OYT Shakedown - Day 2

Saturday 23rd March 2024

0000 hrs

Lat: 50° 45.62'N Long: 001° 17.60'W

0900 hrs

Slipped our lines at Sheppards and headed up river to the fuel barge that opened at 1000 hrs. On going up river I spotted a boat that I last saw in Scarborough back in 2021, and latter dropped them a message saying I had spotted them.

1000 hrs

Alongside the fuel barge Josh and Rooby tended the refuelling while the rest of the crew had a 'happy hour', boat cleaning.

1130 hrs

Fuelling complete. Thankfully, I was not paying, but wondered if they give Nectar Points.

As we entered the Solent we could see some very dark angry squalls to the west of us and waited until they had passed before raising the mizzen and the staysail.

In a matter of half an hour the day had changed from a pleasant spring morning to a cold and very wet day, but the squall soon passed and we got to work putting the boat through he paces making sure that she good for the start of the season.

After several hours of sailing to windward and lots of tacks it was decided to call into Lymington, not one of the usual ports of call on the Solent, for the night.

image host

Prolific tacking in the Solent

1530 hrs

We dropped the anchor to the east of the channel into Lymington to wait for the tide. Sitting in 40 knots of wind with the rain lashing the boat watching it from 'the shed' was quite comfortable, in an open boat things would have been very wet.

1630 hrs

The weather had cleared and the anchor lifted before we followed the ferry into Lymington. Andrew being a member of Royal Lymington Yacht Club had arranged for us to tie up to their pontoon for the night.

1730 hrs

Lat: 50° 45.26'N Long: 001° 31.67'W

After a couple of practice parks, which attracted quite a large audience, we tied up alongside and Andrew left for his own boat. House rules state that you must fly a club pennant when alongside.

After supper we piled into the bar and enjoyed a few beers - I enjoyed the atmosphere in the club to the hurly burley of the pub in Cowes the previous evening. Several club members came over and asked about the boat and the charity.

Sounds like Prolific holds the record for the largest boat to come alongside.

All times are UTC.

The Numbers for Prolific:

Underway Distance
Day: 6h 00m 23.25 3.87 10.00 0h 00m
Trip: 12h 45m 57.85 4.53 12.00 0h 00m
Year: 12h 45m 57.85 4.53 12.00 0h 00m

Crew: Constantinos (Skipper), James B, Josh, Andrew W, Tom K, Robert J, Sara A, Rooby, Juliette D and Sandy.

Sunrise: 0602 hrs Sunset: 1824 hrs

Weather: Forecast valid from: 00:00 (UTC) on Sat 23 Mar 2024 until 00:00 (UTC) on Sun 24 Mar 2024.

Wight, Portland, Plymouth

West or northwest 5 to 7. Moderate or rough, becoming rough or very rough in west and south Plymouth. Squally showers. Good, occasionally moderate.

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 23/03/2024

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 23/03/2024


OYT Shakedown - Day 1

Friday 22nd March 2024

0000 hrs

Lat: 50° 53.71'N Long: 001° 23.50'W

There had been a call for volunteers for a Sea Staff only trip on Prolific before the start of the season to give the new skipper and first mate some practice parking the boat and to check out the rigging as both masts had been out over the winter. I thought it would be good to go along as it gave me some time on the boat before my first trip of the season.

I drove up on the day before and met up with most of the Sea Staff onboard the boat. Prolific was not on her usual mooring as all of the pontoons on the south side of Ocean Village were out of the water for dredging and I found her on the north side of the hotel.

0800 hrs

The remaining sea staff arrived and twenty minutes later the two riggers from Allspars turned up with their kit.

0930 hrs

Slipped the mooring at Ocean Village and headed out. By the time we joined Southampton Water the staysail, main and mizzen had all been hoisted for the riggers to complete their checks. Very quickly the jib followed, I've never seen all of the sails up so promptly.

We scuttled down Southampton water with the riggers looking intently at the rigging, feeling it with their hands and tightening it with massive spanners. Then much to my surprise climbed the rigging on the way back up Southampton water with 25 knots of apparent wind. Glad I don't do that for a living!

Rigger at work

Rigger at work

1215 hrs

With the riggers work completed we dropped the sails and returned to Ocean Village. Dropped them off for their next job and had lunch.

1330 hrs

Lunch finished we set off again, but this time purely under engine for some 'pontoon bashing' at Trinity Landing in Cowes.

The next few hours were spent parking Prolific to the landing and much to my surprise I was invited to park the boat! With the Staff Skipper beside me I carefully manoeuvred the boat next to the pontoon and successfully brought her alongside without scratching the paintwork or bashing the pontoon.

Prolific alongside Trinity Landing, Cowes

Prolific alongside Trinity Landing, Cowes.

Prolific setting up for another attempt at parking

Prolific setting up for another park.

1730 hrs

Lat: 50° 45.62'N Long: 001° 17.60'W

Tied up along side at Sheppards Marina in Cowes.

