Arcadia (IV) & Sea Princess (II)
The 4th August 2007 was my dad's birthday and he got an unexpected present - Sea Princess due to arrive for 11.30am, about five hours late!  After May when she was last in hours after she was due, curiosity got the better of us and we went down the marina to see her arrive and also to see if there was possibly another problem.  Arcadia was already in 106.  We finally spotted Sea Princess as she headed around Calshot at around 10.50am on what was an absolutely glorious day weather-wise.  Bit hot but the breeze was most welcome except when I was taking pics and I had difficulty keeping one hand shielding my eyes from the sun and the other working the camera when it got stronger.
Cowes week had begun the day before.  Tenacious was already out doing whatever and the Dutch sailing ship, Atlantis headed out, gradually raising sails as she went.

She was still docking at 11.45am when we called it a morning.  Thankfully there wasn't anything wrong with her apart from a mucky stern and apparently her lateness was due to making a detour to drop a sick passenger off.  Phew!  Now she was still down to go at 4.45pm with Arcadia on the hour.  Would she make it in such a short turnaround?

We returned in an even hotter afternoon which had a clear blue sky. The marina was fairly busy considering this, like sitting on the promenade, is Hythe'e equivalent of going to the beach but without sand, swimming and everyone was fully clothed. Sea Princess was still bunkering and we had our doubts she would sail at the appointed time even when she lost the fuel barge just after 4.30pm. At 5pm on the dot Arcadia blasted three times and had appeared to have cast off early to be so far from the dock so quickly.

As Arcadia neared Sea Princess she blasted three times.  Sea Princess replied with three and that was it.  How disappointing!
Ten minutes later, at 5.30pm we heard a good sign - the eight bells of lifeboat drill!  The pilot flag also appeared on the mast.
Once a car carrier had safely passed, a tug reversed as a couple of ropes were cast off before 6pm.  The tug attached itself and we waited.  Finally at 6.10pm she began to move towards the turning circle. The morons impressing friends/relatives were out again.  This time a man said to his guest, "They have to turn her round then she'll pull in to pick the people up."  I was in hysterics!
Once she'd straightened and headed back the way she came she blasted three times.  She also had some sort of strange noise.  It sounded like the horn at a fraction of the volume.  You really couldn't miss it. The sailaway party on board was so loud we were enjoying it until they turned the sound down.  Grrr!
And so off she went for another two weeks.  We were very impressed they managed to have such a fast turnaround to keep her as close to her schedule as possible and I bet the passengers on board were as well.

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© Patricia Dempsey 4th August 2007
Not to be reproduced without permission