The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2017.05.30 - Lovely Sailing Weather But...

It's a great day, it is dry, there are sunny spells, it's 20 Celsius or so and there is a good wind.

But I'm sitting in the cockpit on the mooring not sailing. The wind is strong enough that to go sailing I'd want a reef in but I've not put in the reefing in points yet. I could do the ties in the middle of the sail but to do the points in the luff and leech of the sail I'd need to hoist it and it's too windy for that especially since it is blowing from the West.

So I'll drink my tea and try to put in the ties I have already made and then do something with the mooring ropes to ensure that they are secure since I'll not be back on board until next Tuesday due to a family holiday.

Maybe it will be better sailing weather when I get back.


Here's what I did to the mooring ropes. There was a little bit of a chop running upstream today and Naiad was tugging on the mooring rope as a result. Tying the heavy tire in the middle of the rope pulls the rope down and when Naiad surges forward she has to pull the tire upwards as well and this absorbs the tug that she normally gets when the rope goes tight.


Here's a view from the side showing the tire pulling the rope down better. The tire is acting as a shock absorber and this works well. The disadvantage is that when you come back to your mooring, you also have to lift the weight of the tire when putting the rope back on. The tire also leaves black marks on the boat if you should rub against it.


You can buy these instead. They are called mooring springs or mooring snubbers and effectively do the same job but without the weight, you just have to pay money for these whereas the old tyres are free! I'll probably get some springs when I get back from holiday but for now the tire will do.

Whilst I was sailing past the cruising club yesterday one of the club members took a photo or two from his boat and emailed them to me.


Here you can see the baggy mainsail due to the luff not being hauled up tight enough. Still she looks good enough. The professional sails, when I can afford them, will be tan and not white. Looking up at white sails when the sun is shining is very bright and without sunglass can hurt the eyes. Besides which, I prefer the tan colour.


It is always very nice to see your own boat sailing since it is not something you normally get to see, you are, after all, sitting in the boat and a selfie-stick just won't do the job!

You'll notice that despite the light winds I did not have the jib unfurled. The reason for this is that since this is a new boat to me I have to learn to sail her properly. Right now, despite many years of sailing, having the two headsails unfurled is just too much to cope with. Although the last boat I owned was a Gaff Cutter like Naiad, she was also 36' long on deck, weighed several tonnes, 15 I think it was, and had a long straight keel. Naiad, is 16', weighs less than a tonne and has a centre plate and therefore handles very differently.

Once I've become used to her then I'll be using all the sails and I'll ask Tina to ride one of the horses along the bridlepath on the East bank of the river and take photos.

What is remarkable is just how well the sails have come out. A professional sail loft has a huge floor space with a pit in the middle and the sewing machine is mounted in the pit so that the needle and foot are at floor level. This makes it relatively easy to keep the sail flat when feeding it through the machine. We did all the sails on the kitchen table so I'm fairly happy that the sails have come out as well as they have.