Sunday, 5 May 2013

What NOT to do!

In case anyone out there thinks we're terrific, we were made aware of our fallibility today! Our enlightening came this morning as we were leaving  Douglas on the Isle of Man. On arrival, we had felt quite proud of ourselves after Larry did a remarkable job of backing into a very tight spot (apparently the only one available) in the inner harbour. Even with water retained in the harbour by a lock gate, there's quite a tide range so we tied up using many ropes and springlines.

Trudy and Mary Anne
Our  two days on the island were very pleasant. We spent our first day in Douglas paying our bill at the waterfront centre and spending vast sums at Tesco's (the local supermarket). The climb up the ladder was quite vertiginous and Larry had to lower all the purchases down to me using a rope. We met Karen Corkhill (cousin of our friend Sue Hughes in London)  - she came aboard and we played Edward MacDowell duos.

We had a lovely Saturday touring the Island with Trudy Steer - the day was sunny - we saw the castle, beautfiul vintage Morgan cars, Fenella Beach with her weathered driftwood statue and a similar Gandalf statue, we saw the setting of the Isle of Man parliament (one of the oldest in Europe) and we heard about Trudy's two tail-less Manx cats.

The trouble started as we were leaving at 0615 this morning when I untied a critical line. We then found there was no way of driving the bow of the boat out into the channel to our right. (The missing line was to have been used to spell the boat out with a motor-against-springline maneouver).  We felt pressured as the Harbour Control opened the bridge and presumably traffic was waiting. We only now learned that there was more of an outflow from the river passing down through the narrow gate under the bridge than with any other tidal gate we've seen. The Captain had assumed that tidewater flowing in on the rising tide would more than compensate to carry our bow to the right. We proceeded to crash into the bridge and mar a couple of square inches of our paint job. Only by repeatedly nosing the bow into the far side of the bridge were we able to pivot the boat around and move backwards with the heavy river current under the bridge. (Luckily our bowsprit is made out of stainless steel). When Harbour Control called to ask solicitously about the condition of his bridge, we could assure him that only some ugly white paint marks were left on his dull concrete bridge. Finally, we could make an ungainly turn around to face the exit and the day which brought us (after numerous hours) to our resting place here in Stranraer, Loch Ryan, Scotland.

Traversay on the left and the unopened bridge at low tide

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