The three Kings and Gerri Blake met at the Mayflower Marina in Plymouth on Sunday 5th April 2009 for the delivery trip of Quick Reflex to the RCYC. It was an idyllic day and they wandered along the coastal path, licking ice creams and watching nuclear submarines, negotiating Plymouth Sound. What a difference a day makes!
Twenty-four hours later, Gerri and Sue were lying down, hugging buckets, as Graham and Mick battled through the waves at Start Point.They did find the entrance to Dartmouth - eventually - and we moored up in Kingsweir. Quick Reflex buries her nose in big seas and the front hatch leaks a little. Sue and Gerri tracked down the laundry, taking the sleeping bags, then stripped off to put all the clothes in the washer and went to the showers in their towels. "It's a marina," says Gerri, "they've seen it all before!"
Fed, watered, refreshed and dry, the intrepid crew set off the next morning for Weymouth. The sun was shining and Gerri & Sue felt much happier. "We'll do the inside route," says Graham, confidently, and everyone agreed. The wind dropped but Quick Reflex has a diesel engine - a novelty to two of the Kings so she is quiet and reliable with an auto helm which makes it all a joy.
Graham decided Sue should steer as we approached Portland Bill and gaily told stories of 'large vessels, lost in the race.' "We need to get in close." Mick wasn't so certain. "Turn now?" "Closer," says Graham, "keep going." We went in close enough to count freckles on noses!
Eventually we sailed into Weymouth when it appeared that the prop might have fouled but with the engine reversed it cleared. We decided to stay longer to let some bad weather through then mostly motored rather than sailed to Cowes in order to pick up another crew member. We searched for ages for the buoy marking the Needles Channel and then Graham spotted it. "It's quite a large one - red and white, with a light at the top - look, there." We all borrowed the binoculars. The LIGHTHOUSE was indeed red and white with a light on the top - will Mick ever let him live this down...
As it was getting late we went into Yarmouth, together with Jolie Brise. Gerri was over the moonand we had an evening with tales of Ireland, pubs and the Fastnet Race.
After meeting the fifth member of the crew, Barry Lewis, in Cowes, we set off for Brighton. Barry immediately proved his worth when the engine died, by discovering that the fuel tap had turned itself off; how that happened, we'll never know!
A little warbler, as cold and as wet as we were, joined us for a while, resting in the cabin, before sitting on Mick in the cockpit and flying off.
Friday was a drier day as we left Brighton but the mist turned to fog and it was 'all hands on deck' to keep a look-out. We slowed to eight knots and passed within three-quarters of a mile of Beachy Head but saw nothing. The fog thinned by Dungeness but it was a grey day. The high point was sighting the dolphin, which I missed as I had gone below for a nap!
We left Ramsgate and, just past the breakwater, ran aground in company with a couple of other boats. Now we know that Ramsgate Harbour has only 1.3m at low water!
The motored to Burnham in the mist but we made it before Peter had parked the launch-just! A long journey with a few interesting moments but Quick Reflex is now in her new home. Thanks to all our crew for a great delivery trip.