As promised, here are more photos illustrating yesterday’s sail.
Altogether I was on the water for ten hours, not all of them sailing or rowing. I took two breaks, the first at anchor off Cliff Reach and the second tied to a buoy near the western entrance of Bridgemarsh Creek.
Shortly after setting out from the slipway at Hullbridge I noticed what appeared to be a long piece of string trailing from the rudder. This turned out to be a crab bait line, probably lost by some unfortunate child, who like many others gather at the end of the Up River Yacht Club’s slipway for a bit of sport, catching as many crabs as possible, before throwing them back into the water.
Apart from the crab line incident there was an event that could have been very significant. The wind was generally light, but as clouds began to appear, the wind became puffy. A stronger puff than the others heeled ‘Pike’ to a point where she was about to take water over her side. I was able to spill wind from the sail to bring the boat onto a more even keel. At the time, I was midway along Longpole Reach, which is a stretch of water to the east of Fambridge. Not many people walk the banks that far from Fambridge, and had ‘Pike’ capsized I doubt anyone would have seen me struggling in the water attempting to right her.
I had worked out a passage plan considering the possibility of capsizing. As a safety precaution I carried a whistle, and wore a buoyancy aid. In truth, a whistle may not have been of much use, but on returning to the same stretch of water later that day, I saw a man seated on the north bank who could have been birdwatching. (During the sail I saw two flocks of geese, many plovers and several lone egrets.) At the outset, I had my doubts about being able to recover the boat after capsizing, and yet I took the risk. Needless to say, I became more vigilant after the event.
Except for the happenings described, nothing else of note occurred. I sailed as far as Burnham Yacht Harbour and back to Cliff Reach where I anchored and had lunch. Later I made my way to the easternmost buoy of the Fambridge moorings for a nap while waiting for the water to become high enough for me retrieve the boat at Hullbridge. I chose to row the last 3 ¼ miles for a bit of exercise.
The new sheeting points are good, but I do not have enough strength to pull the sheets really taught for long periods. I may have to revert to the previous single sheet system, despite its drawbacks.
Sailing ‘Pike’ on the River Crouch in more than a Force 3 would be too much for me. This definitely limits what I can do with her.