Trip on Cleo starting 2015-03-27 in BSAMay15

Weekend from PlymouthMap27-29 March – report by Bill Barnes

Cleo, a Bavaria 34 from Plymouth Sailing School :

Ian Collins, with Neil WebberJade Barnes and Bill Barnes

This was a short trip but rich in learning experiences.

On Friday evening PSS lent Bill a Musto coastal suit, we provisioned, and we moved Cleo to the fuel pontoon.

Saturday morning dawned bright and breezy, but though we rose full of vim we couldn't persuade the engine to join us...The voltmeter built into ship's electrical panel had stopped working over 10 years ago, so PSS had provided a voltmeter.We determined that the engine battery was as flat as the tortillas in the excellent Chicken Quesqadilla in the marina restaurant the night before.The battery charger (not built in, but provided) wouldn't charge it, but this later turned out to be due to a bad contact; a good battery through a bad contact looking like a battery that wouldn't accept any charge.  We managed to start up using "cross-connect", after which we could measure that the alternator was re-charging the depleted engine battery.  PSS lent us a spare charged battery and jump-leads, in case there was any further trouble, and we were ready to go.  Richard also mentioned that in a Bavaria, alternator field coils are activated by the domestic battery, so if you have a flat domestic battery cross-connect is required after starting, to enable the alternator to deliver power for re-charging.For a morning on the pontoon, we were learning a lot...

Taking note of the current and forecast wind, we parceled-up the furling jib and hanked-on the working jib.  We prepared the mainsail, but did not plan to use it.  Tacking towards Cawsands, the helm learned what it meant to stare into the teeth of a gale; the wind and rain biting any exposed flesh.  Plymouth Sound is an excellent site for sailing protected waters in poor weather, but this day it was a "site for sore eyes", and sore cheeks...With a brisk westerly gusting up to 45kts, we averaged 6kts with only the small jib.  We saw a couple of other boats, leaning melodramatically being over-canvassed with deeply reefed mainsails.

As Jade took the helm, the wind eased and the sun came out, we should have asked her to take over sooner.  She ran downwind and we picked up a mooring under sail, for hot pies off Drake IslandMap.  On the way back, we watched some trapezing dinghy sailors capsize.  They appeared to have broken something, as they were struggling with a 10-foot spar which looked like it should have been connected to the boat.  We circled, ready to provide assistance, until they got back under way.

After a reasonable meal at The Borringdon, though tucked in a sheltered spot next to the lift-out dock, we spent a night of vigorous bobbing and jerky warps

Once we'd had our fill of gales on Sunday we stowed the working job and re-rove the furling genoa sheets in preparation for returning the boat.  When a gust caught the sail we suddenly ended up with an unfurled sail, but with no furling line in the drum which would have let us re-furl.  We fought the sail for a while, during which Bill was pulled off his feet, almost into the water; not dressed for swimming he decided to stay on deck.  When we'd decided that resistance was futile, we changed the plan; dropping the sail it was much easier to stow than furl, ready for re-hoisting once the wind had abated.  With hindsight it appears that while the jib was being wrapped up in the jib-sheets the furling drum had been rotated.  Next time we'll put a sail tie on the unused furled jib, and keep it tight until a few turns are taken onto the furling drum and the jib-sheets are re-attached.

Plymouth  50.3648,-4.1322
Drake Island  50.3542,-4.1572