Sunday, July 1, 2012

Interesting day...

Pilgrim and I are in Littlehampton, West Sussex, UK, berthed along the town wharf.

This summer has established a pattern valid for at least the past three weeks: You get to go to sea for a day, then the gales whirl in and you stay put for four days or so until the next window opens to go a bit farther.

Oh! and you have to meet the tide windows, with some 30 feet of tide...

Not for nothing is the English Channel formidable...

So under this protocol shipmate Mike and I made London to Eastbourne, mileage-wise about four days in thirteen days. So we were lucky. I have now gotten on another day in six on my own. So I have time for about one more try.

Now the problem is cost. Here is reasonable, next is not. So we'll prolly stay put.

But, back to the subject:

As I was sitting having my morning coffee I see this thirty-something-foot sailboat hurtling at my amidships. Remember, we are having force 5-6 winds. So I go topside and just as I think he is going to T-bone me (He'd lose, we're 20 tons of steel, he is five tons of plastic) he tacked on starboard and glided into the slip ahead, dropped the main, feathered the jib, and (almost) stopped. All in about 30 seconds.


But he was on his own, so I went up and helped him stop and secure the boat.

His face was bloody, as was one hand. He is a Dutchman my age or prolly about five years older.

He had gone out enroute Chichester (Beaufort force 5-6 means 25-30 knot winds... Google is your friend).

He had dropped the sails and was trying to use the motor to get back into port. He has an outboard motor on a contraption that failed, and the motor jumped out of the brackets and was dangling by its fuel lines...

Bad karma.

So anyhow, gave him a coffee, told him about Screwtape and he proceeded to clean up stuff.

I then went shopping and came home, did a G&T and had all the dinner sous chef stuff done, when Her Majesty's Coast Guard Search and Rescue team and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) came knocking on the hull. "Sorry to bother, but we're bringing in a boat, would you mind terribly if we berth her alongside you, as there is no other space at the quay?"

Of course not, knock yourself out.

So yet another drama ensued. Another fellow my age or older who had chosen to go to sea in a Force 5-6 gale with his elderly wife and (guess: daughter and son-in-law, but that might be reversed) had gotten a lobster pot wrapped around his rudder.

So, m' aidez, RNLI dashed out and towed him in alongside.

Rather embarrassed, but proceeded to don wetsuit and dive and remove the offending appurtenances (a bunch of rope and a float...) at 9PM at night...

Only Englishmen, mad dogs, (and Dutchmen)....

Well it's almost 10 PM and none of them have emerged, neither the English nor the Dutchman. So presumably they are recovering from their adrenaline overdoses...

Crazy? Maybe, but a whole heck better than staying in Swansea and watching TV for your entire life.

As for me, I believe in the English adage: "Gentlemen never go to weather. It spills the champagne."

So Pilgrim shall reside in either Littlehampton or Chichester, prolly the former.

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