As we approached the Essex coast we ran out of fuel. Well, we didn’t run out of fuel, the second tank wasn’t feeding fuel to the engine for some reason. With this in mind the skipper wasn’t happy sailing all the way back to Burnham with no diesel so we made a detour up the Orwell with the aim of pulling in to Levington to refuel. It was closer and the wind was in our favour. Or so we thought. Are you ready for this?
Unfortunately I was made to sleep in the saloon, which was odd since there was a spare bunk at the back of the boat. It didn’t really bother me until I realised I hadn’t brought any sleeping gear with me! Ooops – school boy error. The one pain in the ass feature with the drop keel is the big column that sticks up in the middle of the saloon – the drop keel. And when I say pain the ass I mean it. The first time I eased myself down the steps backwards into the saloon I dropped straight onto the steel column, smashing my coccyx. Another school boy error!
We stayed on the boat and didn’t go anywhere today. The weather was miserable and by the time we had stocked up with provisions it wasn’t worth going anywhere anyway, so we remained tied to the mooring. I made myself comfortable in the forward cabin, though it was a little tight. Barnacle Bill was, after all, built as a racing boat so the designers, Sparkman and Stephens, had clearly prioritised speed over sleeping comfort. The saloon, however, was very accommodating and was begging us to get through a couple of bottles of red.
You can tell from the crew photos that this trip was a bit of a giggle. In fact it was a complete scream, but the emphasis, for me at least, was to learn much about navigation. This was due to Jon’s methodical and considered approach to passage planning and sailing, but when you own a boat like Barnacle Bill then you’re going to be a proper sailor, aren’t you? This boat is a real head-turner!