Monday, 7 June 2010

Second test sail

I should really be doing some more work on Ting-a-Ling but having recently paid my first marina fees (till now I had a free ride as the previous owner had already paid till end-May) I am eager to get my money's worth of sailing. This time a friend came along, who had recently completed his competent crew course so there was quite a bit of help. We arrived Friday evening and stepping in the boat I was grateful to have my wellies on when I heard the splash instants before my foot touched the cabing floor. Not again!? There was plenty of water covering the floorboards. Was it rain or seawater? I didn't really find out but immediately I put the trusty bildge pump to work.

We had a relatively early start, around noon with the tide on our side. Getting out of the berth was a bit tricky though as the next berth next to mine has recently found an occupant that I struggled to avoid  as I was reversing out of the berth. I literally had to fend it off with my hands! Bloody reverse! When I bought a fin-keel boat I thought it would at least be able to reverse - that was one of the advantages vs. full keels. I guess full-keels must be just unmanageable.

Anyway, the weather was lovely; very warm and quite sunny and we were really enjoying it. This time I switched off the engine as I was quite sure the battery had enough juice to get it started a few times (I fully charged it the previous night). Bliss! That moment when you switch of the engine and the wind pushes you along.

We had plenty of time so we decided to go all the way to Burnham-on-Crouch which was the furthest I've ever ventured on Ting-a-Ling. There was quite a bit of wind but I've no idea how strong it was as my wind instrument is dead.. According to Peter's GPS we logged a high speed of 5.1 knots which is quite impressive. We would easily do around 4.5 knots with not very much wind.

When we arrived at Burnham-on-Crouch I was stunned by how busy it was. There were too many boats on swinging mooring and plenty of dingys sailing around. We decided to pick a buoy so we could rest and have some tea and also do some buoy-picking practice. Peter thought we could do this on sail, without starting the engine but I had serious doubts as the wind was substantial and I didn't think we'd have time to put the mainsail down when we got the buoy. Anyway, after a few failed attempts we lost the boat hook, which luckily got stuck on a buoy. We put the sails down, started the engine and then it was pretty easy to pick the buoy with our boat hook on it..

When it was time to head back we didn't start the engine but hoisted the sails instead. However, we had to head into the wind which proved quite tricky in the busy area around Burnham so after a few failed attempts to sail towards our destination, we started the engine. Later we hoisted the sails again and quite enjoyed sailing into the wind, again with the tide on our side. At some point the wind died so we had to start the engine again which was a shame as we were having good fun.

This time we arrived at the marina just before high tide which gave us plenty of maneuvering space to make an easy mooring into our berth. Overall it was a very pleasant sail this time, although there were moments when I was quite uneasy about the coarch roof/mast step. Need to fix that soon if I want to relax. get feed

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