Friday 28 June 2024

Petrella: refloated

We successfully relaunched Petrella at the beginning of the week. I got both my weekend's gigs out of the way on the Saturday, as previously reported, then Dad and I headed down to Plymouth to complete a few jobs on the boat.

There wasn't actually much to do. Some antifoul on the foot of the skeg and some preliminary investigations into the loose floorboards in the main cabin. The later could have actually waited until we were afloat, and the remedial work that still needs to be done will do just that. Basically, most of the coach-bolts holding the wooden spars in place that cross the bilge and support the floorboards have corroded away, leaving the spars, and therefore the floorboards they support, decidedly wobbly.

Dad, who knows about these things, was highly vocal in his disgust that anybody would consider using bolts of such an inappropriate and inferior grade of metal on a boat, let alone in the wet and potentially salty environment of the bilge. 

To my way of thinking, as they've apparently lasted the last 45 years or so, they couldn't have been that inferior or inadequate, but I will bow to Dad's far more qualified opinion. The bugger now is going to be getting those old corroded bolts back out so that we can replace them with new (and appropriately graded). We removed one, but the rest are a job that will keep for now.

Anticipating an early start on Monday, and the marina being two and a half hours away from home by car, we might have broken a rule or two Sunday evening and stayed aboard whilst the boat was still on the hard. I'm not sure. I didn't ask, figuring it was safer to seek forgiveness than to risk having permission refused.

With a brief pause with her in the slings so that we could apply a bit of antifoul to the base of the keel, Petrella was lifted back in without mishap on Monday morning at 0900. It was a calm, warm morning, and hardly any wind should've made putting her back into her berth simple, but I still managed to overshoot the final turn, which led to the need for some jockeying back and forth on the throttle to get us realigned to enter our berth, and Dad managed to fumble getting the bow line onto the dock cleat. 

However, the calm conditions meant that whilst my mishandling did result in us coming to rest briefly against our neighbour, the fenders were more than adequate for their job, and I was able to manually push us back off, which then put me easily within reach of the cleat at the end of our finger pontoon that I needed to get my midship's spring onto. Once that's done, we're home and safe, regardless of whatever might be going on with the line at the bow.

So not the most elegant of landings, but one achieved without any damage to ourselves or anybody else or any great embarrassment. If only through merit of the fact that it was early on a Monday morning so nobody else was watching.

With Petrella safely back in her berth, we retrieved her freshly laundered genoa back from the local sail makers, stopping at the café opposite their workshop for a quick breakfast, then back at the boat I bent it back on to the forestay, reattached the sheets and furled it away. An easy job as it had been neatly flaked and rolled, and whilst the wind was astern, it wasn't strong enough to actually fill the sail.

Once I'd refitted the repaired binimi and put the cockpit tent back up, Dad jet-washed the decks. Finally, with everything squared away, we were on the road by mid-afternoon and, the traffic light, were home again by tea-time.

There is some kind of juniors' regatta running at the lake this weekend, so the routine Sunday racing has been cancelled. The weather looks very light anyway. We could slink off down to the boat for the day and potter around the Sound, but I'm actually free of gigs the weekend following, so I'm thinking that if instead I spend this Sunday at home and pretend to be domesticated I might actually manage to wrangle a pass for the whole weekend the week following.

So likely just two gigs, tonight and tomorrow, and no sailing for me this weekend. But I did race the Laser this Wednesday evening just gone. A fickle, occasionally boisterous wind and 30°C so no wetsuit, just rash vest, buoyancy aid, gloves, boots and swimming trunks. A lovely evening.

Which made the unexpected capsize both comic and inevitable. It wasn't the warmth of the wetsuit I missed, so much as the padding and protection. In vaulting out of the water and onto the dagger-board to effect the recovery, I managed to take about an inch of skin off my right shin. Just a flesh-wound really, and the capsize didn't cost me a place so much as my poorly managed start had already cost me a few. 

Despite the swim, I still managed a creditable fifth place, out of the twenty-eight boats racing. Which is fine. I was only sailing the Laser because Amanda had been unable to make it this week, so not being in the Albacore, with which we're actually completing for this series, I had no real skin in this race. 

Aside from the that which I left on my dagger-board, that is.

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