Back in the saddle again

Our electrics were all complete, at last, and the marina's were letting people sail again, so it was time to knock off our rust spots and get back in the saddle again and go sailing.

We were preparing Salty Lass to go out for a wee burl which means a wee trip out, so that meant getting Salty Lass ready for sea. So one of the wee jobs that we do is clean the logger as that gets clogged up with seaweed and all sorts. This time the logger was quite clean, but it did have a lot of calcium deposits on the logger so Beverley soaked the logger in vinegar and soon the logger was clean once again. The other job that needed completing was clearing of the surfaces, It is amazing all the stuff that you acquire while you are in, but if you are going out to sea, all the stuff needs to go away. I cheated and just put stuff in a bag. At some point I will have to sort it out, but today is not that day. When it came to putting the logger back, I sorted that out, by just making sure that the logger was facing forward. It can be a wee bit daunting because you are putting a hole in the boat, but both Beverley and I have done it a few times now, so it is just all part and parcel of boat life.

Once the chart table was clean, it was time to get the log book out. Due to the rules we could only go out and come back in again, but it felt so good to get the log book out. It was also great to be able to use our chart plotter to get the information I needed from our chart plotter down stairs. It might not seem a lot but we had managed to update the chart plotter software over the winter and now she gives us the correct information and not the information from five days ago, which is of no use to man nor beast.

So all the items on the checklist were complete, so that meant we were ready to slip our lines and head out into Belfast Lough. We had no end of trouble getting out of the slip, as the wind was gusting down the alley with a F4 gusting F5. We should of used springs, but that is a skill that we have to acquire, so we were blown onto the pontoon at a critical moment and we were soon heading towards another boat rather than the alley, so we had to back Salty Lass up and start all over again. It was mayhem but with a lot of help from other yachties, we managed to swing the nose of Salty Lass enough so that she was heading out to sea. Even then, we just about missed the other yachts, but we did, so I set too bringing in the fenders.

It took ages to bring in all the fenders, as I was so rusty, at one point I really struggled to undo a knot, but the skills that I had learned over the last two years soon came back and all the fenders were away along with all the mooring lines. Once the lines were away, it was time to get that sail up. I wanted to film us putting the sails up, but Beverley knew we were too rusty for that, so I'm afraid that in the blog you will have to content yourself with just seeing the sails. However, an argument that Beverley had with the radio stayed in and that was quite amusing.

There was so much that we had forgotten with regard to our tacks, but we were soon in the way of it again. There are so many wee jobs that need doing, for example lowering the lazy jack lines so that they did not rub on the sail. Of course when you are getting ready to drop then you do need to raise them again, but it does keep wear down on the sail which is great.

I had a go hand steering, just to get the practice in, and we put a book called Sail Trim for Cruisers into operation, so we soon had the tell tails flying so we had something right. As we were so rusty we did not over push ourselves, so we kept two reefs on the main and one in the Genoa just to keep our speed down. One of the things that I had made to keep the sail lines tidy was a wee contraption that all the webbing that I had bought from a sewing shop completely disintegrated. Marine equipment might be more expensive but it is at least designed to deal with the sea water and the UV that you have on board.

We were sailing quite well when we heard a gurgling noise and Beverley realised that we had a fender on the back. Beverley joked that we must of got married as it looked just the way cars look that take the bridal couple away after they are married. Well as far as I was concerned it would have to stay there as I was not going to get it.

Another thing I realised was that our wind instrument would need recalibrating. The wind instrument was showing us to port at about 15°, while the Windex had us to pot at about 50°, so we were well off. So just another job to do, hey ho, I was getting board anyway.

After tacking all the way to our waypoint which we had chosen because it was dead down wind it was soon time to return to the marina. So we goose winged the boat rigging a preventer so that it would keep the boom out. Now over the winter we have been reading a sail trim book, so we got the luff of the sail pointing into the wind which according to the book is correct. So we are learning.

So with the sails set, it was just an easy sail back to the marina.