A friend of mine has a Westerley Pageant which needed moving from Fareham to Poole. Quite a long trip for a single day but with a strong inboard engine we should be ok.
Agent Orange (Name changed to protect the innocent) collected me early on friday and we made our way to the boat. We loaded our stuff aboard and set about getting her ready. The keyswitch for the engine was not working and the replacement hadn't arrived in time so I stripped the old one down to see if we could fix it. After some WD40 and a bit of luck it became operable again.The engine fired into life but wasn't pumping water.
Another 40 minutes and we'd sorted the air leaks on the raw water strainer and primed it. The engine was now running well and pumping water nicely. Time and tide wait for no man so we cast off and made our way towards the Spinnaker Tower.
The Pageant seems like nice boat, plenty of room for a 24 footer and feels pretty solid. Out of the harbour and we decided to raise the sails. Not a great start, the main didn't have the battens fitted and there was no kicking strap. Also the Jib, which I'd unfurled earlier, was starting to pull out of the furler foil. I rigged a temporary kicker and put a roll on the jib to stop it pulling out completely. The solent was quite lumpy, a good force 4 with gusts and we were beating into it. Still we where making good headway so we stopped the engine and enjoyed the sailing.
As the day moved on it was apparent that we would need the engine to get us through the tidal gate at Hurst. I went down to address the raw water strainer again. Even if it had a small air leak, was primed and running it would continue to pump so worth doing. So strainer topped up and key in ignition, only to hear that soul destroying sound of a starter struggling with a flat battery.
I looked at the battery selector switch a realised it was a single switch.. ie One battery which we'd squandered on the chart plotter, depth guage, and other pointless instruments. The parable of the midnight oil was edging it's way into my conscience. The engine looked like it had the facility for a cranking handle.. I wistfully asked Agent Orange where this fabled piece of equipment might be but he'd never seen it. Many words entered my head.
We were past Beaulieu entrance but not as far as Newtown Creek doing tack after tack on almost exactly the same course over and over again. The smart thing to do would have been to drop back into Cowes but I had commitments for the weekend so we took it in turns to sleep and sail back to Poole.
Gradually the tide came back our way and we made it through Hurst. Over night the wind dropped to just a whisper making our progress painfully slow. The sun was back up as we drifted in to Poole and the wind so light that we could not make headway towards the mooring. Agent Orange suggested using the inflatable and 2hp motor to get us the last half mile. Surprisingly it worked and a 7am... a mere 21 hours after leaving Fareham we were home. Now all I needed to do was freshen up in time for a 9am departure to Weymouth on Ciao Bella!