The launching master at last found time to put ‘Bumber’ in the water. She looks fine. I was somewhat surprised to find her floating higher on her marks than last year. Perhaps that’s because more gear has yet to go aboard. There will be the personal effects of two crew members, and later, a third crew member will add more weight to set the boat down to her designed displacement. The large water tank has also to be filled, but I want to test the quality of the water at Rice and Coles pontoon before taking it aboard. Food will be purchased on Friday, ready for victualling the same day, but fresh vegetables will be bought at the last moment before setting off for the first leg of the summer cruise.
I managed to test the engine and was pleasantly surprised to find it running a lot cooler than last season. Perhaps there’s a better water supply for cooling the engine because the seacock was serviced and a new impellor was fitted. The boat rigger rotated the halyard block at the head of the mast, for which I was most grateful. That will mean the sail will be easier to hoist and quicker to come down when reefing. It will mean that the sail can be hoisted or taken down on any point of sailing, whereas last year I could only hoist or lower the sail when headed into the wind.
Junk sails are more efficient than other sails, except when on the wind. For cruising they are ideal, because of the ease in which they can be reefed. They do not flap or make a noise like Bermudan sails or the head sails of conventional rigs. Junks tend to sail more upright than boats with Bermudan configurations or gaff rigged sails. Gybing is effortless and if done properly does not bring about any hard loading on the mast.
Now I feel more settled about the forthcoming prospects of a good summer’s cruise. It’s all beginning to come together, but I shall need to be patient because the weather forecast for tomorrow is poor – loads of rain and plenty of wind. In any case, the car has to be serviced, which means I shall not be able to visit the boat until late afternoon.