Friday, August 31, 2007

Cobnor (Day Three)

There wasn’t much wind early on the morning of Sunday, 19th August as the tide turned on the flood. The forecast was for a North Westerly between 5 and 6 with occasional rain and drizzle. I had moved the boat into deeper water at 0200 to avoid taking the ground. Without wind there was little prospect of a sail; therefore at 1100 I beached ‘Faith’ near the slipway so that I would be able to meet the DCA contingent at the campsite. After having met Phil, Doug, Chris, John and Josephine and seeing their boats I returned to anchor ‘Faith’ near the moored yachts. John and Josephine were on their way home after attending a Hostelers’ Club cruise on the East Coast. They are an unassuming couple who have sailed their open day sailer across the English Channel several times. Chris owns a West Wight Potter, but had brought his Mirage canoe instead. Doug had his beautiful ‘Houdini’ designed by John Welsford, and Phil was the owner of a home-built Ian Oughtred Ness Yawl, without a mizzen. All of these fine boats have character like their owners.

At mid-afternoon I made sail, the wind being a light north westerly. An hour of so later found us off the sailing club mid way along the Thorney Channel, and by teatime we were back at Cobnor after a pleasant, but short exploration of the locality – at the time there had been a small fleet of Tideway dinghies either racing or cruising the same waters. ‘Faith’ matched their performance when on the reach, but they did marginally better to windward. Al, Doug and Liz returned to the slipway, just as drizzle set in, but this did not curtail their conversation as they attended to their boats - Doug and Al anchoring theirs, while Liz retrieved hers on the road trailer.

Bob drew alongside in his Mirror, ‘Tarka Too’, to explain he had lost his rudder after the tiller had snapped and I couldn’t think how this had happened since the wind had not been all that strong. (I learned that he found the rudder the next day at East Head where it had drifted ashore.) All credit to Bob, since he had managed to get back to Cobnor without his rudder. He found steering the boat with an oar only partially successful.

That evening I started reading ‘Survive the Savage Sea’ by Dougal Robertson. This is a story of a remarkable survival marathon in the Pacific Ocean to the west of the Galapagos Islands after their old wooden yacht had been attacked by killer whales. Before dusk the rain came down like a continuous waterfall and I was pleased I was not under canvas as were most of the DCA contingent at the campsite. Keith Holdsworth, in his very tiny ‘Flying Pig’ was surviving under his boom tent. The Vodfone telephone signal was very good so that I was able to send text messages and have my mobile phone on from 2100 to 2115 for communication with the ‘outside world’. I always look forward to speaking with my wife by phone at least once a day while on a cruise. Friends and relatives know that it is my custom to have the phone on at that time and no other, to conserve the battery that I am unable to charge when I’m cruising ‘Faith’.

My daily routine is to wake up with the sun, and go to bed when it sets. Around 2100 there was no longer daylight – it was time to slumber and hopefully sleep until dawn on Monday morning.

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