Sunday, 18 November 2012

A little care gets you there.

English: The Ayrshire coastline A telephoto sh...
English: The Ayrshire coastline A telephoto shot from the summit of Grey Hill showing the entrance to the harbour at Girvan on the right and Turnberry lighthouse on the far left, with Turnberry Village to the right of the lighthouse. Girvan is in NX while Turnberry is in NS. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Here is one of the stories I promised you.

One day when I went to the boat (still Chasca at the time) old George, an old guy with a small boat of his own asked me if I was going out.
The photo is of me and Robbie trying to sort out one of the many problems I had with Chasca's engine.

"Aye, once I get the fuel and other odds and ends on board I am heading down to the light, (Turnberry Lighthouse) to see if the mackerel are still about." I replied.



"Want a passenger" He asked.
"I don't see why not." I replied, not knowing what I had let myself in for.

I was ready to let the ropes go when old George hobbled down the marina walkway carrying his fishing rod and life jacket, threw them aboard then attempted to board himself.
Easier said than done.
As I stood forward to assist him he shakily placed his foot over the rail of the boat to step on the deck, and not realising how far down the deck was, promptly fell aboard knocking my sunglasses off and landing unceremoniously in a heap on top of the fuel tank at the stern of the boat.
"Well that's me aboard he grunted" laughing as he struggled to his feet.
Off we set, and 15 minutes later we were in 60 feet of water off Turnberry Lighthouse.
The mackerel started to bite as soon as our lines began to sink, and with one haul George's fish came up with a seal nibbling at the fish dangling at the end of his line. On seeing the large dark shape emerging he got such a fright, he thought he had caught a shark, and panicked until he realised what it was.
"That's never happened before." He said. "Well that's because you never venture far." I said having a good laugh.
 Before long we had a good feed each, so bored with fish that were easily caught I told old George that we would head north a bit to see if we could get some white fish like cod or lithe or pollock to give it an other name.
Old George, as you will have gathered by now was not the fittest of men, hence the fact that when he put to sea in his own boat he always had someone with him and only ventured yards from the harbour, catching enough mackerel to give him and his wife a feed now and then as they holidayed in their static caravan situated in the local caravan park.

His eyes lit up at the thought of venturing out to waters he had never fished but soon dimmed when the engine slowed down on its own, thirty seconds after I had set course and given her full throttle.
"Don't worry" I reassured him." It does that frequently but always picks up and then runs fine, its the carb. that's at fault, but the engine is too old to get parts. A bit like you." I added giving us both a laugh as the engine picked up, much to my relief.
George rolled a cigarette and enjoyed a smoke as I headed north to the top end of Culzean Bay where the water shallows on a small reef and lithe are known to gather there.
The water was nice and clear and the reef was visible under us which made George ask if it was safe enough.
"Get your line over and see, but don't let it touch the bottom or you might lose your hooks." I told him.
The boat was drifting into shallower water so, with George panicking and no fish to be had I moved off a bit to where the bottom disappeared from view and George's hand stopped shaking.
George was the first to get a bite not long after our lines were sunk and before he got his catch aboard I had one hooked to.
"We are in among them." Old George shouted as he excitedly hauled his line up as fast as he could.
Sure enough we both landed nice lithe onto the deck. threw them into our boxes and cast again, but I had forgot to let George know that we were still on the reef and to keep his line clear of the bottom.
No sooner was his line cast and he was shouting again. "Its a big one this time." He grunted as he struggled to wind in his line.
Old George's fish is in the basin, mine is in the bucket, and at the end of the day we were about even.



