Shaking out the sails…

Thursday 8th July 2010

The forecast was proved wrong, again.  Hardly the heavy rain showers that the marine forecast had predicted!  We provisioned in the morning – with us thankfully sourcing a flag pole and ensign.  We sailed without for the previous few days which was very bad form!  Provisioning took up most of the morning (but we didn’t set an alarm clock this morning, so weren’t exactly early to rise) and included a Cornish pasty for Pete’s lunch!  We opted for another day of sailing (we have some drills to do, close manouvering) but as the sun was shining and there was a promise of a decent breeze, we were out there!

We were out for about 4 hours, all sails behaving properly, and also a navigation system that saw us move off the marina.  As regards the navigation systems, there are so many display panels on board, and it transpired that one had to be on to ‘feed’ the main navigation display!  Technology, love it.  I think it had been a case of the “computer says no…” We had about 16 knots of wind, a fab force 4.  We had to tack out of the channel, which was cool, with me exercising my winching muscles somewhat.  The hard work of sailing to wind.  We cruised around, sailing out of the bay towards the Manacles (not near them though)!  We were on a long port tack over there, rehearsing what they call ‘rules of the road’ working out who would have to give way to whom under pretend scenarios.  I’m still not convinced I have it right, so some homework of my own should be in order really!

I thought we might be in danger of ending up in France – Pete was really chirpy taking Whinchat around a large container ship that was anchored out in the water… Impressively, the navigation system identified her.  Told us her name, that she was at anchor..  When we sailed across her stern, we confirmed it to be true.  Pete also tried out AutoDoris under sail, but she was complaining that there was no wind input today (something else to add to the snagging list), although she did have speed (rectified by the requisit panels activated down below).

It was a more gentle sail towards port.  With the wind behind us, it was a run home.  The mainsail is really easy to work.  We’ve been used to the mainsail being controlled at the coach roof, but on Whinchat she’s rigged for control at the cockpit.  There is a mother of a pulley system holding the sheets, which is incredibly easy to control.  I’ve been used to cleating/loading the winch/easing out and here, well, it’s just a release against your body weight.  I managed to goosewing the yankee, so the sails were spread to ease us back to port… rather slowly.  But that was fine, because I used the time to master a new knot, and set about then correcting all of the ends of the warps for this bumper stop-knot.  Even more impressive, was that I undid a knot that was already tied, to break down the construction so that I could try it out – I didn’t think my brain worked that way!!

Our return to port was uneventful, again, with the only frustration was that my bowline tying skills had vanished (I’ve regained the skill now, but have yet to make sure that I can do it hanging upside down over the guard rails when attempting to secure the mooring lines).  We eased in to our berth, and both agreed it had been another cracking sail…