Trip on Moonshine starting 2010-09-17 in BSAOct10
Moonshine trip 17th September 2010 – report by Joe Buxton
It all started well enough. A sunny Friday afternoon in September, a bar in the marina in Plymouth, crews from three boats, a pleasant weekend in prospect. The evening meal was very convivial, an air of anticipation for the weekend's sailing, a bottle or two of wine before straggling down to the boat for cocoa and bed. It was then that things started to go wrong.
The gas bottle was not turned on. The bottle was in a small compartment under the seat behind the helm where it was very dark. There were some clips holding the seat in place but there was also a small box in front of the little door, secured by green ribbon across the door. Fumbling for the clips in the dark, the seat tilted back and bounced onto the platform and with a splash, out and sinking into the dark waters like a leaf falling to the ground in autumn. Never mind, we could now turn the gas on for cocoa and have a good nights rest and we would pick it up in the morning.
After breakfast the following morning, Mike (S) turned his attention to retrieving the seat. We had almost 6 metres of water under the keel.. The talents and resourcefulness of the crew were clearly going to be tested. Mike (D) offered to dive down to try to pick it up. A rope was weighted and hung from the stern. He stripped down to his underpants, slid into the water and soon his bronzed athletic body slipped out of sight as he dived down towards the muddy slime at the bottom. After what seemed an eternity, he returned to the surface, gasping slightly. There was a possibility of success as he had at least seen the bottom. Three times more he dived into those murky depths, three times he was unable to find the seat.
‘Enough’ the Skipper said, ‘We must speak to those in the marina office for guidance and help.’ After Mike had dried and dressed, he and the skipper went up to the office and returned with worried faces. ‘They will charge £500 to recover the seat as it requires three divers and a man in a boat.’ Various thoughts came into the minds of the rest of the crew at this news, that sort of money could buy 25 bottles of whiskey, or even 50 of the skipper’s usual stuff. But Mike(D) was not to be defeated. ‘I am a qualified diver and will be happy to hire equipment and dive for it’ he said. A diving shop where equipment could be hired was close by and open on Sunday afternoon. It was decided to make the dive and recovery attempt on then on our return. During the day, Mike’s wife was contacted to provide his qualified diving number in case it was required and advice sought from his niece, a qualified diving instructor.
On return the following day, the rep from the Charterer informed us that the marina management banned diving in the marina but that it might be possible to do it unobserved. Off went the two Mikes to hire the gear only to find the the diving shop closed. But they had met some men from Bedford who were just returning from a weekends diving who offered to go down straight away. Which they did and recovered the seat within a few minutes. So, for £20 for each of the divers, all our problems were resolved and the reputation of Bedford greatly enhanced.
Otherwise, we had a great sail to Fowey and back on Moonshine with good winds all the way and having used all of 0.97 litres of fuel.