Well, it was about time. A couple of weekends ago, the banker and I went for a sail. I’d given her and Terrence (the trailer, remember) a good talking to before the event and, ever so slightly, adjusted one of the many rollers on the rear of Terrence (so that it really did clear the teensy weeny bilge keel thingys on Riff Raffs bottom) and lo! Riff Raff slipped off Terrence (the trailer, remember) without a hitch (but the odd clunk or two which I must investigate). Soon she was bobbing in the sea water alongside a pontoon with the sea cock open. No, she wasn’t being scuttled, just having her ballast tanks filled with lots of heavy sea water. I know the forecast was less than 10kn of wind but, I thought I might have forgotten how to sail (memory being one of those funny things these days)and wasn’t taking any chances.
Here she is, waiting for the off:
Isn’t she lovely, Wasn’t the weather fantastic? But the water was cold. Riff Raff has a slightly different arrangement for the vent into the ballast tank. It means that one’s arm is, for a few minutes, under about 6 inches of water whilst closing the vent. Shutting the vent on Vagabond required a swift immersion in the tank followed by grabbing self bailer and yanking it shut. Simple and quick. Now one has to screw in a bung; when the water is at less than 15 deg C, this extra few minutes is quite a trial.
So we were off, against the tide and the wind down to just before the entrance toChichester harbour. Several hours later, sunburnt and fully competent to tack Riff Raff, we turned for home and had a whee of a downwind sail. The new rudder arrangement on this latest version of the BC23 makes her much more responsive in the turn. ‘On a sixpence’ as they say, even at quite low speed. We didn’t get into Irons once whereas, in Vagabond, I think we would have been on several occasions.
Back in harbour, it was time to empty the ballast and drag her out onto Terrence. Emptying the ballast was a breeze, if a little noisy. Turn on the switch on the panel, cover your ears and, five minutes later, the pump is sucking air so you know it’s time to turn it off. Martina was hooked on to Terrance which (who?) was backed down the ramp and stopped with his tyres just in the water. Riff Raff nosed up to his backside and the bow ring was hooked on to the winch. With remote control in hand, I stood on the pontoon, holding Riff Raff in line, and pressed the up button. Nothing happened. I’d forgotten to turn on the winch battery (fitted to the front of Terrence).
With the power on, this time the up button did its stuff and the Ninja (I need a name for the Ninja) dragged Riff Raff squarely onto Terrance and we were off the washdown area.
Now we could eat our sandwiches and make a cup of tea!
Next time, we might get out of Chichester harbour!