Exciting day!

Keep reading, you may think this is dull, but it gets very exciting! But be warned, I mean this gets very exciting.

Saturday’s forecast promised slight winds, sunshine, and a bit of cloud, so a fleet of seven boats sailed out of the Conwy and into the bay for a day of waterborne duelling against the clock and against each other. The first bit of excitement came when a larger, more expensive sailing boat challenged us for the bit of water we were sailing on. The woman on their foredeck shouted ‘get out of the way’ at us which actually took my breath away because we were the ‘stand on’ vessel and neither she nor her skipper had ever read the Colregs which Arthur made me do (in his nice, subtle manner). Anyway, despite lining up to go around a marker buoy, and despite being the stand on vessel, I bore away to give passing room, then their skipper started his engine and went sternwards and then there was shouting at us. Steven, my companion for the day, shouted at them. Another vessel sailed up and joined in with the shouting, but that was all directed at the other boat. The other boat soon disappeared, maybe they went away to read the Colregs. That was quite exciting, but it was only a taste of the adrenaline-pumping action to come.

We sailed; we gave some faster boats a run for their money. Occasionally the wind died, sometimes it came back and gave us a good gust (before dying again). It was a good day’s sailing. The weather was fun to try and judge, the wind kept us on our toes (I think Steven was very surprised how heavy Good Mood gets when she wants to point into the wind), and I mucked up neither the tactics nor the navigation. Steven was an excellent sail trimmer.

And then it was time to head back to the marina. I started the engine which did its normal duty for about 20 seconds and then the engine just stopped. For a big, lumpy diesel engine to just stop, after firing up and working, is a very unusual thing. I jumped down into the cabin to see what’s what and saw smoke coming out of the engine bay. I’ve seen a boat on fire, I know how quickly a boat turns into a floating furnace. This is where adrenaline really started pumping.

I lifted the top of the engine bay, peered in and saw flame. Actual fire! In the engine bay! Bloody hell, the boat’s on fire! I switched off all the electrics except for depth, GPS and VHF and broke out the first of the new fire extinguishers I’d bought a couple of months ago. When it was expended, I broke out the second. When that was expended, I broke out the third.

The flames were out but we were dead in the water with a powder dust-filled boat. We radioed the fleet commander (Steve, not to be confused with Steven), who was nearby and also heading back to Deganwy. Steve offered us a line and towed us back to the mouth of the marina where Eamonn motored out in the dory and towed us in.

I rang the mechanic who advised me not to tidy up, he said the insurance assessor would want to see the boat as she is, and would determine the cause of the fire. So, I pulled a few belongings out, closed the boat up and came home.

Frankly, that was way too much excitement rolled up into one day. Here’s a few photos of the good and the not so good.

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