When I looked round I realised that his hooks were stuck on the bottom, and try as we might it would not shift so, nothing else for it I had to tie his line and break it away by moving the boat forward.
This freed it but his hooks were lost, and as he had not brought any more with him I decided to call it a day.
We had a good catch on board, and old George having had enough excitement for one day was only too happy to head back to the harbour.
George stood back out of harms way as I moored up at the berth in the marina, but he was so stiff in the legs that it took him an age to finally set foot on the pier. Fearing that he would fall back on me I kept well out of his way instead of helping him but he made it and walked back to his own boat to clean his fish.
NEVER AGAIN! I thought to myself, and only later found out that some others had be caught out as I was and they too had vowed not to take him out again.
He was fun to have as company but a danger to himself and all who sailed with him.
Pity because he loved going out, then again he always had his own boat to fall back on (Hope you don't mind the pun.) as long as someone was brave enough to go with him.
Some weeks later he was telling a group of fellow boat owners who had gathered to hear his always, exaggerated stories for our amusement about his day on Chasca.
He always managed to laugh at himself, and as he ended his tale, he added.
"I had never been as far north before, and it was when I spotted the icebergs that I started to worry, otherwise everything was fine."
We all had a good laugh listening to him describe how he thought he had caught a shark, and even though I was there I almost believed the added parts like the icebergs, such was the sincerity on his face as he spun his yarn.
Aye that's what you call an old sea dog I thought, even though he only fished yards from the shore, and I can only imagine the yarns he would have spun if he had actually been on old sea dog.



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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Fast "N" Luce on its second trip with Donald.

Here is some photos of Chasca's replacement during the second day out with me and during a successful days fishing.
This is just a taster of whats to come.



Good stories with photos to prove this old sea dog can still catch fish.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
Hope you are all impressed.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Chasca sent packing.

English: East Tarbet. This is the 'neck' of th...
English: East Tarbet. This is the 'neck' of the Mull of Galloway. A tarbet is a place where a boat could be dragged from one side of a headland or island to the other is probably not done much these days. This side is on Luce Bay, the point on the other side of the headland is on the Irish Sea and is called, somewhat predictably, West Tarbet. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The stories are piling up to write when the season ends, but I will take this chance to let you know that Chasca has been replaced by a new boat.

She is a Sea Hunter 450, 15 feet long with a 30 horse powered main engine giving around 20 knots.
The boat and main engine is 8 years old, and the small engine, a 4hp is 10 years old, both are Tohatsu, very reliable engines.
Chasca was over forty years old, as was the main engine which I was having too much trouble with, hence the new boat named "FAST "N" LUCE" the Luce being after a bay, LUCE BAY in the south of Scotland from where I purchased the boat and exchanged Chasca.
I thought the name was quite relevant to me in my youth, and as it is bad luck to change the name of a boat, I am delighted to keep it and hope to have some good catches to report before the season ends.
Or rather catch them now and write about it after.
Hope you will be patient enough to wait, as the seasons end is fast approaching, and I will go into detail of my struggles with Chasca, good fishing and other adventures "with photos" since I last wrote.
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Friday, 17 August 2012

Busy times

English: Leaving Dunure Harbour A small in-sho...
English: Leaving Dunure Harbour A small in-shore fishing boat leaves the harbour on a breezy May morning. In the 18th & 19th centuries, Dunure harbour was used by smugglers, or "free traders". The harbour became a busy fishing base for over 100 years up to the 1950s. By then, fishing boats were becoming too big for this small harbour. (Source: "Ayrshire Coastal Path", by James A Begg) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is just a quick line to inform any interested readers that I am busy catching fish and gathering stories at the same time that I will write, with pictures to accompany them once things get quieter.
Hope you all have the patience to wait.
The photo is of The Wee Lad, my friend Robbie's boat taken from Chasca on calm waters just off Dunure.
Thank you all.
Cheers for now.
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Saturday, 21 July 2012

