The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2017.09.09 - Another Early Sunday Morning Sail

Since the forecast for the period of 3am to 9am was force 2 gusting 3, I set my alarm from 05:45. I know disgustingly early for a Sunday. Nevertheless, having fed the cats I was on the boat at 06:00 and put the kettle on. The pre-sailling preparations were carried out while the kettle was heating up and I soon had the boat ready to go and a cup of tea.

It was a murky morning, mist that really classed as fog since the visibility was much less than 1km although if you looked up you could see the sky. The wind was light and the current strong since we have had some rain recently. That a was going to give me problems, I just knew it!

I pushed Naiad out of her berth at 06:15 and raised all sail and then spend the next hour tacking back for forth across the river gaining ground on one tack only for the current to push me back again on the other tack. Eventually I gained enough ground to put me into the consistent wind round the first corner and from there on the sailing was pretty good.

Initially I had all sail up but the boat is not balanced that way and I soon furled the jib and had a good run up to the Ship Inn. In light and fickle airs you have to push the tiller over in order for Naiad to tack but once the wind is steady and force 1 or better then all you need to do it to let go the tiller and she will tack herself round and I could deal with the staysail sheets. Once on the new tack Naiad would return the tiller and as it came amidships I could take hold of it again and sail on. It is very satisfying to be able to do this.

I used to think that I was a fair sailor but sailing on rivers with high banks is very tricky indeed.

The mist blowing in the wind collects on the mainsail, runs down the sail to fall off the bottom and if you are under this, as I was, you get wet. I was. Still but the time I reached my turning point the mist had cleared and the sun had come out and I soon dried out.

For a change, rather than just turning around and return to the club I tied up at the moorings beside the Inn and made another cup of tea. Once I had that done I pushed off again, set just the main and started back. I arrived at the Ship Inn at about 09:00 and set off again at 09:30.

The wind started rising shortly after that and halfway home I lowered the mail and set the staysail. About 50m before reaching my berth I furled the staysail and sailed on under bare poles into the berth arriving and just before 10:00. Naiad handles quite well downwind with just bare poles and it is a convenient way to sail into the berth. I can grab the stern mooring rope as I go past and stop the boat without having to worry about getting the sail down at the same time.

No photos today, I was too busy enjoying the sailing. I also forgot to bring the video camera so no video either.

Maybe next time.