Friday, 19 February 2010

Sailing with friends

It was perhaps the first sunny day of the year in the beginning of February. The plan was to go to the boat with a friend and do some work. However it was a perfect day for sailing and we just could not resist. After having a very big breakfast at the cafe, I went to the boat to conforont the, now common, flooding. I started the engine and the electric bildge pump did its job perfectly well with no complaints. I tidied up a bit as it was the first time I would have guests on the boat and wanted Ting-a-Ling to make a good impression. My guests arrived and a good impression they got indeed, or at least they said so..

I thought it would be a good idea to get some fuel before we leave the marina as I wasn't sure how much there was in the fuel tank. There was a motorboat at the fuel station and we had to wait until refueling finished - it took quite some time! Anyway, our turn to refuel came and I was quite pleased to skipper a crewed boat for the first time (in reality it was the second time out in Ting-a-Ling but the first one doesn't really count). Turns out the fuel tank was almost full and all the diesel we could get was only £2.17..

So, away we go with my friends taking turns in steering and doing quite well in all the tasks really and making me a proud skipper. As we exited the marina creek we put up the sails and then turned off the engine. The moment you turn off the engine a heightened sense of tranquility overtakes you. Even though there was almost no wind, we were all overjoyed to be sailing. However, we were making very little progress as we were going against the tide. It was starting to get dark and we decided to head back. Now we had the tide on our side and the wind had picked up considerably. I believe we were making very good progress and we were all excited by the speed we suddenly picked up. My boat was sailing!! The wind was getting stronger and Ting-a-ling started to heel noticably. I was a bit concerned as the lower shroud chainplate was very weakly attached to the hull/bulkhead. Suddenly we heard something snapping and while I was certain it was the lower shroud chainplate, I was too excited by doing some proper sailing to stop. The mainsail is not a reefing one and I was reluctant to take it down just yet. Then, a gust of wind hits us and we heel even more. The chainplate could no longer take the load and came of its attachment with a loud noise - it had also taken off a deck plank with it! A little panic overtook us, I immediately steered into the wind to take off the load and we took down the mainsail. Our experience was cut short..

We started the engine and headed back to the marina a little disappointed as our first propper sailing trip in Ting-a-Ling was cut short.. When we arrived at the marina I made a temporary patch for the deck area that was now missing. I tried to start the engine but it wouldn't start - this worried me more than the detached chain plate as the electric bildge pump was really the only way to empty the water..

Then we all headed to the cafe for a well deserved dinner.

No comments:

Post a Comment