Wednesday 21 May 2008

Polly Wobbles but she doesn't fall down.

I had last week off work and we went down to Dartmouth for a couple of days, we even did the tourist trip up the river to Totnes which was really nice. I hadn't realised how big an expanse of water there was I'd really like to go back there in a small boat and explore. Maybe that's what made me finally bite the bullit and launch the canoe again.

The HBBR are having a meeting at Barton Broad this week end, and I'm planning to drive the 200 odd miles each way to take part. In truth this is the main reason for re-fitting the canoe and adding a sailing rig. So I thought I'd better try it out before going all that way and either sinking or turning turtle at the first attempt.

The Forecast was for 12 -15 mph breezes which was really a bit more than I wanted first time out, well actually it was a hell of a lot more than i wanted, but time was running out so nil desperandum or something. Of course the guys at the club didn't help my confidence much with their gentle piss-taking, old Barry asked if she had outriggers and just shook his head when i said no, he knows a bit does barry! I decided to give her a try under paddle at first just to remember how tippy she is and to try out the foot operated rudder mechanism.

Steering by foot is very strange at first especially working out which leg to push with to turn to Port or Starboard. I did a fair bit of adjusting the ropes to get the tension right but things soon settled down. Right then back in for the sails!

This is the first wobbly attempt which is why i look rigid with fear, but I was also amazed that she was actually moving, propelled only by a bit of polytarp. I was also quite surprised how stable she seemed. I've had a lot more kayak experience since i built her so she now feels stable and broad compared to the little ones we have at the club. Pretty soon it was time to either put in a tack or hit the wall so right foot forward and ....gradually........ round we went.
Things were beginning to relax a bit and I was really enjoying myself, I was really chuffed to bits. So back to the pontoon and on with the Mizzen.

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