Gurnard’s Log entry Saturday 11th June 2016-06-16
The Magnificent Seven SIBBERS ... plus the Gurnard ... met for the first time on the public slipway outside Largs Yacht Haven.
Some may say these men where the only ones stupid enough to go SIBing and wild camping in a weekend with forecasted winds gusting to F4-F5 .. torrential rain ... and midges by the millions.
However ..undeterred by such forecasts .. each and every one of us thoroughly enjoyed the adventure.
Some may say that one man was only a boy.. but I can assure you all..he proved he was a man in every respect. His constant grin brightened even the darkest sky .. his endless energy tired me out ... watching ... as he ran around collecting fire wood after a hard day on the seven seas.
However .. his fearlessness of midges had to be seen to be believed. While other grown men hid heads in nets made of stockings .... he laughed and threw another log on the fire.
Some may say it was weather only suitable for Deep V inflatables .. there were one or two in this company of boats.
However... those that say they are the only SIBs suitably for a chop.... that is only their story.. and this is the Gurnard’s story.
I hope you all enjoy reading it..
It wasn’t all a weekend of plain sailing. I trailer the heavy 4.3 Quicksilver SIB and due to a receding tide ..didn’t have enough depth of water at the end of the slip to float her off. I yanked and hauled the handles on her aging tube cones.. got her into the water then heard a Psssssssst sound. She had sprung a leak..her skin worn through where the rear floor board edge chaffs against soft PVC tube.
I curse my stupidity for being so rough with her..but was determined it wasn’t going to spoil my adventure. Its not the first time I have had to “man the pumps” while underway at sea. I manage to slow the leak by padding the wound with a PVC patch (the grey in the attached) slobbered with best Russian PVC glue in the hope the tube would still be round although not hold much pressure. A decent repair was impossible due to the leaks location.. time available ..and everything being soaking wet.
The good ship Gurnard still floated.. that is why she has three air compartments and an inflatable keep ... which was enough for me.
Stigomery assembling his Honwave beside me said.. “Hey..it looks a lovely Morning Gurnard..despite the forecast..hardly any wind..and some blue sky.. I was expecting rain”
I replied pleasantly.. “Give it time Stig..things change quickly up this neck of the woods”
Poly (he had more sense than me and used the marina slip) arrived and started telling coastguard our route plan. I noticed Stig recorded it on his video..presumably for insurance reasons..in case he had to make a claim if he drowned ?
Soon after.. a couple of Aerotecs appeared and started buzzing Poly .. while the other boats got ready for sea
Soon after ..I sensed the sky beginning to brood and the wind begin to freshen ..
It wasn’t my sixth sense of wind predicting that made me think it was going to be a rough crossing.. but my observation that even the small storm sails on the racing dinghies ..had their crews hanging fully out on their trapeze wires
I wondered how the Gurnard would handle the chop with a sagging tube.. so mentioned to Poly that I was going to set off ... round the north of Big Cumbrae Island.. and if all was well..would make my way across to Bute.. I would then wait for everone else to get there. If the leak worsened due to transom movement in the chop.. I may have needed to reconsider my options.
Sunsport and Son decided to follow me .. while Poly waited for the remaining boats to start outboards. It didn’t take long to reach some chop..there is normally a bit of a tide against wind at the tip of Big Cumbrae...and we were now in it.
So far..the Gurnard’s burst side was staying round ..and as the ever deflating tube was on the seaward side from the chop.. I looked at the four mile crossing to Bute ..and decided to go for it..
The ever increasing wind and sea .. started to make things interesting ... to be continued