The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2020.03.25 - Naiad at Home

It was very early when I set out from home down to the club. The forecast indicated that it would be a perfect day for the task at hand and I wanted to ensure that I had plenty of time to get it done. It was still dark when I arrived on the mooring and I had to be careful when getting Naiad read to go as the decks were still covered in ice from the frost.

I lit the heater and made a cup of tea. I had brought two flasks of coffee with me since brewing up requires me to stop and I didn't want to do that, not until we had reached our destination.

We pushed back from the mooring at 05:10, there was just enough light to see where I was going, and after a struggle with the centre plate I hoisted the main and staysail and set off.

The trouble with the centre plate is that having not been lowered for six months it had become clogged with marine growth.

There was enough wind to sail fairly well and we passed the Gaia wind turbine at 05:30. The wind remained favourable until we reached the outskirts of Ten Mile Bank, about 500m from the bridge, at which point the wind died and I resorted to paddling. We moored at the Environment Agency mooring just upstream of the bridge at 06:45 and lowered the mast. I had a coffee at this point and then set off again paddling under the bridge and down river to the next bridge.

The wind didn't return except as the occasional brief gust so I continued to paddle along. The next bridge, the railway bridge, was reached at 07:50 and I continued to paddle all the way to the slip at Denver Sluice. The wind did pick up about 500m from our destination but we were too close to raise the mast and sail now.

We arrived at 08:35.

After another coffee I started to take off most of the rigging and had just completed that task when Tina arrived with the boat trailer. It took us a long while to get Naiad onto the trailer since I do not have guides to ensure that she sits correctly and we had to try many time before we go tit right and were able to pull Naiad up the slip. After strapping her firmly to the trailer we set off slowly for home.

She sat on the hard standing until the evening day, when I removed the remaining spars and wheeled her into the hay barn. Yesterday evening after work I put the trailer up on blocks to make her stable, she rocks alarmingly if left on the wheels when climbing into the boat to work.


Naiad in the Hay Barn.


Blocks under the tongue.


The starboard side blocks.


And the port side blocks.


I placed a long straight piece of wood on two identically sized piece of timber, this one on the port side...


...and this one on the starboard side...


...and put my spirit level on the wood. As you can see the boat is pretty much level side to side. Lengthways is a lot more difficult so I levelled her up mostly by eye. I'll have to look at the drawings and find out exactly where her waterline is and then use the water level method to level her up fore and aft.

So, a day full of exercise resulting in Naiad being back at home.

I was very pleased at how my shoulder held up, providing I didn't push too hard on the paddle nor extend my arm too far there was no discomfort despite the nearly two hours of paddling. I'm not sure I could have done the trip last week and I was a bit relieved not to need to raise and lower the mast again twice after the first bridge.

So, after nearly two and a half years Naiad is out of the water again for maintenance and the current restrictions on leaving home mean that I shall have plenty of time to carry this out.

I'm looking forward to the job.