Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Aziz’ a Pioneer 9 Part 7

Falmouth Roads is the traditional anchorage for ship’s waiting for orders. ‘Aziz’ was waiting for my order to be off into the Atlantic in search of the Azores, but first I had to sort out the engine and victual the ship. Idyllic as St. Mawes was, I could not provision the yacht from there. I needed to sail over to Falmouth where I could obtain fresh food, more tinned provisions, rice and water. I could live off rice, almost indefinitely, and if necessary add about one third seawater to freshwater for boiling the rice.

My log brings back memories of the pleasant day I had at St. Mawes. There the water was clear; the sun shone and I had plenty of get-up-and-go. I thoroughly tidied the yacht and made myself presentable.

Falmouth Harbour Dues Receipt

At mid-afternoon the wind came in from the west causing the anchor to drag. When I hauled it in a great clump of weed had to be removed before the anchor could be stowed. As the anchorage was open to the west I moved to Falmouth where I picked up a mooring at 1708. This was close to the anchorage where yachts of many nations congregate between the docks and the waterfront. A disadvantage of setting an anchor there was that every now and then, ships entering or leaving the docks required sea room for manoeuvring exactly where visiting yachts were anchored. From my secure mooring I could watch these happenings without being disturbed, for the princely sum of £9.00 a day. The harbour master kindly waived the fee for the evening and night of Friday, 11th July. In return I gave him a Christian tract! He had never had such a thing before and was taken aback.

For the next three days I lived the life of a sea gypsy. I really felt the part. There were those final preparations that needed to be done before leaving Falmouth, such as cleaning weed from the self-steering paddle, trying to make the engine work, laundry, obtaining Portuguese money and meeting up with my pal and his wife who lived in a bungalow at the head of Mylor Creek. He and his wife sailed from there in their yacht, ‘Aegina’ to wish me bon voyage and safe passage.

My ship is so small .....

At 1500 on Tuesday, 15th July, ‘Aziz’ was underway at the beginning of a great adventure. The shipping forecast predicted southwest 3, veering to the west, which was ideal for a speedy getaway. On passing Pendennis Castle I heard shouts from the ramparts. They were from my friend and his wife who were cheering me on and taking photos of our departure. I felt pretty good, because all had been done to my satisfaction. Being without a working engine was not an issue, as the oceans are for sailing; both wind and currents are free. In the vastness as far as the horizon there are no harbour dues, no petty restrictions, no bureaucrats, politicians, liars or thieves.

The dominant forces are the wind and the sea over which you have no control. You and your yacht are subservient to them. You work with them, or it is to your peril. They have no feelings and their power is beyond belief, and yet they can be sublime and blissful. They can caress you or terrify you. Being in harmony with them is what it is about - experiencing a freedom that cannot be had within the constraints of land.

At 1515 I set the Walker trailing log to 000. By 2045 the reading was 34.8, giving us an average speed through the water of 7 knots! To the north there were the lights of many yachts, no doubt participating in a race. To the west, there were two trawlers, objects to avoid. Soon it would be midnight and somehow I had to snatch some sleep, and yet be observant because of the proximity of land and the likelihood of passing traffic. Twenty minute naps at a maximum; so I set the timer and lay in my bunk.

Text for the Day

Psalm 146:5 ‘Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help ……..’

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