Another mechanical failure

posted 4 Jun 2015, 10:46 by Dominic Thwaites
Yep, they just keep on coming. I could tell something was going wrong before I left Loch Ewe. But I dismissed it as a minor problem that should not effect my passage to Kyleakin. But it definately made the passage harder. The next morning, for my final passage to Armadale, the situation had quite seriously deteriorated. But since it was a short trip (20 miles) I decided to risk it. By the time I'd arrived it was clear that I could not continue without getting the thing properly fixed.

Just as well then that I'd finished stage 2. I just needed to get home and I could get it fixed before commencement of stage 3 at the end of June.

Except this time it was not the boat that had gone wrong. It was her skipper!

His back to be specific. On arrival at Armadale I was having severe difficulties in moving as my lower back had gone into spasm. Acute lumbago, I think. It took me over an hour just to undress and redress either side of a short shower. It was very painful and the only position that was in the least bit comfortable was lying flat on my back. Not a lot you can do in that position, and definately not sail a boat.

I'd arranged to be picked up from the boat at 8am the next morning for my long journey home. I was up at 5am and now things were looking bad. Just getting out of my sleeping bag involved some serious planning as to the sequence of possible manoeuvres.

In 3 hours I'd managed to get dressed, cook my porridge and complete the minimum required to settle the boat for 3 weeks away.

I seriously thought I couldn't make it. I did not know if I could walk but I had been practicing standing up without arm support. I got in the taxi boat and was relieved to discover that walking was possible and I made it onto the ferry to the mainland. I was now more bullish about being able to make the 2 x  5 hour train journeys.

I was getting severe spasm bouts and the whole experience was deeply unpleasant and painful (though no doubt you will discount some of this as being typical male over emphasis of suffering). I got great support from the train attendants and from fellow passengers (who supplied water and ibuprofen as I only had paracetamol). I alternated between standing up half the time and sitting down.  Every alteration of position had to be done with extreme care and very, very slowly. Grin and bear it I thought. Gotta get through this one just like I'd gotten through everything else.

And I did of course. My wife picked me up in the car to avoid any further public transport shenanigans and I was home by 10pm.

Phew. That was a close one. Now I have to get it fixed.
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