Since I changed the boat cover from plastic to canvas there has been a nagging doubt in my mind that maybe the water in the bilge is not from the canvas leaking but from the boat leaking. I do not recall there being water in the bilge before I made the change, or at least not a lot. Having said that I have never lifted the bottom boards before I found that they had warped due to the water underneath them. This lead to this nagging doubt.
So, the boat is on the hard now and time to prove the point, I think, or reduce it anyway. Saturday morning saw me bailing out the water from the bilges and mopping it all up with a floor cloth. Having dried it all out I put on the cover and left it. On Sunday morning, after 8mm of rain or so, I checked the bilges and there is water lying in them which is proof that the cover is not waterproof and that rain is getting in as I suspected.
Note that this does not mean that the boat is not leaking, just that some of the water is coming from the rain.
I received the new tent canvas last week so the next thing is to construct the new canvas cockpit cover and see if that keeps the water out.
And here it is. Nice eh?
Just one problem, it leaks. No, I kid you not, despite being a much higher quality canvas, it still leaks. You see the bit just behind the bungee holding up the centre of the canvas, just before it goes flat? Well in the rain that sags a bit and then collects water like a bowl. That then drips through the canvas and into the boat.
Oh well! Back to the drawing board.
The day started at the normal time, 06:00. We would be able to start sailing as soon as it was light enough to see where I was going safely. It is quite interesting doing one's ablutions in a confined space made a lot more difficult than it should be by the large, extra belly I currently sport. Still, I managed. Breakfast was my normal breakfast of banana, greek style yoghurt and a little granola not forgetting the cup of tea. I had boiled a kettle of water so that I could wash earlier but not used all of it so making the tea was quick and I put the kettle back on again so that I had hot water to wash the dishes. I didn't rush so it was 06:45 before we were able to get going. There was little wind but I raised all sail anyway to catch any movement in the air.
Not enough wind to raise the burgee.
Nor the telltales on the shrouds.The water is mirror-like again and it is a beautiful day.
Like yesterday the task is to get to Ely and not the sailing so I started as I meant to go on and paddle-sailed most of the way upstream to the first bridge at Littleport. I suppose that the wind would have pushed us along at a slow walking pace and had this just been a sail, I would have been content with this, but it was not so I used the paddle to try and maintain a walking pace and we arrived at just after 09:00. No bad going for 2.75 miles or so.
After mooring up at a convenient point I rigged the boat for mast lowering by attaching a block to the top of the gammon iron and a rope tied to the forestay above the bottle screw, through the block and aft to the cockpit. This is to allow me to control the mast as it starts to lower but before I can reach it with my hand. And vice versa of course.
Once the mast had been lowered and I had cast off and paddled under the bridge I had the choice to either paddle up to the next bridge about 0.85 miles up river or to moor, raise the mast and sail up to the next bridge, lower the mast and paddle under it. I decided that since there was a lot of obstructions to the wind that I would paddle. It took about an hour and in retrospect I should have raise the mast and sailed since there was enough wind to paddle-sail despite the obstructions.
The next section of the journey is a long and nearly straight stretch of river just over 3 miles long to the first of the six bridges at Ely. It was 10:06 when I cast off and by now the wind had risen to the forecast strength of 3 gusting 4 and North-Westerly in direction. We raced up the river and after about mile I put a reef in as the wind was too strong. We continued racing up the river with little change in speed showing that the reef was the right thing to do. The wind rose a little more and initially I though about taking in another reef but in the end I just lowered the mainsail and sailed a little more slowly up river under the staysail alone. A much more sedate and genteel passage. I was even able to make a cup of tea as we sailed.
The first four bridges at Ely are quite close together over about half a mile so having arrived at 12:00 and lowered the mast, I paddled my way up river keeping close to the West bank as possible to shelter from the wind as it was now opposing me for some reason. Once under the fourth bridge I continue paddling as the first place that I could moor up to raise the mast was nearly half a mile up river and there was only a mile between the fourth and fifth bridges so I continued to paddle arriving at the marina at 13:15, the one and half miles from the first bridge to the marina taking me 75 minutes to paddle.
Before Naiad could be lifted out of the water I had to remove the bowsprit. This is not difficult, about 10 minutes work normally but by this time I was a tad tired from all the paddling so it took me a bit longer. Tina had driven the car and trailer up to the marine on her way to work so Naiad was soon lifted out of the water and on the trailer.
It was a slow trip driving back. I don't go more than 30mph when towing Naiad as she and the trailer bounce around a lot if I do and I don't like that.
So a successful journey but I really need to plan it more thoroughly next time. Many things in Naiad could have been removed before the trip started so that she was a lot lighter on the trailer, a few things were forgotten like the ratchet strops and although I have a lot of rope, this stretches even when pulled very tight and is therefore not as secure as the strops.
So far the plan is working. The yard can lift Naiad tomorrow afternoon, I just have to get her there. So, after work I cycled down to the mooring with my supplies, threw them all into the cabin and set off. I need to get to the Brandon Creek Environment Agency mooring before it gets dark. Unlike my previous sailing trips, this one involved paddle-sailing. Basically I sailed but when the speed dropped I paddled to keep a reasonable progress going. It took 90 minutes to get to the mooring and once the lines were set I tidied up the cabin so that I could get in, lit the heater as it will be cold tonight and brewed a cup of tea.
Tina visited for a bite to eat after she had fed the horses and we had a pleasant evening. Bacon butties were the fare for the evening and Tina enjoyed sitting inside in the warm cabin.
After she had gone home I made up my berth and went to bed. Interestingly, I woke a few times during the night and noticed that I was slowly slipping further into the bows. Naiad must slope down a little forward when you are seeing forward. I think it may be better to sleep the other way round with your feet forward and not your head.
“Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” is an old Yiddish adage meaning, “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”, only it rhymes in Yiddish. Still, why this adage now? In my last post I mentioned that I intended to keep Naiad in the water until mid-November before lifting her out, but the weather forecast for Thursday afternoon and all Friday looks to be be perfect sailing weather for a trip to Ely. So, the intention now is to contact the marina in Ely this afternoon and see if a lift out on Friday afternoon is possible from their end. Then I'll cycle down to Naiad tomorrow after work with enough food and drink to last me until Friday afternoon and set off. The aim will be to get as far as the Environment Agency mooring in the black hole just South of the Ship Inn. I'll sleep there the night and make a very early start, possibly even before daylight, aiming to be in Ely early to mid-afternoon.
What happens then is to be decided. One option would be for me to walk to the station and take the train back to Littleport where Tina will have left the car as is her normal daily practise. I drive home, pick up the trailer, drive back to the marina and Naiad is then lifted out and onto the trailer. The second option is that Tina, instead of driving the car to Littleport and getting the train to Cambridge, drives the car and trailer to Ely, parks in the marina, walks to the station and catches her train from there.
The first option has the advantage that Tina does not have to leave the house early so that she does not miss her train at Ely. The disadvantage is that if I am late getting Naiad to the marina there will not be time to go home and return with the trailer before the marina closes for the day.
The second option has the advantage that the car and trailer are already at the marina when I arrive but the disadvantage is that Tina could miss her train to work.
So we shall see. The first task is to arrange the lift and to work from there.
Of course, Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht.
It is fairly obvious that it will not be long until I will not be able to sail in the afternoon. It is 5pm as I sit in Naiad‘s cockpit with my mug of tea and already the light is fading and I will soon have to get on my bike and go home.
I can still come down to the boat for a cup of tea and to be perfectly honest the exercise will do me good, but sailing is right out.