Would you let us crew your boat?

The day our contract expired arrived and it was time to move Salty Lass. Beverley found that having a checklist of all the tasks that we needed to do helped as it gave her a regularity of tasks that needed to be done, I however found one item that was not on our check list and that was sling our dinghy. To be fair, it is not an item that we have to do all that often and it is just part of Salty Lass and all her paraphernalia.

One hour later we were at the fuel dock and we had already had a major issue in that Beverley crashed into the fuel dock. I had snagged the pontoon and then she steered the nose of the boat away from the pontoon while being in neutral. This meant that Salty Lass pivoted on the rope that I had got on the cleat and the front of Salty Lass went out, while the stern went out. I couldn't get off Salty Lass as I was too far away from the dock. After the stern hit the fuel dock rather inelegantly Beverley got off Salty Lass and I threw the lines to her. I tell you now Beverley was all in a flutter and she had to have a cup of tea to calm her nerves. This sounds terrible but last year when we went out we made a lot of rookie mistakes, this year we had not got out of the marina and we had already made a mistake, Beverley classed this as progress.

Our next mistake came when I hoisted the main sail for the first time. I did not notice that I already had the halyard on the winch so as I pulled up the main sail the bitter end of the halyard got tangled with the working end of the halyard. Soon I was in a right mess that took a lot of swearing and cursing to get sorted, but we did it. On top of just being rusty, we were all over the place because of the fluctuating wind, at one time we were heading for a particular green patch, we tacked out, and when we tacked back, we were heading for the same green patch.

Beverley put on a bowl of home made pea and ham soup and I have to say it was delicious, while I conned Salty Lass, I think it is important that we both had a go at helming the boat, crewing the boat as well as doing all the other tasks that we have to do. Its a bit like cycling, you are a bit wobbly to start but you soon get used to it.

The one big issue with going down to Abercorn basin is the number of car ferries that you have to dodge. It's one of the reasons that we went for AIS, because when a vessel is within your collision range it turns yellow on the B&G system, while it shows it as a crash on our Garmin down stairs.

We had already got a berth allocation from the harbour master, so when we got to Abercorn basin, it was just a case of sailing straight in. When we got in we found that we had no electric, so we contacted the harbour master who only works in the day.

Once at Abercorn Basin, I felt enthusiastic to start Cooks Tour afloat again, so I wanted to go to St. Georges Market and buy something. The market is just full of artisan food and we bought some lovely mushrooms which we cooked with a steak. Getting up early to do something really made us feel that we were back in cruising mode, there were also great new sights in the form of kites. The harbour master managed to get us some electric, which meant that I could put an extra line of stitching around the windows and I could just finish the project, because I can tell you now it was so cold coming down the lock without that little layer of protection.

That night we filmed our first Cooks tour video in absolutely ages and we ate it along with a bottle of cider, all of which was paid for by one of our kofi supporters.

The next day we were able to start in on fixing the canopy cover to Salty Lass discovering some top tips on the way, which are

  • Start in the middle and work outwards with the pins, don't do what we did and put two pins in and then put the middle pin in as one side was perfct while the other side was rubbish
  • If you make a mistake, it is easier to repair the boat than it is to repair the canvas
  • Before you start make sure that the canvas is centred
  • We found the dots very easy to fit as we could use the drill to make the holes initially
  • We also used a little bit of cardboard to make a template
  • When making holes in canvas, we found that putting the drill in reverse worked really well
  • Add pockets to any canvas work if you can, they are really helpful for storing bits and bobs

In the lobby at Abercorn basin, I found a leaflet on Stowaways, now because I did not have my glasses on, my thoughts were on people smuggling. Certainly our starboard locker is big enough to house a person, but what the leaflet was actually talking about was rats and vermin, because many of the small island don't have vermin and they would like to keep it that way. So we sent Prudence off with her camera and eventually she found an electronic mouse. I have to say I laughed such a lot at Prudences antics and I just hope our viewers think the same way too.

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