B.O.A.T. -Blow Out Another Thousand….

Well my lovely Poppet 2 has belonged to me for two whole weeks and I don’t think I’ve ever had so much going around in my head before. Got to do this, need to check that, have to buy the other… Well it has to be said she is a learning curve, and a money pit. I have so many lists now I don’t know where to start! I get half way through a job and then something stops me from finishing it. I am just afraid that knowing me and my “bodger” heritage I might forget something major… sails? 

So, here are some examples so far… 

She has had a scrub inside and out. Although I haven’t been able to wash up the pots because I can’t empty the sink due to not being able to open the seacock to let the water out… need the tappy thingamy bit… and I still need to scrub her crusty hull – need to get some anti foul, and be able to rely on my engine to get me to a beach and decent weather so that I can strip and paint her while I’m there…

Although you can’t see much difference in the photos, before is left and right is after…

Talking of engine… i started her five times today! I am slowly getting used to both the physicality of a pull chord and the temperament of my Honda 7.5, to use the choke or not etc… this is all new to me. It makes me realise how much I am grateful to my car for not having a crank handle (mind you, I used to find being able to crank my old 2cv6 quite useful!)… I still haven’t been able to start the Yamaha 3.5 tho… poop… And my hand is black and blue after whacking it on the hatch padlock loopy thing when trying to start it the other day!​

​So today I decided to sand down and varnish the tiller, did really well until I realised it was too cold for the varnish I have… and all the sand was coming off the sandpaper so that wasn’t ideal! So I have bought new sandpaper and am now I am waiting for the temperature to rise a little… 

Navigation lights. 

Now generally red is on the port side, and green is on the starboard side, so why do I have a blue starboard light? Was it ever green? Now, a sailing friend suggested that these lights might not be intended for boats, as I have only seen them for sale in red pairs on an American car website I wonder whether my funky vintage lights are actually car brake lights… or a brake light and a reversing light painted blue!!! Well, anyway,  I thought I would check what bulbs I might need to replace as they are not working, and I get the top off and they are soooo corroded I have had to buy a new set… so now waiting for the postman… then I’ve got to learn to do some electrics! 

Also in the post is a new foam cushion to complete my v-berth, some leatherette material to cover it (I went with black so that it was clear it was new), some material to make curtains and cushion covers (randomly turquoise!!) and an auto helm…. also a head torch which has a red light so as not to lose night vision. (That was just a luxury haha!)

So now other decisions to make are, do I just stick with a physical chart and the iSailor app on my phone, or should I get a chart plotter? And if a chart plotter shall I just buy a decent and possibly expensive one with a decent screen, or go cheap and regret it later? Also do I get a windex? Or just tie a ribbon on my shrouds?

Anyway… it is late and tomorrow is another day…  I might even have a sleepover with my new love!! Well it is valentines day and all…

I’ve bought a boat!!!!!!

Ok, I have intended that that this blog should be my full sailing story in chronological order etc etc – but I’m so excited I have to interrupt it with a – I’ve bought a boat! Yippee!!!! 

Meet Poppet 2, she is a Snapdragon 21, and although probably older than me and currently a bit in need of some love and attention she is sea worthy and she’s mine! Whoop whoop! 
I have bought the boat from some interesting chaps who run a YouTube VLog, there are quite a few videos (some of Poppet), I think they generally want you to believe that they are crackers, but I think there is some sanity in there somewhere! 

The friend who introduced me to sailing came with me to check her over on Saturday and then again helped me move her from her Conwy River mooring to Conwy Marina yesterday (which very randomly is £79 cheaper if you book it for 2 months than it is for one!). I think I will be forever in his debt! I was a bit of a stressed bunny! It didn’t help that the engine kept stopping and wouldn’t go into reverse either! 

Well, like I said she needs a few bits and bobs doing, and no doubt a fortune spending on her but I am trying to be sensible and do as little as is needed to get her out and sailing! The first purchase of the day was a new padlock – like a twit I heard a plop and saw bubbles rising in the water – after going through everything in my bag and pockets I eventually realised the only thing that could have gone overboard was the padlock and it was nowhere to be seen! At least it wasn’t my phone or car keys! Or me! 

So she needs a very good clean, not only for aesthetic purposes but having looked in the well that the engine is sat in – it is apparent that she has a very crusty bottom! Even the outboard engine has a meal growing on it!! Cockles and mussels alive alive oh! 

