First thing is first – WAY TO GO JOHNNY B!!! Please see the below picture of my very studdly nephew who won the CHAMPIONSHIP!! John – enquiring minds want to know more about it! Let us know what your team is champion of and won we will be sure to keep readers up to date on the next blog posting!
On a much less exciting note – we had a wonderful passage today. We travelled over 60 miles and I am happy to report it was without any major incident at all. Whoop whoop!!! A few of the many highlights from the trip:
1. We went over 60 miles – our longest passage yet!
2. We saw our first dolphin about 100 feet away from the boat. It was a little guy that jumped several times before we lost sight of it. I am LOVING the Sealife!
3. We went over some MAJOR waves today and Ranger (our boat) took it like a CHAMPION!! I have never been so proud of her. Neil and I were both beaming at how smooth the ride was. I think Neil was less impressed by my cheering like a small child as we rode some of the more significant waves. It was a 10 hour passage guys – a girls got to keep herself entertained somehow!
4. Today for the first time on the trip so far we turned off the engine entirely while we were under sail and let the wind carry us for a while – it was gloriously quiet and peaceful without the constant hum of the engine. Below are a couple of pics of Neil - happy as can be about this milestone!
Thought all of the excitement I even got Neil to take a picture of me - usually when the camera comes out he gets shifty and insists we should be doing other things! This time he was willing to snap a few shots. Strangely I am not in the centre in the photograph... I think this might have been intentional... :)
5. We actually got out our books and took turns reading in the cockpit while the other person was on watch! While Neil is reading some educational economics book – I am still on trashy mindless chick book drivel. I am slowly letting my brain turn to mush and it’s glorious!
6. We saw the white cliffs of Dover. No bluebirds were sighted unfortunately – even though I got the binoculars out.
The passage was going so well that we contemplated pushing on into the early evening and proceeding to Brighton (another 4 hours approximately). However in looking at the weather we decided to play it safe. Visibility was dropping – down to only 100 meters in some places and when you are in a boat and can’t see where you are going or what you need to avoid it’s a bad thing. With all of the modern electronics in the world 100 meter visibility is not something most people would choose. While we felt like we could continue the conditions just weren’t with us. We studied the charts and tides, and realized that there is a favourable weather and tide window in the morning tomorrow to get us to Brighton before the next bad weather front settles in for a few days.
The marina we are staying in tonight (like many in the UK) is a locked marina. The boat that pulled in behind us in the lock was a Lobster boat that had just picked up their pots. They had several crabs as well that they had caught inadvertently and were preparing them for the store by severing a nerve in their pinchers. As we were waiting for the lock we wandered down to have a chat with them, and managed to get a free live crab right out of the sea! ‘Pinchy’ as we have named him was sitting in our preassure cooker much of the evening in a cool bath waiting until he could be properly prepared. At my insistence Neil has fastened on an ill-fitting lid so that Pinchy doesn’t sufforcate, but secured the lid down with bungy cords so he didn’t try and make a creative getaway either! See pinchy's last moments below...
Also on our way into the marina we encountered Gypsy Moth 4. This Neil insisted that I blog about this as this is apparently a very historic vessel. It was the boat built for Chichester when he circumnavigated the globe. It has now been fully restored and is a teaching boat. Honestly I don’t know much about it – but Neil told me that after Chichester made his epic journey on this boat Robin Knox-Johnston decided that the only thing left to do was sail around the world single handed non-stop. Robin Knox-Johnston is a stud! The guy fixed the bottom of his boat – while it was in the water – while it was moving – while sharks were circling him all because he didn’t want a Frenchman to beat the English in a boat race. The man is a living legend and if this boat had anything to do with his journey – than I will blog about it. By the way – the best book about Robin-Knox Johnston and the race he was in is ‘A race too far’ By Chris Eakin. Chris is a journalist rather than a sailor so doesn’t get bogged down in the sailing details but rather focuses on the human story behind all of the grit. It is the only book on sailing I have managed to read cover to cover so far – and that’s because it wasn’t really about sailing (don’t tell Neil)!!!
Apologies, I digress. Tomorrow, weather window permitting, we are off to Brighton!
PS – A couple of you have enquired about our Boat and what it is like. While I have told Neil he really knows more about the boat and should take this on, it may be a while before he gets to it so I will tell you what I know:
1. It is a Rival 38 Centre Cockpit boat. Apparently it was one of five centre cockpit Rivals ever made. The insurance surveyor for the ‘little incident’ we had in Ramsgate apparently knows someone who owns one of the other Rival 38 Centre Cockpit boat. It is in mint condition and perfectly varnished – ours is not. While it is in good condition - varnish is not our thing and while Ranger is beautiful nobody in their right mind would say she is in ‘mint’ condition. The decks are scuffed and the toe rails nicked – but she is a GREAT seaworthy boat, and we do all the maintenance on the stuff that matters.
2. Lynn Rival (the boat famously taken over by Somalie Pirates about two years ago) was also a Rival 38. Her owners were captured by pirates and held for over a year until their family paid a ransom. We do not plan to meet the same fate.
3. The boat has one main sail and has two head sails at the front. Apparently it’s called a ‘slutter’ rig. I have no reason to believe that this is because of it’s indiscretions. Apparently it is like a sloop but has two headsails that are not meant to be used at the same time.
4. Ranger is a sturdily built ocean cruiser. She is designed to go anywhere and take anything. This is something that Neil has long professed but something that I got to see evidence of today.
5. Neil has committed to developing an ‘about Ranger’ page on the blog that will tell you more. In the meantime see below a picture of her in her natural environment - outside of the marina!
PPS - Another request has been to see 'the duck' and understand his role. Constantly concerned about our safety at the moment Harrold spends most of the time focused on navigation. See him below helping Neil with some of the more critical bits.