Saturday, 10 November 2007

Strong winds

The forecast was for strong[ish] winds of 16 knots. Unfortunately, at least for me, James was not available as he is having sailing lessons. Anyhow I decided to try sailing the wayfarer alone. I had made change to the rig, adding a temporary outhaul line, the thinking being I could tighten the outhaul to depower the sail if needed. However... this temporary rig slipped, doing the opposite to what I wanted, while I was sailing off the shore and the boat shot out from the sailing club with me having great difficulty in controlling her.

So I hove to and fixed that problem, but the wind was still building so I furled the genoa. It was still building. This would have been quite exciting with a crew, especially a crew with a little more weight than James. Anyhow I decided to sail into the shore and furl the main. Yuk, boom roller furling is a mess. This winter I will have to get slab reefing put in. Not only is it very difficult to do, but it leaves the main sheet unclipped and running from the stern as end sheeting. But the biggest problem is that the rolling of the sail tends to push the boom off the goose neck of the mast. Messy.

Anyway... had a bit of a blow around the bay and then went in as James had finished his lesson to see if he wanted to come out with me. The wind strength was still building and he was tired from sailing his Optimist in this wind, so we both decided enough for the day.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

3 November 2007

James, my normal crew, was away camping with his parents this weekend as it is half term in Cyprus for his school. John, a friend from our Friday evening group, came out and we had a wonderful time.

Just as I was packing up the boat last weekend, the main halyard jumped off the sheave at the top of the mast, so the first thing John and I had to do was bring the mast down and fix the halyard. The sheave is really too narrow, hence why the halyard jumps off. Neil had given me a couple of alternatives, but these were each too wide, so I am stuck with the old one and will replace it sometime this winter.

We also took the opportunity to add a highfield tensioner for the genoa halyard from an old scrap mast at the sailing club. This has mad a huge difference to the rig - its a lot more stable and just feels much better to sail.

I decided that we would sail in the opposite direction to normal, with an aim of having lunch somewhere down near Makenzie beach. We tacked off the beach, avoiding the two ships that were unloading gas and petrol to the storage tanks here. We went about 50 metres off one of the mooring buoys as there were some interesting sea birds - cormorants or something like that, but 50 metres was obviously too close for them and they flew off.

We then had a long tack all the way down to the fishing village and started looking around for a suitable place to stop. It looked like I could get in to the beach just beyond the last of the blocks of flats from there, but suddenly saw there were rocks just below the surface and in fact just breaking the surface, so tacked out and came round the rocks giving them a wide berth.

The way back was basically just a couple of broad reaches, which rather than gybing between I went about as I was just having a very nice gentle sail and the gap between the kicking strap and the main sheet is closer than I would like so thought I would not give John a very quick duck and dive as the boom came across!

Just about 300 metres from the club the wind died totally, John starts paddling and then after a few minutes picks up one last breath to sail us up to the beach. It was a good job we didn't stay longer at Mackenzie or we would have been paddling the whole way back.

The wind was such that most of the time we were sailing at between 2 and 4 knots, but we did get up to 5.5 knots on the way back [sometimes surfing the waves on the broad reach] and down to about 1 knot at other times.

All in all a very pleasant, very gentle and very enjoyable sail. What was nice to see was a number of yachts out sailing, which is unusual. However, we were the only sailing dinghy we saw out on the water today.

The distance sailed was just under 10.5 nautical miles. The yellow track is the morning sail and the light blue track is the afternoon run back to the club. The image quality for Larnaca on Google Earth has improved as you will see.