Monday, 2 May 2016

New Adventures in a Small Boat



It’s launch day for Blue Nun, time to see if all the hours spent scrubbing every bit of her, hoisting sails (during which I managed to turn the boatyard air blue as I fight with one end of a flapping Genoa (sail) whilst Tom bellows instructions from the other) and the long, hard, expensive fight to install a sea loo have paid off. Launching is always fraught but wondering if Blue Nun is about to leak like a sieve adds an extra frisson of danger and I have flashbacks to the our previous little boat, the stumpy-legged, evil-tempered Pig Boat which must have been a submarine in a previous life so keen was she to disappear underwater.

The sky's a beautiful blue and there’s a stiff, bitter breeze but at least it’s not raining. Alistair and Martin, who are in charge of operations, calmly scoop up Blue Nun in Rudders boatyard’s tractor contraption, trundle her down the hill and place her gently in the water beside a pontoon where Tom and I step aboard. If the new seacocks leak it’ll be the shortest maiden voyage ever… we wrap up, put on our life jackets and check again… the seacocks still look good. Phew! The engine - after a heartstopping moment - starts running. We run through safety checks and procedures and then it’s time to cast off!



As the boatyard recedes we see Alistair waving us off, a curiously emotional moment which underlines the fact that even a short passage in a little boat has the feel of an epic voyage. Six years of being without a boat suddenly fade into nothing as everything comes back to me. Blue Nun’s certainly lighter, friskier in motion than our first boat - the one we sailed the most, pretty Veryan, a vintage wooden boat - and there’s enough of a chop beneath the Cleddau bridge to get a feel for her, but - amazingly and wonderfully - I don’t feel sick! And believe me, I can do seasick very easily!




We follow the marker buoys to Blue Nun’s new home in Neyland Marina’s Upper Basin where she slides obediently into her berth… which, take my word for it, is a huge relief. We’ve made it, the sun is shining and new series of adventures in a small boat beckon.


8 comments:

Pondside said...

Safe into her berth - it just doesn't get much better than that on a first day out. The anticipation, apprehension - it's all there. Happy sailing for the rest of the season!

Flowerpot said...

Hooray! Well done Chris and so glad it all went well - and enjoyably for you, too! Boats take up so much love, attention and money, don't they?
Our maiden voyage was even shorter but a steeper learning curve as we have yet to learn all about our new girl!!
Here's hoping for some warmer sailing weather for us both X

Unknown said...

Glad you enjoyed it and didn't need the seasickness pills! Happy sailing :) Angela Britnell

Frances said...

What a gorgeous day you and Tom picked for your first voyage aboard The Blue Nun.

I'm glad that you all have now started collecting some happy new sailing memories. The smiles on your faces say it all. xo

Chris Stovell said...

Thank you so much, Pondside! You never know - especially with boats - what will happen next so we're thrilled that her maiden voyage went smoothly! x

I'll drink to that, Sue! My goodness we had a chilly night aboard last night, but it was so lovely to have a meal in our little home from home! As you say, lots of time, attention... and money so let's home we both get to make the most of our new boats! x

It was brilliant, Angela - especially not being sick! x

Thank you, Frances - after all the hard work, it was lovely to feel her come alive on the water. I think those are smiles of relief too! x

Patsy said...

Hope you sail into some fun.

Chris Stovell said...

Thanks Patsy - it's brilliant being back out on the water!

Steve Burgess said...

Installing a sea loo was of the most rewarding—yet laborious—tasks I had ever done on my boat. Mine is pump operated. Pump operated sea-loos are a bit finicky, specifically the vacuum seal. In the future, I'll have mine installed professionally, or I'll buy a boat with a loo.

Steve Burgess @ Atlanta Yacht Sales