The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2018.06.11 - An Unexpectedly Brief Sail

My weather station had been reading 0 knots of wind for most of the day but I took the chance to cycle down to the club just in case there was enough wind there for a sail. It is, after all, a mile away. At the worst I could have another cup of tea although I have to say that I had already drunk many cups of tea during the day.

It turned out that there was just enough wind so I set up down river in the hot sunshine, not forgetting to slather some sun lotion on the exposed skin.

I had a very leisurely sail down the river, sailing nicely in the gusts and drifting in the calms, when I spotted trouble.

There is a drain pumping station just by the wind turbine and today it was pumping out the drain into the main river, something that I have not seen before. As you can see it is fairly flowing out into the river and my concern was that with just a light wind I would have difficulty in sailing agains the extra current that this outflow caused. Had the wind been stronger then it would not have been a concern. Since I didn't want to paddle against this either I turned around and drifted back to my mooring. Just a brief sail of an hour but a very pleasant one nevertheless.

2018.06.09 - Making Good Use of the Northerly Winds

The winds for the last few weeks have been from the North and would have afforded opportunities to sail down river instead of up as I do when the wind is in the South. The idea being that the outward journey is up wind and therefore the slowest and the return journey is the opposite.

Or it would have done if the wind strength had been either not as much or more than it was. too many times the wind was either too strong or none at all for Naiad to be sailed.

Today, however, the wind was not perfect for a sail but good enough and I pushed back out of my mooring at 08:15, hoisted all sail and started the sail down river. Since this was mainly against the wind I tacked a lot in the two and half miles to Modney Bridge and the last half mile or so was taking against virtually no wind due to the trees and buildings. The return trip took about an hour and a quarter.

Still it was a lovely sail.

Maybe next time I'll remember to set up the camera!

Looking back towards Modney Bridge. It's round the bend in the river about a mile. As you can see, there is not a lot of wind.

The view forward. I passed several club members on the trip back to the club, it's the start of the annual Summer Trip Away. A lot of the members, being retired, take their boats and go far afield for six to eight weeks and today was obviously the day to start.

Tina was out riding at the same time as I was sailing and for once we were able to cross paths.

Here's a photo of Naiad sailing that she managed to take whist trying to keep Hope under control. Hope was scared of that big, horse-eating, white, flappy thing that was certainly going to leap out and devour her.

I really do need to get a set of professionally made sails, these ones will do for now but are not really good enough for the long term. I wonder how much a new set of sails will cost?

2018.06.05 - Another Move

I had a phone call from the club chairman a few days so asking me if I would be so kind as to move Naiad to a different pontoon. I had mentioned to her husband, the mooring master, that if needed I could move since Naiad is the smallest of the boats on the club moorings and could fit into any of the space unlike some of the boats which are huge.

Two of the club members had a problem in that their boat was now moored port-side to the pontoon whereas previously they were starboard side to. The difficulty was that due to physical infirmities they found it neigh on impossible to to get onto the boat this way round. Conveniently Naiad's berth is a starboard side to mooring so we have swapped places. Naiad is now three pontoons South of where she was at the beginning of the season.

On her new pontoon.

Now, the new berth suffered from the same deficiency as the previous one so I needed to moved the posts and the fender board to the new spot before moving Naiad over. Whilst I had the fender board ashore I fixed the eight new fenders to the plank so that I do not have to worry about where Naiad's fenders should be tied.

Here is a closer view of the new board.

And another from the pontoon at which Naiad touches the fenders mounted on the board.

The water is deeper and muddier on this pontoon so the posts had to be tied in place. This is the post furthest out into the river and tied to the metal mounting pole on the other side of the pontoon.

At the other end of the the board there is a convenient cleat.

I took the opportunity to spray the cockpit cover with silicone spray as the recent sunshine has evaporated that which was sprayed on before.

The new view from the cockpit whilst I drink my tea!

