So we have been moored in the river for just over 2 weeks now but are still not yet ready to sail. I naively thought that within a few weeks of arriving at Weir Quay we would be out sailing around the south coast and nipping down to Cornwall. Not the case yet. Neil has been working away every day, apart from 4 essential shopping trips for bits, so it as not as though he is slacking, just sheer volume of stuff to do. It is just taking longer and more costly than anticipated. But no use skimping on anything, particularly as it is our home and must be as safe as possible for ocean crossings.
How is life on board? Still camping to some effect but now occasionally rocking with the wind, tides and swell from passing boats. If we need to go ashore for hot shower, post, shopping etc it is a trip in the tender (dinghy) to the boatyard. I still can’t row. Has to be said I haven’t tried yet although I have had a go with the engine (with Neil with me as well). On the whole I am extremely ungainly at getting in/out the tender on to the boat and on the pontoon. I am terrified of falling in as I know how difficult it will be for me to get out. We do now however have an inflatable Zodiac tender which is more stable than Oscar, the wooden pram dinghy, at certainly for me and the amount of stuff we move to and from the boat it feels safer. We have a ramp at the back of the boat and “park” the tender on that.
We have, up until this week, had good weather though and certainly had a feel for what life will be like in warmer climates, living on deck and eating all meals outside. I certainly will not be spending a UK winter abroad so the aim is to get Gleda to Portugal for the winter although that window is getting smaller day by day.
I’m managing fine with the space and the composting toilet! What I didn’t really appreciate and am thankful for is that Gleda being set up the way she is means that our bed is set up permanently and is in a separate hull to the galley/cooking smells. It us usual, I understand, on mono-hulls of a modest size that the bed has to be made up and taken down daily as it is usually the dinner table as well. I suppose for short term or day sailing this isn’t too much of an issue but for long term is certainly easier. Also means I don’t have to get up the same time as Neil for which I am very grateful.
We have had two really windy nights since being on board. The fist one was our 3rd night on board on the mooring and the boat was being thrown all around the mooring with winds and tide. The mooring buoy and strop (rope) kept getting under the hull of our berth and the noise when it pulled itself out was horrendous. Neil got up a few times to lash things down and then ended up having to take off the outboard motor from the tender as it was bashing the hulls. That was the most worrying for me. He was out stood in a rocking tender trying to lift a 17kg outboard onto a rolling boat without falling in. With all the noise, I wouldn’t of heard if he fell in. Additionally, every time Neil got up I wanted the loo so he had to escort me across deck and hold the hatch open so I didn’t knock myself out. This was before we took Oscar ashore and could park the inflatable tender, complete with outboard, on the ramp and then lift it out of the water. The second one was Friday night and whether it wasn’t quite as windy as the first or because I am now more used to the vagaries of mother nature, although it kept us awake for a good part of the night, I was not as worried.
Neil has also been struggling with a very painful neck/shoulder for nearly 3 weeks now. After 4 days he agreed to see a massage therapist and then the doctor the next day. That worried me more than him saying he was alright, when he obviously wasn’t, as I have NEVER known Neil seek medical attention for anything. He is still in some discomfort but has reduced the number of pain killers. Did he stop working? No of course not.
Things I have learnt:-
I can wash up in just 2” of water, sometimes even cold
We create an awful lot of rubbish – you notice it more when you have to carry it ashore in the dinghy to dispose of
Laundrettes and those that have service washes are a brilliant
Water is a valuable commodity particularly when you have to bring aboard via the dinghy all the water you are going to use
Not to take electricity for granted – the solar panels will be joined shortly by a wind generator
I miss wifi more than TV – hence why no regular post and why this one is turning out to be so long- although I tweet when I can @landgirlafloat
I am going “up country”, as they say down here, for a couple of weeks. Family commitments, birthdays and a reunion to attend and leaving Neil on the boat and without a car. I know he will be aiming to have Gleda sailing by the time I get back which will be brilliant. We are both really ready to move on to the next stage. As beautiful as it is here, sitting in one place was never the aim. The tides here are really strong and the valley seems to have it’s own little weather system. It is usual, even on the sunny hot days, the river is like a looking glass around 6am, then by 9am the breeze is picking up then the wind picks up throughout the day then drops again late evening.
What do I think will be my next challenges?
Learning then remembering what everything is and what it does – halyards, lanyards, sheets (not the ones I know) …
Sailing: the practicalities
Not having a car ashore to be able nip to town or to Trago
Getting the laundry done
Can’t wait for the next instalment of our adventure but must admit I am looking forward to “on tap” hot water, electricity, regular toilets and hot showers if only for a couple of weeks.