Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Cruise - Part 7

Cruise -Part 7

Sat 12th April

There's nearly always loads happening on the water, especially at a busy marina like Brighton, and today was no exception. The first thing that my attention was drawn to was activity on the nearby Cadet patrol vessel, a dark grey naval style large motor cruiser named 'Puncher', P291.

Several crew members wearing their smart dark blue uniforms arrived just before 0800 and the friendly officer in charge came over for a chat. He told me he was expecting the lady Mayor of Eastbourne and her officials for a trip up Channel to Sovereign Yacht Harbour where there would be a special function - an event to do with a commemoration in connection with Eastbourne. He had advised the Mayor to cancel her trip as it would be pretty lively so say the least; nevertheless she persisted and boarded with her entourage at 0940. The ship's engines were started, and again I was visited, but this time by one of the junior officers who asked if I would release the mooring lines when the boat was leaving her pontoon. The reason for requiring my assistance was that it would be impossible for a crew member to get back on board the ship after the lines had been released because the strong wind would have pushed the vessel away from the pontoon. All went well without the lines snarling the propellers as 'Puncher' reversed.

The next event was the appearance of a sleek racing sailboat named 'Mr Green' which was owned by Sailnet.UK. She was fully crewed by students and her instructor; they had a deeply reefed the mainsail and the boat was powered by an outboard motor. Two identical racing machines followed: 'Mr Blue' and 'Mr Pink'. They disappeared from sight around the inner breakwater while spray periodically was projected over it. A bright yellow RIB laden with large orange marker buoys accompanied the racing boats - presumably the buoys were to be used for laying out a course.

I did the laundry while having lunch and that facility was good value for money at only £1 for the washing machine and £2 for the dryer. I met a lady in the laundry who was at first a little grumpy because she was complaining about 'communal living' and on clarifying what she meant I understood she considered the terminology described her 'practical union of marriage', but I noted she asked her husband by mobile phone to assist her, which he promptly did. The lady said the drawback of living on a boat in the marina was having to share facilities and it was not the same as having a home where one has privacy.

During the early afternoon there was no let-up of the almost gale force wind, and I was grateful for an offer from a gentleman who owned a Princess 43 motor yacht named, 'Myakka Moon'. His boat was tucked behind a north/south facing pontoon which brought about a calm spot just short of her stern. He suggested I should motor 'Faith' around to that position where he would take my lines so that I would have a more peaceful night than the previous one. In truth, there was no peace last night because of the incessant, strong and bitterly cold wind which caused the sea to be agitated.

Having moved the boat I was able to charge the VHF radio's battery, along with that of my mobile phone. The ship's battery did not need charging because of the effective solar panel.

Yesterday I forgot to give an account of my meeting with Mr Alan Ried aboard 'Orca', a 40 year old Tony Smith trimaran. He and his friend had been sailing an identical vessel off the Needles in very rough weather on 5th November when she was pitch-polled, after which they fought their way to the surface and climbed aboard the upturned hull. As Providence would have it, a German yacht passed within hailing distance and her vigilant crew hearing their whistles responded to see two sailors in their survival gear standing on the upturned hull. The efficient Germans alerted the Coastguard who mobilized their helicopter for the rescue mission which was accomplished before nightfall at five in the afternoon. They were extremely lucky, because prior to the arrival of the Germans no one knew of their plight and the flares they had sent off were not seen; indeed, most probably their distress pyrotechnics would not have been considered as such because it was Guy Fawkes night and fireworks were going off all the time.

This is my fourth night at Brighton Marina awaiting favourable conditions for continuing westwards. As I said yesterday, maybe the wind will moderate so that I can progress westwards, possibly to Ryde on the Isle of Wight or Chichester Harbour in the Solent.

No comments: