Tuesday, February 09, 2010

'Micro' at Holy Island, part 6

Sailing at Last

I prepared a simple lunch that I could eat underway. Then Ian and Doug sailed by in their heavily reefed Wanderer, and I saw George retrieve his anchor and make sail. Liz was also sailing her Cormorant. I joined them, but ‘Micro’s’ rudder became snagged on a mooring line, so I quickly took down her sails and freed the boat by unshipping and replacing her rudder. Liz saw that something was wrong and asked if I needed assistance. When she knew that I had things under control she continued sailing towards the far end of the bay.

Liz and her Cormorant

Where she could go, I could follow. We took care to avoid going aground, because the water was still ebbing. We could see and hear a number of seals that were sunbathing on a sandbank which was beyond a stony ridge. I noted that Len Wingfield and his son Ed had sailed their boat into a protected cove by Guile Point, perhaps to beach her or anchor-off while eating lunch. Others followed, but I preferred sailing up and down the bay. Because there was smooth water, I was able to keep ‘Micro’ on a steady course by using her Huntingford Helm Impeder. This ingenious device held the tiller in a stationary position, which made it easier for me to eat lunch while on the go.

Prudent Return

After my meal I observed that tide had turned, and since my boat was not equipped with an engine, I decided to return to the harbour because the wind was beginning to fail and I didn’t want to row against the first of the flood tide. On arrival at the harbour I picked up a mooring and brewed a cup of tea. Not long afterwards the wind returned, but it was stronger and colder than before. I quickly improvised a wind brake, but it was ineffective. Therefore I set up the forward part of the boom tent, which did the job of keeping the wind a bay. Then I lost myself in the pages of MacGregor’s book. One by one the boats returned and anchored at the Ouse. This is an area adjacent to the beach. At low water it becomes a mass of sticky, dark brown mud, layered with spidery green weed. The weed insidiously wraps itself around anchor warps so securely that it is almost impossible to remove.

The Evening Meal

A combined evening meal had been booked for 1845 at the Ship Inn for a goodly number of us, but high water was around 2015, which meant our boats could not be beached until about an hour after the start of the meal. Tim Roberts used his rubber dinghy to ferry those who wanted to keep their boats at anchor. After setting up my boom tent I gladly accepted his offer.

The meal was a convivial affair. We ordered and paid for our own food and drink. I had a huge gammon steak, a portion of which I could not eat, but Len Wingfield gladly consumed what I couldn’t manage. We mostly chatted about our sailing experiences or exchanged information about computers and web sites. In view of the Queen's Golden Jubilee, the pub manager arranged a special quiz on the subject of the Royal Family. I was not madly enthusiastic about participating; therefore I retreated to 'Micro' with the help of Tim who willingly acted as my ferryman for the second time. After climbing aboard, I folded back the aft end of the tent so that I could row ‘Micro’ to the water's edge. There I beached her and she quickly settled as the tide ebbed. When the tent was back in place I made myself comfortable in my sleeping bag and promptly fell asleep.

Day four

The Return Home and Reflection

The Sunday morning forecast was rather gloomy, with the prediction of Force 6 winds. There would be showers and perhaps longer periods of rain. I therefore decided to make my way home. As I was leaving, newcomers were arriving, and a couple who had turned up earlier were preparing their boat for the water. Maybe they thought they would be able to have a sail before the weather deteriorated?

It took eight hours to complete the return trip to my home, and my wife was interested to hear of my adventures. I explained that I hadn’t done a lot of sailing, but I had had a good time. I told her of my encounter with the ‘angels’ and showed her the sea coal which I placed on my desk as a reminder of a very special and unique experience.

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