Homeward bound: 22 August, 2013

East Coast Relay boat, 'Charm', rounding Beachy Head, 2013 Photo: Alistair Randall
East Coast Relay boat, ‘Charm’, rounding Beachy Head, 2013 Photo: Alistair Randall

Several Round Britain Challenge skippers are reflecting on the last four months in their home ports, whilst others are continuing their passage homeward with all the other boats visiting Cowes for the final Jubilee celebrations.

We hear from the skipper of ‘Snoopy’ that he’s crossed the North Sea from Rye, arriving safely in Ostend to complete his counter-clockwise circumnavigation . . . a little lonely going this way round, he reports. ‘Cine Mara’ is also making progress up the Dutch coast to her home port. ‘Moon River’ has returned to Shoreham and we heard yesterday that ‘Bonita’ is also back in the Swale with ‘Toucando’ and ‘High Barbaree’ both in their home ports on the Solent.

‘Bonify’, with her guest skipper and crew, is making her way east, currently in Ramsgate, and we hear that ‘Witch‘ is now safely back in her home port at Walton after a somewhat dramatic episode, involving a failed engine, entering Brighton Marina. Classic Boat Magazine wrote an article about ‘Witch’ as she set out in 2013 and we include an extract from the skipper, Alistair’s log:

With the sails all stowed away we turned to motor down into the narrow and slightly forbidding marina entrance when the engine failed. There was a moment of terror before taking action as I looked at the huge rocks on our lee with crashing waves. I rolled out the jib to give us some power in the quickest way and fortunately this gave us enough to claw away from the rocks. As soon as it was apparent that we could get some sea-room like this I knew we were alright. I radioed the Coastguard to inform them of our position and they put out a call to see if anyone could give us a tow. Great Days answered but they were too far away for us to hear. In the meantime I got the tools out and took the inspection plate off the fuel tank to see if there was a blockage but it was immediately apparent with the way that the diesel was sloshing around that the pickup pipe had been exposed to air and we had an airlock in the fuel supply. This could not be solved without filling the tank right up so I put everything back and went to plan B. The sea was so rough that taking on a tow would have been extremely difficult so I discussed options with the Marina and decided to sail in. We gybed around on the jib and aimed for the entrance but couldn’t make it as we were now downwind and down tide so I raised the mainsail again. It wasn’t the best set but we immediately started making ground up to the entrance.and I told the marina launch that we would furl the jib just outside and drop the main once we were through the entrance where they were waiting for us. This all went to plan and the launch took us in tow to the diesel pontoon. Once we were filled up I bled the system and the engine burst into life.