Monday, 8 September 2014

Don't You Just Hate Midweek?

I couldn’t help taking the opportunity to send younger friends and ex colleagues a few pics from my first ‘voyage’ on ‘Susan’, the Westerly Nomad I have worked on to save from dereliction over the past two years. It wasn’t so much the triumph of getting afloat at last; it was the joy of being able to do it mid week – when most other people have their heads down and their noses to the grindstone. I gave up the corporate world a couple of years ago, reducing my income but gaining time – and now it has paid off – I have a boat and I have time to sail.

There is an added bonus too – this September is one of good weather and, with everyone back at work and children back in their schools, I have this beautiful estuary to myself.

So, where have I been and how does this boat sail? Well, I haven’t been far. In and out of the pontoon about six times to perfect the technique and then a trip across the estuary to the beautiful village of Mordreuc (translates as village of the Druids), and a longer sail down the estuary to the even more beautiful village of St Sulliac (listed as one of the ten most beautiful villages in France). The wind on this longer trip was gusty from the North East and the boat performed as predicted.

The weather helm is hardly noticeable in light airs and easily manageable in gusts. She leans easily on the wind and leeway is less than I expected. She will not win any races and she is slow and heavy – qualities I like. In return for her weight and lack of speed, I have easy motion and very predictable behaviour. The cabin roof, stretched right to her beam, provides an excellent clear wide space for deck work and, on a good reach, she pretty much steers herself. An excellent boat for a single-hander but with plenty of room for family and friends.

On the return trip with the wind behind us, we sailed goose-winged for several miles and on one brief occasion we actually attained 5.1 knots over the ground.

Now there is still plenty of work to do in the cabin but that can wait until the weather deteriorates. While the sun still shines I’ll be sailing –  especially MIDWEEK!