Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

7 th to 9 th of February 2018 - Setting Off Again

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Off Puerto Sherry and Chipiona.
Distance : 32 miles

After spending a month in Puerto Sherry carrying out our routine winter maintenance and visiting the UK we were ready to start sailing again.

After a final visit from an engineer to re-gas our fridge we were ready to leave around midday for the trip to the fuel pontoon, then a short journey on to the reception pontoon so that we could pay our final bill and check out without having to walk all around the marina.

Leaving the marina we anchored just outside between the beach and the river's training wall so that we could have an easy departure in the morning. Speedwell is full of fuel and water, with a good supply of provisions, ready to start sailing again. 

We were expecting it to take around 4 hours to get to Chipiona so weren't in a rush to get going. Fortunately we had plenty of time to fix the aft heads which had blocked. One of the routine jobs had been to get rid of some of the scale that had built up in the pipes. This was done with a mallet whilst Speedwell was out of the water. Unfortunately some of the loosened scale stayed in the pipe and managed to block a diverter valve. Andy managed to clear this and we were off the anchor at 1045am.

We sailed out of the bay under Genoa and mizzen. We thought we might put up the mainsail, but as we were making well over 6 knots decided it wasn't needed. We sailed across the Bay of Cadiz on a reach and reefed the genoa when our speed increased to 8 knots. Once we started to head on a more northerly course and towards the Guadalquivir entrance the waves picked up and we were getting quite a few over the bow. There was little swell as the winds were coming from the north, but it was bouncy. The wind was also quite cold. We managed to spot several squadrons of Gannets, Razorbills in their winter plumage and several Great Skuas. All birds we have only seen before around the UK in the summer. We both spent most of the time under the spray hood but as we passed Rota it was clear we would need to tack. I donned my oil skin jacket to absorb some of the spray whilst taking the helm, leaving Andy to deal with the sail. We ended up tacking 3 times as the ebb coming out of the river seemed to be pushing our course in a more southerly direction than we wanted. 

Once we got past the breakwater everything calmed down and I motored us onto the visitors pontoon whilst Andy jumped off with the warps to tie us up. After visiting the marina office Andy took control of the helm and I started to rearrange the warps. Unfortunately the engine wouldn't start. After a bit of investigation into the starter panel electrics Andy looked into the engine compartment and saw that the engine earth strap was dangling, having become disconnected at some point during our sail. We both realised how lucky we were that the engine had started when we took our sails down. Fortunately Andy has the tools and was able to make up a new connector for the cable which he did immediately. The engine then started and we made our way to our berth in the marina. We gave the boat a quick rinse down with fresh water and by 1700 had settled down for the evening. We both felt as though we had had a good work out with aching muscles and joints, having not had a long bouncy sail for some time.

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