Friday, December 17, 2004

Big excitement...

Finally, I'm taking Lady Jane out for a spin. All I need now is for the weather to co-operate and we will be good to go.

A few weeks ago I was introduced to Robin, who will do some of the much needed welding on board. Because of issues with compatibility of power on the boat versus Robin's welding gear Robin has arranged a berth for Lady Jane round at Fareham, so we can use the mains supply there.

As a result of Robin's visit I managed to get the last impediment to Lady Jane sailing, the steering, working. There had been some discussion about a crew, but nothing concrete had materialized. Such is the marine world. No way, even though I apparently legally can, will I skipper Lady Jane for myself at this stage and for a first voyage I really want a ships engineer, just in case.

When last on board Lady Jane I heard the distinctive sound of the harbour masters boat, so naturally went out to check it out as I think it's a very cool boat. I was getting a bit nervous when the harbour master spotted me on deck and came zooming straight over. I was thinking 'am I in trouble for Lady Jane dropping rust into the river or something?' As it happens John, the harbour master, is very enthusiastic about Lady Jane and was dropping by for a chat.

I invited John and two other gentlemen he had with him on board, and set about showing off the boat. Standing there in the engine room, with the main engine ticking over, John offered to skipper Lady Jane for the fun of it. Well, coincidences like this cannot be ignored, I immediately accepted and after consultation of diaries and tide tables arranged for him to skipper for me on Sunday.

Last night I spoke to Robin to finalize arrangements. The plan now is on Sunday John will skipper Lady Jane, Robin will be ships engineer while Kate and I will crew. We will take her out into the Solent for a bit and aim to be tied up alongside at Lady Jane's temporary berth in Fareham on high tide, which is about 4.00pm.

Lots to organize. I need to get a 12v battery for the ships radio and a pump to lose the water I've been collecting in the fish hold through an inconvenient hole in the deck (the first welding job to be done). I need to find some anchor chain, and stash my anchor so it can be deployed in an emergency. I also need to go round securing all the bits and pieces scattered around the boat so nothing gets broken if the sea turns out to be a bit rough. Finally I need to clean Lady Jane up, ready to receive visitors.

It's taken close on five months to finally get Lady Jane moving. I'm so excited, and nervous!

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