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August 01, 2010
A replacement for the broken gaff jaws, along with a new collar was ordered the week following our return. I went down over the weekend of the 25th July (given lawn at home was cut and all other duties suitably up to date) to put back the coastal anchor and chain and replace the gaff jaw and collar. I had refueled the day after my arrival so all that remained to do was to fill the coastal water tank, reduce the stores and arrange the cabin to allow for one or more crew/passengers. Now we are ready for sea again and time to see who may want to come along for the trip up the coast? It is after all onlya 36 hour trip?
The intention is to unbolt and unseal the "pilot house" so it can be used as a sliding hatch to make it easier for people to get in and out of the cabin. This will probably be done once we are in the Solent as it will probably take me a weekend to do. The liferaft can come off then and only go back on board for cross channel work.
While I was up and down the mast on a nice sunny day to smooth and tape the damage to the mast again, I again checked the standing and running rigging. Nothing needed attention.
As to the gaff, this time we fitted galvanised steel fitting with 2 cm wide jaws. I spent quite a bit of time after rigging the mainsail again, hoisting it up and down, checking to make sure there would be no repeat of the chafe problems experienced on voyage.
Since getting back I have started collating the vidio, photos and snapshots of the laptop screen taken during the voyage as well as the and narrative material in the manual and computer logs. In the short term I will complete a 30 minutes to 1 hour audio visual presentation "Now I know what I needed to know?" The idea is to have something of general interest to wide range of audience to give them a glimpse of the experience as well as useful specifics for those interested in a similar adventure. This will be used for the Macmillan promotional work.
A second presentation, "I will have the weather routing tools thank you", will use the 8 days of material ( photos of the clouds/sky, screen snapshots, daily T+24 hour weather faxes and 5-7 day GRIB files that really illustrate the power of weather routing and the role of the various weather data resources available to a small sailboat. By having access to the information as well as being able to interpret and check possibilities in what was rather more complex than the usual weather conditions, I saved around a week of beating to weather in light airs on the way back and had the spinnaker ride of a lifetime?
June 29, 2010
It seems a lifetime ago I enthusiastically crossed the Start line heading West. Much has happened since then. I have become used to 24x7 sailing so I forsee some adjustments becoming necessary shortly. I will enter Plymouth Yacht Haven at 18h00 today. Although I may cross the Start ( now my Finish) line a few hours earlier, I will anchor to make my arrival suit Carol and the family.
The trip never ceased to throw up interesting moments. It is now some two days I have catnapped dealing almost constantly with traffic and sail trim changes. It's strange how that first flash of the Lizard light washed all the tiredness away (for a while). A landfall is very satisfying when the light pops up exactly where you expect it to be. I guess the tiredness will kick in once the excitement of the arrival at the marina is over?
I steered for some three hours last night partly to keep awake and to really enjoy the spinnaker ride. The wind was a steady 14 knots (measured) and gusting. The boat was lively but very stable and surfing at times. From time4 to time I would hook up the tillerpilot to check the AIS and navigation.
In the middle of this I got to use my million candlepower searchlight that l had bought last year after my experience with the QM2. It was to show a small coaster where I was. I had been watching the ship on the AIS creep up from astern over the past hour. A VHF call did the trick. They had picked up something on radar but the seas were too rough ( wind against tide) to be sure until they saw my light. You would never guess. It was again around 02h00 near the Lizard. Once again the AIS has proved valuable in that at all times I was aware of developing situations and could alter course or as in this case, ask the ship to go round me. I explained I was running under jury rig with limited steering.
So much for gentle following wind. It blew up three times for short periods due to localise low clouds moving across. I rode out the first two then took the Parasail down for an hour using the normal foresails until it settled at about 04h00.
Well the boat is spick and span and just needs some repairs before we can bring her up to the Solent next month. While separating the recycling from garbage in preparation for arrival this morning, I worked out how much water and fluids I had used this past 15 and a bit days.42 x 500ml water, 3 x 25ml Cokes, 5 l Red Wine ( about a glass left actually) and 2 x cans of beer.
What happened to the hot sunny weather I have been hearing about on the radio? I am sailing toward Plymouth these last miles under an overcast sky and frequent drizzle. I have got used to my sunny days with deep blue seas.
Wellwhat happened next. The sun came out, the wind eased and I did not have to do anything special to avoid getting back early. In the end I crossed the Start line,next to the lighthouse on the breakwater at exactly 17h00 BST and made it into the marina just before 18h00 to a fantastic welcome.
What can I say? The first inkling I had that it would be just more than Carol and Nicola to see me in was when the tug in the channel gave me nine blasts and the crew thumbs up and cheers and people on various boats at the marina clapped and cheeredand the marina let off their fog horn. Apart form almost making a hash of leaving the Parasail sheets to drop into the water ( tpointed out when passing a Round the Britain race boat at anchor), everything went smoothly. As usual the Plymouth Yacht Haven went out of their way and berthed us at the fuel jetty for the welcome. In fact the tiredness never did kick in and the next few hours before putting Just Right to bed were spent with family and friends at "the Bridge" enjoying supper.
Thank You Just Right for bringing me home safely!!!
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