So tomorrow will be spent investigating, sorting and cleaning… Things like, there are flares on board that were out of date in 1999! Really? It’s always a great idea to carry around explosives that are so out of date they might be unstable in a small vessel on the water. I have inherited washing up, mouldy teaspoons and Tupperware. But then there are bags of lovely tan sails so I am not complaining I just want to get her ship shape… 

So no doubt more photos and blog entries will appear featuring the new female in my life interrupting the perfect order of things… but even with my slight OCD I think I’ll just about cope. 

It really was a lovely day in Conwy yesterday!

2016 – Gibraltar RYA Competent Crew course

So having found the sailing school, and been introduced to my instructor I collect my bag and make my way to the yacht that would be my home for five days. ‘Pretty Woman of Plymouth’ a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey Legende… So I chose my cabin and waited to see what would happen next…

After introductions of everyone on board, There were four of us, the instructor, a male and female doing the RYA yachtmaster track and me. None of us knew each other so it would be interesting to see how well we all got on. Of course, me having the least experience and never having stepped foot on a such a big yacht before I felt a little out of my depth. (Understatement of the century!)
The guys doing the yachtmaster track, as part of their course, had to go through some of the health and safety with me, so after this, an introduction to the plan for the week and I’m sure other things that have slipped my mind… we had our first meal on board. Lamb shanks, and veggie chilli. There were lots of jokes being shared – which are obviously great at getting people to laugh together and break down barriers…

I remember the week being really interesting, I was quizzed on parts of the boat – which of course I didn’t know – especially the bits that were expensive that I hadn’t seen anywhere before hydrostatic thingymagigs etc…

So I had to learn a couple of knots (for some strange reason I love things like crochet and even splicing, but could I remember the bowline! Could I ever! I still have a mental block with it now! Flipping rabbits!!).

Anyway – the five days went really well, it was very muggy and warm…

I really enjoyed the sailing, I enjoyed the company of everyone on board. I did get a little tired on the second night sail and couldn’t stop giggling with my fellow female – which I know wasn’t helpful! Especially as I was on helm and couldn’t see for crying with laughter! I did try to stop the banter – honest!

Anyway – we sailed to a couple of places, La Linea, just across the border in Spain… I just remember there being a lovely moon in the evening and a conversation about blue moons… (the fact that they’re not blue, it’s just the name given to the second full moon that happens within a calendar month) oh and introducing the guys in my boat to ‘Arthur Moon’ and his little brother – ok I really am mad!

We stayed in La Linea a couple of nights in the week, where we practiced manoeuvring around the marina (I could do with more of that right now haha!) and ‘Man over boards’ in the bay – not much use when you’re solo sailing I might add!

We sailed over to Ceuta, which I loved (I love North Africa, so it made my week to be there), went to a lovely lido and had a very welcome mojito, a swim and a catch up with some of the people on the other ASA boats… then on to a lovely place for food…

Well, after being told to stop messing about by the Ceuta Marina Police, and picking up some rather suspicious packages on the way back and handing them in to the Gib police, we made it back to Gibraltar.

Well, I passed my competent crew and got a bit of a bug for sailing in Gibraltar and the warmer climate…

2016 – Gibraltar Part One – before the actual sailing bit….

Warning to anyone reading this – it is a long one! It is also pretty silly at times… But then that is me! It is what makes my life interesting!

Well the summer flew… Before I knew it, it was Friday, 12 August 2016, and I was sat on a plane going to Gibraltar. Exciting! Or scary! Well both really!!!
Ok- before I go any further, I need to precursor this first bit with a – if anything can go slightly wrong, I guarantee you it will for me, never life threatening – but generally totally embarrassing and stupidly!!!

So, while on the plane, I am just about to open and start munching my healthy(ish) pack of chillied almonds, when there is an announcement from the crew. “Please can everyone avoid eating nuts during this flight as there is a passenger with a severe nut allergy on board” – really!!? With a young lad across the aisle laughing at me, the nuts go away for another day… Apart from sitting next to a chatty chap who just wanted to talk about how wonderful his life in Cadiz was, the flight was uneventful.

I leave the airport and having been told, you just cross the runway and then go right into the marina (B&B directions) I can’t for the life of me get my bearings. Yep I know a runway is hard to miss, but clever me missed it! So halfway across the border to Spain (I am really panicking now!) I am allowed to turn around and go back. My phone map refuses to work! Flippin tech! And so out comes my trusty printed off map for the sailing school and I realise where I have gone wrong and walk towards my boat B&B.

