Aurai's Summer Cruise 2009 Part 1

Aurai and her crew head west

After months' of planning, the smart new shirts from our own club haberdasher arrived and following a quick count of crew as all present and correct we were Heather'd out to our mooring, we do 'fess to the broken oar on the club boat after drifting wide of the withies on an early foray to the mooring but otherwise all was well and as our passage plan had been Lavelled we were off in no time at all. Tony L. was telling us all about some 15 hour tidal window or something. All we knew was that we had not a breath of wind to work with and engine was used to push the tide out to the Princes Channel. We left our mooring about 3:30 p.m. We being a four person crew of a young couple who have been on Aurai for a previous w/e last year and Tom who we first met last w/e. Picking up the "down" channel tide as it set south

We set out to do two hour watches in pairs to see us through the night expecting to pull in to Dover. I did actually get the sails up just after Ramsgate as we threaded our way inside the Goodwin Sands and I next came on duty to see we were making good time and Dover was falling astern! Now where was TL's 15 hour window? Wherever it went we kept up 5 knots and progressed passed Dungeness. You will all have to witness the disorienting effect of trying to motor Aurai against a strong tide some time. It was dark and misty, a slight swell and us on a run, but tide adverse. This had the effect of pushing us off course constantly, and try as you might to keep straight we went as crooked a route as anything, even doing full circles as we got disoriented. The compass swinging wildly and the GPS miles off, us tired, oh what fun.

Tide does change and we arrived in Brighton at about 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, filled up with fuel, diesel and Weatherspoons Sunday roast with a free beer. Leaving at 03:00 to regain a favourable tide. Our paired crew working shifts of four hours now and having thought we would only make the eastern side of the Isle of Wight, perhaps to anchor, we made better time and got to the overfalls at St Catherine's Point as the tide changed. We thought to go into Alum Bay and anchor, but actually continued to make good time, revs at 2250 produced a speed of 5.5 knots and a speed over ground of 5.5 as the tide turned, this got worse hour by hour with eventually SOG of 2.9 the worst. Then improving and we arrived in Weymouth at 21:00 on Monday evening.

New paintworkRafting up with a school boat, very keen trainees to take lines and moor/spring us correctly and quickly ashore to see Murray finish his match and catch a quick beer. Trainee now not quite as popular as they woke us up at 07:00 to borrow a multi-meter! We managed all the way on engine at an average of 5.2 knots on our log. Effectively 48 hours, if you massage the Brighton stop into round figures. The crew had done really well but were tired out and Tuesday was pretty relaxing, apart from the jobs we did. Including refuelling, fixing a new Heads pump and painting the cabin roof. We moored opposite the Weymouth Lifeboat on the town Quay, with 8 yachts from the Royal Thames YC, notable for not a boat much less than 50' and all with club burgee's flying from the top of the main mast. We did get our ensign out at 08:00 when they all surfaced at about 08:05! Note to Tony Lavelle, they ordered buffet for 70 at the YC and showed up with 25. We got invited to help demolish remaining prawns.

Alfresco dining

Registering arrival with the Harbour Office was nice as they thought Aurai looked lovely, was an asset to the quay and gave us a great spot with a "no mooring sign" to put on our outside (Starboard) side. I left the crew relaxing in the sun on Wednesday, to return to London and I now know that they have arrived in Dartmouth, safely and on schedule. Sailing some of the way, taking the longer route around the Bill of Portland, before losing all wind again and hitting rain showers for a damp motor in. The Dartmouth Delivery crew go home on Saturday and the Regatta crew have all arrived Thursday evening, so six in six berths will test bonding skills. Alison and Gill from Aberdeen and Mike who some of you will know from the St Kat's w/e.

Cheers all


Date Published 3rd Jul 2009