The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2018.09.02 - Sailing at Last!

I don't know what it has been like for the last 10 weeks in your part of the world but in mine the weather for sailing Naiad has been dismal. Lovely hot weather, granted, but either no wind at all, just a flat calm or too much. August is also our busiest month and every weekend has been us doing something else usually going away on the Friday and returning the following Monday. The week goes like this: Monday arrive back from wherever we have been. Tuesday back to work but unpacking, laundry, collecting cats is also carried out. Wednesday shopping day. Thursday evening start the packing, Friday off to the next venue. Rinse and repeat. Tuesday afternoon/evening is about the only time I would get to go for a sail but the weather has just not been right for sailing. It has even been too hot to go down to Naiad just for cup of tea.

Until today.

Today, 10 weeks and 1 day since I last sailed on Naiad, I had a perfect sailing day. Sun forecast, 24 Celsius and the wind forecast 2 gusting 4 from the South-East. I left home at 09:00 and at 09:45 I pushed back out of the mooring, cup of tea to hand, hoisted full sail and set off upriver. One I had settled down I remembered the video camera and set that going, only I forgot that the last time I had used it I had set it to 1 frame per second so almost the entire trip comes out in 4 minutes 51 seconds. I didn't set up the camera until about 45 minutes after I set off. Once of these days I'll remember to set it up before I push back out of the mooring. I've put the video below in its unedited entirety for your amusement!

I had also forgotten that the first Sunday in September is the West Norfolk Rowing Club annual marathon race starting from the club at Denver sluice and ending just outside Ely. Shortly after I had started I was passed by rowing boats in their hundreds. Well, probably only 50 or so but they kept on coming, a staggered start I would guess. Most of them keep a good eye out but one or two just did not look forward at all and required a shouted "Ware Ahead" in order for them to realise that they were heading for trouble. Technically, as a sailing boat under sail I was the stand-on vessel and they, as powered vessels, were the give way vessel but I did try to keep out their way as much as possible. Still, when the wind drops there's little I could do about it.

I did get a muffled Anglo-Saxon outburst from one gentleman when he was somewhat startled to find himself passing by a sailing boat but his call of "you should give a good shout" garnered my reply of "you should watch where you're going" and was not well received.

The wind continued to be fair all the way to the "Blank Hole" whereupon it went weird and then turned to blow from the opposite direction and then across the river and I could see a lot of calm further upriver, so I turned round and headed back to the club.

All in all a great sail on a lovely day.