My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

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Jolly Roger
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My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Jolly Roger » Tue May 27, 2014 3:52 pm

Yesterday I finally managed to finish all things I deemed necessary before I could have my first sail. I had planned to lock out of Chatham Maritime Marina at 2, but an electrical problem delayed this by an hour.

Reversing out of the berth was easy as she felt very responsive, then whilst waiting for the lock I tried lots of power handling. Entering the lock single handed for the first time was easy and held her using a pair of spring ropes. After leaving the lock it started to rain, oh how I hate sailing in the rain. Tidied up all the warps and fenders and headed down river under engine as the wind was on the nose. Finally throttled back, only to find most of the wind was being generated by the engine. So off with the engine and out with the sails. This became a typical harry flatters drift on the tide, the log read 0.14 knots. Did I care, no as I was sailing. After about half an hour a breeze picked up and started sailing properly and managed a much better 5.83 knots. As the rain decided to come down a little heavier and I needed to tack to go further down river, I decided to return back to the marina. However, the closer to base, the lighter the winds became. Eventually I started the engine and motored home.

Called up the marina to check the lock and whilst waiting prepared all the warps and fenders. Easy entry and mooring again. Then left the lock and went for my berth. An almost perfect positioning and felt very pleased with myself. As I stepped on the finger pontoon, disaster struck - my foot slipped and I ended up in the water. I shouted for help and a nearby owner rushed over and heaved me out and helped me finish tying up. There was a ladder by the bow I could have used, but it was a big shock I made such an error of judgement. I had completely forgotten how slippery pontoons can be when soaking wet, I feel a dose of patio cleaner will be necessary. Luckily I had a set of spare clothes onboard, so I went and had a shower.

My ego was deflated, but I still enjoyed my sail. The way she handled has exceeded my expectations and know I have a good boat that will continue to get better under my ownership.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
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Uncle Albert
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Uncle Albert » Tue May 27, 2014 6:19 pm

I have followed your restoration of Concerto.
Your first exploit was a like the curates egg then!!!

So pleased that the hard work you have put in getting Concerto 'good and proper' resulted in a memorable first sail.

Given that you have had such a shock you will not make the same error again. Steep old learning curve eh? Did something similar in Calais many years ago and nearly crushed my leg twixt boat and wall. You never ever forget such an event.

Hope to get to the WOA Medway get-together in August, and extend the visit there to go to the Chatham dockyard, in particular the Ropery. Perhaps make contact then.
Uncle Albert
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Jolly Roger
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Jolly Roger » Wed May 28, 2014 10:09 am

Uncle Albert

Thank you for your kind words.

Slipping off the pontoon was not even on my radar when coming in to berth, it was the first time I had been on the finger pontoon when it was so wet.This morning I have been out and bought some decking cleaner to remove the verdis gris from the pontoon. Certainly worth the £5 it cost to try and prevent any future accident.

After a chat with my brother, he advised a slightly different method of berthing that he uses. He brings his Contest 35 into the berth and drives fully into the berth until the bow fender is against the main pontoon, then leaves it in gear on tick over whilst he picks up his mooring ropes. This makes a lot of sense and I will try this next time as it stops any need for fast movement on deck or on to the pontoon.

The August WOA Medway meet is just down river from the Chatham Marina, so I will definitely be participating. It will be good to meet a few of the other members and chat about our experiences. I have to admit I have not been round the dockyard for about 20 years, perhaps I will find time in the near future as it is right on my doorstep. Closer to the marina is an outlet shopping centre, a cinema, a pub and 7 restaurants. A 15 minute walk away is the Royal Engineers Museum as well. Chatham town centre is about 20/25 minutes walk or a short bus journey. Rochester is also worth visiting. On the Medway Yacht Club side of the river is Upnor Castle, about a 15 minute walk from the club. So you will not be lacking in things to do if you want to extend your visit. If you want any more information then send a PM and I will be pleased to advise.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

Uncle Albert
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Uncle Albert » Wed May 28, 2014 8:57 pm

Glad your getting the pontoon 'all safe'.
Been looking at Google Earth and see that there is a pontoon in the river which seems to link into the dockyard. Do you know if that would be an opportunity to lay over for a day whilst visiting?

Unc
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Jolly Roger » Thu May 29, 2014 10:33 am

Uncle Albert

The pier you mention is Thunderbolt Pier, but I would not recommend it as the tide runs at about 2½ knots mid tide and can be slightly uncomfortable and noisy. Also they are not welcoming of visitors.

Your best bet would be to come into Chatham Maritime Marina. The berths are beautifully quiet and the ablutions block is one of the best you will ever find. The entrance to the historic dockyard is only about a 10 minute walk. Alternatively the marina does have a holding pontoon, you might be able to see if you could moor there for a day or on one of the moorings nearby and use the pontoon to come ashore.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Jolly Roger » Fri May 30, 2014 11:16 am

Well blow me down. Went over to clean the pontoon last night and.........I could not find my boat. I stood looking at all the masts as mine is probably the only ¾ rig with a Firrdel above the forestay, but I could not see it.

A quick phone call to the office, said they had moved her to the extreme end of the marina. Not a problem as this berth is for a 40+ footer, so wide and long. Also it has no pontoon opposite, so plenty of room for turning and is head to the prevailing wind. The bonus is this pontoon was only fitted last year, so did not need to clean the wood decking of the finger. Also noticed it floated higher in the water and the deck is now about 8 inches higher than the pontoon. I doubt if they will let me stay here permanently.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Fulmar433 » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:59 pm

Roger,

Not that I'm an expert at berthing in a marina, as I am on a swinging mooring, but a variation on motoring with your bow fender against the pontoon is to rig a spring from your mid cleat with either a loop to drop over the cleat at the end of the finger pontoon or a mooring hook on the end of the line that can be attached to a boat hook and clipped to the end cleat on the way in. Then just gently motor against it and adjust the tiller to keep the boat parallel with the pontoon. You can then step ashore and tie the boat up at leisure.
David Metcalfe
Fulmar 433 Jeddo
Lower Halstow, Kent

Jolly Roger
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Re: My first sail on Concerto with an unexpected ending

Post by Jolly Roger » Wed Jun 04, 2014 11:07 pm

David.

The spring method can work well - provided you can either drop the spring onto the pontoon cleat or pick an existing line. It is a method used by many large ships, especially ferries for berthing. The method I explained means you can use the rigidity of the pontoon and finger to keep the boat in position and then fit the mooring warps in a reasonable time.

Looking forward to seeing you out on the Medway. I am entering a race on Saturday (single handed) from the Bullnose, Chatham Docks to the Mongtomery wreck and back. Should be good experience and fun with other boats to sail against. I have been allocated a Portsmouth Yardstick of 1014, which is more than fair.
Roger
Concerto Fulmar FR38
Photos at http://s1294.photobucket.com/user/Conce ... 2/library/

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