Fish a plenty

Gloom at Turnberry Lighthouse
Gloom at Turnberry Lighthouse (Photo credit: overgraeme)
Cornish mackerel on sale at Borough Market, Lo...
Cornish mackerel on sale at Borough Market, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mackerel, caught close to the western edge of ...
Mackerel, caught close to the western edge of the Belgian part of the North Sea, Belgium. Français : Un Maquereau commun, pris en mer du nord près de la limite ouest des eaux territoriales belges. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been out twice since I last published a blog, but I wasn't sure whether to write about them or not as nothing much happened that was very different than before.
The mackerel are still surrendering easily but most of them are getting thrown back as they are too small.
I keep enough of the good sized ones to give me a feed but by the time I have caught enough good sized ones my arm is sore throwing the smaller ones back, so last time I thought I would try for some white fish in nearer the rocks after I had enough mackerel for my supper and before my arm got too sore.
I moved directly towards the rocks under Turnberry Lighthouse and watch as the echo sounder bleeped off the readings until I had only three feet of water under the boat.
I cast my line and before I knew it, it had hit the bottom, and when I looked over the side I could SEE the bottom, but no fish.
Ten minutes later with nothing doing I moved north and off slightly until the bottom was out of view and although I could not see it I was still in very shallow water.
Hook down again and it wasn't long until I felt a bite, but then, on reeling my catch in quickly I was disappointed to find only an undersized lithe, or pollock as they are sometimes known wriggling at the end of my line.
A quick release let him live to fight another day, and no sooner was my line back in the water until the same again.
When the fish came up I wondered if it was the same fish being suicidal but on examination it was much darker in colour, so it too was put back to fight another day, hopefully a day when they are big enough to eat.
The next cast made my heart jump when I saw the strain on the line as I hauled it in with what I thought was a good sized tug, but with each turn of the reel and with the rod bending to breaking point, I realized that my hooks were caught hard fast on the rocks below.
After many attempts to free them I finally had to give in and cut them loose, making them the first of what will probably be many more loss of hooks, but it is part and parcel of what you have to sacrifice if you want to catch different species of fish.
It is a small price to pay when the big ones start biting.
An easier way to get your supper is to get a few crabs from one of the other boats who are grateful for some mackerel to bait their creels, which is what I did that day and ended up with an unexpected delicious meal of freshly cooked crab rather than the mackerel which will keep for another day.
All in all its great to be back among the sources of good fresh fish, and with a bit of luck I will be able to report on catching some good sized white fish instead of boring you with mackerel all the time.
On saying that, its good to experience a bit of sea time again which might be boring for you to read about but not boring for me to be doing again.
Each time you go out, has its own bits of excitement, and just being back out there is excitement for an old timer like me.

 Maidens harbour, where Chasca is moored, is tucked away in a well sheltered, and picturesque part of the coast about half a mile north of Turnberry Lighthouse, shown in the photo above.
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Monday, 2 July 2012

Comment problem

I would like to apologize to any readers who have left comments and expected a reply.
I have just discovered that the comments are not reaching the blog so I will try to rectify the matter.

Mackerel galore.

English: Turnberry Lighthouse. Built on the ru...
English: Turnberry Lighthouse. Built on the ruins of Turnberry Castle on the edge of Turnberry Golf Course (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It was a beautiful sunny day when I arrived at Maidens, the wind was light with just a slight rolling of the waves on the sea, so I ventured out on another fishing expedition.

This time, instead of heading up to Dunure to meet Robbie, I decided to try nearer home and steered south to cast the first line just off Turnberry lighthouse. It only took five minutes to get there, and no sooner was my line in the water when I felt the fish biting.
As the line was hauled in I saw immediately the biggest mackerel I have seen in a long time and the other three were of a good size too, so, full of expectation of the same I cast the line over again.
The line tugged before the hooks were only half way to the bottom which meant the fish were swimming mid water, so it was only seconds until my next haul was aboard and the bucket starting to fill up.
The mackerel were getting smaller, but still big enough to keep so I fished at that spot, constantly hauling fish a plenty until the bucket was full, stopping only to photograph the bucket when it was half full.
After a while the fish were getting smaller, so much so that I was throwing back three times more than I was keeping.
It was fun though, watching the young mackerel swim away and with any luck grow big enough, reproduce to supply us with some more fun in future years.
It is quite satisfying to think you are doing your bit for conservation letting the smaller ones go to live to fight another day.
Some anglers get so excited when they catch any size of fish, that they keep them all not thinking of the harm it could do to the stocks of the future. Every little helps and considering we are only doing it for fun, and of course a good feed now and then, conservation is important.
With the fish coming aboard so rapidly and going back just as quick my arm was getting sore so I stopped and filleted the fish I had kept, then headed in closer to the lighthouse to see if they were any bigger closer to the shore.
This time my line reached the bottom and as it dangled, and I waited patiently and hopefully for a bite, I was able to watch the golfers playing on the famous Turnberry golf course.
Not for long though because the fish began to bite again.
I managed to fill another bucket of good sized mackerel then stopped to fillet again before I headed back to the harbour totally satisfied with my days adventure and the thought of a good feed of tasty mackerel ahead of me.
I had promised my brother-in-law some fish, hence the reason for keeping so much and the next day I took some up to him along with a couple of recipes.
That night he posted a photo on facebook of the delicious meal he had cooked which received loads of response, and I must admit I felt quite proud when he mentioned my part in creating such a tasty looking dish.
So that evening just before I sat down to the gastric delight I had created for myself, I took a photo too, just for the benefit of my readers to show the before and after.



