Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The start of something great…….?

Monday 8 August

All crew presented themselves on deck and ready to go (almost) at 0650, as instructed. We were in the classy surrounds of St Katherine’s Dock, close to Tower Bridge in London. This was to be the first sailing day on our 5 day trip to Plymouth; and the first visit of Tenacity to London.

The crew comprised three Old Boltonians of senior years; plus the two Ians (every boat needs someone who knows what they are doing). Manoeuvering a 24 ton yacht in close quarters with some other, very expensive and rather fragile yachts (apparently, they aren’t all made of concrete) is where skipper Ian definitely earns his salary.

We departed down the Thames, enjoying the view of the city in the bustle of a Monday rush hour, as we headed for the open sea. Skipper Ian soon gave the helm to Dave Green, who rapidly looked the part and even seemed to know his red buoys from his greens. Tom followed next and thought that he was doing better, with an impressive top speed of over 7 knots, but has knocked into second place by Dave Hodgson with an impressive 8.5 knots (admittedly, the wind was then gusting up to 28 knots but that’s another story).

Strong and gusty winds, in a busy shipping channel, do quickly sort out the rougher edges of teamwork. Suffice to say that nobody went overboard (seriously bad news in a yacht); we reached our destination of Ramsgate in good order, with not much tack broken; and had some great views of seals, herons, wind farms, old WW2 relics, one of the UK’s most dangerous old war wrecks (a large, unexploded ammo ship), and commercial shipping of every variety.

Catering on board was impressive, with Skipper Ian producing bacon butties at exactly the right moment. First mate Ian has all round talent, with setting sails under variable conditions giving a vivid demonstration of just what is possible.

The future holds an unpredictable mix of gusty winds forecast to be from the wrong direction; large sand banks that can only safely be crossed at high tide; a crew hoping for some decent French cuisine; and a skipper with plans to sail through the night, tomorrow. (The crew are trying to keep an open mind on this idea.) Keep tuned, for the next installment.

1 comment:

  1. Looks a great trip. Hope it continues up the West Side. Hope to see you in Holyhead
    Ian Papworth