Having been invited for a day sail by the owner of ‘Ladybird’ I found myself aboard her today with a 10.00 am start.
Time has flown since a year ago when I lost confidence at the start of what was to be a South Coast cruise sailing my Matt Layden Paradox to Falmouth, and perhaps to the Scilly Isles. The outcome was that I had no inclination to get out on the water, and eventually I came to the conclusion that I should sell the boat, along with her gear. She was advertised and a buyer was found. I thought that was the end of sailing for me, but as time went by I felt that perhaps I could have a go at sailing a dinghy in the hope that I might regain some confidence.
Regular readers will know that I found an Iain Oughtred Pike Skiff and bought her. So far I haven’t got around to rigging her. On the plus side, I have put new wheels on her launching trolley.
I was anxious at the start, but things went well. At first there wasn’t much wind; however, within a half-an-hour the wind increased, making it necessary to reef the mainsail and reduce the furling Genoa to the size of a working jib. This combination was perfect for making to seaward on the last of the ebb. Red flags on the south bank of the River Crouch indicated that firing at Foulness Range was taking place. Sure enough, now and again we could hear thuds of artillery and see clouds of black smoke lifting above the river bank.
After an enjoyable ‘thrash’ eastward towards Maplin Sand, we decided it was time for lunch and anchored in the lee, not far from the north bank of the River. A large dark cloud formed over Burnham and it slowly moved in an east by north direction. At the same time the wind veered, so that we had less protection, but by then both wind and tide were in harmony; consequently the water remained relatively smooth.
The sail back to ‘Ladybird’s’ mooring with the wind from astern was rapid.
Altogether, the experience was enjoyable, and I felt I had regained some of my self-confidence.
My thanks goes to ‘Ladybird’s’ owner for the sail, and for him feeding me with loads of chocolate biscuits!
‘Ladybird’ in Hibernation