Frantic phone calls were made last week: I had arranged for Goshawk to be anti-fouled, the engine to be reconditioned, sacrificial anode replaced, and for a gas safety check to be undertaken. All phone calls confirmed that, oh yes, of course all the work had been completed. Perhaps I need to be more trusting and less frantic!

Yesterday lunch time, once my wife, Claire, had returned from her night shift and packed not just her stuff, but also the children’s stuff (she really is awesome), we drove from our home in Sussex to Titchmarsh Marina, where we found Goshawk newly launched and waiting for us on the pontoon. 

Then we started trying to ascend the steep learning curve!

First things first – locate Goshawk’s electrical input from shore power, and plug her in. Of course, the socket was in, quite literally, the last place I looked; in the stern locker.

Electricity sorted, time to sort the gas. Easy enough to do, but I was a little perplexed that the regulator wasn’t connected to the pipe work. Perhaps my mistake – perhaps it shouldn’t be?

Next, locate the cap for the water tank. Easy enough, but completely seized…

Then the loo, and my first introduction to seacocks. I had to re-read the loo manual to work out how to operate the flush, but couldn’t see any seacocks. A quick question on the Westerly Owners’ Association Facebook page led to a quick answer – under the seats next to the cool box. Oh yes! Process of elimination enabled me to work these out fairly quickly. A working loo – hurrah!

By this time my parents had arrived (the first time we have seen them since October), so time to put the kettle on. This led me to find the cabin gas tap in the cupboard under the stove. Job done.

Next up, try to find somewhere to stash all the food and kit (and books, and toys) that we had brought with us. I didn’t think this would be straightforward on a 26 footer, but it turns out there is masses of storage space on a Centaur – albeit mostly under the cushions on the seating!

And so we were just about sorted. Dinner was cooked and eaten, children were put to bed in the forward cabin, our dinner was eaten, and it was time to relax and enjoy our very first evening aboard our very own boat! And what a lovely place to be; the Walton Backwaters really do have a unique beauty all of their own, enhanced by the chugging of a passing motor vessel.

The boat was actually pretty warm when we boarded, and remained warm throughout the day. In the evening we were very thankful to have the electric hookup as it enabled us to run a small fan heater that I had purchased for the purpose. By the time we went to bed, the boat was warm and toasty.

Sleeping in warm clothes, thick sleeping bags and underneath duvets I wondered if actually we might have overdone it, but by 3am the cabin was rather on the chilly side (-4 outside!), so I was very glad to be able to pull my sleeping bag up to my chin and feel warm and cosy, and sleep for another four and a half hours

And so, our first night aboard Goshawk!

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