Monday, 14 June 2010

Another spring tide, another grounding

I feel like I've lost focus lately as I haven't done any work on the boat. Of course, I promised to reward myself by enjoying a bit of summer sailing before embarking on any more jobs, particularly those that would result in de-commissioning of the boat for some time.

So sailing it was this weekend too. I was contemplating going single-handed but luckily, after little persuasion and a lot of deliberation, my flatmate decided to join me. We arrived at the marina after HW and the first thing I did was to start the bilge pump to get rid of the water that had, once again, risen above the floorboards. This has become a standard procedure now. The other standard procedure is charging the battery from the mains as my alternator is still not working. While this was going on we met the neighbour in the berth next to us who offered coffee and interesting stories and advice. One of the useful things I found out was how the depth sounder system was installed. My depth sounder is out of order and this can be a big problem in the East Coast..

We finally left the marina around 16.30 which was a bit late as spring low tide was just 4 hours away. The wind was not very strong but strong enough to make me a bit cautious with the sails. We arrived near Essex marina quite quickly with the help of the tide. I then decided that it was about time we turned around as the wind had got stronger.

My newly acquired iPhone Navionics chartplotter indicated a top speed of 5.8 knots which is not bad at all. On our way back progress was noticeably slower as we were beating into the wind and the tide flow had also slowed down. At some point I went in the cabin for some reason and when I came out again I realised that we were not moving. We had ran aground! According to my flatmate who was on the helm at the time, it was the wake from a speedboat that had pushed us to the side near the river bank.. After some attempts to get unstuck that had no positive outcome we decided to sit back and enjoy the sunset. The time was around 20.05 and low tide was at 20.25. I estimated that it would be about an hour before we could move and I was about right. Around 21.25 we set off and motored towars the marina. Coming to the entrance of the creek that leads to N. Fambridge marina, I could only see a very narrow water passage and a lot of sand on either side. I thought I'd better wait before I attempted to enter so we went in circles for about half an hour. Then I just thought I'd give it a shot - the tide was rising and even if we ran aground again, it would still be better than just going in circles in the river.. Luckily, we made it just fine through the narrow passage and I also managed to get my mooring right this time.

I then put up the tarpaulin over the coachroof. This is something I always do before leaving as there's quite a few deck leaks. Nevertheless rainwater still finds its way in. I also did a bit of exploration and located the depth sounder transducer and managed to get my hands very greasy as I took it out of the through-hull fitting. I didn't have the time to fiddle with it as it was getting quite late so I put it back in. But that's another task that has been added to the increasingly expanding boat repair task list. I also tested the Raymarine ST1000 tiller pilot that came with the boat and was pleasantly surprised to find it functioning; well, at least the pushrod was moving. I may test it at sea next time.

Here's a clip from this weekend's sailing:
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