Saturday, 1 September 2007

1 September 2007

Last weekend we went up to Dhekelia Sailing Club to pick up Neil and Paula's boat and we were invited up, so I thought we would sail up and see the club this weekend. There was a second reason. The local church youth group were using the scout campsite just behind the club and were supposed to be out kayaking over the weekend, so thought we might get some photos of my son and James [my normal crew] kayaking. The light blue line is the sail in the morning up to the club and the yellow line the sail back from the club.

My crew this weekend was Richard: Richard has a RYA Day Skipper on yachts, which he claims is rusty and previous to that he sailed dinghys. Looking at the line from my sailing, I think maybe we were having too much fun chatting and I wasn't concentrating on my sailing! We did get off from the shore easily today, so maybe my percentage of problems is decreasing as I get more experience.

We had a very gentle sail up the coast, since the wind was quite light. One thing I had changed was the outhaul on the mainsail. I don't have a block/cleat system, its just tied to the end of the boom, and I had left it as rigged when I bought it. Today I tightened the outhaul which made her less susceptible to backwinding off the genoa, but less power on a broad reach, so I will definitely add a block/cleat system this winter. The cunningham became more effective with a tightened outhaul too.

I want to rig her for 'cruising' so I am thinking of getting reefing points put into the main sail this winter, plus buying a mast-head buoyancy system. Richard said that some of the things would make her performance increase and some decrease, so its a bit strange... yes, I guess it is - compromising between saftey, performance and trying to keep the number of ropes in the boat to a minimum, while having those that I find make a significant difference.

I set the Dhekelia Sailing Club into my GPS from Google Earth and thought I would use that as my navigation waypoint. I had been somewhat concerned about coming into Dhekelia Sailing Club as there are rocks both sides of the main entrance, but one of the club members last weekend had told me that there was a trot line the other side of the club and so long as we stayed outside the swimming area that we could use that.

We sailed past a couple of times, tacking in closer and I was looking at the entrance from the sea, thinking about my approach. I decided the CESAC bay with the trot line was the easier option so I went about [yes, I know that would have been better as a gybe but I didn't want to mess it up with all those experienced sailors watching and I did do a gentle gybe coming round a few minutes later] We sailed in, furled the genoa and then rounded into the wind and picked up the trot line. Worked like a treat.

You can see from this enlarged Google Earth image why I was concerned. Actually looking at the line I took, I was a bit closer than maybe I should have been as there are shoals around the rock that you can see on this image. I do have a relatively shallow draft and the centreboard was partly up... so we didn't feel anything. You can see club boats on the trot line in the Google Earth image, so the satellite image must have been from a weekend.

The club members were just off for a race as today was a club regatta and we went in to eat our lunch and watch from the cub house. We watched and chatted with members and then when the others came back we met more... they were all very friendly and happy for us to join.

Richard seemed quite keen on Dhekelia Sailing Club as the people were so friendly and as there are club boats available to sail. I was interested because the club actually has courses. One of the members said that I sail at RYA level 2 at least... OK, but what does that mean? I would actually like to have some sort of qualification... but preferably what is called 'Certificate of Sailing Proficiency' as that would enable me to charter boats on holiday, but... thats a US certification. Or maybe get my RYA Day Skipper which would be even better...

Anyhow, when the club boats came back in I watched carefully as one of the Laser 2000's came in to the main harbour and then gybed round to the slipway/pontoons. Seeing the line they took would give me confidence to do that in the future.

Dhekelia Sailing Club is a very nice friendly club. We enjoyed their hospitality and then had a gentle sail back across the bay to the Larnaka Nautical Club. I was working off a waypoint on the GPS, partly I want to get used to sailing to waypoints and partly as it was hazy with the sun behind all the landmarks [we particuarly use a large globe gas tank as a landmark] and so the shoreline was unclear till we were about 1.5 nautical miles from the club.

Our club members are all off in Limassol at a race there, so the electric winch was not available. But I had an old warp of a yacht which we tied to the launching trolley and to the tow ball on my 4 wheel drive and pulled it out with that. It was easy, except because the warp was long I almost ran out of space in the car park. An alternative possibility would have been to have a block attached to where the winch normally attaches than I could pull diagonally across the car park.

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