Saturday, 27 September 2014

Sculling and covers!

Saturday began the final leg of the season, Daisy II returning to her mooring until late, late Autumn.
 Launching took place on the night tide.  It was very dark with no help from the new moon, but sufficient light pollution from Harwich and Ipswich to make launching possible with a head torch!  HW was at 2am and I managed to push her off the trailer at Kings Boatyard slip at around 1am, finally turning in at 1.30am.
There was absolutely no wind throughout my stay aboard.  In the morning, I tied up at the end of Pin Mill hard in order to fetch the tender.
Waiting faithfully at the end of Pin Mill hard
The still conditions provided a great opportunity to experiment with sculling - my next seamanship project.  The plan is to purchase 10ft oars and to adapt one for use in Daisy II - this will inevitably involve some form of oar extension in order to stand and scull from the cockpit, since the Drascombe design leaves a considerable area of decking aft of the cockpit.  The following video clip of the sculling expertise of Jack O'Keefe in his coaster Tyboat illustrates what may eventually be possible:
For now, I'm practising with a short oar on the dinghy.  Having done a good deal of online studying, the 'falling leaf' technique seems to work quite well and that seems to be the method used by Jack.
After a few experimental trips around the boat, I managed to scull the quarter mile back to shore in about 15 minutes.  That works out as roughly (given approximate distances) 1 knot which will do for starters!  It was also quite a workout but that had as much to do with my inefficient technique; I'm also not sure a BIC245 dinghy with it's twin bilge is quite the best sculling boat!

The other change is the new cockpit cover which is now rather more than its name.  The story goes that my old cover was threadbare and needing replacement.  Balking at the replacement cost from either of the existing Drascombe builders, I started looking at much cheaper options from online and local PVC cover makers.  Further online discussions about stability on the mooring, coupled with the new boom convinced me to leave the spray hood down in future.  In turn, the new cockpit cover needed to cover the cabin entrance as well as its original brief.
New cockpit cover in place; I need to work on the best method for tying it down.
I found a very helpful local supplier who made covers to match the dimensions requested.  The eventual cost for this considerably larger than intended cover, around £140, is still cheaper than the much smaller, bespoke Drascombe cockpit cover.  The intention is to increase stability in the event of another Autumn storm, such as was experienced last October.  Whilst Daisy II coped perfectly well during this event, the additional boom means there is just that extra weight higher up, so this modification will hopefully compensate.  Hopefully, the new arrangements will protect the canvas sprayhood which needs a thorough clean and reproofing this winter.
It remains to be seen what the local wildlife make of it - anything new and blue seems to be a particular target for the birds; hopefully the plastic bags will continue to be an effective deterrent, although they do need a breath of wind to get going!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

River Waveney, Norfolk Broads - Drascombe Association Rally, 19-21 September 2014

This was the final Drascombe Association rally of 2014 and featured a varying number of boats, depending on the various pitfalls which befell the various participants.  At some time or another, the following boats were launched:
Coasters:Daisy II, Swift Tern, Nonsuch, Sapphire II, 
Longboat Cruiser: Puffin
Longboat: Jenny Morgan
Gig: Tra Bhui
Lugger: Muckle Flugga
Eight from the twelve who were booked in at the beginning of the week isn't a bad return!

Our hosts were the Waveney River Centre, which is a charming location roughly two miles from Oulton Broad and about eight miles from Beccles. 
The slipway is wide, with plenty of room.

Stern-to moorings at Waveney River Centre

Skippers and crew making final preparations for Saturday's trip!

On Saturday, for our planned return trip to Beccles, conditions were overcast and rather damp with a very light northerly breeze (F2-3).  Once the reeds and treelined riverbank took the edge off the wind, there was little left for us, so a good deal of time was spent motoring, or motor sailing.  However, various boats managed substantial periods of time without engine, particularly on the return trip.

Jenny Morgan ahead of Daisy II making what they could of the little wind available!

Gig Tra Bhui motor sailing

Daisy II arriving at Beccles, picnic awaiting!

Swift Tern bringing up the rear of the fleet!

The rare sight of Daisy II gaining a welcome crew member for the return trip!

Yours truly!

Muckle Flugga in motion!

Puffin in full sail!

Such a pity the wind wasn't playing!

Tra Bhui waiting for wind!

Jenny Morgan hitches a lift after terminal outboard woes....

Look, no helmsman!

Evening meal

Conditions on Sunday morning were rather clearer, although no less helpful - F5 gusting higher, sunny intervals with showers.  

Cheery sunshine on Sunday morning; a colourful array of Drascombes awaiting action!
Our planned trip to Oulton Broad went ahead, although the gusting wind made for some interesting manoeuvres.
A lugger sandwich?  Muckle Flugga leading the way on Sunday morning!

Mastless Sapphire II stops for elevenses just off Oulton Broad

Jib and high-peaked mizzen is the order of the day for Longboat Cruiser Puffin and her charmingly boisterous skipper and crew!  Taking a boozy short leave of their nymphs from the shore, the crew member was singing a rendition of the Sailor's Chorus from Act III of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas!

Jenny Morgan in familiar territory

Swift Tern making a charming habit of arriving last in the fleet!

Puffin's high-peaked mizzen looking splendid, motoring along Oulton Dyke.
The wide and gently sloping slipway at the Waveney River Centre was very straight forward with easy access, plenty of room for rigging and laying up and reasonable charges for usage.
Tra Bhui on dry land.
Daisy II returns to terra firma, being readied for the trip home.
17.6nm; red track - return trip to Beccles on 20th September; yellow track - return trip to Oulton Broad on Sunday 21st September