Monday, 16 July 2018

Coniston Rally, 14-15 July

Daisy II in the secret harbour, 'Wildcat Island'

At last I was able to attend the Coniston Rally in the Lake District.
Saturday sailing and clue-hunting

Drascombes blending in...

Saturday picnic lunch at Brown Howe

Dabbering on Coniston

Coniston Sailing Club were our hosts.  Excellent facilities, including slipway, mooring jetty, club house, kitchen and bathrooms

Early Sunday morning trip to Peel Island - 'Wildcat Island' for those who know their Ransome

The secret harbour - rather lacking in water...

Presumably this is the main campsite for the Walker children

More blending in...

For 30 minutes, I had the place to myself, and then the canoeists turned up (just edging in, right of picture)

So I departed and pictured the island from a distance.

Further down the lake, others were beginning to stir.  Coaster Kathleen was on manoeuvres

Presumably they were on their way to retrieve the various clues left behind the previous day.

And so it came to hauling out, and a 6 hour road trip back south...

Saturday morning (yellow) 7.1nm; Saturday afternoon (red) 7.8nm; Sunday morning (blue) 10.4nm

And so, this spell of sailing on inland waterways (Rutland Water and Coniston) comes to an end.  Next week, serious summer sea sailing sets in!  A West Country Odyssey has been long in the planning and that will need some seriously settled weather.  However, I may well begin this coming weekend with a three or four days cruising around some familiar east coast haunts.

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Rutland Water Rally, July 7th 2018

Splendid view of Rutland Water.  Winds were light, but once they got going there was sailing to be done!
This was the first time I had tried organising a one day rally - that is: turn up on the day, sail and go home.  The rally happened this way really out of necessity, and was a qualified success.  The sailing was great, but it would have been good to meet up and chat with some of the participants.  I didn't really manage to meet everyone.

Lugger Florence
Participating boats were:
Coasters: Daisy II, Bundy Bear, Eileen Rona
LBC: Rachel
Luggers: Florence, An Dobhrain
Dabber: Gannet
BC23: Kestrel
Lune Pilot: Moon River

Drascombes mixing with the locals. Rutland Water is the largest inland lake in the UK by surface area, eclipsed in volume by the deeper Kielder Reservoir.
 We spent the morning struggling, in varied winds, to navigate the northern branch of Rutland Water.  We returned to Whitwell Creek for lunch.  In the afternoon, a slightly steadier breeze helped us over to the southern branch.
Fellow Drascomber bringing along a Lune Pilot, Moon River, for some variety

Coaster Bundy Bear

Daisy II

With the GoPro fish-eye view, this shot up the mainsail didn't really work...!

I left the ship's battery at home; this track was made using Strava, pretending I was in a kayak, since this App doesn't have a sailing option...14.8nm

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Rutland Water - pre-rally sail

Next week sees us return to Rutland Water for a another Drascombe Rally.  We haven't been there for a while.
More to the point, I haven't been to Rutland on a hot summer's day for many years - ever?  It was very busy - they've opened this Aquapark thing which rather gets in the way, but once out on the water, it's just as splendid a place to sail as ever.

Daisy II waiting patiently amongst the froth...
Once out on the water, conditions were pretty much perfect.
 Winds were F4/5 E, with occasional lulls.  It's always good to sail at Rutland since there are no tides and they don't permit engine use.  Leaving the big lump at home lightens up the stern, and we can really see how our boats perform.  Today was all about exploring both arms of the water, ready for the rally next Saturday.


Sunday, 24 June 2018

June birthday cruise to Pyefleet

High and dry: dawn in Pyefleet Channel
I haven't had much luck recently. Quite apart from needing to get the trailer serviced, Daisy II finally hopped from her trestles (see previous post) back on to a supposedly (see below) newly serviced trailer only to be stuck in 100 minutes of stationary traffic on the A14 last weekend.
Stationary for 100 minutes, but safer than the motorcyclist, a few hundred yards up the road, who the emergency services had to peel off the road.
Once moving again, there wouldn't have been much time to enjoy Rutland Water, so I returned home, determined, this weekend, to do some sailing.

Imagine the joy, then, of being stuck on the A130 with a red hot offside trailer wheel, whilst trailing down to Bradwell.  Hailing the AA, efficient as ever, we diagnosed a bit of a problem with a sticky offside brake.
It had by now freed itself, and the mechanic suggested the recent 'service' perhaps wasn't of the best quality.  However, with a few adjustments, it seems now to be working properly, and there were fortunately no further dramas for the remainder of the trip down to Bradwell Marina.

The 150 minute delay meant that I had missed the tide and, indeed, almost missed the chance to launch altogether, rush-launching the boat an hour before LW at the muddy end of the slipway, doing the remainder of the rigging whilst afloat.  Finally, I was ready for a sail.
Finally launched after a disappointingly dramatic journey.

I had intended to slip up The Wallet to the Walton Backwaters, but had missed the tide, so opted, instead, for a more leisurely sail across to a calm anchorage in Pyefleet, returning with the tide the following morning.
Mersea Island's battered sea defences
Unusually for me, on the return trip, I left Pyefleet about an hour before HW.  In previous visits, I seem always to have left at or around LW, perhaps ready for a trip up the Blackwater with the tide.  So, it made sense to capitalise on all of this water and sail in close to Mersea Island, something I don't remember doing before.  I had to dodge a few sand banks which seem to extend a fair way out to sea.  I also spent too much time listening to the endless drone of these ridiculous jet skis.  What people see in these things, I'll never know.  Only good for unsettling an otherwise pleasant sea, and making loads of noise.  Otherwise, it was good to sail in close to the island for the first time, although I do fear for its battered sea defences in places.

The other relief on this trip is that the outboard, which on the previous Broads trip had developed a marginally worrying rattle, seems to be working fine - which suggests my theory was correct - that the rattle could have been some object stored elsewhere on the boat.  Will continue to monitor...

White track: June 23rd Bradwell Marina to Pyefleet.  11.1nm.  Red track: return trip: 9.4nm