I got back from home last night after a trailer tyre blowout on the motorway. I had no spare wheel, so I had to dismantle the wheel in question and use a tyre from my launching trolley as a “jury rig” to get me home. I spent quite a while on the side of the motorway with the vehicles whizzing past to find a quick solution to get me off the motorway and a parking area near the toll station. That entailed the sacrifice of a plastic wheel, since I had not figured out a way to get the launching trolley tyre onto the trailer wheel. I would have been quite a picture, with torn trousers and hands dirtier than my feet as I battled with a temperature of about 30°C and pre-storm conditions! Fortunately I was well-equipped with tools, since I had to remove the bearing from the wheel, and separate the wheel rim into two parts to fit the tyre and inner tube. A bit more complicated than fixing a bicycle!
The week at the Semaine du Golfe was wonderful, and the weather was perfect, though the wind was wanting at times, causing participants to break out the oars. I have taken many photos and I have given my e-mail address to those who took photos of me, including a professional doing an article for a boating magazine. I’ll need a few days to get them all sorted out.
Here is Sarum (in the foreground) quietly laying in Port Anna on the final day.
A few days before, we were moored at Locmariaquer, and a lady was intrigued by my workmanlike vessel, so her camera clicked. I had got out all my papers because someone had asked me about what was on the programme. Ooh Aargh, me hearties!
There will be more photos coming and something of a description of the two parades and the days we spent in our flotilles. The organisation was amazingly good, the timing was perfect, as were the weather conditions. It was sometimes challenging in winds gusting up to force 6, when a few boats capsized. I just kept going, ready for those gusts, and managed to keep up with the faster boats.
Here is some footage of the Grand Parade last Saturday, showing the incredible number of boats being pushed along by the strong tidal current:
Wow! Lovely and fascinating! (“Ooh Aargh, me hearties!”: what a glowing, youthful, white-haired ‘old salt ‘you look!) I’m very glad your ‘weathered’ the blow-out so well and handily!
I don’t know if you have sailed, but there are two ways to deal with gusts: the main sheet and the rudder. Luff up to the wind by pushing the helm over to lee. That will cause the boat to heave-to and spill wind. Wait for the gust to calm down and then sheet in the jib and main and – off you go again. I don’t reef for gusts, otherwise you get nowhere when the wind is back at its constant speed. The other day, it was blowing at about 8-10 knots and gusting around 25 knots. You just have to be ready for it and watch the tell-tale signs on the water.
I have not got further than canoeing, punting, and rowing on calm waters – what you describe sounds terrifying – and exhilarating (but I don’t think I’d manage to ‘learn on the job’, if confronted with it blowing at about 8-10 knots and gusting around 25 knots – whew!).
Like anything, one needs to learn to sail and cultivate the “automatic” reflexes, like driving a car or flying a glider. There are sailing schools in many coastal resorts, and it is something one can do whilst on holiday with one’s family over a couple of weeks, at something like two hours a day in a group around the instructor in a motor boat. You learn to right the boat after a capsize, and to know why most capsizes happen. The Netherlands must be ideal with all those protected waters!
Thank you – it probably is, but it all seems mysterious to me! But what you say sounds encouraging! As an adult, I love reading well-informed children’s stories about sailing, like those of Arthur Ransome, or parts of Afke’s Ten (1903) by Nienke van Hichtum. (So far, however, I’ve only ridden around various cities – and stretches of the Maas/Meuse – on sorts of little cruise boats, sometimes watching, at a mutually safe distance, sailors who knew what they’re doing at work.)
In a funny sort of way, the Semaine du Golfe is Swallows and Amazons for adults! 🙂
The problem with river sailing is that you need to have flat land and nothing either side of the water. Otherwise you are running before the wind or rowing against it.