Thursday, October 11, 2012

Never a dull moment on Dumpling


Dumpling was placed in a quayside position exactly as a top harbour official directed, but no sooner was her bottom wet than another official came along and said she couldn’t stay there.
“Could she not just stay tonight? Nick Cole asked.
“No,” was the blunt reply.
The space allocated to Dumpling had suddenly been given to a fishing boat apparently in need of a power line for minor repairs.
The first indication of trouble was when another fishing boat tried to nab the space while Dumpling was still airborne over the quayside. You can see it trying to muscle in on the right in this photo.
A harbour official arrived as Nick and his crane driver were preparing to put Dumpling’s masts in position. The official insisted that as soon as the masts were in, she had to move.
So, late in the afternoon of what had been a spectacularly eventful day, Dumpling had to be hauled a short distance along the quay to sit alongside a bigger sailing vessel charmingly named Atlantic Rose.  
As Atlantic Rose occupied the inside position next to the quay, Nick would have to cross her deck every trip to and from Dumpling. Luckily, Atlantic Rose is owned by a friendly German couple who don’t mind. Still,  coming and going with heavy gear is not possible. Another plan had to be devised to later take on board three and a half tonnes of sand as ballast, plus a month’s food and water. For that, Dumpling will have to move again.
Today, there has been no activity on the fishing boat that successfully muscled in, or on the smaller fishing boat  in need of repairs. Together they are still occupying Dumpling’s original mooring.  A bit irritating.
Tickled, perhaps, by the sight of Dumpling twice in mid-air, Nick has spent time aloft himself. First time (pictured here) was when he was hoisted by crane to unsnarl a sling on the main mast. He has since been busy up there on the main and mizzen securing shrouds and stays, or “tuning the rig” as it’s more romantically called.
Nick is spending his second night on board after the relaunch. He’s starting to feel at home on Dumpling once again. He says he tends to wake up every time a rope creaks, but the good news is that the paraffin stove works well and the ‘head’ is flushing just fine.
The other good news is that the forecast for Sunday, the day Nick plans to leave, seems ideal: wind northwest force 4. That sort of weather should see him safely through to Madeira without problems.  
“So far, so good,” says Nick. 
      But of course you can't rule out Sod's Law!

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