Saturday, July 30, 2011

‘Talitha’s’ Fourth Sail

Very fast Powerboat

Fast Motor Yacht

Saturday on the Crouch during the summer holidays – I should have known what would happen. Sadly, over the years since I started sailing on the River Crouch in 1973, there has been a marked proliferation of power vessels. Today, there were a few water-ski boats, and a large number of motor yachts, some that moved at speed with disregard to other water users. Two vessels in particular made excessive washes that roared along the banks, no doubt causing erosion to the softer ones of Bridgemarsh Island.

I’m not a killjoy, and I’m not anti-motorboats, but I don’t understand the mentality of a few who ‘drive’ their boats at high speed past small craft. I could say derogatory remarks about such people, but that would be unbecoming and not at all helpful. I’ve come to the conclusion that whatever my views, theirs will not be changed. I therefore have to accept the situation if I choose to take my little sailing boat on the Crouch during the summer season on a Saturday.

GPS on new bracket

Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed my fourth sail with ‘Talitha’. The wind was light and variable, which made the sailing very interesting. I was frozen in the morning on my way to Fambridge because the wind was pretty cold. From about mid-day onwards the sun peeped out, and the clouds thinned to reveal blue sky by mid-afternoon. There were quite a few large sailing yachts making up river in the morning, and I found that ‘Talitha’ could not keep up with them, but she overtook a few of the smaller ones. Taller rigs, larger sails and longer waterlines ensured that the good, big yachts sailed faster and arrived at Fambridge before my tiny boat.

Anchored Yacht

I dropped anchor close to the north bank, to the east of the moorings. In deeper water, anchored nearby, there was a stylish wooden yacht that had an almost straight sheer. She had an unusual mizzen mounted on an upright rudder stock, similar to those on Thames barges. Francis Chichester had a self-steering sail on one of his boats, almost identical in appearance to the one on the nearby yacht.

After lunch I made sail and headed down river for Burnham. The wind was fickle when I arrived off Bridgemarsh Creek as a Burnham scow was entering the river. At first I could not catch her, but with perseverance I overtook the dinghy, despite having weed wrapped around ‘Talitha’s’ keel. There was an excessive amount of egg wrack drifting in clumps on the surface which had me taking evasive action to avoid them.

Back at the Yacht Harbour, I brought the trailer and car down the slipway to save time when making the boat ready for the road. This meant that I did not have to haul the boat on her trolley to the top of the slipway, as I did before.

Apart from motorboat interference, the sailing was very good.

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