Wine, gin, and cleaning out the bilges


Saturday night’s fajitas.

Cleaning out the bilges: it’s not as bad as it sounds and in this case it was worth it. Although on the Biscay adventure I was a bit squeamish at the thought, Kevin told me that the bilges make a good larder and general storage place. Hold that thought.

After our first night on the boat, I was up early Sunday (without wanting to go into too much detail, it made me realize that holding tanks are a necessity and not a luxury) so I drew dog-walking duty. There is a nice field not far from Masquerade’s pontoon so it is very handy for Wikka. We had breakfast in bed (or is that breakfast in berth?) and then set to work.

A priority for both of us, well, me in particular, was to find all the wine and gin that we had secreted away in various lockers and storage areas so it would be safe on the passage. (Safe from breakage, that is, though Kevin did keep winding me up by telling me he’d found another of my gin stashes.) We got up to five bottles of gin and about a case of wine in total, as well as some brandy and a bottle of Madeiran poncho that we were given by John and Ana Paola. (And yes, we found one bottle in the bilges. See? A good storage place.)


View of the marine from on deck.

The galley benefited from a good scrub down: I may have mentioned earlier in this blog about some cooking spillages on particularly rough sections of the trip from Portugal. James was focusing on finding the spare door catches that he knew where in there somewhere. Have I mentioned that there are lots of spares on board? Remember all those broken dishes before we even left Portugal? There was that and another catch that had started behaving strangely during the voyage. Paul ‘mended’ it with some WD40, after which it stopped working altogether.

There wasn’t as much to do as I had thought; we’d done a fair amount of clearing out of general stuff as we went along, so it was a case of lots of scrubbing on my part and lots of looking through drawers and lockers on James’s part. We need to start replacing household-type things like tableware, bedding, unbreakable glasses (for all that wine and gin) and the electronics need to be tweaked. Maybe I’ll go into that some more another time when I understand or at least know more about it myself.

It all took somewhat less time than we thought so we finished up and got an earlier ferry back. That all sounds like a bit of an anti-climax, but we were happy with the way she looked when we left; the dog wasn’t too traumatised; and since then Terry has moved Masquerade to the boatyard where work is commencing.

First night in the UK


Inside the ferry.

We headed off to the Isle of Wight last weekend to get Masquerade ready for her trip to the boatyard, so we set off for Portsmouth at 9am for the 12 o’clock ferry. And we made it onto an 11:30 one. Wikka’s first time on a ferry.

Unfortunately, when we turned up to talk to Terry at the boatyard he was interviewing so James didn’t get to talk to him. We found out later that he hadn’t made it clear who was worth interrupting him for and James should have been on that list of people.


You want me to get on that thing?

Anyway, that ‘to do’ item unchecked, we headed for the marina to introduce the dog to the concept of the boat. He’s fine on our little river boat but Masquerade was a bit challenging for him. Although at one point, when I was trying to coax him down the companionway, he decided that it really was easy to get off the boat so he legged it and was halfway down the pontoon before I caught up with him. That was his default to whenever we tried to get him below deck.


Maybe it’s not so bad.

Still, he coped well and at one point managed the steps by himself.

But back to the weekend. I was in charge of cleaning the galley and James was in charge of tinkering; however, we were in weekend mode and once we’d made up the bed (berth) in the main cabin, we decided we needed a lunch break. We’d had sandwiches on the ferry so we went for a pint at the Lifeboat pub/restaurant in the marina,  and very nice it was too – Bombardier Gold for James and London Pride for me.


The Lifeboat.

As if two boats weren’t enough, Wikka then had to endure the chain ferry from East Cowes to West Cowes; he coped very well, however, and was as good as gold when we dragged him along to a couple of chandleries for bits. (I don’t know what bits, just boat bits. ) As was I, come to think of it. My hints at a Tilley hat (like the one Paul may have been wearing in some of the photos) fell on deaf ears and I wasn’t interested in bits.


On the chain ferry.

I think the first visit was relatively unsuccessful, ending in the purchase only of some cord for the dodgers (the cord on the port dodger had started to come adrift at sea). See, I’m getting up to speed with the technical terms; if I haven’t mentioned it before, dodgers are those things with Masquerade on them.


Home of the Black Sheep.

We had a small break in between two chandleries for a quick stop at the Cowes Ale House, which looked particularly inviting, and did a splendid pint of Black Sheep. At our second stop we both got gloves (I may not have whined enough about the fact that it was impossible to keep hands dry and warm on the voyage, but maybe that’s better for a sailor’s wife tip), after some hilarity on the part of the nice man in the shop when James tried his on the wrong way round. He maintained that having the shiny, grippy bits on the outside was a fashion statement, sort of a Michael Jackson bling effect.


Inside isn’t so bad after all either.

IMG_3182Not surprisingly, after the two pints each, cleaning and tinkering were not a huge priority so we decided that Saturday should be a day off and Sunday would be the energetic day. We fed Wikka, who by then was hungry enough not to do his usual “Oh, must I eat in a strange place?” dance. After a little desultory tinkering and cleaning, we set off to the Lifeboat for dinner, having booked a table. Chicken fajitas (excellent) and ice cream (took longer than any ice cream I’ve ever eaten – nearly a half hour wait, though to be fair we were in no real rush) later we wandered back for an early night.
So exciting – the first night on the boat in the UK, even if sailing wasn’t on the agenda this time.