Photo courtesy Simon Wakefield. Click to enlarge

We are sailing again at last, although it seems it could be a while before residential work can happen except for families. And sailing again feels good although the muscles that have atrophied during the months on the mooring are feeling it somewhat.

We rigged in the first week of August and had a shakedown sail in the second week. Although antifouled in March the barge needed a scrub badly so the third week saw us at Pin Mill on the blocks. The passage round was slow with ficklewinds and rain, taking twelve hours from Colne Point to Pin Mill, and of course the barnacles made a difference too. We spent an afternoon cleaning the mud from the blocks with shovels and yard brooms before going on and this made the experience easier and more pleasant. Despite being ready to come off the weather took a turn for the worst with gales late in the week and we stayed securely tied up until the Saturday when Gus Curtis kindly took us to anchor at the Clamp with his tug. Nearby was Victor on a day trip from Ipswich and anchored in the lee as it was still blowing hard.

The passage home was much quicker taking eight hours to the mooring to windward. There was still some wind about and the topsail was rucked in Pennyhole Bay.

Back at home there was more wind to come midweek meaning an all-to-rare sail with friends on Sallie had to be cancelled. With a day sail planned for Friday at Brightlingsea on Blue Mermaid we took some extra delivery crew the day before and had an excellent day, with a stop for lunch at Weymarks and getting ashore at Brightlingsea before the worst of the rain arrived. We were joined by Ian Harris, who teaches nautical studies in Glasgow, his partner Jo, and Sam and Andy from Lady Daphne. Cleverly, they had left a car at Brightlingsea. At Weymarks we were joined by Hydrogen on a daysail from Maldon. She and Thistle have been busy with carefully distanced day and over-the-tide sails since restrictions eased in July, and are an inspiration as to what can be achieved.

Part Two available here.

Richard Titchener