The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2019.05.12 - Another Unexpected Sail

To be honest, I did not expect to be able to sail this morning. Although the forecast was for force 2 gusting 4, my weather station read zero wind speed and as I drove to the moorings, the wind turbine was stationary. I'm told that this particular turbine needs a wind of 5 m/s before it will turn so I could say that where it was standing, the wind was less that that figure. Still, it was a great day and I'd have a cup of tea if nothing else.

This was the scene from the end of Naiad's pontoon. A still day but you'll notice that there is enough wind to raise the England flag a few pontoons down river. After putting on the kettle I decided to give it a go and prepared the boat for sailing.

Surprisingly, Naiad slipped along with surprising speed.

You can see that the telltale on the shrouds indicates that there is some wind and Naiad certainly seemed to be able to make the most of it. I will say, however, that the turbulent nature of the light winds today did mean that I had to adjust the sails constantly in order to keep way on.

You can see here that the Gaia Wind turbine is not turning but we are moving along nicely.

There's a dark patch of a string wind gust ahead in pretty much the same place as the one in the video at Easter. It seems that when the wind is light, the geography in this area causes a wind gust in that part of the river.

I sailed down river until we reached the outskirt of Modney Bridge at which point the wind practically died as the buildings and trees in the village made a huge wind shadow, so we turned around and headed back home. Since this also meant that I wasn't having to continually adjust the sails, I took the opportunity to eat my lunch which I had brought with me, just in case. and very tasty is was too. Past and Pesto Salad. Lovely!

This is the bush where the strong gust was on the way down river, now there is no sign of any gusts and Naiad is moving a lot slower. Still, she is still moving. I drifted back onto the mooring about three hours after I had pushed back. All in all, a great sail.

I could have done with having a topsail for quite a lot of the trip but that would also mean that I'd need to put in some extra ballast and I don't know whether the gains from having the topsail up would be more than the slower sailing when the topsail was down due to the heavier boat.

I'll think about it. I have yet to save up enough money for a new suite of sails and a topsail would have to wait until then anyway.