This trip to Liverpool will be an extreme steep learning curve for our novices.
We’re all knackered, after seven hours on the tiller.
Seven hours is a long time, especially in this kind of weather.
We have only done two seven-hour days in 2018 (out of 126), and in 2017 one day of 7½ and one of 6¾ (out of 114). I’m used to cruising, but even I need some time sitting down and staring into the void, after seven hours on the tiller.
And me and Bill, are the only ones that are still more or less dry. Landlubber’s waterproofs are waterproof for a couple of hours, not for standing still in the pouring rain for seven hours.
And they all are absolutely freezing. Well, I’m wearing: woolen socks, thermal long Johns, thick jeans, waterproof trousers, thermal vest, poloshirt, woolen jumper, thick fleeze and Lawrance’s fisherman jacket. Only my hands are cold (and wet). I still have to find the perfect glove.
Steep learning curve, I said. We all have to check the weed hatch. Bob has enough clothes and bedding around the prop to start a second hand shop. Did WRT slow down a bit, at the end of the journey, Bob couldn’t even get properly into the last of the Stanley locks!
And all our fires are backfiring. Too low down, too many high buildings around us, and, of course, that bloody wind.
Except for the widebeam we’re all on pontoons. Except for Bill, all the pontoons are too short. And again except for Bill, all the T-bollards are in the wrong place. So nobody is tied properly to the pontoon. So our boats go from left to right, forwards and backwards, and up and down with the waves. Everything bangs, and you hear squeaking sounds all over.
And we all know: there is five metres of water beneath you…!
The weather doesn’t help either. One moment I open the side doors to let the sun in.
Ten minutes later I sit in the well deck with a cigarette and all the sudden hell breaks loose. They start throwing stones on the boat. And more stones, and bigger stones.
Time to get my camera.
When I get into the boat I see a complete wall of hail going straight into the galley.
I should have ran inside to close the side door, as soon as I heard the hail, but I was just mesmerized by that amount of hail.
But we might have to endure it longer than we planned.
Did we came in with wind speeds of 25 m/hr? The weather forecast for Wednesday is about wind speeds of 54 m/hr! CRT won’t let us go out at wind speeds over ± 25 m/hr. There is no way we can get through the outer docks in winds like that…