Another glorious spring day so I loaded Snarleyow onto the car with only one major scratch to the paintwork to join a DCA rally to Southampton.
Well, actually things were delayed a bit by a technical issue. I had a bit of time available so I thought I would finally sort out the obviously maladjusted blades
. Looking at them again, I realised I had set them last time right at the ends of the leathers, presumably to maximise the gearing. Why I did this obviously completely moronic thing I can no longer remember. Which means my memory is going as well as cognitive functions. Shoot me if it gets any worse.
Anyway the simple operation of moving the buttons two inches down the leathers took FAR longer than expected so instead of putting in at the official start point, Warsash, I had to take a short cut by going to Netley.
Netley is a lovely spot to launch if the wind is not to high, with a reasonably shallow slipway and lots of free parking. Unfortunately, when the weather is as fabulous as it was today every single spot fills up at about three in the morning. I had to wait half an age for someone to leave.
Entertainment was, however, provided by Roger Barnes, President of the Dinghy Cruising Association, endlessly tacking his Francois Vivier-designed boat Avel Dro up the Water and getting nowhere. Eventually he gave up and wisely dropped the sail and took to the oars, a long pair of sea oars that are much better set up for rowing than most dinghies. Most sailors regard rowing as an admission of failure.
But. of course, as soon as I had parked the car (barging past three hopeful but irresolute ramblers), Snarleyow's new, correct oar setting meant I soon overtook Roger.
Then I overtook Alan in his Yachting Monthly dinghy, Steve in his Enterprise and David in his Mirror.
The destination was Gavin Millar's garden. Envy is a deadly sin and I am going to hell, because Gavin's garden has its own pontoon on the River Itchen, and it is south facing and a total suntrap. And he has a rather wonderful derrick, to transfer his boats from water to garden more easily.
Incidentally, did you know that the inventor of the derrick was Thomas Derrick, Elizabeth I's most efficient and innovative executioner? His new gallows was a great improvement on the old method of slinging the rope over a beam.
The only sailor to make it before me was Ian in his Solway Dory sailing canoe, but he had launched at some ludicrously early time. We had home made soup waiting for the others.
At the end of the day, I left Snarleyow at the water's edge and went to collect the car. The tide flows fast at Southampton, and by the time I got back it was this far out: