A rum story

We left Ramsey Pier at low tide and sailed across the Irish sea to Whitehaven. The sea was quite lumpy as it had not settled down from storm Hector, which had been just the night before. The wind was behind us, so we choose to do training runs, as this takes out the issues with gybes. Even so with the sea being so lumpy, there were times as we rode the wave the main sail gybed first one way and then the next, as we rode the wave. It is clear, we need to look at gybe preventors, as the action of the boom could easily hurt somebody.

As we sailed towards Bahama Bank Carninal, we wondered if there is any connection between the sands known as Bahama bank in the Isle of Man and the sands known as Bahama bank in the Bahamas. Was one named after the other, all I can say is that they both run in a North West to South East direction and they are made of sand.

Eventually we could see the light house on top of Saint Bees head, so we knew that Whitehaven was just around the point. The harbour at Whitehaven can be accessed four hours either side of high water, and has a good enterence which is able to take large vessels. In fact we saw the Pelicon of London in the harbour which is a ???, so we were small fry in comparison. Beverley likened my jump onto the pontoons to that of a gazell, I lept so well. All I know is we looked quite good coming in, we still need practice, but we are learning about how to judge distances in the yacht, and the closer Beverley can steer the yacht parallel to the side, the easier my life with the lines.We arrived in harbour quite late, so we were quite happy to put our heads down and sleep.

The next day was Saturday with lots of rain showers. We had lots to do on the Lass, cleaning the yacht, video editing, writing stories. For me, a rainy day is a day to catch up, so is very useful. After lunch, the rain had not abated, but we decided to check out the Marina offices and those wonderful things called showers and washing facilities.

The washing machine at the Marina was broken but we were advised that there was a laundrette in town so we collected our washing and went on the hunt. Unfortunatly the Laundrette was also out of commision due to the fact that they were fitting new machines, but on our walk we found out that the marina that we were staying in was named after, the richest commoner in England Sir John Lowther and a known miser.We also found a statue, to all the children that had been killed in the mines. We are so lucky today, that children in a first world country do not need to work in the mines, like they did in the past, all we need to be able to do, is make this so for all countries. Continuing our journey we found a shop selling Jefferson Rum, a small importer, that had been looking after rum production in Antigua and importing the rum for over 200 years. We unfortunatly we arrived just as they were closing, which was a pity as I was facinated.

After a wasted journey, we returned to the Lass for tea and some cider. Beverley and I are such cheap drunks, one bottle of cider between us and we were asleep for the night.

The weather on Sunday, apeared much improved, so we decided that we would head out. This proved to be yet another wasted journey, as we had only gone out for an hour, before we were heading back do our slip. The winds were such that at the club the boys would not of sailed, so if the crazy boys would not sail we decided that we would not either. When sailing, being safe, is always your number one priority.

That night, a front came over and we were very glad that we were snug and warm inside the lass.

The next day, it continued to rain, but as the day continued the winds were set to drop, so we decided that we would leave that evening. On the Saturday, we had come across an old rum importer, so we toured their museum and bought a very small bottle of rum and some rum butter, looking forward to making something with that.

So at 12:30 am we finally got ourselves ready for the journey back to Liverpool. By the time we had got everything sorted it was 2:00am. Some of that was because it always takes longer than you think and when it comes to yachts, you can double or even triple that sentance, but most of it was because the longer we took, the more the weather calmed.

Even with leaving at 2:00am the weather was still a little bit harsh, and was on our nose, so it just took ages to round the point. While we were motoring, although it was improving all the time, we were still concerned. The waves had a rythum to them with a large wave for which we would have to change course so that we were heading into them, initially every fith wave, but as the weather improved every twentith. Beverley was on the helm as we rounded the point and missed one of the large waves, all of a sudden I was looking straight down into the sea and I had a real fear that we would be broached.

Once around the headland it should of been my shift on the wheel, but I would of needed a crow bar, to leaver Beverley's fingers off the wheel. We were at Windscale, before I finally managed to get Beverley, to hand over the wheel to me. She asked me if I was okay, I said "Yes" and she was asleep within minutes. When she woke at least an hour later, the wind had dropped, so we put up the sails, at first just the genny then the main. By the end of my shift, we were sailing with the engine off. I love it when we can sail, it is purely a magical experience.

Although, I felt fine and not tired at all, I felt it sensible to try and sleep and I too was asleep in minutes. We continued to sail, to the entrance of the channel to Piel island, where I waved from the sea at him, we had hoped to go, but today was the only weather window we had, so we kept going. Near the entrance to Piel island we had to drop the sails, because I was keeping the sail going, we were well off track for going around the sand bank at Morcombe, so wnow we would be going into wind. This section of the journey took ages as both the tide and wind was against us. In the end we decided that we could go across the sand bank, where we were. This made the progress much better, as now we were quartering the tide, although we are going to need to understand our tides a lot better as the tide kept pushing us in and we should of been a lot further out, to make Q2 at the entrace to the channel. Unfortunatly we had to motor between Morecombe cardinal and Q2 as the wind had dropped to nothing.

We had been taking the sail in shifts, one off one on but when we finally made the turn around Q2, I handed the wheel back to Beverley as I wanted to use the radio, to talk to Mersey VTS. It is alright going on courses and getting your licence to say you are fit to operate the radio, but there is nothing like using it for real. So while I used the radio and kept a look out for the markers, Beverley got the job of steering the chanel. At Q2 the wind was at 2.5 knots of wind but at Q4 it was 15knots of wind and steadily mounting. Once again Beverley needed to tack using the engine so that the waves were either on our stern, or we were pointing towards the waves. Even though Beverley was on the wheel at the time, it feels like a joint effort, with me keeping an eye on the buoys and generally just being there with her. Somewhere up the channel we had a securatea telling us that there was a gale with force 8 imminent. Beveley and I both shouted at the radio, "we know" as we had been dealing with it for at least 15 minutes by that time.

By the time we got to the mooring at Tower, it had taken us three hours rather than the normal two. At the mooring at Tower I was all sixes and sevens, I couldn't get my hands right, so I asked Beverley to swop. She was no better on the front, but I managed to steer the yacht in gale force 8 onto the mooring several times. Beverley had the same issues that I did at the front, too many things to do and not enougth hands. We need to come up with better stratergies, its alright when the winds are lower, you have the time, but whan you are in gale force 8 you have got to be smooth.

How I slept on the mooring I have no idea, because it was dreadful. Waves, wind and wake from the passing vessels do not make for comfort. As soon as we were able, we got off the mooring and back to the marina. It was 6:00am in the morning, we had seen two sunrises while at sea, we had completed our longest journey so far and it had been a bit of a rum journey.

For more information on the Run Museum visit https://www.rumstory.co.uk/

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