsize. Vagabond steadied into the wind. I rapidly opened the flap to flood the ballast tanks and started Freddie to give us some steerage way. I rolled up the jib - just - and stayed head to wind for a few minutes to recover my composure. The wind indicator suggested we now had a 20 knot wind from the NE and there was a steep quarter sea setting it. Very rattled and subdued, I took down the main, turned back on course with Freddie pushing for all he was worth.
The overtaking quarter sea became quite uncomfortable, steep sided seas about 4 -5 feet ** from crest to trough, with a interval of just about the length of Vagabond.  As a sea swept underneath us, the bow would be pushed to port as it slid down into the trough, whilst the stern was pushed to starboard as it rose to the next crest. The helmsman and rudder were worked hard to keep Vagabond on course.
Crossed the bar
It was a relief when, about an hour and a half later, the cardinal buoy that marked the entrance to Wells hove into view and I started to pick out the buoyed channel into the harbour. We crossed the bar and the sea immediately was flatter as we followed a fishing boat into the harbour.  Here, I rounded the day off by totally misjudging the strength of the ebbing tide and  struck a hard,  glancing blow on the starboard quarter of the yacht that I had intended to raft up against  .......
Eventually we were sorted out and alongside the pontoon. I was just calming down when when a stranger walked up to me and said 'You  must be Rob, I'm Stuart, a reader of your blog and a potential BC 23 owner "……
Translations, explanations and notes
 *It’s the only drawer in the “galley”.
** 1 to 1.3 metres

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Furthest East

The regular reader will know that we (Vagabond and I, that is) have arrived at Wells next the Sea, on the north coast of East Anglia, the bulge on the eastern part of the southern bit of Britain., and are waiting for the permission of the gods (“a weather window”) before proceeding to the north. This seems to be a few days away, so I have abandoned Vagabond to her berth alongside  a pontoon and fled home for a brief bit of W&R*
This first part of this trip has been characterised by early morning starts and 12 hr long trips. We left Harwich on Tuesday morning (06:30 for those that want the detail), out of the lock and into the mouth of the rivers Orwell and Stour . The morning was fine and there was a light wind from the North East e.g. on the nose**. To help matters the tide was against us too, running south at a knot or two. Freddie came to life. We had to get a move on and cross the shipping lane. Behind us I could see there was an enormous container vessel turning round, ready to follow us out to sea. Rather than be a good boy and follow the recommended yacht track for about 3 miles before crossing the shipping channel, I looked both ways, saw that nothing was coming and Freddie punched us across the channel. The container ship went past about 20 minutes later as Freddie kept pushing us north east. There was quite a chop in the water but I was in a hurry, so we crashed through the waves, with spray flooding the foredeck. ‘This will test the repairs to the leaks’ I thought, as we pushed forward.
Once we were a couple of miles or so clear of the entrance, the sea became flatter and the wind started to veer*** towards the East.  The sails were hoisted (by the way Vagabond now flaunts a sail number) and we motor sailed on. Only the tide was against us. After a couple of hours, that eased and we were able to dispense with Freddies’ services.
Vagabond now carries a sail number
We passed the entrance to the River Ore (a possible refuge had the weather been awful) and pushed on. As we came abreast of Orfordness, the tide was in our favour and the wind had freshened a bit. We were doing a tide assisted 6 and half knots. The ex neighbour and his wife (we’d moved, not them) were at Aldeburgh, so I sent them a text ‘Waving not drowning’ and received a reply saying they were waving too! The phone rang. It was the ex-neighbour complaining that he couldn’t see us. The conection was lost before I could think of a suitable reply. Well, I could just see the shore through the murk that had built up in the last hour or so and Vagabond is a small boat .....
We hove to for a brief respite and some lunch. We carried on. As the afternoon wore on, the light became very gloomy (it would have stopped play at Lords) and I met little traffic.

