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Gunship diplomacy…

Friday dawns and I cant wait to get going. I manage to get the boat ready to cast off at 0600. Thinking through each step, checking the wind and which way to go out of the pontoons fwd or aft. I cast off and manage to reverse out – deftly missing the adjacent power boat with dinghy on davits at the stern. I let the Enterprise drift past Mary Mouse II on auto pilot, while I walk around deck gathering up mooring lines and fenders. Phew – another manoeuvre that didn’t become manure.

I think it will take about 2hrs to get to Hamble but I allow 3 so I can do some sailing rather than trying to be somewhere on time. The two things are generally mutually exclusive. The sail to Hamble was excellent. Sunshine, good winds, and I managed to try out my Help The Aged equipment the fabled WinchRite. In fact it turns out that it is very powerful and there will be a learning curve before I find out when and how it is best to use it. But needless to say the energy saving for this old frame makes this piece of equipment worth its weight in Basmati. Thank you LoG.

Of course the route I have decided upon takes me across the usually deserted designated Warships Anchoring area outside Portsmouth… and I do hope that I didn’t delay the Type 45 destroyer too much as I raced across at a break neck 5kts. The second picture is not of course mine!

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Approaching Hamble I decide to rig the boat – fenders and lines – well before I enter so that I don’t have to manoeuvre too much in the River where there can be a lot of traffic and also a mean current running. Since I am heading for what I think is the Solent Yamaha pontoon on the Warsash side – where there will doubtless be no help –  I just rig for starboard side to. If I am wrong I’ll just have to …well….. I say to myself  “cross that bridge when you come to it..”

Warsash Harbourmaster 01On gently easing up the River Hamble – there is no sign of Solent Yamaha’s pontoon – there’s a surprise. So I ghost up to the Harbour Masters Jetty … there happen to be two old codgers (you know the sort) , sitting in the cockpit of their obvious world cruiser (you can tell) – they see me – put down their cups of green tea – and wander along the jetty waiting for my approach. I glide in – wandering where this will all end – they simply take the lines that I have placed strategically on the guard wires and tie up Enterprise as if there was nothing to be concerned about. What delighted me most was that they took the stern and mid ship lines – leaving the bow line alone. Only experienced sailors would do that – brilliant. I step (not jump) off tie and up the bow line. They casually stroll off with a cheery good morning. Oh I wish all pontoons had a 70 year old couple stationed on them. Perhaps an idea for Age UK ?

I call Solent Yamaha. Oh – “didn’t anyone tell you?…our offices have moved to Swanick…but our workshop is still at Warsash – but there is no-one there….we will get someone down there as soon as possible”. I have no job, no business diary, no meetings to clash with. So I just wander to the Harbour Masters office pay the day rate and go back to Enterprise, to sit in the sun, have a cup of green tea in the cockpit …and wait.

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