Thursday, April 22, 2010

First Sail of the Season

Honda 2.3
Maplin Range Safety Vessel
The Crouch Buoy
Running up the River

Well, we made it out on the water for the first sail of the season. Everything was just right. There was a gentle wind from the east, and the floodtide was making into the River Crouch. After preparing ‘Ladybird’ for sailing, I started the Honda outboard and headed the yacht into the wind. When we were a short way beyond the entrance of the River Roach I hoisted sail and tacked to windward. At first there was barely enough wind for the boat to make over the tide, but it freshened a little and veered to the southeast which meant we could sail at 2.9 knots over the ground.

Only a few yachts were out and about; therefore I had the River almost to myself, except for a small trawler that was operating close to the north shore in shallow water. Later as the tide rose, she made her way into the River Roach. Anchored near the Inner Crouch Buoy there was a smart looking motor vessel which I discovered was the safety vessel for the Maplin Firing Range. I continued sailing as far as the Crouch Buoy; then I brought ‘Ladybird’ round for a run back up the River. Our speed shot up to 4.9 knots. The Autohelm easily managed the downwind sailing, and within an hour we returned to our mooring, covering the same distance we had to windward in two hours.

This first sail of the season had shown that all was working well, except the depth sounder. I was very pleased with the Honda 2.3 four stroke outboard which gave ample thrust at only half throttle. I like the fact that oil does not need to be mixed with the fuel (petrol) and that the engine is air cooled. It is also fairly quiet, as the exhaust fumes exit under the water, not that there are any noticeable fumes. My previous Honda 2.3 had given me good service; hence my choice for another one.

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