There have been some big tides this weekend. 5 metres on Saturday and 5.1 on Sunday. Big tides like this allow sailors in Langstone to use the whole harbour without much risk of grounding.
So with that in mind I made sure I got a lot of sailing time in!
Yesterday I arrived a bit late, having taken the wife to a car boot sale in the morning. I didn't mind because I got a clock and barometer set there! I was going to get down to the boat about 10am, but in the end it was more like 11:30. But I still had a good hour and a half or sailing in the afternoon.
Mainly getting to grips with the mainsail and trying the tiller pilot. The bad news was that the wind was a bit inconsistent, so the tiller pilot couldn't quite keep up. But that's an important lesson learned for the future.
Before I set off I fitted a new shorter shackle to the top of the mainsail, which lifted it another half inch. It helped, but the downhaul still doesn't put enough tension in the sail, due to the pin in the slide stopping the boom moving any lower. Despite this the sail is looking a lot better:
The weather forecast for Saturday had been pretty dire, warning of showers, etc. That was good because it kept most people away and Langstone harbour was almost abandoned, apart from a few dinghy sailors and the very occasional yacht.
Anyway, the outgoing dredger signalled the tide was well on the ebb, so it was time to turn round and head back to base. Day one over, sailing time 1 Hour 30 minutes.
Sunday started cloudy and windy. I had a few chores to do first, so the lawn got a quick mow, I made a flask of coffee, collected up the clock and barometer for fitting to the boat and then was off.
I got down to the boat at about 11:30, which wasn't that far off my original setting-off time of 11. I'd left the sail loosely tied, so All I had to do was start the engine, fit the rudder and slip the mooring. I followed a lovely little lug-sailed boat that came out of the marina. After clearing the deep water moorings they peeled off Eastwards across the harbour with the wind behind them.
The tide was still flooding in, so once I'd come out of the pond I half sailed, half pushed by the tide Northwards up the harbour. Up to the end of the harbour, just short of the outdoor activity centre that had a gaggle of dinghies around it.
All the while I was trying to get the best out of the sails, but the wind was again inconsistent which didn't help. After a slow 30 minute trip up the harbour I turned round and headed back South. Not long after that the wind died completely, just the occasional just pushed me along. The residual wind was hardly enough to push me against the incoming tide.
What I do know is with a bit of consistent wind, the boat really can get a move on. When its at this sort of angle it goes very well!
Jim texted me while I was on my way back down the harbour, so I dropped the sails, started the engine and headed off to the ferry pontoon, where I picked him up. So, off we went back up the harbour for another hour or two of pottering about.
When the wind picked up, we held our own against some of the dinghies out in the harbour. Certainly we weren't left for dead as we were a month or so ago. So working on the trim of the mainsail has made a huge difference.
In the end, we had a really good day. Rather than just sitting, we were actually sailing, which makes a big difference. You can tell I enjoyed it:
Jim has been enthused with sailing again. So I've started making him a new rudder for his boat as his flimsy one broke a couple of weeks ago when he took Doug out.
So far I've glued and screwed the plywood together into a rough rudder shape. It needs a tiller, but even in its rough state you can see its a rudder. 50 screws hold the 15mm marine plywood sheets together along with the fact the sheets are epoxied together, so it should hold up to the rigours of being a rudder.
Its been a really good weekend.