Today’s the day!
My aim was to depart at 17:00 for Queenborough, plenty of time to finish off some last minute jobs.
Excalibur got a bath today, not a deep clean but a well needed scrub down nonetheless.
I took some gerry cans down to the fuel pontoon and filled them up, the guy at the fuel pump was a bit curt, very little pleasantries were exchanged. All the other staff have been amazingly friendly, and the facilities are top notch if anyone’s reading this and considering stopping off at the marina.
I did my usual engine checks and filled up with diesel.
About an hour before departure I started to unpack the entire bloody boat looking for a tiller arm extension for the autopilot. After searching in every conceivable place, it transpired that person who shall be not named, did not receive delivery of the part and will have to forward it on. The result of this new discovery is that I will be hand steering all the way to Burnham-on-Crouch. Pissed off? Just a little!
Excalibur was on a hammerhead pontoon, so to leave I just needed to swing the front out to avoid the boat in front of me, and I would be away. Remembering some tips from a friend Richard, I took the bow line off and just left the stern line on and a spring from the stern to midship. I’ll post a video at some point as I recorded what I did. By reversing a little, the nose starts to edge out. I took the spring off, and let the nose drift out further and then took the stern line off. No stress! But then again the wind was coming from behind so no real pressure.
Coming into the lock I went port to. The problem I’ve realised is that my prop wash (a disturbed mass of water) kicks my stern to starboard making it harder to tie up to port in a lock. Basically, as I came into the lock I put the boat into reverse to slow the boat down, but as I did this my stern was pushed to starboard and my bow to port. The result was my anchor gave the pontoon a lovely kiss, making a nasty sound. No damage was done to Excalibur, but the pontoon has a groove cut out of it. Maybe Excalibur was trying to carve out a heart… The rest of my routine worked fine, midship line, stern line, and then securing the bow line. Before I knew it the lock was open and once again I used an combination of the spring and stern line to kick the bow out, released the lines and headed off.
The Medway was very peaceful and serene.
I got to Queenborough about an hour later and readied my bow line for the mooring buoy.
Excalibur’s guardrails at the back are detachable. Realising I could use this to my advantage I detached a guardrail, edged up slowly to the buoy, and managed to thread my warp through the mooring buoy from the cockpit (making sure to put the engine in neutral so the warp didn’t get close to the prop). The crowd went wild! Why the hell is it that every time I manage to do something tricky with ease no one is around, and when I foul up I have spectators!
I settled in for beer and pizza, when came a knock on the boat. It seems even at 8pm you still have to cough up £12 to stay on a buoy. A tad annoying as I was only going to be there for a short while, but it is what it is. These guys work late in the summer!
4:45am start tomorrow. Yawn!!
[table] Trip Stats, Miles: ,10 Total Miles:, 60 Expenses, Fuel, £26.39 Groceries, £4.50 Queenborough mooring buoy, £12.00 Summer trip total expenditure, £959.51[/table]