Send us your solution to the latest boating conundrum.
Having had your fill of river life with its four-knot speed limits and endless locks, you’ve had your aging but graceful single-engined 28ft family motor cruiser Sheer Bliss re-engined and moved to the South Coast early in the season. Being a cautious type, you have plenty of spares aboard and have completed preparations for your summer cruise to the West Country. You’ve enjoyed a few day trips around the Solent and now you’re ready for the opening leg of your cruise – Hamble to Weymouth. This will be your first real trip and you’re filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation as you wait for the weather to abate.
The forecast is south-westerly 3-4 with a slight sea as you leave a grey, murky River Hamble and head west towards the Needles. The first 15 miles pass without incident, with wind 3 rather than 4 and the sea relatively flat. Out in Christchurch Bay, however, things are not as expected – a long swell is running from the south-west and the sea is rather confused with some larger waves mixed in. But at least the boat and your crew Jenny are coping well with your adventure.
The waypoints are coming up on schedule, the next being three miles south of Anvil Point with about two miles to run to it before the planned turn into Weymouth Bay. Looking out you realise that the 40ft flybridge boat you saw up ahead has disappeared from view in the worsening sea. You slow as things are getting uncomfortable, and to your horror, when you glance back at the instruments, they have gone off! Engine instrumentation, plotter and separate GPS are all blank! Instinctively, you slow even more. You tap everything in sight, but except for speed and depth there is no sign of life in the instruments.
Grabbing the hand-held GPS off the dash, you discover the battery indicator showing less than 10%. You ask Jenny to open the spare batteries, but as she passes them you realise that they are AAA, not the AA the set uses. Jenny looks at your worried face and asks: ‘What now, skipper?’
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