Thursday 26th July
Three crew met in the Radisson Coffee bar at
09:00 and were soon joined by the fourth member at the Marina Gate just on
09:30. The sun was already very strong and a very warm breeze gave a hint
as to the quality of the day to come.
Derek T was offered the job of Helm while everyone else found a mooring
rope to "let go" and the ketch motored out of the marina without the often
delay due to the marina gate control lights.
The ketch motored towards the Elizabeth Castle Breakwater and turned to
face the NE breeze while very special care was taken to raise the Mainsail
from the new "sail bag" which is currently being installed and is relying
on experimental "jackstays" based on the original available mast fixings.
The Main went up smoothly and the two crews members who installed the new
canvas bags congratulated themselves.
The Genoa was unfurled and the crew diverted their attention to the
Mizzen sail. Several trivial issues were encountered with both the new
temporary "jackstay" preventing the sail reaching full height and the fact
that a Backstay, that is sometimes released to give the Mizzen more room
to arc, had to be strenuously "un-jammed". But all was well and the ketch
headed SE on a heading of 120degrees.
The crews attention was then attracted to the sound of a warship on the
eastern horizon that was maneuvering to Port then to Starboard, giving off
customary blasts on its Siren, along the south east of the island. As it
approached the Demi De Pas Lighthouse it appeared to be very close in and
noticeably turned sharply away from the rock strewn coast to pass within
half a mile of the ketch.
The navy sailed on a parallel course with us across the entrance of St
Aubins Bay and, while the Navy headed west, we eventually turned north in
the direction of Beach Rock and then East past Vrachiere to the north of
Elizabeth Castle to approach the Elizabeth Marina Gate. This course was
cautiously undertaken with a very close eye on the depth gauge which
scarily indicated a depth of only 4.3 metres. As a future guide anyone
passing Vrachiere Beacon should only do so if just the beacon rock is
exposed and not two rocks.
The ketch for the second time that day sailed straight through the
marina gate without delay and the crew were ready to go ashore at five
minutes to one o'clock.
(Note the clear cockpit windows, the new horsehoe lifebelt and the new
yellow Danbouy )