I have to say that things are really coming together on Naiad. I spend the weekend onboard and finished off all but one of the tasks I needed to complete before I could sail Naiad.
I left Southery at 01:10, yes really that early, and arrived at West Mersea at 04:12 just before high water at 04:25. This is the first visit where I didn't need to use the minibus since Sprite, the dinghy, is already "on site" so to speak. This is great as Tina needed to use the minibus for a Working Equitation class she was attending. I'll probably need to work on the procedure for arriving and getting the dinghy loaded and in the water, but it certainly helped to have a high water for the first time as it meant that the trek to the water's edge was greatly reduced.
Still, the basic procedure is to drive the car in to the dinghy park as close to Sprite as possible. Then the cover is removed from Sprite and rolled up. The heavy items are loaded into the dinghy, I put on my wellies, wheel the dinghy down to the water's edge and launch her. I generally pull Sprite up the ramp a little so that there is no chance of her floating away whilst I do the next bit.
I return the trailer to the park and ferry the rest of the items, if any, down and into the dinghy. I put my shoes back on and drive the car to where she is to be parked for the duration of the visit. This time I used a roadside spot about half-a-mile away instead of the car park I have been using. I don't mind the walk and not having to pay £6 per day for parking is a plus. On returning to the dinghy park I put my wellies back on, stow my shoes in the dinghy, get in, take my wellies off again and proceed to row out to the mooring.
The only disadvantage of this procedure is leaving the dinghy packed but untended whilst the car is parked. Still, the expensive items such as the drone, if I've take one along, and the electronics in my valise I take with me when parking the car and returning.
The bird netting is certainly working well although the smaller birds can still sit on the thin line rigged between the mast the the aft end of the boom as you can see in the video clip below. I'd decided to take a look at Naiad using the security camera as I do several times a day, and this is what I saw. I had the wit to hit the record button and although this is only recording at 5 frames per second it has come out quite well. If I had more wit then I would have switched to 15 frames per second and recorded at that rate. There's no wind so no wind noise, the gulls are not close so little gull noise and thus you can easily hear the birdsong of this bird. It's a Pied Wagtail, I think.
I don't really mind birds of this sort using Naiad as a perch since their droppings are a little annoying but not obnoxious unlike that of the gulls. Still, it is a lovely clip and I've uploaded the entire 2 minutes video rather than cut it down.
Getting back to the visit, I undid the cover put the valise into the cockpit and climbed in. The cover is detached, folded and stowed under the poop deck clearing the space for the luggage. The washboards are unlock and stowed and then I unload the dinghy being careful not to drop anything in the water or fall in.
Then it's stow what I can before getting to work, usually by putting the kettle on for a cup of tea.
Only this visit I didn't do that, instead I got into bed and slept for a couple of hours and only after waking up did the kettle go on and I made myself some breakfast. Bacon, mushroom, tomato and broccoli fry up, delicious. One of the things I brought with me to use on Naiad is a small cast iron frying pan. The thin stainless ones are great for hiking as they are light but it is so easy to burn whatever it is you are cooking right in the centre of the pan, even on an alcohol stove. With a cast-iron pan you can burn the food all over the bottom evenly.
I purchased a rectangular collapsible bucket to use for carrying things to the boat, mainly stores and this can be put into a number of places. When moored the bucket lives on the port bunk. When sleeping it goes outside into the cockpit and when sailing it will either be on the bunk or put into the footwell beside the centreboard case. This proved to be a great idea and greatly simplified the day-to-day stowage.
The first task was to take off and stow the bird netting. This was the first time I had attempted this so I was extra careful on how I carried out the procedure.
I completed the drogue chute to hang on the stern of Sprite so that the tide pulls her away from Naiad. It didn't take long and I was please to see that it worked well once it had been mounted and dropped overboard.
Next up was the sails. I fetched the sails from the port bunk, found all the rigging for the staysail and put that up.
So far, so good.
The security camera was dismounted and put below and the mainsail bent on. I have to be a bit careful about this since it meant raising the main at various times to work on the lines securing the sail and that meant that the boom was free to swing around in the light wind. Getting knocked overboard by a fast moving boom was not something I wanted to do.
Still, it went on without any problems although I have mislaid one of the reefing lines so I'll have to check back home to see if it is still in the storage container and if not I'll make up a new one,
Finally, I started work on the jib. Now this was a lot more work as I had not completed the sewing and I spend a very enjoyable afternoon and evening sitting in the cockpit with a cup of tea and sewing away. I didn't complete the jib before I went to bed as I turned in early.
I slept well and treated myself to an extra-long lie ie. I didn't get up until 7am. I know, scandalous.
After my ablutions and getting dressed it was time for breakfast. Omelette with capsicum, onion, mushrooms and cheese. Lovely!
Once the washing up was done I had another cup of tea and sat in the cockpit admiring the view. Little or no wind and sunny.
The first task of the day was to complete the staysail. I sat and worked on the last of the sewing, then put the sail and the rigging into the dinghy and went out to the far end of the bowsprit where this sail is attached. That took no time at all so I found the head of the sail and started to tie that to the haulyard when I realised that I had not put a cringle in the clew so I couldn't attach the jib sheets. There was no hole through which they should be tied!
So I took the sail off again and it will have to come home with me to do that small job and be put on during my next visit.
What a pain!
By this time it had gone low water and the tide was starting to flood so I thought it was time to pack the dinghy and ready Naiad for my returning home.
Firstly the bird netting. It went on fairly easily but I will have to mark the pieces somehow so that it is easy to see which of the three bundles of netting is which part, which edge is the front end and also one of the sides as well.
Still, they went on without too much bother despite the rising wind. The last piece of netting that had not bee attached before was then fitted so that the boat was totally enclosed in netting and that completed the fitting of the netting.
Once done with the netting I packed everything up, undid one side of the netting, pulled the dinghy alongside and put the luggage in the dinghy including the spare battery. The drogue was shipped whilst I did all this, trying to keep the dinghy alongside otherwise was not easy.
Naiad does look very tidy down below now that the sails are not taking up space on the port bunk and things can be stowed properly down there. The cockpit cover is not so easy to get on now with the netting in place but it can be done. The last part of the cover and the netting is done when in the dinghy prior to casting off.
I took the opportunity to take a few photos of Naiad as I drifted away.
The wind and tide took me to the Hammer Head jetty with little effort from me and it was very relaxing letting nature do the work whilst I just rowed a stroke or two every now and then to keep me pointing backwards so that I could see where I was going.
Getting the dinghy back to the park was the reverse of before only this time it was low water so there was a fair distance to pull the dinghy up and into the park.
Still, it wasn't difficult and I wasn't in a rush.
Once the car was packed I parked it a little way down the slip out of the way and treated myself to an ice-cream before starting the journey back home.
All in all a very successful weekend and once the staysail is bent on I'll be able to go sailing.
I wonder where I should go first?
Time for a cup of tea.