The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2018.04.27 - First Sail of the Season

Dawn came early and I was up and dressed and finished with my ablutions by 05:30. The mast was raised and the mains'l bent on. The was an easy job since I have all the ropes of the correct length and it was a completely windless morning.

Once done with that and after a cup of tea I raised all sail and started paddling down river. It was a toss up as to whether is was better to paddle or to sail with the very slight breeze that came up about half an hour after I set off. In the end I decided that sailing, even if it was slower, was a lot less effort and put the paddle away.

09:30 saw me lowering the sail at the first bridge in Littleport and I paddled through Littleport and the increasingly heavier rain and under the second bridge after which I moored up for a few moments to raise the mast again. The wind was getting stronger although not in the forecast direction, there a was a lot of North in the Easterly breeze when I was expecting South. Oh well.

The sail that followed all the way up to the mooring was nothing less than fantastic. Even the windless hole at Brandon Creek behaved itself. I was wet and cold, the wind direction required me to beat down river, I had to stand all the time as the seats were wet and sitting down meant that I the bits of me that were dry got wet but I had a glorious sail. Naiad behaved herself perfectly and I was moored up by 15:05. I could have gone on sailing but by that time I was shivering and needed to stop and warm up.

The first thing after the temporary mooring ropes was the cockpit tent to stop any more rain getting into the boat, then I stripped off my wet clothes, dried, put on yesterday's dry clothes, had a cup of tea and breakfast, a packet rice meal, and then crawled back into bed.

Tina sent me a message when she was about to leave Littleport on the way home and I put all my wet clothes into a plastic bag and locked Naiad up. I had just finished when a toot from the car horn told me that my ride home had arrived and I scampered to the car carrying all my stuff, wet and dry, and was taken home.

I left Naiad tied up with just the temporary mooring ropes, I'll return tomorrow after a good night's sleep to do the job properly. It will take an hour to two to get sorted out and the forecast wind direction and strength mean that Naiad will be safe with just the temporary ropes.

Lesson learnt.

  • Always pack a complete set of dry clothes including shoes. In fact, keep a dry set of clothes on the boat in a waterproof stowage bag.
  • Waterproofs aren't.
  • The bulkhead between the cockpit and the cabin needs to be properly sealed as it lets water from the cockpit (from all the rain) drain into the cabin which then has to be sponged out.
  • Uncle Ben's Rice Meals are great on a boat. They can be cooked in a pan, take three minutes to do and taste good. One of those and a cup of tea goes a long way to warning up a cold body.
  • Going to bed is also a good way to warm up and there's nothing wrong with going back to bed in the middle of the day, especially if you're cold.
  • Naiad is currently a river boat. She needs mooring ropes and rond anchors fixed before going sailing. Trying to sort it all out just before needing them doesn't work.
  • Tie up the forward reefing lines before removing the boom from the gooseneck when lowering the mast. They get tangled if you do not.
  • Naiad needs to have rope bags in the cockpit to store the falls from the halyard, the topping life and the two furling lines. These ropes tend to fall into the footwell and get in the way. If you do not keep sorting them out when you come to use them they are all knotted. Not good!.
  • When paddling, a bungee across the cockpit to hold the teller in the correct place is required. Trying to keep it offset enough to counter the paddling on one side requires you to sit too far towards the centre or the boat and then paddling at arms reach.

Hopefully the next sail will not be quite so wet!