Thursday, June 11, 2009

Finally back to the Southampton T.I.N.S

The charts for our UK sailing have been found and I can start this tale back up. Buck has been talking about clutter and and such, but he has nothing on me. There is fifteen years of junk piled up in two back bedrooms with the bric-a-brack of three boats, charts, navigation tools and study materials never to be used again.

The charts were in two boxes, one in the cat bedroom and the other in a closet of the unused gym.

I tried out the new scanner, got the Southampton river scanned, but could not get the file to save where I want it. So that means I will try to get it up by evening.

Enter the Wayback machine...; October 1996, The Spousal Unit and myself were living in a ground floor flat on Bishops Bridge Road in West London. Our "Wildebeest III", a 1985 Morgan 43, had arrived in Southampton Dock for further transport to our new home at St Katharine's Dock, East London.

There is more than mileage separating East and West London. East London had five hundred years of a tough reputation; This is where the dock workers, construction types, and general tradesmen all live, eat, drink and sleep.

The West end tends to be more the Arts and good life people. Everything is really pricey and the people from the West End tend to be a little pretentious.

I really fit in there. Snicker and snort.

We spent about ten days making the two and a half hour drive, performing the maintenance required for a boat that would be required to make the arduous trip around the South East of England, and then rest in a harbor which would be our home for the next couple of years. We sanded the bottom, applied two coats of ablative cuprous oxide paint
to protect the hull from barnacles and algae, and generally re rig and update the boat for some hard use. Oh, and we changed the name of the vessel from the pansy name of "Wende" to the more manly "Wildebeest III", being the third vessel of that fine moniker.

You can see my 1994 Nissan Pickup, Left Hand Drive.

One snag we ran into was the lack of navigational charts being available for purchase of the South Coast of England. It seems that September and October are the months when sailing courses are taught throughout the coastal areas of the UK. So all the charts were gone and the merchants hadn't thought about reordering.

This was my first taste of the inefficiencies of living in England. They will not keep stock of anything on hand. There were no electrical cords or charts to be had. Anywhere.

London, at Adlard Coles Chandlery, by Liverpool station? No. How about the the big chandlery at Lymington, by the boatyard? No. None. Can't be helped.

I went to the CINCUSNAVEUR Command Center, where OS's and QM's were naturally gathered. Yes, they had some of the charts, but they weren't supposed to give any away. Digression time;

It reminded me of that M*A*S*H episode where the Doctor's are trying to get an incubator, but the Supply Sergeant has three on hand; Indeed, he is required to have three on hand and if he issues out one, why he would only have two left, wouldn't he? Digression off.

Quartermaster Chief; "We are supposed to have three charts, and if we give you one, we would not be compliant with our rules, sorry."

It just so happened that there would be a big formal party to celebrate the Navy's birth anniversary. Friday came and we dressed in our best formal wear and celebrated the Navy's birth day in style, while still trying to gather all the materials for the trip. It was a great Ball, held at the Park Place Hotel by Hyde Park in London. Our new N3, Captain Kirk L---- stopped by my table and asked how the boat saga was going.

I got my charts and an American Flag the next day. Funny how that works out...


LL said...

Naval Service can only be effectively accomplished if you are a dog robber (thief) and manipulator. So Bravo Zulu on the raid!!

Buck said...

"Funny how that works out... "

Yup!! I hear ya there! I have a couple of those tee shirts.

re: left-hand drive cars and such. TSMP and I drove a lil LHD Ford Courier all over Ol' Blighty back in the day, and it was fun... as long as she was in the right seat doing the required spotting. It wasn't so much fun when I was alone and stuck behind a trundling lorry on the B-roads. Downright frickin' dangerous, as a matter of fact. I much preferred the mo'sickle for traveling alone.

Thanks for the link!

LL said...

When I came back from living in the British Isles, I was ok driving so long as I didn't make a turn. About 1/5 turns found me driving on the left side of the road to the concern of others.

Barco Sin Vela II said...

" the concern of others"

That, right there is funny!

Barco Sin Vela II said...

Hey Buck, Great memory about the "B" Roads! I tried to stay on A and M roads when possible.

We got rid of the pickup truck about eight months after that picture. There was no place to park in London without spending five grand.