Just after we tied up alongside Willoughby, one of the OYT Sea Staff, popped in to say hello.

Following supper we ajourned to The Anchor Inn to quench our thurst. A rather busy pub full of yachties.

The Numbers for Prolific:

Underway Distance
Day: 6h 45m 34.60 5.12 12.00 0h 00m
Trip: 6h 45m 34.60 5.12 12.00 0h 00m
Year: 6h 45m 34.60 5.12 12.00 0h 00m

Crew: Constantinos (Skipper), James B, Josh, Andrew W, Tom K, Robert J, Sara A, Rooby, Juliette D and Sandy.

Sunrise: 0604 hrs Sunset: 1822 hrs

Weather: Forecast valid from: 00:00 (UTC) on Fri 22 Mar 2024 until 00:00 (UTC) on Sat 23 Mar 2024.

Dover, Wight, Portland, Plymouth

Southwest veering northwest 4 to 6. Slight or moderate, occasionally rough in Plymouth. Occasional rain or drizzle. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 22/03/2024

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 22/03/2024


Bleeding Screws

Tuesday 5th March 2024

With the weather finally improving I popped down to the boat to start the list of jobs that need doing. The first one was to sort out that secondary fuel filter air leak where the bleed screw is.

Knowing that the bleed screw was not an original I purchased the correct part from Volvo, how much for a screw with a hole in it! When I came to fit it discovered that in the past that somebody had cross threaded the hole and replaced the bleed screw with a bigger bolt hence the problem with air ingestion.

I dropped into the engineering shed at the yard to speak with Donald and arrange a visit to the boat, the hole re-tapped and a bigger bolt to be used, but hearing that I had an original Volvo bleed screw came up with a better solution. Drill out the hole, fit and glue in a 'sleeve', I am sure it has a technical name, with the correct thread for the Volvo bleed screw and job done.


OYT Training Weekend - Day 2

Sunday 11th February 2024

0930 hrs

Accident and Incident Avoidance and Management for Watchleaders and Bosuns
I was looking forward to this talk with great interest, but the talk was clearly mis-titled. The speaker had lots to say about things in general where I was looking for a more detailed look at issues with Prolific and the trust’s safety management system.

1400 hrs

Chart corrections, Life rafts and lifejackets, and a Safeguarding update
An afternoon made up of three sections, chart corrections and the new electronic way that the Hydrographic Office sends out chart updates.

A session on checking and packing lifejackets, and the demonstration of inflating a liferaft from Ocean Safety. It is always fun to see a liferaft inflate.

The final session was on Safeguarding and the changes that have happened over the last year.

2100 hrs

Arrived back in Devon. Drove the coast road, heavy traffic.

All times are UTC.

Sunrise: 0725 hrs Sunset: 1731 hrs

Weather: The shipping forecast issued by the Met Office, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, at 23:30 (UTC) on Sat 10 Feb 2024 for the period 00:00 (UTC) on Sun 11 Feb 2024 to 00:00 (UTC) on Mon 12 Feb 2024 .

Dover, Wight

Cyclonic becoming west, 3 to 5, occasionally 6 in Wight. Slight or moderate, occasionally smooth in north Dover and rough in west Wight. Showers. Good, occasionally moderate

Synoptic Chart 11/02/2024

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 11/02/2024


OYT Training Weekend - Day 1

Saturday 10th February 2024

0500 hrs

Jumped in the car for the early morning drive to Gosport and the annual OYT training weekend. Always a good time to catch up with Sea Staff and get up to date with things. Thankfully, my First Aid at Sea was still in date so that was not my top proprity.

0830 hrs

Arrived at Gosport Cruising Club to sign in and start the day then spotted one of the Navy's aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08)


HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08) at Portsmouth

0930 hrs

Introduction to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

One of many talks I have attended on the subject, but with particular emphasis on Refugees. Fascinating to hear somebody talk with real life experience and not what you read in the press.

1400 hrs

Mental Wellbeing

A mental health talk with a difference, how to look after yourself rather than what to look out for in others.

1900 hrs

Mark, the CEO, gave his summary of last year. His always a very engaging speaker and a joy to listen to.

Most people stayed for dinner and drinks at the bar where we caught up with each other's news, swapped stories and looked forward to the new sailing season.

All times are UTC.

Sunrise: 0736 hrs Sunset: 1721 hrs

Weather: The shipping forecast issued by the Met Office, on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, at 23:30 (UTC) on Fri 9 Feb 2024 for the period 00:00 (UTC) on Sat 10 Feb 2024 to 00:00 (UTC) on Sun 11 Feb 2024 .

Wight, Portland, Plymouth

Southwest 4 to 6, becoming cyclonic 5 to 7 later, occasionally gale 8 later in Plymouth. Moderate or rough, but slight or moderate in Wight, becoming very rough or high later in Plymouth. Showers. Good, occasionally moderate.

Synoptic Chart 10/02/2024

© Met Office Synoptic Chart 10/02/2024