Summer Cruise: Day 5 (gennaker flying)
27 August 2014 | Levington, North Sea
DEPARTURE of ship: GUAPA
Time: 2014-08-27 05:00 (UTC)
These early departures are getting to be a theme this summer. That and 'rain'. The new RNSYC HW was up and about early. Not only did he offer assistance with our lines as we were about to leave (politely declined) he later gave us a friendly wave goodbye as we exited the dock. Nice, friendly chap - but I must admit, Robert had more 'entertainment value'. I'm sure he'll grow into the job.
The first few hours of the crossing were very uneventful - at sea this is always good - a bit cold and humid, but otherwise fine. Not much wind to speak of as yet, but I hoped we would pick up more wind mid-Channel as the grib-chart had indicated.
Right on cue: there is was. Just as we were about to start the mid-channel TSS crossing. A good, solid 4Bft - NE. Time to get the gennaker out. I set about rigging all the lines and getting the sail itself ready. Next the hard part: hoisting the thing whilst taking into account Brigitte's limited mobility. Somehow, I managed it without having to involve Brigitte too much. Big grin.
And for the next four to five hours, nothing much happened. We made way at a steady 6kts. At sea, in the sun - it doesn't get much better than this.
Then, just as we passed the Sunk lightship, the wind veered SE. Not gradually, but on the spot. The autopilot reacted somewhat unfortunately and this resulted in the gennaker wrapping itself around the forestay. Things went FUBAR very quickly form there. However, untangled without mishap. Phew. Best get this thing down. Pull, pull, pull, ... nothing... it's stuck up there. A couple of seconds of internal panic: I need to get this thing down. Try as I might, the gennaker (in snuffer) refused to budge. To anyone around, we must have looked like a boat sporting a giant condom. I have had more dignified moments in my life.
Then, to quote Baldrick: I have a cunning plan, mylord. Or to be precise, I had a series of cunning plans. None of the yielding the desired result. As I saw it, the only option open to us, was going up the mast. And the stark reality was that neither of us was in a fit state to hoist the other up the mast. As soon as I picked up a mobile phone signal (just by Sealand) I contacted the shore crew (the offspring at home) and requested that they made their way to the marina forthwith. One of them was going up the mast. Five minutes later I received an SMS telling me they were on their way and with luck should meet us upon arrival. As we rounded Cork Sands I went forward once again and out of desperation/anger/refusal to admit defeat I gave the gennaker another thug. And the thing budged. Summoned Brigitte forward and together we stowed the offending sail. Shore crew stood down at once. All is well that ends well.
Enough excitement for one day. We motorsailed (just the main up) the rest of the way to our mooring. Main stacked and packed in due course. We arrived at our mooring just as the tide was about to turn. Brigitte seemed to have trouble picking up the mooring, so we swapped places. Third time proved to be a charm. Parked... and relax...
Informed the family we had arrived safely and made arrangements to be picked up the following day. Youngest told to bring all his electrical tools. We would be on a faultfinding mission: water pressure pump and bilge pump.
Lovely meal and something nice to go with it. An early night was called for, it had been eventful.
ARRIVAL of ship: GUAPA
Port: Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Time: 2014-08-27 18:27 (UTC)