Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Review of the summer (what?)

Two posts in two days - please do not expect this service to last, dear reader!

Scarcely had we had time to recover from our break in Albania (well worth a visit by the way, if you want to see an unspoiled Mediterranean country) before it was time to tow V & T* south west, to Cornwall, for the first "Swallow Boats" raid, where were learnt of the forthcoming re-branding to Swallow Yachts. I'd forgotten how far Mylor was from Bucks. You think you are there when you fall off the the end of the M5** at Exeter, only to realise that there's another 100 miles*** (and at least three hours) to go....

The fleet at rest
The weather was sunny, with the winds somewhat fickle, particularly on the expedition up the River Fal. There were a couple of unexpected capsizes and Vagabond ran aground (we kept quiet about it) but this time we managed not to hit anything!

It might rain

In the Pub

I think we are meant to go this way

 There were the dinners (but few speeches) and, somewhere down the line we were awarded a bottle of wine (for reasons that now escape me).

At the end of the event, Vagabond was due to be left alongside the pontoon for a couple of weeks for the family (The Banker, the Irish lass, cabin boy, cabin girl and Owners Agent) were scheduled to come to stay a local farm house and it was planned to have some jolly family sailing.......

Just before I left Vagabond at Mylor, I thought I'd check over Tarquin, the trailer. To my horror, I found that one of the tyres was badly worn on one side, to the extent that the steel bands that compose the core of the tread were exposed all the way round on that side.
"Something's wrong here",  I thought.
Using a convenient piece of string (there are lots of them associated with boats) I established that the axle was out of square with the centre line of the trailer. The left hand wheel was about an inch and a half *** ("behind" the right hand one - it can't have been like this all the time? And I thought back to the pot hole in the Scottish layby, when the wheel was damaged and the tyre deflated.
So, with the aid of the piece of string, an adjustable spanner and a large "lump" hammer (always part of Vagabond's tool kit!), I set about aligning the axle. Of course, once this was done, the brakes needed re-adjusting and the (rather dodgy) spare wheel used to replace the bald one.

And so I came home only to return a week or so later, with a new wheel and tyre, and the family.

By then, of course, the weather had broken: we had a week of sea fog and wind, overcast days and wind and pure wet days and wind. Vagabond left her mooring once, when the weather moderated for a few hours one evening. Otherwise she bounced up and down beside the pontoon and was used as a base for crabbing by the Cabin Boy and Girl.......

The Banker and the Irish lass left early for appointments "in town"' leaving the Owners Agent and I in charge for a couple of days. More crabbing. More wet weather Still no sailing.

At the end of the week, on "changeover day"****, the Owners Agent, Cabin Boy and Cabin girl were dispatched home by train and Vagabond, Tarqin, Martina and I had a quiet, though long, journey home. The tedium was relieved by the sight of a large Range Rover on it's side at the bottom of a hill on the other carriage way with a large rib, sitting serene and smugly on its trailer, some way astern of the vehicle, but ahead of a long tail back of frustrated west bound holiday makers, businessmen and truck drivers.

I drove very slowly for the next half hour or so......

It's only the middle of July - where am I going to go sailing next? What's the right sort of sailing?

Conversions, notes etc

* just to remind you all V (Vagabond) is the boat which sits on top of T (Tarquin) the trailer
** The M5 here is a motorway , not a sort of BMW
*** 160 kilometres
**** say 60 cm
***** Changeover day - the day when the owner of a cottage deems it for the holiday rental periods to start and finish. In Cornwall, it seems to be universal the all  such changeover days are FRIDAY. The resultant traffic to and from Cornwall brings the creaking infrastructure close to gridlock......

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