Sunday, July 05, 2009

Shakedown shakeup

Before we head off to the Netherlands we thought it would be a good idea to try a shorter cruise – just to check that everything on the boat works, that we remember how to sail, etc. We expected to do this on Saturday or Sunday, but when we visited the boat on Thursday it transpired that Lindsey had already finished the work on the Morse controls. I searched desperately for another excuse not to go but the only possibility was that the wind was due to go to the SW, a really bad direction for heading from the Orwell to the Blackwater which is where we planned to go. On the other hand the strength was only 3-4, so really pretty manageable.

So on Friday afternoon we had a somewhat bumpy passage for the 29 or so miles to Bradwell. The best sailing was coming down the Orwell; from Landguard onwards we tried different varieties of motor-sailing until eventually the sea calmed down as we approached the Blackwater estuary and we made better progress.

We celebrated our arrival with a couple of drinks and a pizza, I had a short walk to stretch my legs, came back and started getting ready for bed. (It was about 9.30pm). I wondered why the pink towel was on the floor of the forecabin, and why it was soaked with salt water. Turns out that some of the waves breaking over the bow had run down into the cupboard in our bedroom. I vaguely remember Ben mopping out the cupboard... and then oblivion until midnight, when I suddenly awoke and realised that the fridge compressor had been on without a break since we left Suffolk Yacht Harbour. I had a cross, sleepy conversation with Sam, turned off the fridge, and then went out like a light again until 7.30am.

The fridge worked fine the next morning. So did the sailing back to Suffolk, although initially there was no wind at all and then what there was appeared to be coming from the north-east, which would be spectacularly unfair. Fortunately we actually got about a F3 from the south-east with a splendid sail from the Bench Head buoy all the way to Suffolk Yacht Harbour.

So, what did we find?
  • We lost the top batten from the mainsail - Sam has already got a new length to replace it
  • We need to find a way to fix the leak from the bow, and a couple of other minor leaks
  • We do remember how to sail, but our tacks are a bit pathetic
  • We didn't have a copy of chart C25, which we will need for the N Sea crossing - but fortunately we do now
  • We need to find a better way to fasten down the front of the genoa
  • We forgot to reset the calibration on the depth gauge after installing the replacement instrument, so we've been sailing in about 1m less water than I thought (I realised this as we went aground for a second at the entrance to SYH )
  • The wind indicator is probably under-reading and is slightly skewed to starboard
  • The log is under-reading by 20-30%
What's good, or better:
  • The new engine controls work fine and I can once more control the throttle with my toe
  • The new upholstery is good to sleep on, though a bit firm
  • The new mainsail stack-pack ( a Jeckells Mainmate) makes it very quick and easy to lower the main, and more to the point Sam can get to the gin and tonic about 20 minutes earlier than before (time he used to spend putting on the sail covers)
  • It's much easier to see the Gunfleet sand than it used to be, because they are building a very large offshore windfarm on it.

Unfortunately the forecast now looks as though there will be SW5 or 6 on Monday and Tuesday, so Wednesday looks like the earliest departure. We'll see how it goes.


Alan said...

Fair winds for your next voyage! The blackwater is exactly my part of Essex, but I am guessing that your FB comment was not addressed to me? regarding cushions. We bought one of those "eggcarton" foam pads for our previous bed. Set on top of the cushion it made a huge difference to the level of comfort (it was only 2" thick"

Camilla said...

Hi Alan, no the FB comment was for Tanya who lives in Gidea Park - not sure how you'd navigate there! Our new cushions give us the opportunity to have underbunk slats if we want them - the old cushions had the board integrated with the foam. So we'll see how it goes and may consider that option.