The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2018.12.30 - And Another Winter's Sail

The forecast for the wind today was marginal but the forecast for the last few days has overestimated the wind strength so I decided to give it a go.

As I walked along the pontoon to which Naiad is moored I saw a Kingfisher fly away from the end. It seems that the local Kingfisher likes to use the end of the pontoon as a perch from which it can dive not the river to catch its food. Nice.

I was onboard Naiad at 8am and as usual, or as usual in the Winter, I lit the heater and put on the kettle. Whilst they were getting started I prepared Naiad for a sail. The wind direction meant that either up or down river were just as good as the other so I decided to head down river. I pushed back out of the mooring at 08:30, set main and staysail and set off.

I remembered to take some closer photos of the club as I passed by. All the previous ones I had to zoom in and that's what caused the grainy photos.


Those are a bit better.


And the forward view. Still grey but look at the state of the river, not quite calm but not that much wind either. Remember that for later.

The cacophony I recorded yesterday was gone today and peace reigned so it was a great sail. Again the intention was an hour's sail out and then turn for the mooring.


Peace and quiet(ish) as we approach the generator.



I decided to mount the compass for the first time whilst sailing, I was interested in what the river was doing in terms of direction.


It sits nicely on the bulkhead and doesn't seem to be that much affected by the nearby fire extinguisher inside. I wouldn't use it for navigation with the extinguisher mounted but for today's purpose it is good enough.

I turned back just before nine-fifteen as I had reached the outskirts of Modney Bridge and the buildings and trees were sheltering the river. Tina phoned a bit later on to say that she was finished with one of the horses and where was I so that she could take some photos of Naiad sailing. By that time I was about 10 minutes from the wind generator so we arranged to meet up there. Tina was using a decent camera and took some great photos. Here are just a few:


It's so nice to see what Naiad looks like when she is sailing although the wind by this time was strong enough to warrant taking in a reef but since I haven't worked out how to do that under way on a river without mooring up I left the main without a reef. I had furled the jib and powered down the mainsail by letting it out a bit. Still, she looks good. Despite the reduced foresails and powered down main she is sailing along with a bone in her teeth, the phrase for sailing with a small white wave at the front caused by the bows pushing through the water.

You can just see the road on the other side of the river bank in the left of the photo which gives some idea of the height of the bank just here. It is also obvious from the camera angle. The photos are quite clearly taken from well above the water level.


Once of the things that is hard to gauge when sitting in the cockpit is the twist in the sail. It's clearer in this photo. The gaff at the top of the sail is further out that the boom at the bottom. This is a good thing as the wind direction at the top is different to that at the bottom and the twist takes advantage of this difference.


The twist is even more evident in this photo, as is the bone in her teeth.


Then the wind was cut off by the wind generator and the pumping station building behind the photographer. I'm having to stop the boom from moving over onto the wrong side of the boat as I know that...


... a few feet further on the wind would be back.


And off we go back towards the mooring.

Along with the photos Tina also took the following video clip: