After Easter we hired a van in Romsey and filled it with all the rest of the “stuff” for the boat and again after an overnight stop at Carlisle arrived at Ardrossan and refitted the lid on the water tank before ferrying everything down to the boat. Another long day and had supper with Matthew and Sue of Southern Cross (another Rustler 36), who had launched the same day. Anne then drove the van back to Romsey the next day taking our staging and other odds and ends back with her. After re-reeving all the halyards Richard then took the opportunity to ask Matthew and Sue to send him to the top of the mast to refit the wind speed and direction sensor. Never an easy job. Taking advantage of a another day of good weather Richard bent on all the sails and fitted the restrainer lines, deck blocks, etc. The final job on Anne’s “must do” list was to adjust the engine throttle lever friction device so that the lever would stay in a set position. This meant taking the lever off and as it was completely seized on to its shaft it had to be cut off. Not an easy job but eventually completed with friction increased and a new handle fitted and hopefully this will solve the problem of the engine pulling the speed back to idle at slow speeds. Anne flew back to Glasgow on Tuesday 25 April to be met by Richard at the airport. Wednesday was spent finally sorting out the lockers and buying two new sheets for the staysail as we could not find the old ones and a new fog horn as again this seems to have gone missing.
Palace of the People, Glasgow We were planning to leave today, Thursday 27 April, but the strong and cold north to north westerly wind was continuing to blow at over 20 knots, which is not ideal for a gentle shakedown sail, so we had a day off and took the train in to Glasgow for a wander around.
Set off on our drive up to Ardrossan to re-commission Harvard for the continuation of our Round the UK adventure. After an overnight stop at Carlisle we arrived to find Harvard in good shape. Amazingly, and in spite of all the winter storms, the cover was still on and in good condition with only a bit of chafing damage. It had a done a great job and all was dry and clean inside. Having thought our launch date was “flexible” we were told that if we missed our slot on 10th April we might have to wait some time for another slot so we had a deadline to work to!! Happily we encountered a window of good weather so by working long days we managed to rub down the bottom, clean and polish the topsides, grease the seacocks, re-commission the engine and apply the antifouling all in 4 days. We launched successfully on the 10th and the engine ran well as we motored across the marina to our berth.
Anne polishing Harvard
The resilient mounts on the engine had been replaced over the winter and the initial impression was that this has greatly reduced the engine vibration. Once in the water the toilet was replaced, as the old one was not working very well, and we took the lid off the water tank; both jobs on Anne’s “must do” list. Both took longer than anticipated, as they always do, and the water tank turned out to be very clean. Set off back home via Richard’s Mum in Yorkshire to stay for a couple of days and arrived home safely but quite tired.
The end of stage one of our trip. We fly home tomorrow, although will drive back for a couple of days next week to empty all the contents and have the boat lifted out of the water for winter storage.
We spent the day packing up, taking the sails off and mousing off the halyards. I even managed to winch Richard up the mast to take the wind indicator off. It was another wet and windy day, with more of the same in the forecast, so we weren’t too disappointed to be going home.
In spite of the Scottish weather it has been a good 4 months. We were probably a bit over-cautious in our planning. Our imaginations had run wild at the thought of some of the conditions we might face – particularly going round Lands End, round the top of Anglesey, the Mull or Kintyre and through Doris Mohr – but all those were relatively straight forward in the end. The worst moments were the unexpected ones, particularly before we learned just how unpredictable the Scottish weather is and how quickly it can change.
We stayed in marinas more than we had planned. That was partly because of the weather, but also because we wanted to do so much sight-seeing as well as sailing. We have seen so much and yet there is so much we left out – we could do it all again! We have been left with an abiding sense of the beauty of parts of the British Isles,, the history, the changing geology and the immense variety.
We’re already looking forward to continuing the trip next year…
Richard up the mast
Saturday 30th April
The day finally arrived for our departure – but we still had a lot to do. Slept on the boat on the pontoon at Marchwood on Friday evening and then, first thing this morning, Richard went up the mast to put the repaired wind speed and direction unit back up. I then took the car home, and got the train/bus back, so it was around 3pm before we were finally ready to leave.
Haven’t really got our sea legs yet, especially as the wind was very gusty. Flew down Southampton Water, but only went as far as Beaulieu. Felt that we needed a day to check everything out before getting out of the Solent. Also realised that our new wind speed unit needed calibrating as it wasn’t working properly and don’t want to get too far from Lymington (where it was repaired) until we are confident that it will work.