Friday, June 29, 2012

Testing ‘Sandpiper’ - Part 2

Wednesday, 27th June, 2012

It is surprising how quickly one gets into the routine of living aboard. When I woke this morning I felt quite at home, almost as if aboard ‘Faith’, my 12’ 10” Paradox. ‘Sandpiper’ is not as cramped, but she has less useable space because of her intrusive centreplate and her large cockpit. I can’t stretch out my legs as easily. To do it, I have to sit on the port bunk while facing towards the stern with my legs resting on the bunk top.

After breakfast I tried the Honda 2 HP outboard, and I was surprised that it fired into action at the first pull. The propeller was a little lower in the water than I wanted. To improve matters I made a rope strop to keep it at the correct depth. I also raised and lowered the centreplate to test it and to discover if, as a result, water came through the centreplate box where the support bolt is located. To my relief, none did.

Jim's Macwester

Yesterday I bumped into an old sailing friend, Jim McAvoy, who I knew when I was a member of the Up River Yacht in the early 1970s. He was at Burnham Yacht Harbour with his Macwester yacht ’Cestra’. We both planned to sail to the River Roach, setting out about 1030, and from there Jim would return to his mooring at Hullbridge. Low water was at 1222, after which time he would have the flood tide with him. I had no definite plan for the afternoon, but I would anchor for lunch within the entrance of the River Roach.

New Jetty

Beyond Rice and Cole, on the opposite side of the River Crouch there is a new jetty for offloading spoil from the Cross Rail Project. This joint enterprise has the backing of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The spoil is being used to make a large wetland reserve for birds where they can feed and nest.

On my way to the River Roach I tried various manoeuvres with ‘Sandpiper’ to test her sailing performance. She hove-to nicely, sailed fairly close to the wind, and she was as happy running as she was on the reach. Her weather helm was not excessive and it could almost be eliminated on the reach by half raising the centreplate. By comparison with ‘Faith’ I found she was more tender, but like the former she hardened up when heeling at about 15 degrees.

I anchored a cable or so beyond the Branklet Spit Buoy that marks the entrance of the River Roach. There I had lunch. The sky turned grey, and the weather was very humid. A low-flying, EasyJet passenger plane noisily passed overhead on its descent for Southend Airport. Recently the runway was extended to accommodate larger planes.

After lunch I had a snooze. On waking, and with renewed energy, I broke out the anchor. Not a lot of mud came up with the anchor; therefore cleaning the foredeck was quickly done by sloshing three buckets of seawater over it.

The 'Crow' Buoy and the entrance to the River Roach beyond.

I had a spanking good sail up and down the first stretch of the River Roach before returning to the River Crouch. From there I brought ’Sandpiper’ onto the wind and tacked towards the moorings at Rice and Cole. At about 1500 clouds darkened and drizzle started to fall. I was able to make it into the Yacht Harbour before more persistent drizzle set in. I slotted the lower washboard into place, closed the hatch and made a cup of tea. To replace energy expended while sailing, and as a comfort snack, I ate a delicious portion of Herman the German cake my wife gave me for such an occasion.

Herman the German Cake

Before preparing my evening meal I walked to the Co-op to buy the ingredients: potatoes, broccoli and corned beef.


Paul Mullings said...

Hi Bill,
Delighted to read your first two installments you must be relieved to finally manage to get the maiden voyage under your belt. We arrived back in NZ this morning ( Saturday) to a sunny but cold 4C! Eagerly awaiting your third report.

William Serjeant said...


Pleased that you made it back OK.

Shame about the temperature being only 4C! The weather was not great when you were in the UK.

I enjoyed meeting you.

Best wishes,


Pete said...

Glad to see you've got Sandpiper on the water. It's been a slow start to summer!

I just got back from a fairly unsettled week in Milford Haven together with Al in Little Jim. I think the 2 Paradox have been in company for 13 nights so far this year.


William Serjeant said...


I do miss my Paradox. 'Sandpiper' is the next best thing. I have yet to fully test her over several days.

Maybe we could all meet up?

If you think there's a chance, please drop me a line via email.