Friday, 27 November 2009

Remember Summer?

This was the scene one evening in May when we fetched up in Newtown Creek just to the east of Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight.

Why are we posting it now? Well, firstly it's a nice picture and secondly we have not been afloat for some weeks and so have no new snaps to share.

Sitting here in chilly Oxford the stillness and silence of the creek seems a million miles away. There is a salutatory lesson to be heeded from this tale.

The following morning we had a cooked breakfast (why is it bacon tastes even better when the smell drifts across a mooring?) and afterwards started the engine to return to Gosport. Well, to be more accurate, we tried to start the engine. It coughed and spluttered and it was pretty obvious this donkey was not for stirring. We did all the usual checks; fuel (60 galls), fuel pump (working), electrical connections (all looked sound). So, we reminded ourselves that Starquest is a sailing boat and as wind is her primary power we'd better sail out. There was a little breeze, luckily from the south, and so we slipped the mooring and with two-thirds of the genoa set we picked our way through the trots and into the Solent. Once out into clear water we hoisted the main, unfurled all the genny and headed east.

At Cowes we lost the wind and by Gillkicker we lost the tide. The donkey was still fast asleep and so we had to rely on the mercy of the marina for a tow in.

An engineer's report subsequently identifed the problem - no fuel. Yes, we'd run out of diesel! How could it happen we are always so careful and we'd checked there were 60 gallons of fuel in the tank. Well, it transpires the red diesel had stained the sight tube and what we thought was a full tank was, in fact, empty. Our peek into the tank gave us a false idea of what was there. A very shallow depth of fuel laying on the bottom of the tank reflected to look like an almost full tank. If only we'd dipped the tanks, but we could 'see' it was full and besides the sight tube 'confirmed' it.

We now have two dipsticks, monitor fuel usage on a trip-by-trip basis and still blush at running out of fuel.

I am so pleased we don't have a motor boat.

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The Crew

The Crew
On board at Lymington