Obviously the before is the photo of the fish in the bucket and the after being, when cooked.
No point in showing you the pile of bones left after the meal was finished, for as you can see I cooked mine on the bone after coating them with a dressing of "orange zest, orange juice freshly squeezed, olive oil, ground cumin,hot chilli powder, salt and pepper to taste." I missed out the orange wedges and coriander that was optional and used tomatoes and lettuce instead.
You must admit it looks good and by golly I can assure you it tasted GREAT.
Donald, the hunter gatherer, after a long absence is back in business. ha ha.
Hope you enjoyed the post as much as I enjoyed the feed, and that you tune in next time for my next installment.
Cheers.


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Monday, 18 June 2012

Chasca's teething troubles.

Breakwater and fishing boat near the harbour o...
Breakwater and fishing boat near the harbour of Boscastle, Cornwall, UK (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sorry for the delay in updating the post but not only have I had troubles with Chasca, I also have had troubles with the internet line, so after the BT man left today I took Chasca to sea again to see if her troubles were coming to an end.

First of all I had better tell you about the near disaster we had the last trip I went on.
As you know I have been having trouble with the main engine, the carburetor has been the latest cause of the engine cutting out and spluttering its way through the day but it always managed to get me back to the harbour, and each time I returned I learned something else about the troublesome engine and attempted to fix the latest problem.
I never thought I was in any danger as I had a backup engine, a three HP Johnston which is big enough to get me home should the big engine fail......................well, you know what thought did, as the saying goes.
"Planted a feather and thought it would grow a chicken."

It was a lovely sunny day with a slight swell on the sea so I left the harbour and headed south to Turnberry lighthouse, around the area where some mackerel had been caught the week before, but on the way down the engine jumped out of gear. This was a new problem, but not giving much heed to it I slowed the engine down and engaged forward gear again and soon I was speeding south, back on track.
It happened again, so this time when I engaged the gear I held the lever in to prevent it jumping out for a third time.
Ten minuets later I was on the ground where I hoped to catch my supper but as soon as I threw the engine out of gear the engine started spluttering and coughing again.
Determined to catch some fish before I returned to the harbour I dropped my line over the side, where at this point I would stop the engine, but before I could do so it stopped all on its own.
NOT AGAIN, I thought, but held the rod expecting my supper to come along at any time.
Nothing doing, so I started up the engine again "no problem" and steamed off a bit to try my luck there.
The gear jumped out again, and the engine spluttered annoyingly, so to be on the safe side I held the gear lever in forward and limped closer to the harbour, in case it packed in completely.
Lucky for me that I did, because as I approached the place just off the Maidens where I intended to fish, when I went to throw her out of gear the cable had jammed solid and although I was still going ahead the only way I could stop was by stopping the engine, not very handy when you are approaching the berth to moor up.

