Captains Blog 43 – How’s this work again?

So, there we were at Cawsand, lolloping from side to side as we tried to rest, half reclined on the saloon seating, partially wedged beneath the dining table. By 9:30, we decided that if we were going to get some sleep we’d need to relocate. After a brief conflab with Whimsy, we were heading for the Harbour Masters moorings, located just off Mountbatten, but not before we’d contacted yacht line to confirm our arrival back into the UK. Formalities didn’t take long and we were instructed that we could take the Q flag down. Ah yes, the mmm, Q flag, yes, we’ll take it down then!

We made the short crossing in wind, rain and wobbly seas, hoping that our chosen spot would provide some respite. As we approached, we watched Whimsy flawlessly thread their line through the mooring and scuttle for shelter below decks. “Well, that looked pretty straight forward” I said to the first mate, “prepare the line threading poley thing!”

After eventually unearthing the line threading poley thing, the first mate’s blank gaze flitted from it to me, several times. “How’s this work again?” she asked. It’d been a while since we’d last used it. After securing with a rolling hitch, the first mate was poised at the bow ready to thread the line through our chosen mooring.

Conditions were far from perfect, but we managed to get close enough to make an attempt. The first mate thrust the line threading poley thing at the mooring buoy, frantically attempting to pass the flippy flappy arm bit, through the mooring eye. No joy, so we abandoned and after a quick circuit of the area were in place for another attempt, which also failed. We attempted again, and then again without success. We were both exhausted and the first mate was starting to get a little emotional, particularly when the flippy flappy arm bit broke from the line threading poley thing.

The torment eventually came to an end, when we managed to lasso the mooring and secure Gianti. We’d tracked the short journey on Navionics and the illustrated track resembled a picture created by hanging an open bottle of paint upside down and setting it swinging above a large sheet of paper. It could make a superb addition to the Serpentine Gallery collection.

At last, we were able to get some rest, well until we had a call from Border Force in the early afternoon. After a short chat we were clearer about what we needed to do in order to comply with current covid legislation after arriving back to our now non-EU home country. At that stage we were in breach of UK legislation and liable to prosecution.

Now then, this isn’t the right space to be debating the pros and cons of UK covid legislation for sailing vessels returning home, prior to restrictions being eased. All I will say is that you need to have the right conditions for sailing, particularly for longer distances such as Biscay, a knowledge of EU country covid requirements, the ability to risk assess and a knowledge of UK covid paperwork necessary at that time. When you understand how all these interact, or more accurately don’t interact, you’ll probably appreciate why we’d fallen foul of requirements, even if you didn’t agree with our approach.

So, we found ourselves stranded on a mooring with little chance of being able to get fresh food after 6 days at sea. As luck would have it, our friends Geoff and Niki had just travelled to their boat at Yacht Haven and offered to collect some food for us. That, coupled with the help from the splendid folk at Cattewater Harbour Masters office meant that we had food and water and we’re very grateful to them all for their help.

The next few days were spent trying to remain sane while trying to tick all the disjointed boxes necessary, prior to being released back into the wild. After many phone calls, a couple of covid tests and some teeth gritting we were free, free to wander the streets of Plymouth and marvel at the Britishness of it all. The comedy highlight was when the skipper of the Mountbatten ferry spotted us getting the dingy ready, left the wheel of the ferry, threw his arms into the air and cried “FREEDOM” at the top of his voice. What a star!

As luck would have it, Geoff and Niki were vacating their berth at Yacht Haven to have Penmar lifted and put ashore for a couple of weeks, so we were able to slot into their spot. It was great to finally be secure, where we’d be able to have a proper hot shower, get power onto Gianti and get everything washed and clean after the last few weeks.

It was of course tinged with sadness. This would be the last time we’d move Gianti, our home for nearly three and a half years, before handing her over to her new owners. The upside was that we’d be able to see what we’d actually spent our money on as our new boat was propped in the furthest corner of the boat yard. We set off, first to the brokers to clarify we were back and then on to the new boat.

“Well, what do you think?” said the first mate. “Mmm, she’s big” I responded desperately trying to buy some time to give a more enthusiastic answer. “Yep, very big. Bigger than I thought” was all I could manage. “Let’s get below deck and have a look” said the first mate, attempting to find something that would make me warm to her. “Gosh (the actual words I used were too offensive for inclusion here), she really does need a bit of TLC doesn’t she?”

Climbing back onboard Gianti made me realise what great condition she was in and what we’d achieved with her during our time onboard. She’d taken us to 7 countries, as far as Greece and back again and had proven her seaworthiness on endless occasions. We’d met some outstanding people, made some fantastic memories and scared ourselves silly in the process, but not once had she let us down.

Right, time to stop faffing about and crack on with a deep clean before Andrew and Gill move aboard. The next week or so was spent moving three plus years of accumulated junk from Gianti, at one end of the marina, to new boat at the extreme opposite end of the site. Everything needed to be hoisted or carried onto the new boat, being piled into every available space until the day arrived when Gianti would be handed over.

We handed the keys over to Andrew and Gill on Thursday 27th May 2021 and walked away. I didn’t even glance back as I walked off and the first mate was too obsessed chuntering about food to even notice we’d gone. It was over, finished, completed, done with. Never again would we climb aboard the shiny plastic wonder boat named Gianti.

Two hours later we were back on board having a cuppa with her new owners. Mm nice boat this.

Captain Mac (formerly skipper of the good ship Gianti)

2 Replies to “Captains Blog 43 – How’s this work again?”

    1. Hi both, great to hear from you and of course we’ll keep you updated. I just need to pull my finger out bring things up to date. Take care 😁👍


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