Our fastest sail of the year!

We had left Liverpool and we were proceeding up the channel, vast the various buoys that mark the channel. One of the markers that we were pleased to see was the Crosby Fairway buoy as it has been missing for a few years now because of dredging in the channel. Having a physical marker, really helps navigation because not only does it separate the green side of the channel from the red side, it also marks the place where you radio in to Mersey VTS. Mersey VTS monitors the traffic going up and down the channel and one of the vessels that the were monitoring was a cargo vessel called the Einstein, when I viewed the Einstein, it looked like it was not producing much wake, but I was proved wrong.

Once out of the channel we were able to put up our sails up and set up the sails for sailing. Realistically it was more like drifting because we were travelling at 2 knots and 1.7knots of that was the tide. It was delightful however because of the total silence and the way the water was reflecting onto the sails, it creates a shimmering pattern that just adds to the total calm that is sailing at 2 knots. Sailing at that slow speed just allows you to unwind and have a snack which was chicken, onions and peppers mixed together in sweet chilli sauce. served in pitta bread. Totally delicious.

Later, Beverley noticed some ruffled water and she just said to me, that she had high hopes for the ruffle because it usually means wind. Well it was practically a Goldilocks amount of wind as it was just the right amount so that we could keep the full sails up and fly along at a cracking turn of speed for Salty Lass which was 6.8knots and considering the tide had set against us at that point then that was a cracking turn of speed. A little later we were 7.5knots at which point we eased the sails, this slowed our speed, but it also flattened Salty Lass as 7.5knots is close to our maximum speed so we suspected that some Leeward motion was happening. Going faster is more exciting but it really is harder on the crew and when there are only two of you, than it can be really trying. That is why as the sun came down we shortened sails so that we could continue to sail through the night.

Durring the night Beverley and I swap on a regular basis so that we get sleep. So while it was my shift my path was going to go in front of the bow of a commercial vessel. Seeing as it was commercial, it was on AIS which indicated that the ship was anchored so it was safe to go in front of the vessel. If it had not been anchored then I would of changed course so that I went behind the vessel. Even though I was sailing at the time, you can either bow to Might is right, or to Beverley's and I's simple rule which is the more manoeuvrable vessel gives may. That should be the motor vessel rather than the sail vessel, but once a motor vessel become large then it is always the sail vessel that is more manoeuvrable. The only other issue was a sail boat that I momentarily thought was a light house. The next hazard to navigation was the ferry from Doulas to Liverpool as it travels and 35knos and it throws up a huge about of wake and you really need to be prepared for it, so we always bring in the sails so that they are more controllable.

Soon it was time to put the sails away and motor into Doulas. With Douglas there is a waiting pontoon outside the harbour, so that you can moor up at any time. If you happen to go onto the waiting pontoon put your fenders up high as the pontoon itself is high, but the other option is that you will be expected to raft and you will need your fenders high for that. The waiting pontoon is half the price of the harbour so for our sized yacht that works out at £17 per night.

While we were at Douglas we were invited into the local RNLI station. The particular station was nick named the founders station because it was built by Sir William Hilary, the founder of the RNLI. Initially there was a lot of local initiatives and he brought them all together under one organisation. He has a plaque in the station itself and he has a statue above the town with him dressed up looking out to sea. Every year in January there is a ceremony to celebrate his life.

  • Pinterest