I was the only boat at sea in the area at the time but I knew some others were due out, so I stopped the big engine and lifted it clear of the water, the went to start the small engine.
I opened the vent on the tank, pulled the choke out and pulled the cord. Nothing, I kept trying, nothing.
This I could not understand as I had run the engine before I left the harbour to check it was OK and it was then, so why the problem now?
Was someone telling me to give up, that I had, had enough of the sea when I was working?

As I looked over the side of the boat I could see I was drifting towards the rocks, then with one last pull the engine spluttered into life.
I headed off a piece to get me a safer distance from the shore and as I tried to give the engine more revs it conked out!
I tried and tried to get it started, but to no avail, so I prepared the anchor and phoned Robbie to tell him my tale of woe.
Lucky for me he contacted another friend "Gordon" who kept his boat in Maidens and  luckier still he was just on his way out.
I was so close to the rocks on the outer harbour wall that I saw the mast of Gordons boat leaving port.
One more attempt at my engine and it sparked into life but as I tried to give her revs it stalled again, so on the restart I just left it ticking over and very very slowly headed off and up nearer the harbour mouth.
I was making slow progress when Gordon reached me, but I told him I would make for port under my own steam if he stood by astern.
It took around twenty minutes to do a journey that, under normal circumstances would take under five minutes, but eventually my mooring was in sight.
It is very awkward steering the boat with the tiller on the small engine while positioned on the starboard quarter and trying to see over the cuddy " forward compartment" but I managed to steer her close to the mooring rope just as the small engine stopped.
With no control whatsoever I grabbed the boat hook and managed to snare a post on the marina and pulled the boat alongside which allowed me to complete the mooring up without anymore incidents.
This was a maneuver that would not have been possible on the fishing boats I was used to but with these small boats I was learning something new every day.
Lessons I would rather have learned without having to put most of them into practice in so short a space of time. 
It just goes to prove that no matter how experienced you are, or how careful you are, things can always go wrong.
I do have a ship to shore radio on board but fortunately I did not have to bother the rescue services which would have been a last resort, but it shows how we at sea are there to help each other.
Many times I came to the rescue of fellow seamen when they were on peril on the sea when I was a commercial fisherman, now I know how they felt when I came into sight in their time of need.
A more comforting sight you will never see.

The small engine was taken home and I altered the mixture which had been the problem, and the gear cable, after some hard work between Robbie and me is now free and in great working order, as for the big engine it is still playing up slightly, but got me out and back safely today.
The only big problem today was, NO FISH, but at least we survived to try again another day.

How was that for a story?  Here was me thinking there would be no real adventures to write about on a small boat.
HOW WRONG CAN YOU BE!
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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Chasca's first fishing trip.

Another nice spanish mackerel caught from the ...
Another nice spanish mackerel caught from the waters just outside Paka, Terengganu, Malaysia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sunday morning on the 20th of May was beautiful, the sun was shining and Chasca was ready to sail.
The engine problems had been fixed so I decided to sail with the tide and arranged to meet up with Robbie in his boat "Wee Lad" off Dunure which was some 20 minutes away from Maidens if Chasca could achieve the fourteen and a half knots we discovered she was capable of.

The forecast was good with calm seas expected but as I let the mooring ropes go I noticed a stiff breeze wafting across the pontoon we were about to leave from.
While I was preparing to leave a small yacht was rounding the harbour mouth, heading in a northerly direction and as it cleared the shelter of the harbour I noticed that its mast was swaying about much more than I would have expected, which meant the sea was choppier than anticipated.

Quite often on hot sunny days the morning breeze becomes strong with the change in temperature in the air from the cool of the night to the heat of the rising sun.
Undeterred I set off down the short channel that would take me and Chasca on our first adventure.
Half way down I passed the small yacht retuning to port having thought better of venturing out on the choppy sea.
An old sea dog like me was made of sterner stuff so I gave Chasca a bit of throttle and soon it was us that was tossing about in the moderate swell kicked up by the early morning breeze.
Full speed ahead, and as the waves thumped into the hull it sounded like thunder, but when I felt the first brush of sea spray on my face memories came flooding back of the good old days.

