Monday, June 27, 2005

Monday, 27th June

The sun is shining this morning, but the forecast 3 or 4 wind, occasionally 5 or 6, will be right on the nose for the next planned port of call at Poole Harbour. Thunder showers have been predicted for this evening, and, as the final slog around Anvil Point with its race would be against the tide, my decision to delay my start until tomorrow or the following day was not difficult to make.

I may have mentioned the topic of marina or harbour authority showers before, but the experience of using them is always different. You are seldom alone when using the facilities, as was the case for me today. People were not communicating, because the general mood was, ‘Let’s get on with it.’

Showers at various marinas are never operated with identical systems; some are automatic – you put your money or a token in a slot, then everything is preset - off you go, but sometimes there’s a time limit; if you don’t wash off the lather before the water stops, you have a problem. Some have two operating knobs, one for the water outflow and another controls the temperature, but no marina uses the same system. If you don’t take your spectacles to see what’s what, you could end up with a painful scolding experience!

Have you every caught ‘Portitis’? That’s a condition you can acquire after being in harbour for a day or more. Every excuse is found not to put to sea, such as it’s too windy; the tide is wrong; there’s a need to do some shopping, or the crew is not feeling too well, plus a number of other creative reasons. At Weymouth there is an additional incentive to stay in harbour for at least four days, because the fourth day is free, courtesy of the Harbour Authority. The way I’m feeling at the moment is that I’m coming in for a bout of this yachtsman’s ailment.

What do I do with the time at my disposal? What is there at Weymouth, apart from holidaymakers, fish and chip shops, pubs, restaurants and boat trips? At least, the ‘boat people’, my immediate neighbours, are very pleasant. We can always while away the time conversing about our experiences on the water.

The sea is a great leveller. No matter what boat you own or sail in, the sea affects the sailor the same way – he is at its mercy - but an ocean has no feeling. The vastness of an expanse of water can be benign when it is not acted upon by the wind, or when it is not forced around an obstruction such as a headland or sandbank by the gravitational pull of the moon.

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