First Sail at last

The first sail of the season was eventful, but in the end enjoyable. Then wind was predicted to be 8mph with no gusts perfect for a shakedown sail but it was stronger than that and most yachts we saw had a first reef in.

The evening started with a high – a seal in the river at the mouth of the creek! Didn’t stay around long enough to have his picture taken but was close enough to hear him breathing.

Raising the sails
Getting the main up was going OK until the reefing lines tensioned up, the forward lines had been pulled and jammed off to keep things tidy when putting the sail away and not released. That sorted we got that up – as it turned out not quite enough tension in the luff, but we lived with it.
We started to pull out the Genoa and discovered that someone (the skipper) had wrapped one of the sheets the wrong way round the sail so as one side tried to wrap itself round further. The easiest way to cure this was to untie the stopper knot, pull the sheet though the clutch and the track pulley, unwrap it and treaded it all back again. Of course this task fell to the crew – i.e. Wifey so by the time we got the sails up we had a cockpit full of rope, an already knackered Wifey the shore ahead and another similar sized yacht coming up astern, not really the ingredients for a smooth easy first tack of the season.

Tacking
The next few tack where short and a bit frantic with moorings, the other yacht and the shore continuously limiting a the ability to get a chance to sort things out and take a breath.

After the last of these we ended up heading for the side of one of the large cargo ships that sail up to Ipswich. We were constricted to pointing high enough to port first by the other yacht then by the large green ‘Bridgewood’ buoy. So we turned to starboard and run back towards the bridge for a bit, caught our breath, let all the other boats go away and sorted ourselves out.

We didn’t want the sail to end on a low point so after a while we turned and started down the river again. This time, with the pressure off, the tacks went well and we got back into the rhythm we had got into at the end of last season.
Once we got to around ‘Downham’ we were happy with the tacks and could see a group of Topper dinghies ahead so we turned back for home and had an easy set of broad reaches back to the bridge.

The only downer was the amount of water in the cabin, based on the ice cream tub used, a couple of litres. No idea where it came from, and wasn’t there when we arrived, but the healing of the boat probably caused it to appear from somewhere. Looking around the lockers, the seacocks, saildrive there was nothing obviously wet. Just something we will have to keep an eye on.