Fourteen and a half knots was too fast for this kind of motion so I slowed her down to half speed, after all this was supposed to be fun time not an ordeal which it was turning out to be.
Instead of decreasing as I expected, the breeze freshened a bit more and the clumps and bangs on the hull became louder but I carried on, a lone boat punching through the waves, my legs buckling at the knees to counteract the dipping and diving Chasca performed as we pushed on.
There was a time when I had to slow her right down to ride an extra large wave, that I thought of going back, but I had visions of the sea going calm and the perfect conditions I expected when I traveled down to Maidens, and with Robbie on his way out of Dunure I carried on.

The sea abated  slightly as I neared the Dunure shore, giving me some lee and I managed to give her more throttle, and then, through the spray I spied the Wee Lad steaming before the wind towards me.

" When I saw the sea state,I thought you might have turned back." Robbie shouted, his voice just audible above the now decreasing wind.
"NA! NA! you know me better than that." I laughed, then off we went to a piece of ground where we thought some fish might be.

Ten minutes later we were there and the sea had already calmed to the smoothness I had hoped for on our first trip.
Twenty minutes, and still no sign of fish so we headed to 50 feet and tried again.
It was Robbie who caught the first fish, a very small whiting that was immediately put back, but as soon as his hooks hit the bottom with his next cast he felt the tug on his line, and up came three mackerel.

No sooner had he his catch aboard when I felt a pull on my line which turned out to be a small whiting.
Whiting returned and swimming away I cast again and caught three mackerel in the same way Robbie did, it was as fast as that, but normally when that happens more follows. Not this time.
It was a day of moving about and catching three here and three there, but all in all fifteen mackerel and a good suntan was not a bad start to my new venture, considering these were the first signs of fish this season.

Robbie and I might be retired but we still haven't lost our touch.

Quite happy with the days events, six hours later, tired and weary, (old age is catching up with me) I headed for Maidens on a glass calm sea, giving Chasca her head, and at full knots it wasn't long until we were mooring up at the marina again.

So well had the day gone that I forgot to take photos, although Robbie took some on his camera as I steamed pasted him at full speed, so when he sends them to me I will post them.

Right now I am off to sea on our second adventure and as the day is sunny and the sea calm, the tide in early afternoon, I hope to have good fortune to report in the next post, accompanied with photos...............if I remember.

Make do with the stranger above for now ha ha.

CAST OFF FORWARD, CAST OFF AFT.
 

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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Home for repairs.

Boat at Uyeasound Out of the water, presumably...
Boat at Uyeasound Out of the water, presumably for repairs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am afraid Chasca has let me down as, after trying several things to get her main engine repaired and working again it all ended in failure.
On Friday 27-4-12 she will be taken out of the water and I will be bringing her home to get a professional to repair the engine and with any luck it won't be long until she is back on the water again.
It is a big setback and disappointment but risks cannot be taken where safety is concerned on the sea, so bear with me til we make her better and soon perhaps more exciting posts will be written.

The photo is just to show how sad a boat looks when she is out of the water, but then again I am sure you all knew that.

The saying "Its not all plain sailing" seems very appropriate during these stressful times. lol

Your prayers are welcome ha ha.
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Saturday, 21 April 2012

The launch, Chasca's day of shame.

The day before the launch all systems seemed ready to go but as usual in times of great expectation sods law steps in and kicks you in the teeth.
As you can seen in the videos it was as if Chasca did not want to venture onto the sea to spend her next few years in this new big wide world.
video

I should have reversed all the way down to the jetty, it would have been much easier. I'll know next time

I had chosen a week when the tides were at their slackest and it seemed to take an age for the tide to come in far enough to start the launching procedure so I decided to splice an eye in the mooring rope that would be used when Chasca finally sailed to her berth where, with a bit of luck she will spend the summer months.

