Back on the water

In the last couple of week, Riff Raff has travelled many miles – on the back of Terence and under the control of Martina. A fortnight ago Martina, Terence and I went to Gwbert* to unwrap Riff Raff from the winter cover, approve the various works done to her ** and take her away. Oops, I forget an important detail: pay the bill. Have I mentioned bills before? I don’t think so but there always seem to be a few, of varying sizes, associated with sailing. Not for nothing has sailing been described as “Filling a hole in the sea with tenners” . It could be worse, I suppose – I could have taken up riding……..

When Martina and I arrived at Gwbert, it was a fine, sunny afternoon. So the unwrapping and inspection proceeded apace. The next day was something very different – a strong wind, with flurries of sleet. Matt **** had arranged for a prospective customer to look at Riff Raff, so we sat in the cockpit in driving rain and sleet discussing the merits of the BS23. It reminded me of the Coastal skipper course that I took many years ago – the instructor and instructed we sat in the cockpit of an elderly Westerly, somewhere in the Western Isles, discussing the merits of my attempts to anchor under sail. The rain dripped off our noses even though there was a large , warm, dry cabin within a couple of feet of us all.

Despite the conditions, the potential customer was not put off, for he placed an order later in the week.

On day three of the expedition to Wales, Terence was hitched to Martina and we were off – destination Northney Marina. Into a blizzard. Once through Cardigan, the “easy” road climbs several hundred feet. Very soon we were travelling along a couple of tramlines of bare tarmac, with snow lying in the middle and on either side. I wondered if it was wise to continue…

But we did, and without incident. The snow turned to torrential rain and stayed that way until Newbury. It was now dry but blowing quite hard from the east. We picked our way south to Northney. Here there was a “very stiff breeze” with strong gusts, so erecting the mast was out of the question. I left Riff Raff in their trailer park, still on Terence, and retreated home.

The weather stayed windy and cold several days and it was only last week that I was able to return to Northney, erect the mast and launch Riff Raff. That’s another story.

As far as I know, she floats on a pontoon in the marina, ready to go sailing. Meanwhile, Terence sulks in a farmers field in Bucks until required in June.

All we need now is some warmer weather and a clear diary.


* the home of Swallow Yachts – almost the furthest west you can go in Wales

** some under warranty, some new ideas – she now sports a couple of cleats at the foot of the mast (useful for when tidying things up before trailering and also for securing various signalling  lines (black anchor balls come to mind, as do the cone shaped “under engine” signs) and, of course courtesy flags***

*** memo to me – must get one for Scotland and another for Cornwall

**** The owner and designer of Swallow Yachts