Round Britain – melting down

We departed from Newlyn at about 1230, after a partial meltdown by the skipper. I knew that on this trip I was going to learn a lot and do a lot of things that I have never done before. The most nerve-shredding is close-quarters manoeuvring. Now, monohulls do a lot of this and are easily turned around in tight spaces. Marinas are designed for them, not for wide multihulls with lots of windage and not much below the water. We tend to get blown sideways easily.
I can only recall one single occasion when I took my previous boat into a marina, in Guernsey. It had a single outboard and a huge turning circle, and has made me nervous about close quarters manoeuvring ever since. I recall the only way we got out of St Peter Port was to turn the boat around manually using the warps (ropes). The new boat had to have 2 engines to give some better manoeuvrability, rather like a tank. I am improving but still don’t have much experience, until this trip gave me a crash course (sorry, wrong phrase!).
In Newlyn we had a bit of room and decided to reverse the boat into a clear space before turning her round. She was on a finger berth, a U shaped space big enough for 2 boats, but facing inwards. Across the way a couple of hulking fishing boats were in just the right place to bump into – only they were of solid steel, ‘Nellinui’ is plywood and balsa….
All sorted, plans made to throw this warp off first, then that one etc. We started the engines….except one of them wouldn’t fire. It turns out the battery was a bit flat, perhaps coming to the end of its life, who knows. I have a separate battery for each engine, so we swapped them over and got both going, which is when I lost it. We had experienced the same engine packing up just as we came into Falmouth – a carburettor blockage that time, and I was freaked out by the possibility that it might die just as we were trying to squeeze our way out of Newlyn.
In the event it was OK, and we drifted sideways into clear water with some nudging back and forth from me. Imagine trying to manoeuvre a Maserati on a skidpan without brakes, and you get an idea of why I freaked out.