Week 21 - Portsmouth, Boat Shows and PAN PANS....

19th September - 25th September 

140918 7 Sunset over Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower

While in Portsmouth we were based in Haslar Marina - geographically we were officially in Gosport but a short ferry ride delivered us to the centre of Portsmouth and the Historical Dockyards. 

140919 2 Historic Dockyards The new Mary Rose Museum

We had visited the Portsmouth Dockyards nearly 18months ago when we were awaiting the arrival of Katherine onboard a Sevenstar ship from St Thomas in the Caribbean. At that time the new museum building to house the ruins of the Mary Rose was nearing completion so we thought it opportune to revisit the yards and to see the much talked about Mary Rose. 

140919 4 A model of the Mary Rose 140919 3 The drying out of the Mary Rose Remains 140919 4 Mary Rose Canon

The Mary Rose was a Tudor Ship built in 1541 by Henry VIII and served in battle for some 34 years before being sunk in the Solent in Battle in 1575 with only a handful of her crew surviving. She lay on the ocean floor for around 427 years until being rediscovered in 1971 and finally raised in 1982. Unlike the Vasa in Sweden where the entire ship was salvaged and now stands in all its glory only the Port side of the Mary Rose remains. Currently it is covered in piping as part of the process to dry the wood out and will remain so until around 2017. Though the Mary Rose may not have been salvaged as an entire ship she has entombed and subsequently uncovered over 19000 artefacts providing a huge insight into the lives of over 300 men including the soldiers, mariners, gunners and senior crew. The museum has done an amazing job of putting these artefacts on display and giving a representation of what life would have been like for these men onboard.

Another reason for returning to the Dockyards was to visit the antique shop - on our last visit Andrew discovered a pair of antique copper Port and Starboard lights. We doubted very much if they would be still there - but low and behold tucked away in a corner there they stood. Well not for long - now they are onboard Katherine and we just have to work out how to get them home to Darwin - just another logistical challenge. 

140921 1 Berend Kirsten Andrew and Lee Southampton

On Saturday 20th we drove to Southampton to visit the renown Southampton Boat show and it was huge. Though not in need of anything boat shows for the boys are a bit like window shopping for the girls - no harm in looking. We were joined at the boat show by Berend and Kirsten Van Geffen who had flown over from Amsterdam. We were last together in October in Australia. Though a very short visit it was great to spend the day and evening in their company.

Monday the engine was serviced and given the all clear though no true fault could be found. That made Andrew somewhat doubtful.

140923 1 The short departure from Portsmouth 140923 4 The rescue team140923 5 The rescue team

Tuesday with a little trepidation we headed out of Haslar Marina to make our way to the Isle of Wight. We waited till just on high tide to avoid strong currents in the harbour - just incase. Well a wise decision that turned out to be. We had just motored from our pontoon out to the narrowest section of the harbour when the boat started blowing white smoke (steam) not 1 minute later that turned black and we knew we were in trouble. We were in a position that we were committed to exiting the channel so as soon as we were clear, with fire alarms below blaring, Andrew accessing the situation, and Lee putting out a PAN PAN (request for urgent assistance) things were rather interesting. Being in the middle of a busy very channel is not the place to find oneself without an engine - twice in one week was really a little too much. Thankfully with initial assistance from a passing rib, then the RLNI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) we were towed to a nearby pier where the fire brigade confirmed the fire in the engine was out and we were safe to be towed back to Haslar Marina from where we had departed several hours earlier! 

140923 8 The engine room after the incident

The next two days were definitely not on the original plan. Another engine service complete with Andrew diving under the boat to retrieve the responsible piece of kelp like weed that had successfully jammed our water intake resulting in the melting of both the exhaust pipe and muffler. The interior of the boat fared reasonably well but still it took some cleaning to get the black soot off areas it had settled on. 

140925 1 Cowes Yacht Haven Isle of Wight

So Friday with the engine now definitely repaired, cleared of all debris we were finally underway for Isle of Wight. As if to make up for the interruption of the last few days the weather was perfect for a great run to Cowes. Sailing along with just the genoa, tacking our way across the harbour doing up to 10knots over ground we arrived at our destination of East Cowes on the Isle of Wight before we knew it.  The experiences of the last few days were now a distant memory and just another story for the books. 

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© SV Katherine 2017      Cover Photo: Katherine on Anchor Faro Portugal with Askari of Australia