After finishing the work on Coralee which needed to be done in the shed at Hayling Yacht Company, I had planned to move her down to Falmouth via Portsmouth, staying in Gosport only for a few days to prep her for sea and sort out a few things. A month later I was still in Gosport but I had completed a lot of jobs and the month-long stay had also given me the chance to remember why the Solent has become the home of UK sailing.
I was fortunate to spend the month at the Dean & Readyhoff marina in Haslar Creek, where Turn to Starboard has recently established its new Racing Office. Being on the water after so many months on the hard at Hayling Island was an absolute treat and Coralee began to feel more like a boat and less like a dusty workshop up a ladder. On arrival, Coralee was not yet ready for the passage west: her mizzen boom was not mounted, the sails were not rigged, a new leak had been found around the engine muffler, and other jobs needed doing. Thankfully I was in a good place to get to work, and so I did.
Having spent a lot of my sailing career at the Joint Services Adventurous Sail Training Centre (Gosport), I knew the area reasonably well. The two local chandlers are excellent and Arthur’s Chandlers – just off the High Street with its distinctive yellow livery – was helpful in establishing a tab for the refit. Popping into the chandlers, grabbing a part, and just signing for it, before rushing back to Coralee to fit it, was very helpful but did mean that the bill did rack-up somewhat more quickly that I expected. As before, friends kindly gave up their time to help out in getting the jobs done.
The close proximity of firms such as Lewmar and Raymarine, as well as scrap yards, riggers, chandlers, and sailmakers, meant that parts were easy to source. Although much was to hand, I soon realised that the workshop nature of a yard was not as readily available in a marina. Tools, random bits, and offcuts that had previously been easy to acquire were now less accessible, requiring a little more forethought as to where parts would come from.
None the less, after a month in Gosport, I was ready to head west to Falmouth. For this trip I was joined by Mark – who had given a lot of his time in getting Coralee to this stage already and to whom I owe a great deal; and Lucas – my cousin who had previously given up weekends to attack Coralee’s teak deck back in Hayling. The voyage down was a beautiful sail for Coralee and crew, with light easterly winds throughout which allowed us to fly five different sails over the journey and even four at one time for a few hours. All I needed then was a drone to get a picture of Coralee speeding along with full canvas flying.
So it was that after 180 miles and in mid June that we made it to Falmouth, where I had initially been planning to arrive in late April – how plans change. Being in Falmouth was a relief and I was looking forward to staying down there for the remaining two and a half months of preparation before I set off. Sadly, this wasn’t to be…
John and Coralee