Monday, 26 October 2015

When to Row

Sunday was one of those frustrating days when it was too lovely not to go out, but there was hardly a breath of wind. I took Snarleyow to Itchenor to join David Sumner (left) and Chris Waite (centre) plus Len Wingfield (not arrived yet) to Pilsea Island and then to East Head.
We rowed with the tide all the way there, which was a great way to test the slightly longer distance from the thwart to the stretcher. It is now pretty much ideal for me.
After lunch on the beach, we faced a return against the tide but there was a little wind behind so it was up sail and off.
Chris hugged the shore to stay out of the tidal flow but I was seduced into moving into the centre of the channel by a yacht that seemed to have caught a decent breeze away from the shelter of the trees.
Chris was, of course, right (he has been sailing these waters all his life). His progress was still slow, but he gradually drifted off onto the horizon while I sat in the middle next to the bloody yacht, edging backwards and forwards. 
Every time I almost came to a decision to strike the rig and get the oars out, a tiny puff of wind would flutter the burgee and hope would rise. 
The burgee was new too and I was quite pleased with it. It is a bamboo from the garden shed, cut to length and secured to the mizzen mast with zip ties (zip ties should be included with duct tape and WD40 as the greatest innovations of the age). I drove a screw into the top, kept in place with a good dollop of PVA, and wound a bit of wire round it to allow the burgee to swing easily. It works a treat. 
Eventually, however, the yacht hoisted a spinnaker and began to edge forward. It was time. I dropped the sail, ran out the oars and simply romped away. I had the boat out of the water by the time the yacht got back to her mooring opposite the hard.
Oh, I almost forgot the buoy. Rowing out of Itchenor I nearly hit a buoy with an oar. Annoyed with myself that I had failed to spot it, I gave it a glare as it passed. Then I saw why it had been able to sneak up on me. It had my name on it.

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