Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wild Week. July 7th-14th. pt I

OK, it's July. That means we're safe booking a week away on the boat and enjoying some fine weather. We may even get across to Poole if we're feeling brave.

Huh. As if.

We went down to the boat on Saturday evening with the intention of heading out on Sunday morning. Sunday was a little too wild and windy, as was Monday. We did have some great fish and chips at the Ship at Itchenor, but it wasn't quite what we were supposed to be doing.

Eventually on Tuesday, things calmed down and we headed out towards Cowes. Not much to report, really. The wind was on the nose, so we had to motor all the way. We had the Folly visitors pontoons to ourselves and had the novelty of having to get the dinghy blown up to cross back and forth across the river. Clemmie didn't seem to fazed by being in there, although once the water taxi started operating at 6pm, she obviously much preferred that. I'm glad we bought the old 3 metre Avon rather than a newer, smaller dinghy. I was grateful for the extra space and stability.

On Wednesday we headed out towards Yarmouth. At first things went well. We were a bit late setting off, because of walking the dawg, so that we only had a small window with the tide in our favour, but that didn't seem too much of a problem with only 11 miles to travel.

The wind was still coming from the West, but with a decent breeze and the tide with us, we were able to make good progress with tacks across to the Beaulieu river and down to Newtown as we tacked away from Newtown, though, we hit the first of our problems. The breeze was getting stronger and we decided to call it a day with the sails and finish the trip with the motor. Unfortunately, the genoa didn't want to furl and it took a good three or four minutes to get it put away, by which time the leech of the sail was looking very tattered. We continued with the wind getting stronger, the waves getting higher and the tide now completely against us.

I'd left the main sail up for stability, but after about 30 minutes, there was a bang and the boom and mainsheet were suddenly flapping free. After we managed to get things back under control and the mainsheet lashed down, I realised that the U shaped piece connecting the main sheet block to the traveller was now a nice J shape. Great!

We eventually limped into Yarmouth harbour with things pretty wild and windy. There were a few bedraggled looking people on the pontoon that evening!

Next day we were able to take stock of the damage. Fortunately the only thing damaged on the genoa was the UV strip. The stitching had just unravelled as the sail flogged while I tried to winch it in.

Somehow someone had managed to put the traveller in place with the retaining pin under the shackle out of alignment, so that only one side was secured. I'm surprised it had lasted as long as it did, to be honest.

Bizarre aside:

In the evening, we took the water taxi across the harbour to go and have some dinner. As we walked up the steps, a female voice called, "Paul Hughes?" I looked round and it was my cousin, Pam. This wasn't so very odd, because she lives in Freshwater, but I haven't seen her for years. What was odd was that she was there because she was waiting for my other cousin, Mick, and his wife to arrive on the ferry. Mick and Lynne live in Australia and I haven't seen them for about twenty five years or more. They were on a flying visit to visit Pam on their way to France, so in an astonishing coincidence, we all found ourselves at the same spot at the same time. We had a ten minute conversation and then went our own ways. Weird.

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