Sunday, November 06, 2011

Sailing in November

My wife's family is from Cavan, and my parents have retired there too. So, on Friday we drove to Cavan, with the boat in tow. While my wife and the children visited her parents, I met my parents at the lake with the boat. (Thank you my love for the time you give me to sail.)

The lake was up about 4 - 6 feet over it's banks, which meant the car park was flooded to 18 inches. So I had to push the boat and trailer right through the (bitterly cold) water in the car park to get deep enough to launch it.

I'm now in my 40s, so Mom's claim to being 21 is not looking good, but she rolled up her trousers and waded knee deep into the lake to climb on board.

Her father was a Ship Builder in Arklow, and this was her first time going out sailing in a boat built by her son. The world turns.

It was also only my third time out in the boat. So her faith in me may be misplaced.

Using an A Frame, an open hinge, and temporary, sprung stays, I've hugely simplified hoisting the mast and setting up the boat, but it still takes about an hour. This time, I rigged the Jib for the first time. Up to now I'd only be flying the mainsail.

The lake was divided into regions of small waves, ripples, and of glass, depending on the lay of the land, and the shelter of the trees.

As you can see the lake is somewhat convoluted.

View Larger Map
Our journey went from the Bridge marked A above to the turn in the lake and back. Hardly an epic voyage, but an adventure nonetheless.
For the first time I popped up the Jib. It's on a rolling furler, and it was far easier to fly it and later stow it again than I'd expected.

Mom took the helm for a while, and we generally took it easy. In spite of it being the start of November, it was surprisingly warm, and the sky was blue, barely dotted with clouds.

At one point we tacked back and forth a few times to clear a copse of sunken trees whose crowns were barely half clear of the water. With a pivoting centreboard, and pop up rudder, I fear no shallows, but tangling with those trees could have left us stuck, but in deep enough water that getting out to push off was not an option.

I had not turned on the GPS so I've no idea how fast we were going. It was light enough air that we could sit one each side and sail without any concern of capsizing. There was a noticeable increase in speed when we flew the Jib. At times we "flew along", but when we passed through the shadows of the trees, we had to look at our wake to be sure we were moving at all.

The return to our launch site was narrow, close to the wind, and in shelter. After slowing to a halt and drifting back and sideways twice, I relented and used the outboard engine to take us in to where I could jump out

I'd like to say a big thanks to my father, who in spite of not having any wish to board any boat which is not large enough to have a choice of restaurants, did help me set up and tear down the boat, and sat reading in the car awaiting our safe return.

These lakes will be my sailing grounds for a while, and there's more than enough to explore. As the kids get older, there's plenty of "pirate coves" and "magic islands". I think I'll need to order "The Swallows and The Amazons".

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