Passing traffic

Overtaking traffic

Southwold drifts past
My GPS bleeped: an AIS**** warning me of a “target vessel” that was likely to impact me in five minutes time. Despite a hard look in all directions, I couldn’t see it.  Just then the VHF  radio squawked an instruction to change channel to listen to the maritime safety information broadcast***** .  As I bent under the spray hood to change VHF channel, I had the brief vision of a large rib (or it might have been a cat) rushing past about 20 yards away. His wake showed a distinct ‘S’ shape showing that he had only just seen me.
The wind dropped: on came Freddie as we ran past the invisible sand banks that were between us and the Lowestoft  entrance. The AIS warned me of more high speed craft astern, so I kept a careful watch astern. They both gave us a wide berth.  The IPAD charter plotter bleeped. 'What is it now?' thought, 'I'm busy'. Frantically "pressing" buttons on the screen, I realised I'd left the mobile data connection operational and the IPAD had picked up several emails. 'They can wait', I thought as I called Lowestoft port control: permission was granted for Vagabond to enter harbour.

We eased through the harbour entrance and into the basin where the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk YC have a marina. It was full, so we rafted up against a Dutch steel yacht for the night and I set about clearing up. I had just finished when there was a heavy thunderstorm.   It appears that the deck leaks are almost fixed.....
Now to respond to those emails. One was from the Skipper (so someone is reading this stuff), pointing out that I had misnamed a channel in the narrative of the voyage to Harwich. So here's the correction, for Swillet read Wallet.

Terms, abbreviations and translations
* Washing and Recovery
** From straight ahead
*** change direction “clockwise” on the compass rose
**** Automatic Identification system – all big ships now transmit information on their position, course, speed, ship type and destination. As well as helping with collision avoidance it has the unintended consequence of helping a pirate identify a likely target! See for yourself at
***** Usually the weather forecast

Friday, 21 June 2013

Well met at Wells next the Sea

Vagabond and I had just arrived at Wells next the Sea last night (Thurs 20/6) when a stranger walked up to me and said 'You  must be Rob, I'm Stuart, a reader of your blog and a potential BC 23 owner ". Wow, I now know I have at least four readers!

I'll tell you about the voyage to Wells and the meeting with a reader in the next edition of this blog for I must dash, I have a bus to catch. The forecast for the next couple of days is too rough for me (wimp, I hear you all saying) and I'm off home to see the Owners Agent and do the washing. It's amazing how it has mounted up in a week!

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Technology and supermarkets = pictures

Isn't it amazing what you can buy in a supermarket these days. Having conditioned you all, my faithfull readers (I know there's at ;east two - see the next edition) I discovered in my current local supermarket a gizmo that enables me to plug my camera memory chip straight into Magrat (the rather venerable PC that accompanies Vagabond and I on these trips and named after a character in one of the Pratchet discworlds).

So here is a selection of the photos taken on the leg from Burnham to Harwich.

The revised instrument layout that should stop Vagabond filling with water if a wave decided to join me in the cockpit
Good bye to Burnham
Collision Course?Missed!
The downwind leg

After all this excitment, Vagabond and I stayed in Harwich for two nights. The mast came down, the radio aerial was refitted and a dry joint discovered in the antenna socket on the deck. It's handy carrying a soldering iron with you. I walked around the remains of HMS Ganges and wondered when the mast would fall down. There are acres of land and derilict buildings where the former RN training school stood.

Across the river at Felixstow, the nations trade deficiet was unloaded from these tower blocks of container ships (well, the ships look like skiffs, with tower blocks on top of them). Just think, if each container was converted into living accomodation (about the size of a post war prefab), the nations housing shortage would be solved at a stroke. I must remember to write to someone about it.

I then sat down to some serious nav stuff to work out the best time to leave Hawich the following day. Heaven forefend, it's 05:30 and the wind is "on the nose". Freddie will have his work cut out.

