In the month of June, here in the UK, we have our longest daylight hours; therefore it is a good time for cruising sailboats. The BBC shipping forecast is at 0520, and by then the sun has risen. If the weather is fine, one can be away on the morning ebb or the flood, as the case may be. The aim is to have enough daylight hours for arriving at one’s destination before nightfall, and to make the best of the tides.
Of course, there is no reason why one should not sail at night, especially if there is a full moon for providing visibility, but the tides will be springs, which may be an advantage or disadvantage, according to where and when one wants to go. Strong winds and fast tides are not generally a good combination, unless the boat is going with both, and the wind is not too strong for handling the boat safely, particularly at the destination where windward sailing may be required, and where close manoeuvring could be expected.
Because most of my sailing started at around sunrise, I had several fine views of the sun heralding the morn. Every one of them were different: some bold and bright yellow, others mellow orange or crimson red. Such descriptions are simplifications of those momentary transitions between night and day, referred to as dawn. For some reason, I did not take a satisfactory photo of a sunset at the onset of dusk.
I sailed at night across Lyme Bay, and not long before sunrise a half-moon rose above the horizon. Early morning at sea between Poole and Weymouth brought a breathtaking scene of cool lights and a tiny half-moon high in the sky. On waking in the middle of the night at Helford River while ‘Sandpiper’ was rafted beside a Falmouth Pilot, I was mesmerized by a brilliant white moon. The sky was clear and the wind was strong, but what a sight!
None of my photos render the scenes as I remember them. Photos do not have feelings, and they cannot project their imaginations, because they are lifeless; they are soulless. The camera can only react to light, measure and record it. In turn the human who sees the photo can compare it with what he remembers. There is a two-dimensional image of the actual moment, but the moment is lost for ever, only felt and known by the one behind the camera.