Pass over the next video if you don't want to be bored with me displaying one of my old skills as I kill time.

video


This next video is of Chasca eventually getting her hull wet but refusing to power up after behaving so beautifully at home.
Sods law, when the vital moment arrives the engine starts but splutters so bad that the small engine had to power her to the berth. Hold your ears or concentrate on the wind noise if you do not wish to hear the oaths of me as I struggle to tempt Chasca's main engine to fire properly and allow me to continue towards the mooring with some dignity.




video


As you can see it was like trying to persuade a stranded whale to head back out to sea.
All that was missing was some whimpering, but then again maybe it could not be heard above my curses.

video

She is now lying alongside the pontoon where after going through the eliminating procedure I am waiting for a spare part to be delivered which with any luck will solve the problem and have her ready when the fish begin to show.
The only consolation so far is that the weather hasn't been too great and any boats that have been out came back with no fish at all, so its a case of nothing lost, nothing gained for the time being.
Lets hope that the next installment will bring the positive and interesting stories you have all been expecting or Chasca's new life will be short lived.

video

I am sure by now if you have watched all the videos, you will have begun to doubt that I had ever been at sea but I can assure you that these small boats are a long way from the boats I was used to and  I realize that I have a lot of learning to do yet.

Thanks to Robbie who can be seen assisting me and who has had more experience than me with small boats, my education will be short,sweet and rapid.
Hope you all find it as amusing as Pat, my partner did and who can be heard laughing in the background while filming our escapade.

My entrance would have been more dignified if I could have used the controls for the big engine and stood proud at the wheel, with all controls at hand. The small engine is for emergencies only, sits on the starboard corner and has manual controls for the throttle, and a gear that works one way. If you need to go astern you have to turn the whole engine around, hence the extreme difficulty in handling a stubborn Chasca.

Never mind, they say a bad start is a good finish, lets hope so for Chasca's sake.

I was not the only one to have misfortunes that day.
The man who launched his boat after me managed to pull his trailer into the harbour, where it had to be extracted next day at low tide by a digger.





Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The emergence of Chasca.





The above photos are of Chasca in winter storage.
Top picture is work in progress trying to make the cuddy watertight.
The cuddy is the covered compartment forward and it leaked like a sieve when I purchased her but after loads of work searching and sealing each one in turn, the cuddy is now bone dry at all times.

The next three shows her ready to sail, with two added coats of anti-fouling on her hull, as there never had been any on her before.

As she will be lying at Maidens harbour all season the sea water produces barnacles and weed around the hull which will be kept at bay by that special coating of paint.
She never had a name when I purchased her, nor did she ever sail on the sea, only freshwater lochs, and was taken out of the water at the end of each fishing trip, so anti-fouling paint was never really needed.
The engine needed some work on her but after I tidied up and cleaned the fuel system, she is now running smooth and sweet.
I have installed a ship to shore radio and a GPS system a must if you are going to venture out on the ocean, and of course she has a "fishfinder", or a sounder as we fishermen used to call them, which gives you the depth of water and any fish swimming under the boat shows up as an added bonus.
With a bit of luck, a man of my experience will be able to find fish without instruments ha ha.
 Other parts like the deck, bilges and the floor of the cuddy have been cleaned and painted to smarten her up a bit, and most likely I will give her a complete paint job when the season is over.
That will depend if she is a good girl or not ha ha.

This photo is the picturesque marina in Maidens on the south west coast of Scotland where Chasca will be based.


I hope to launch her at the weekend 14-04-12 weather permitting with the help of my friend Robbie who has helped me tremendously in acquiring the new skills needed in maintaining, managing and sailing this smaller and much different type of boat than I have been used to.
I will take this chance to convey my gratitude to him on giving up his time and supplying me with several items, but most of all sharing the knowledge he has acquired since he took up this pastime on his little boat "Wee Lad" that I wrote about last year.

The next post should have video of the launch which with a bit of luck will be next week.
I will thank my partner Pat, for her patience and help too, and who will be responsible for the video during the imminent launch.
I would also like to thank any readers who are continuing to read my blog and have waited patiently for this saga to continue.

Hopefully the stories, although not as exciting as my days on commercial fishing boats, will be amusing and entertaining enough to hold your interest.

CHEERS! Here's to Chasca, may God bless her and all who sail in her.
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