The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2020.03.06 - Bad News and Good News

It's March already and apart from checking Naiad periodically to make sure that the extreme weather conditions recently have not damaged her in any way, and apart from an occasionally cup of tea on board, I've not been able to use Naiad for her intended purpose since the beginning of September last year.

This is hugely frustrating since there have been a number of great sailing days but my Frozen Shoulder has just not allowed me even to contemplate a short sail for safety reasons. It also means that Naiad is currently in a pretty sad state. Her decks and sails are green with algae and she looks very sad, poor thing. Still, it is all superficial and once she is out of the water and in the Hay Barn at home, she will soon start looking much better than she does right now.

That's the bad news. The good news, and there are two bits, is that my shoulder suddenly started to free up at the beginning of March. Or at least I noticed a distinct improvement in my range of movement about then. So it would seem that I am finally recovering from the malady and that brings me on to my next bit of good news.

I have been looking around for other places to get Naiad in and out of the water, somewhere that does not necessitate the use of a crane or a lift and costs as little as possible preferably free.

Not asking for much am I?

Still, I looked again at the list of public slips in the area and realised that the slip I had looked at some years ago on the grounds of the defunct Denver Sailing Club, now the West Norfolk Rowing Club, is not a public slip at all but a private one belonging to the club. Since I had several lists that explicitly state that there was a public slip at Denver Sluice, I opened Maps on my computer and zoomed right in and sure enough, I spotted the slip tucked away in the corner of a car park.

Here's a screen shot with the slip highlighted.

I drove over there with a friend yesterday to check it out. It is quite suitable and the water is deep enough at the end of the slip to get Naiad onto the trailer and, wonder of wonders, there is also a windlass. You can almost see it on the image above. In the red rectangle, on the lower wall of the slipway there is a small earth square by an opening in the wall. The windlass is set in there. I'm going to go back and take some photos and also to check that the windlass still works. It sits outside in all weather and is fairly rusty so it may need a liberal application of grease to get it working but the entire slip seems to be sufficient to get Naiad out of the water at this point.

It also has the great advantage of being down river and North of the moorings. Since we have predominantly Southerly winds here, this means that I'll not have to wait for a suitable North wind as I have done in the past in sailing Naiad to Ely to be lifted out.

Of course, by saying this I don't expect there to be a suitable Southerly wind for some time!

A friend has volunteered to come along for the trip as we need two cars to do this and my shoulder is still not well enough to lower and raise the mast as will need to be done for the two bridges between the mooring and the slip and also to lower the mast before Naiad is hauled out.

Still, I now have the prospect of getting Naiad home for a refit whereas a month ago I had no prospect at all. The icing on the cake is that it is considerably less distance to travel than before.

Mind you , although it will be just as easy to get Naiad back in the water at this slip, the predominantly South winds will make the trip back to the mooring a long one.

Can't have everything.