It is summer in Gibraltar, and although not as hot as their usual summers maybe, I am dressed in light jersey cotton trousers with a drawstring waist, and carrying a 10kg rucksack that was fitted for a very fat person (I hadn’t used it in years). So I am having to keep hitching up the rucksack AND my trousers as the rucksack is pushing them down. Well, somehow I forgot to keep hitching up my trousers because at one point (just as I’d eventually found the marina) I realised that my trousers were no long covering my backside and the mesh material of my undergarments were not doing much to help either! Oh help! What am I like!

So feeling like a bit of a numpty, I find my boat. I get shown around the boat by a young girl who ‘forgets’ to show me where the light switch for the loo is and how to flush it! So for the next couple of days I just walk to the marina shower block…

Being me and too embarrassed to go and eat out on my own, I go for a walk about, chat with a Dutch girl for a bit and just go to bed…

The next day – I’m a tourist. So I decide, desperate to be out on the water, to go out on a dolphin boat… which was fun, and yes I saw lots of dolphins and met a couple of ladies from a cruise ship who took me under their wing! (I’m not a good solo traveller! Maybe one day!) so we went for lunch, then shopping (if you can call it that) and then went for a drink and parted ways as their ship was due to leave. After more wanderings I plucked up courage to ‘dine’ by myself and then, again, bed early.

Next day, Sunday, I have to vacate my room (pokey little cabin but it was cheap and clean!) early so I took my bag to the place where I was going to ‘learn to sail’. I dump my bag, fill in some forms, meet a couple of the folks who would be on my boat, one of whom gives me (no doubt excellent if I had followed it) advice on how to go up the Rock. And off I go to see the monkeys! So, being impatient and wanting to start on the ascent, (this being someone who would not so long ago not want to walk very far on the flat!) I turn left somewhere in the main town and start walking up the Rock, I eventually make it by climbing up what felt like a million and two steps.

Greeted at the top by some rather wet and misbehaving apes who I talk to just like my mum would (it’s scary how these things happen as you get older!). Anyway, ape video and photo opportunities galore with daft tourists winding them up. Off I go to find the loo, it is Sunday, it is shut. Oh! So back down the rock I go, this time having befriended an American family who were scared of the apes and would I go first? Hmmm. Do I look brave? Apparently so!

So back in the town, I grab a bite to eat and make my way – as slowly as possible to the Allabroad Sailing Academy for my course. https://www.facebook.com/Allabroad/ for my RYA Competent Crew course…

That was close!!

So summer starts in 2016, after various invitations from my great sailing club friends which had been turned down – although, I believed, for the right reasons – I said yes to a sail. It was going to be on Eira on 17 July and at the Conwy River Festival. Lovely! It was arranged that I would be at Conwy Marina for 0900… I was really quite anxious, I was worried that I would be hopeless! (Anyone who knows me would tell you that I always worry that I’ll be hopeless!!!) I consoled myself with the thought that the three of us would be fine and it was just a bit of a cruise…

I arrive to find that that it wasn’t just a cruise, it was a race and then a cruise, it wasn’t the three of us either, as Lady Eira had gone on another boat, it was just the two of us… oh no… help!!! 
Well, after a calming cuppa and a chat about the plan for the day (a race in the morning followed by the La La Rally – a cruise to Caernarfon and back…) I was still panicking internally, but with the calming statement, ‘don’t worry Joy, I only need you to make up the numbers needed to enter the race’ from Mr Eira, I began to feel slightly less tense… but of course, only slightly!

So, out from the safety of the pontoon at the marina we go, we listen on the VHF for our course and start time. Far too quickly we are off, well to be fair, most of the morning was a blur, just the tension remains when I think how close to sailing into a fellow competitor we were at one point, half an inch maybe? Argh! (This was my first introduction to the lovely Talaris of Conwy. Not the best introduction and probably never forgotten by all involved!). Anyway, once the race was over – thank goodness! – we were on our way towards Anglesey. It was a lovely day, and by the time we reached Port Dinorwic, I definitely felt like we needed a rest! 

So after finally arriving at Caernarfon, we then had to wait a while for the tide to rise enough for the Marina gates to open. Well – I loved my day at sea. There were moments of tension, but also moments of bliss, lying in the sun (getting very sunburnt and not realising it – oops!) and enjoying being on the water in such a beautiful place… also, with me on helm going through the Swellies, we managed to avoid A, the divers, and B, the other boats, so all told quite a successful jaunt. 
As much as I loved the day – I knew I was ready to learn more and try and get some confidence on a boat… next stop – Gibraltar! Yey!