The next day I met up with Hester, a Hawk 20 which friends had sailed over from Christchurch. It had blown up to F6 in the morning and I had abandoned sailing in Poole Bay, but the time they came over it was almost flat calm and they had to motor much of the distance. We hailed each other on VHF which was a first for both of us. amazing that it actually works. I kept forgetting to press the button when I was talking, which led to disjointed understanding. We sailed up the Wareham Channel and then motored slowly up the Frome to Wareham where we tied up overnight.
Wareham is a lovely old town and the quayside is almost unique in allowing free mooring on the quay for up to 48 hours at no charge. I think it just adds to the atmosphere of the place. I was moored under a street light and I had to fix a dark blue tea towel over the main hatch to keep it off me whilst I slept. The only disturbance was a group of lads diving in of the bridge at midnight. But nobody drownded. (I had been for my first swim in the harbour earlier in the day. Cold...)
|Panorama of the Wareham water front with Daisy G near the bridge and Hester tied up to a large catamaran.|
In the morning I was up before all the others, so had my breakfast on the riverbank, watching a painter set up his easel by the bridge. I went over to see what he was doing and saw a beautiful picture emerging with Daisy G in the fore front. I asked, just out of interest of course, how much he would charge for eth painting when finished. he grinned and said "Around four to five thousand pounds" !!! I Checked his web site. That IS what he charges (http://www.peterbrownneac.com/) I'm not sure I want a picture of my boat that much. He said it will be on his website by the end of the year. That might be as close as I get.
After breakfast I pumped up the dinghy and rowed upriver under the bridge, where I have never been before. Absolutely delightful. The epitome of an English river in the summer, with trees brushing the water, kingfishers zipping over the water, and lazy cows looking over the bank side vegetation. I only had time to go half a mile or so before turning back
View 2011-06-28 09:18 in a larger map
When the rest finally emerged from their B&B I took AH as crew down the Frome and then sailing round to shipstal Point. AH nearly wrecked a port hand marker, tangling a reefing line around it. I had just said to him (You don't want to get yours lines tangled round that, like I did a couple of years ago". It took him only five seconds to do just that. We managed to unhook ourselves, but left the stake at 45 degrees. To make it more embarrassing, the pilot boat was by Shipstal, checking and resetting all the channel markers. Were they going to give us stick? No fortunately, but three days later the marker is still canted.
A curious incident as we anchored. We thought of running up the beach, but the beach slope only let us get near. I hopped out and picked up the anchor and stood there for a moment, clutching it muddily to my breast, up to my shins in liquid gloop. At that point, a bird watcher on the beach grinned and greeted me by name! Am I that well known? As I was near tripping and being dragged under by the anchor I said "I'm a bit preoccupied at the moment, I'll get back to you." Turns out he is a Winkle Brig owner and knows me from the winkle Brig web site I still manage (http://www.jegsweb.co.uk/boats/winklebrig/winklebrig1.htm) He has been sailing in Poole Harbour for a holiday and had been keeping an eye open for me.
AH sailed back to Wareham on the Hawk and I sailed over to Parkstone where my wife arrived for the night. We drove over to Wareham for dinner and then back to Parkstone for a night on the marina pontoon (in the boat...). Then we sailed with the Hawk around Brownsea and had a rafted up picnic, before the Hawk headed back to Wareham and I sailed my wife back to the marina so she could get back home.
|Rafted up for a picnic off Brownsea Island|
The only other jobs were to move the main sheet fixing forward on the boom, which seems to have worked for keeping the sheet away from the mizzen sprit heel, and moving the Handy Billy from the vertical part of the jib halyard by the mast, to the horizontal bit under the spray hood, where it is out of sight but also easy to reach.
Then a lovely slow sail back to Shipstal where I spent the last night, before back to work the next morning.
One note on impressive sailing. I spotted a smallish sloop anchored out west of Brownsea Island. About 30ft or so, noting very special. Except it was flying the Stars and Stripes and its home port was Portland, Oregon. On the US Pacific Coast. I think I have gone a long way when I get to Christchurch, two hours away.