1. Go to Hayling at 10.30-11pm and move the boat off my tidal mooring, bring her to the pontoon and load her up and then motor down to a deep water mooring so we beat the tide tomorrow.
2. Sleep on the boat.
3. Wake up next day, cook a nice breakfast and head over to Bembridge by the next rising tide.
Well i've always said a plan is just a list of things that never happen, and today was no different!
We made it to the boatyard about 11pm.. amazing how noisy it is getting a tender out of a rack and down a slipway in the middle of the night, my new argos White / Red L.E.D headlamp was a superb purchase at £11.99, as per normal of one of Mine and Kathy's trips we'd packed enough for 2 weeks.. but we set about loading up the tender with a few bits including us and rowed over to Monty.
At the end of the previous trip, or shackle on our bow mooring bouy at Wilsons had somehow lost its bar, and Month had turned 180 degrees on her stern bouy, luckily we were on board at the time, and a friendly mooring neighbour came and rescued us on his tender!,
However this left us with a soon to be discovered new problem.
We both got on board in the dark safely, and unloaded a couple of bits, tied up the tender, readied PutPut the outboard, and set the bow bouy ready to slip, unknown to us at the time, the line that connects the Bow & Sten bouys together was diagonally under our keels..
With our outboard running we let off the bow line, i let off the stern line and pulled it clear of the prop and we attempted to move forward and to starbourd off our mooring.. after about 3 feet something seemed wrong! - we weren't moving!! the outboard didn't feel entangled, from what little light my headlight had shining into the water in the dark I couldn't see a rope but we were not moving!
I was able to get the boat to rock left and right, so being aground didn't seem like a reason.. so i turned off the outboard (amazing how noisey a 2 stroke is at midnight!) and waited..
By this time, the tide was rising fast.. and i realised leaving Birtha, my trusty CRV at the bottom of a boat launching ramp with an incomming tide was not my wisest of moves! at the time it felt like a safe thing to do, using her headlights to help with the tender etc!
With the outboard not running, the boat slowly started to do whats best described as pivot, on the spot.. not a bad thing as it turned the way we needed to be heading, still no lines visible around the prop - the only thing i could think of, was the lines must be caught around our keels.. so with the newspaper headlines of next days papers going through my mind of "Man runs boat aground yet sucessfully launches his 4x4" I quickly started Putput & put her into reverse.. It was a Eureeka moment! Monty gentlly sailed backwards & you could see from the position of the tender (tied to the stern bouy) & our Bow bouy we were now clear of the lines..
We quickly motored Monty over to the pontoon, by this time the tide was lapping at the front wheels of my 4x4 so I hastily re-parked into an allocated spot - loaded up the boat and headed off into the dark. We motored out about 1/2 a mile, onto the deeper water moorings, there was a pick up emtpy ones to grab, we moored up and gladly went to sleep on our first night spent aboard!
New gear purchased for this trip:
1. Standard Horizon 750e VHF Hand Held Radio
2. Draper Rechargable 10,000 Candle power Spot light
3. Argos Energiser duel colour Red and White LED Head lamp (red light is very good for looking at things close by, like charts and not ruining your night vision)
4. Morrisons square grill pan (ideal for cooking 2 portions of egg & bacon)
Lessons learnt this trip:
1. Next time if at all possible, load up the boat in day light, putting fuel into a black outboard in the dark wasn't fun, & having to get onto the pontoon and load up with the tide-clock ticking made things feel rushed.
2. Don't leave a car you actually value on a ramp with a rising tide! - you may take longer to motor to the pontoon than you first think!
3. If your bow bouy is front starboard & your stern bouy is rear Port side, then there is a mooring line diagonally under your keels! - yes this sounds obvious, but not the first thing you think of in the dark on a trip out when worried about your car! - See point 2 !
4. Have back up plans, and back up back up plans! - as I said before - a plan is just a list of things that never happens!