I am writing this from the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk yacht club bar, so you know we got here all right. I've just planned the journey to Wells Next The Sea for tomorrow - another 05:30 start so I'll have to tell you the gripping story of how we got here in the next edition of this blog!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

At the Shipwreck

The bar in Harwich actually - the first port of call on this summer's voyage. We left Burnham this morning at 06:05 (five minutes late) to catch the tide and were swept down the Crouch as the tide receded. The wind was from the South West, almost dead astern at a fresh 18 kn. (Regular readers will realize the wind instrumentation has been restored to the mast head).  The main was reefed and we charged on a tide assisted 7.5 knots.  
Visibility was excellent - wind farms loomed on the horizon ahead.  I was counting the bouys and watching the . At last we reached the Spit buoy, it was time to turn north and feel our way across the sand bar between the Crouch and the Swillet. The water got resolutely shallower. 3.2, 3.0, 2.8, 2.8. It was a good thing we were running a bit ahead of our plan, it meant that the tide had not gone down quite so much. Without it, the centre board would now be in the sand. After several minutes, the depth increased and we   were through, able to turn NNE and then North towards Harwich.

We inadvertently joined the down wind leg of a Sunday race in the approaches to Harwich. Vagabond was still carrying the reef, and the fleet slowly went past us. I took copious photos for the blog, only to discover that I haven't the right bits of wire, so you'll have to wait for them.  
Looking aloft, I was horrified to see that the radio aerial was dangling by its wire. The mast will have to come down to fix it. And so we reached Harwich, found our way in to the Shotley marina, moored up and went to bed, at three thirty in the afternoon. There are real baths here, I must go and find them - I ache all over!
  Sorry about the photos.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Jean-Paul Sartre

It's not often that this blogger quotes philosophers.

The only quote I can remember of J-PS is  "L'enfer, c'est les autres," - it is usually translated as 'Hell is other people'' 
I think it needs a little updating.
"Hell is having to meet social commitments when the wind is in the right direction for other pursuits".

It's not as pithy as the original but sums up the current situation.

This morning, the wind has swung round to the SW, ideal for Vagabond and I to start sailing northwards from Burnham on Crouch. The various forecast models indicate that it's going to stay that way until Sunday and then revert to the northerly airstream that seems to have been locked over the East Coast for weeks. Guess when our social commitments allow me to sail?

You've got it - Sunday.

Perhaps the 5 day forecasts are wrong........

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Crouched and ready to go

Burnham on Crouch, that is.

On Wednesday, Vagabond waved goodbye to the harbourmaster and the cows at Kings Ash Farm and, on the trailer and under tow, was taken back to the sea at Burnham on Crouch. The journey round the M25 was without incident, although the NE F4 wind made it a little slower than usual, so we were a little late in arriving at the Burnham Marina. 


 I was directed to park under the watchful eyes of the residents of the Balcony Bar, who raised an ironic cheer when I eventually raised the mast. Then (having taken the easy way out) up came the boat lift to pick up Vagabond and drop her (gently, I hoped) into the sea.

and drop

Then off to berth B2, where I realised that I had reeved hauling line for the lazy jacks   incorrectly.

The step ladder was retrieved from the car and sited on the cockpit roof. (Don't so this at sea, children). Then, with the boat hook at full stretch, I caught the offending line and led it through the right bits and pieces.

Whilst aloft on the step ladder I discovered how dirty the decks were. The stains from the coffee that I had spilt in the cockpit whilst at Rutland were very pronounced, as was the accumulated grime from the winter in the barn.

As the Purser drily observed, I am not normally the polishing type, but even so, I thought that something must be done.

So I washed the decks and polished bits of the hull before checking that the instruments worked in their new configuration and generally fidddling about for the rest of the day, before returning to the Owners Agent the next morning. Then off to meet with the Purser and the skipper to discuss the first steps. Sailing date looks like being 19th June. I bet the northerly is still blowing.