2023.04.22 - New Sails

Before I can go sailing on Naiad I had to put on her new sails. I collected these from the sailmaker on 17th March and they have been sitting in the house waiting to be bent on. I did a couple of jobs on them whilst they were at home. The reefing points were taken off the old mainsail and put on the new one and I also added four low-friction thimbles to the reefing cringles, two at the luff (the front edge of the sail) and two at the leech (the back edge of the sail).

The theory goes like this; when putting in a reef when sailing the procedure is to let the throat down and attach the luff cringle to the boom. Then the peak is lowered and the leech cringle is pulled down and attached to the boom. Ideally the now spare sail is rolled up and the reefing points are used to tie this neatly away so that it doesn't catch on anything.

This procedure is fine if you have crew but when you are single-handed it is usual to run the reefing lines to point on the boom so that the cringles can be pulled down without leaving the cockpit.

Now this is where it gets technical. The reefing cringles are quite narrow and the line used to pull down the sail has to make a 180 degree turn through the narrow cringle and this make it hard as the friction is very high. So instead you lash a wide cringle to the narrow one so that the line doesn't have to make such a sharp turn and that significantly reduces the friction and makes it easier to pull down the sail and therefore it makes it safer.

Although I took the sails last week when Naiad was launched, by the time I got her out to the mooring and had tidied up I was pretty tired and when I'm tired I make mistakes. I think most people do and the trick is to recognise when you are making mistakes and to stop and rest. The forecast suggested that today would be a good day in West Mersea to put on the sails so I got up at 3am and was away by 03:30 having packed the car yesterday after work.

It was an easy drive down with little traffic but there were a few fog patches which meant I had to take a little care in these parts of the trip. I arrived at the Yacht Club at around 05:15 and it was already light by this time so I didn't need to resort to using a torch to change into trousers and wellies and then get the dinghy from the "toast rack" as it is known at the club. I am going to have to find a better way to get the dinghy out and put it back again as it is very heavy.

This was the sight that greeted me after I had rowed out to Naiad. As you can see it is completely calm, not a breath of wind and the ripples you can see on the water are from the fast ebbing tide.

The first job of the day after getting onboard was a cup of tea. You'll notice that I haven't even removed the bird netting as I want to do some work on them before getting the sails on. Two parts of the netting over the cockpit needed to be tied together, they have been attached using a few clips but this is not very good so instead I tied the nets together at the corner of each square where they touched. It was about 30 knots in total and my fingers were really cold by the time I finished. This was partly the reason for doing this first, it was easy and safe, no chance of me falling in by slipping on a wet deck or losing my grip because of cold hands.

Here is the tablet in the new holder. It's pretty good but does suffer one drawback that I didn't think of and that it it is impossible to get the tablet out of the holder with gloves on! Looks good even so. I'll probably put a lift tape at the bottom in such a way that pulling the tape lifts the tablet up so that the top edge can be grasped by a gloved hand.

I had arrived about an hour before low water and by the time I'd had my tea, tied the bird netting and then taken it all down Naiad was on the mud.

The next job was to lower the mast as I noticed that I messed up the rigging of the forestay and the jib halyard last week. The photos I took last week didn't look right and I only noticed when I was back home.

This is the rigging at the top of the mast last week, the "before" photo. The two lines on the left of the image meet more or less at the mast and this is not correct. It needed to be fixed since when the sail is hoisted up there the two lines will rub against each other and since one of them is wire and the other rope, it won't take long for the rope one to chafe through and break. So the mast had to be lowered so that I could correct the error.

This is the rigging as I was leaving today. There are three lines but it is the two upper ones that are the ones to notice. You can clearly see that they no longer meet at the mast and this is how they should have been rigged last week. The third line is in the "before" photo but you cannot easily see it as it is going straight up and down the mast as there isn't a sail hosted on that line.

I had to take a photo of this poor boat. Naiad may be moving to that mooring and I hope she does as you can clearly see that the boat is in a little bay at low water and I'm fairly sure that Naiad would still be floating over there. This boat isn't as it has a deep keel and leans over at low water. It's also covered in long strands of weed showing that the boat hasn't been used for quite some time.

So, here is Naiad seven hours later with the new sails put on and she is now ready to sail. Perhaps my next visit will be a sailing trip. I hope so.

It was nearly the top of the tide when I took that photo, just about an hour before high water so I didn't have to do much rowing and let the tide take me back to the hard. Having put the dinghy away and changed back into a kilt I had my breakfast, a two-scoop ice cream in a tub and then set off home again.

A very satisfactory day but now I'm too tired even for a cup of tea.