Friday, 29 April 2011

Bad luck comes in three's... :o)

So on Easter Monday, with a late afternoon tide, smallest little'un and I decided to make a break for it and see of we could slip in a couple of hours sailing before we had to go back to school/work...

Weather had changed significantly from the Friday, and we now had (and still have) a gusty northerly wind, but it was "new" enough to still be pushing warm'ish air so was a nice afternoon; after a week of it it's now decidedly chillier..

Either way - took the decision to take in a reef on the main, and we headed off towards the channel where just as I turned to head past the cardinal at the end of the Northney channel the boom came over and gave me a good clonk! Glad I was wearing my hat, but little'un was quite surprised at some of the things her Dad said!

Got to the entrance to Northney, about half way down the Northney channel, when just as we were going past, the jib collapsed gracefully onto the foredeck - huh?!! Bu**ery and damnation, the jib halyard had given away at the whipping point I did in the winter... smiley emoticons Bad luck #1

Little'un gathered the jib and stuffed it down the foredeck hatch while I got the engine going - sailing over for the day, and we headed back to the mooring...

Once on the mooring I took a good look at the jib halyard and could just see a couple of inches still sticking out of the mast - if it disappeared I'd have the devils own job on my hands as it would mean dropping the mast and then rolling a weight with a mousing line attached down the mast so as to be able to re-thread the halyard. The fact that there was still some showing was, potentially, good news...

So first off to dowse the main sail and as I'd reefed this involved un-reefing it first, before flaking it down... I'd just deployed the handle when I had to turn round to ease the main halyard, turned back just in time to see the handle bounce once and fall over the side... smiley emoticons bu**ery!! Bad luck #2

Tried to catch it as it went over the side and tripped on the hatch cover, which also bu**ered off over the side!! Double bu**ery!!!! Bad luck #3

By this time I'd definitely come to the conclusion that I wasn't meant to be on the boat that day... I just looked at little'un, laughed, and said we definitely needed to go the pub when we got ashore! smiley emoticons


First off, I dragged the tender round to the side, jumped in with the boat hook, and went fishing for the hatch that happily was white so I could easily see it, and had rested just under the boat in a few feet of water - recovered that and re-attached the bungee that usually keeps it attached to the boat...

Next job was slightly more difficult - taped my whisker pole to the boat hook, wired a triple fish hook to the end and went fishing for the end of the line... success.... then triple bu**ery! The end of the whisker pole slid out as I was pulling down and remained up the mast attached to the halyard! Happily it came loose so this time I taped all three poles together and had another go, as the rope was beginning to disappear into the mast and I was getting a mite depressed... happily my luck changed and I successfully hooked and recovered the rope... smiley emoticons Good news... I might have lost the reefing handle but the far more tricky issue was averted...

Distance: 2.33 miles (cumulative total over there to the left - hardly seems worthwhile adding this!)

Wind: N - Force 4 (and gusting).. Maximum speed 5.2 knots (under motor), average speed 1.7 knots...

Postscript: I've been out to the boat since and re-done the whipping, but this time I've also sewed through the two ropes for additional safety. I have also tried to get out early enough to be able to check for the handle as they're £30 new! No success so far, as despite getting down 3 hours before high tide the water is too deep - I'll have another go tomorrow - I'm not optimistic, as the mud is deep and slippery but you never know!


  1. Hi Steve,

    I sympathise, I have had days like that when you get the feelign someone is looking down on you with a finger ready to press the "cock-up now" button. Nothing goes right and you just need to lock yourself away in a dark room until normality returns. At least you are out on the water I am still ashore making my mistakes...Andy

  2. Ha - it was so bad Andy, that at one point I laughed out loud!