Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sailing in Clare

After spending so much time building a boat, I have learned that it's much easier to steal an hour or three to work on the boat, than to steel an entire day to go sailing. But on this trip to Clare with the family, a day presented for me to go sailing, by myself.

The sea is a very different place, with tides and proper waves. At first I found a lovely place to launch from, Bell Harbour, only to find it dries for a good portion of the tide. Also, as you come out to the sea proper, the entire body of water funnels through a small channel. Not a place to be in a small open boat unless you are within an hour of high tide.

Ballyvaughan however has a slip, which is good at all time of the tide except the lower end of the springs. It's quite steep, but there were a few local lads, who were kind enough to help me getting The Lady Caroline down, and back up again later.

Now I have built a boat, and sailed it once or twice, but sailing is still a learning thing for me. I really must remember to close the self-bailers before launching the boat.

For single handing, I need to add some sort of rudder lock. I also need to learn to heave too, but given that there was a short steep swell, and at times I was close to picking up a bath full of sea water over the side, it seemed the wrong time to try that out.

My little Garmin showed my speed, which I tried to use to see how setting my sails affected things, but with the swells and the gusts, it was quiet hopeless.

TLC did just fine. I did not fly the Jib, since I am still learning, and she does not point so very well without it, be we managed.

On the way out, when I hit the worst of the swell, my course was taking me directly parallel to the waves. This was a quite a lot less than fun, so I fell away a little, and then headed back up into the wind so that I was crossing the waves enough to keep things stable.

On the way back I came in along the coast a little more to avoid the worst of the swell, that put the shallow sand banks between me and the rest of the Atlantic.

My plans for the next trip are to try heaving too, try anchoring, and if I can sort out oars before then to see how I manage at rowing a little. TLC has a 6' beam, so she's won't be an easy row, but we should be able to manage.

Sailing In Clare

"The cold rain makes it hard to see where the barren rock that passes for soil meets the bleak grey cloud. If this is summer what fell shadow must be cast on the soul of any man exiled to spend a winter in Clare?"
- Me, after a week in Clare in August

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