5.30am – no shipping forecast! My plan to get Sam so pissed he slept in, worked! Result!
Woke up to some sun but by the time we set sail for Sark it was rather overcast. As we left the Swinge we sailed with the tide but against the wind, causing some pretty hefty waves to negotiate. I think Sam’s got the impression I’m obsessed by the size of waves, which I am. He reckons those waves were around 8ft, which is high enough to fill me with a little bit of apprehension! Reckon we’ll be seeing higher though.
Learned a bit more about team work and when it can go wrong. Whilst Lorraine was navigating our way through the rough crossing she lost her bearing and accidentally gibed. This wasn’t her fault as she was following the bearing given to her by Sam, and occasionally the compass can spin due to deviation (any metallic effect that the boat or equipment can have on the compass). Gibing or tacking accidentally is undesirable as a) you lose your speed and b) in really strong winds you can rip sails or tip the boat in the wrong direction.
Anyway, Sam was down below at the time this happened and shouted “Left! Left! Left!”, which Lorraine did – steer left. Between you and me I think he should have been shouting “Right” but I could be wrong. Anyway, in the choppy waters the boat swung round and we were pointing in the wrong direction. Hit the panic button! In these situations one must be prepared to be shouted at and told what to do, so when Conny and I were told to pull in the genoa sheet (the rope that pulls the front sail either left or right) we ran around like headless chickens, water splashing everywhere, with me not being able to get a decent purchase on the sheet. Unfortunately I slipped across the cockpit and landed on the skipper’s foot, bending his toes the wrong way. I didn’t need Sam to curse like a bitch to let me know I had done this as I was fully aware of what I had done. The problem was I couldn’t pull myself up without falling four feet down below, so poor old Sam had 14 stone of me, squashing his foot and bending his toes in the direction they’re not designed to bend in.
When eventually I did manage to pull myself up Sam turned to me, face red with rage and pain, and taught me some new swear words at the top of his voice. I actually thought he was going to smack me across the deck, but we still had the boat to contend with.
After tempers had dropped we all apologised to each other, including poor Lorraine who I think felt partly responsible for the incident, though it wasn’t her fault. It was no one’s fault, it was just a learning process but we very quickly learned that Sam’s temper can be short under stressful situations. Personally I kind of expected this and don’t have a problem with it, but I’m worried about Conny and Lorraine. Conny actually asked Sam to be more patient with us, and to Sam’s credit he apologised and said that he understood we wouldn’t learn anything with him shouting at us. Let’s hope it was a one-off incident.
The weather calmed down a bit and we anchored up at Dixcart, a mooring bay off the channel island Sark. With plenty of time on our hands we took the dingy ashore and took a look around this little island. In a nutshell Sark is very twee and very dinky. I felt as if I’d taken a bite out of Alice’s mushroom and grown 3 times in size. Everything appears to be in miniature (check the ‘little shop’ photo).
The island has no cars, so the only way to travel is either by foot, bike, or tractor, if you have one. Which I don’t. Everyone looks vaguely similar, the result of having a population of about 300 on an island with no transport.
Felt like we’d had a whirlwind tour of Sark so I was pleased to hear Skipper suggesting we spend another full day tomorrow exploring the island with more time on our hands. I was starting to worry this was gonna be a hit-and-run travel adventure, spending very little time in each location.