Sea Trial

I see that my readership (all one of you) is as inattentive to my spelling as am I.  In the last post, Terrence had at  least two spellings of his name. I’ll have to ask the owners agent for the official version. I had hoped to go off sailing this week but other events intervened, some connected with Riff Raff and others not. The not events are easier to talk about – you may (or may not) know that I’m enrolled on a PhD research project, fortunately only part time, but I’ve had to do some work on it he last few weeks to justify my existence. Writing a 10,000 essay of sensible, academic, stuff was a bit of a stretch….Any, ’tis done now and I await the comments and helpful suggestions that will arise from it. That’s year one of seven almost completed.

Now, where was I?

There have been a few niggles with Riff Raff, I’m afraid. Nothing major, but niggles. Some come from design “improvements” introduced between BC#10 (Vagabond) and BC#54 (Riff Raff). Take the sail cover and lazy jacks. If you look at the picture in the previous post, I hope you agree that it looks extremely smart. But. The sail is very tightly squeezed into the cover (a bit like a lady who is really size 14 in a size 12 dress) and I don’t think it’s particularly comfortable. O help, that was a sexist remark. The trouble is that when a bloke with a 40 inch waist squeezes into a pair of 36 inch trousers, the excess bits all hang out (if you see what I mean). The fair sex doesn’t have that escape mechanism with a dress – everything just gets stretched a bit. Well, that’s exactly what is currently happening with the lazy jacks and the sail cover.  RANT ON I think, by the way, that lazy jacks and the sail cover are known as a “stack pack”. A triumph of marketing terminology over imagination. “Lazy jacks” is exactly the right term – a sailor can be very lazy folding up the sail when lazy jacks are in place. “Stack pack” has no relationship with sailor – just marketing hype. RANT OFF.

Anyway, the yard agreed to have a new one made, with more room for the sail. Said new one swiftly arrived only to be of the wrong colour. The real new one is eagerly awaited. A tent has been ordered from a chap in Poole; “ready by the end of May” said he. No cloth has yet been cut.

The battery monitors had suggested that the batteries were not being charge, despite sun pouring down on the solar cells on the quarterdeck.  They were charging fine – it’s just that the battery monitors had been wired to ignore them. The chart plotter was oblivious to the AIS output from the VHF/DSC/AIS radio. The owner was in the wrong here – the configuration is not in the standard yard specification and he had misread the manual……

On the plus side, the new water tank is a great improvement on the old “balloon” version, the floorboards are much less flexible, the anchor lockers have cut outs so that the anchor may be stored with the end of it’s cable permanently fastened to the post, and the cut out cubby holes in the cockpit sides are just right for binoculars, hand bearing compasses and sea sick pills.

So, it’s off for a real commissioning sail next week. Off to Yarmouth we go.

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