2018.05.13 - Unexplored Territory

Having done some re-enactment preparation first thing this morning I decided that despite the weather (overcast and with a fine drizzle) I'd go down to the boat and see how that was faring. We have 11mm or rain lat night so that is a good test for the waterproofed cockpit cover. At the very least I'd have a cup of tea onboard.

Nothing in the bilge here on the port side...

...and a very small puddle on the starboard side. I'd say that the cover is doing it's job.

The forecast for today is North West(ish) 2 gusting 5. I could do without the gusting 5 but the force 2 looked good. When I got to the mooring the wind was definitely good for a sail and this time down river. I set off at 10:30 and by10:55 I was passing our local wind turbine.

It is only a small one, 5kW I believe, but it is visible for quite some distance.

The wind held up, although at times it was a bit flukey due to trees and buildings but I finally made it to the Modney Bridge at noon, turned round and started back up river.

Here is the bridge as I turned around to head back.

I passed the wind turbine at 13:01 and was back on my mooring at 13:25. In retrospect I took the main down too early and used just the headsails to dow the last 500 yards, I should have waited until I was within 100 yards but it did have the advantage of extending my sail by 20 minutes or so.

A very pleasant sail and to a part of the river that I have not reached before. There and back is just over 5 nautical miles (~6 statute miles).

2018.05.12 - Not so Hot

Despite the lovely weather we have had recently, the temperatures around here reached 26 Celsius on several days, the wind was either non-existent or gusting force 6 or 7. neither of these conditions is suitable for sailing Naiad so I spend some time on the boat but mainly just being on the boat and the river. And drinking tea, of course.

One thing that I did make an effort on was the "gardening". One of the conditions of having a mooring with the DCC is that you keep the mooring in good condition including the bank between the river and the path. The "garden" that goes with my current mooring is a little rough and has a large lump of ivy growing on it which is pretty much out of control and starting to take over the entire waterfront.

You can just see the lump of ivy in the lower righthand corner of this photo as well as the fairly long grass.

So I took my strimmer to the grass and the bush cutter attachment to the clump of ivy. This turned out to be a wooden pot built like a barrel that was missing alternate staves and mostly rotten and a whole heap of ivy. It came up in one lump which very shortly floated down river with the wind and current! I may have to get some grass seed as the place where the ivy stood, covering more than half of the frontage, is bare of growth and it I don't get grass started there, I'll just get a load of weeds. I feel a trip to the local garden centre coming on.

Of course, I'll be pulling up ivy for months to come but if it gets too bad I'll use weedkiller on it.

Today there was a little wind, 2 gusting 3 was forecast but when I got down to the mooring just before 08:00 it was less than 1 but in the forecast direction of SW(ish). It didn't take me long to get the kettle on and while that was on the go I prepared for a sail.

Once the teapot was filled I pushed back out of the mooring, hoisted the main and staysail, dropped the centre plate and the rudder and set off up river. Once I had got going I unfurled the jib so we were sailing under full sail.

It didn't take long to pass the swan nest just upstream from the club and as I went by I saw that the nest was now unoccupied and the swans plus brood were on the other side of the river. The cygnets are already quite large so I think that they hatched shortly after I photographed them on my last outing.

The wind remained very light so I used the paddle to keep us going in the flat spots and soon arrived at the Ship Inn where I turned around and headed back. With such a light wind it was not worth the effort of trying to get through the wind hole further up river. The sail back did not require any paddling but did get a little slow in places.

I did, however, completely mess up getting back on to the mooring and only some frantic paddling prevented me from ending up on the other mooring, thankfully vacant. I really have to find a way of dealing with this. The mooring ropes are on the upstream side of the berth and also up wind since the prevailing wind is Southerly and I have to down sail before I get to the mooring or I'll be sailing up the bank.

Oh well, I had a nice sail and was back home about three hours after setting off. Now for the rest of the Saturday's jobs.

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