Thursday, May 12, 2005

Thursday, 12th May

It’s been a fine day, but very windy; in fact too much wind for comfortable sailing. The forecast for Dover, Wight, Portland and Plymouth, was East or North East 6 to 8; hence I have stayed put in Yarmouth Harbour at the mouth of the River Yar and where the ‘Wightlink’ Ferry berths.

The Harbour has many facilities, including the best showers I have found to date, but there is a charge of £1.10 for their use, since members of the public who are not sailors have access to them.

Today has been one in which my efforts have been on cleaning and reorganizing the boat for a more efficiency. I really feel I am living aboard, and ‘Bumper’ has become my second home. She has every convenience one needs when at sea or in port. Her accommodation is the best of any boat I have owned. I suppose there is still room for refinements, but everything is now in the right place for ease of use.

All the containers for drinks such as fresh milk, Nescafe, Ovaltine, Hot Chocolate and Tetley’s Tea are in a rack above the cooker, along with salt, pepper and mustard. Plates, mugs and bowls have their purpose-built racks. In the locker under the starboard pilot berth I keep all the dry food items such as rice, macaroni, bread, cereal, chocolate bars, and tinned foods. Under the port bunk in the main cabin there are two lockers; one I use for fruit and vegetables and the other for dairy products, meat, and fatty items. Most foods are kept in sealed plastic containers.

For washing up and keeping the boat clean, there are containers on the drainer for washing up liquid, rough sponge, wire cleaner, brush and dish cloth. A paper towel roll is suspended by the basin.

In the port rack above the bunk I keep navigation equipment such as Reeds Nautical Almanac, Practical Boat Owner Tide Tables, and the instruments, including a Breton Plotter which I prefer to a parallel rule. There is locker next to the engine console in which charts are kept to hand. The GPS and depth sounder have fixtures on a swinging support which can be deployed in the companionway when the boat is on the move.

The yacht has a generous heads fitted with a Porta Potti 240. As is the norm in yachts, this facility is seldom used, because when at sea and well away from land, it is more convenient to use the ‘bucket and chuck it’ system, and when in harbour, there is a land based toilet.

‘Bumper’ is equipped with safety gear such as two fire extinguishers and a fire blanket. She has two bilge pumps, one fixed and the other can be used in any part of the boat. Within reach of the companionway there is an offshore flare pack, and several other distress flares. She has two VHF radios; one fixed, and the other a mobile unit which is the more used of the two, as it is handy in the cockpit when entering a marina or harbour for communication with those responsible for traffic.

My Seahopper dinghy doubles as a kind of life raft, because she can be fitted with inflatable fender tubes along both her gunwales. For sure, she would not be much good in a real gale, but if there was ever a need to abandon ship, at least she would be a floating refuge that would not sink.

The Bukh 10 diesel engine consumes 5 litres of fuel every 4 hours, and on board I have 40 litres stored in cans and in the main tank, which theoretically gives ‘Bumper’ the capacity to travel 128 nautical miles at 4 knots.

My yacht’s strong point is her junk sail, which is so easy to reef, with never the need to go on deck.

As the cruise progresses I am more and more impressed with ‘Bumper’s’ qualities.

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