They're off! The crew of Missing Link meet up with 19 Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club boats but have to guess the implications of a marauding low-pressure weather system.

They’re off! The crew of Missing Link meet up with 19 Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club boats but have to guess the implications of a marauding low-pressure weather system.

Missing Link log 17 April 1999

Crew: Kim Hollamby and Alex McMullen..
From: Port Solent, Portsmouth Harbour, Hampshire..
To: Haslar Marina, Gosport, Hampshire..

Port engine start hours: 260.2. Finish hours: 262.2. Hours run: 0.8.
Stbd engine start hours: 261.0. Finish hours: 263.0. Hours run: 0.8..
Log start: 2734.5nm. Log finish: 2737.6nm. Nautical miles run: 3.1..

Navigation log.

1650: slipped berth G12 Port Solent..
1705: locked out..
1710: initial chart plotter trials on a run through Portsmouth Harbour at 6.5 knots. All systems checked out with the exception of the Silva unit, which may have an NMEA 0183 wiring problem..
1740: arrived Haslar Marina, moored in visitors’ area starboard side-to..

Commentary

Well this is it! The start of our 1999 Grand Tour has started modestly enough with a gentle run through Portsmouth Harbour to rendezvous with a 19 strong Motor Boats Monthly Cruising Club fleet at Haslar Marina in Gosport.

All the time we were sat in our home berth at Port Solent making final preparations there was a sense of anxiety over the many jobs that we should have done, but haven’t. Now we are underway the spirits have immediately lifted. What a difference a few scant miles can make!

Missing Link is temporarily armed to the gills with a bench full of chart plotters in order to prepare a series of articles on electronic cartography for the magazine. Included in the line-up are Navionics plotters from Silva and Geonav, C-Map plotters from Raytheon and Cetrek, plus a Panasonic Toughbook PC running all manner of software to handle ARCS, Livechart and C-Map charts. We also have a neat little LG Windows CE palmtop on trial.

Weather is immediately raising its ugly head as a problem. The Cruising Club boats have an itinerary taking them as far west as Brixham by Tuesday 20/4/99 but a low pressure system is threatening to keep participants closer to home. We could try and make a break on Missing Link for the Torbay area tomorrow (Sunday 18/4/99), but that would mean leaving the others earlier than expected. It would also mean having less time with readers to obtain their views on our chart plotters and losing a couple of boat-to-boat photo shoots that have been arranged along the way.

We’ve decided to take a view at 0900 tomorrow, once a new bunch of forecasts are in. The alternatives are a morning passage to either Weymouth or Poole, or a lazy lunchtime run along the Solent to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. The wind will decide.

One thing is for sure; no one on the Cruising Club is in much of a mind to get hammered with bad weather and that’s a view we are more than happy to agree with. There are more than 4000 miles ahead of us and we’d like to keep body, soul and boat together at this stage.

More news tomorrow.