Saturday, 20 August 2011

Portsmouth ahoy..

Our major trip out of the harbour this season, was to be a relatively short hop round the coast to Portsmouth.

We’re slowly easing into cruising, so we decided to use the boat as our floating base for a few days away. With small children the lure of something fun to do at the destination is always a good thing, so we decided that Portsmouth’s dockyard seemed to offer a good range of things to do, whatever the weather.

We took the boat into Northney marina for a night to load up, its always amazing to see a couple of trollies full of provisions,bedding and clothes, and think to yourself, will it all fit in!

Well it did, amazingly, although the Super Seal doesn’t have any bilges, so the under bunk storage seems small, it does seem to swallow everything.

Before we could set off, I had a couple of jobs to attend to, as the pipe for fresh water was leaking where it connected to the tank, and also the pump was leaking too. The previous owner had replaced the freshwater tank, but the pipe supplying the taps was simply pushed through a hole in the top of the tank, meaning it leaked!

I brought a suitable tank fitting from screwfix, and had some other plastic fittings around, so used those and some new blue pipe to connect to a tap. The tap is one of the plunger style ones, that pumps water when you pull the handle up and down.

The first challenge was how to empty the tank, so I could move it, and fit the tank connector. This was solved by shoving the bilge pump inlet into the inspection hatch and pumping the water out. The rest of the task was simply a matter of connecting everything up, and thankfully it worked! I also replaced the piece of pipe from the drain to the seacock, as the drain on the sink didn't;t work.. removing the pipe enabled me to see the problem; the pipe was blocked up with gunk.

My plan over the winter is to refit the kitchen, putting in pressurised water and a bigger sink, as well as sorting out the various cupboards to bring it up to date, so this is a halfway measure.

We also wanted to stow the tender away, while we were away for the week, I’d brought a bracket for the engine to mount it onto the push pit. This was going to be a quick job.. however I didn’t have a socket set on the boat! My wife went off to Halfords to find a socket set. And came back with one for a tenner.. perfect for leaving on board.

Anyway, back to the sailing! We eventually set off late morning, the sea was flat, and crossing the bar was uneventful. there was some wind, but as fate would always have it, it was coming from where we wanted to go! We tried to see what ground we could make under sail, however it was proving to be slow progress, so we ended up motor sailing most of the way there.

During my planning, I had thought we would try out Gunwarf keys, as it seemed local to what we wanted to do. However they could only offer us a berth rafting up to another boat, so it was time for plan B. My next choice was the Royal Clarence marina in Gosport, we called them up, and yes they had berths, great I thought, that was easy. We arrived, parked up, and went to find out where everything was.

A right royal disappointment…

The Royal Clarence marina, was obviously designed by an architect, who had in his mind that the boats would be pretty, but that facilities for sailors shouldn’t detract from this! Its about a ten minute walk to the facilities from the marina, they are tucked way back out of sight, right at the back of the complex. Added to this the wide open empty courtyard you have to cross, and its not really somewhere you want to be with small children.

Third time lucky… We up sticks and moved, much to the marina managers disgust. We went next door to the old Camper and Nicolson’s (now Gosport) marina. It was pretty much perfect. Excellent facilities, including a big family room, which is a god send when you have children to wash!

We spent a couple of days in the marina, using it as our base, and getting the Gosport ferry over to Portsmouth for days out.

Part two to follow..

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