First real trip in the boat. We left the mooring at Martham and headed up Candle Dyke, through Heigham Sound and into Meadow Dyke. We’d done this in a canoe earlier in the year and it had nearly killed us. Gypsy Roma coped much better.  On the map Horsey Mere sits alongside the much larger Hickling Broad and I’d somehow got it into my head that it was a modest expanse of open water.  I was wrong. We crossed over to the public staithe where we moored for lunch. A bit too busy for our taste so we backed out and motored to a spot near the reeds and had a go at pulling up the sails.  Safe to say, this didn’t go as planned. First we discovered the roller reefing mechanism on the jib wasn’t working.  Then the rigging of the mainsail had been set up by someone who knew about as much as we did. The wrong ropes were going the wrong way through the wrong pulleys and some essential bits were missing. So after floundering and drifting for a while we returned to the reeds and dropped the mud anchor. And there we stayed until morning. It was stunningly beautiful. An evening without a breath of wind, virtually no other boats, not even the sound of distant traffic. We sat and watched the sun set while a marsh harrier patrolled the darkening reed beds.In the morning we returned to the mooring and set about unravelling the rigging problem.  This mostly involved learning from first principles. Plus plenty of raising and lowering the mast. It took us a while.  We sorted the jib out with the aid of the handbook and might even have rigged a topping lift if a shackle hadn’t snapped on the shrouds and dropped a pulley into the river. At this point there was no alternative but to lash everything down and try again another day.

Shame about the sailing. But we’ve learned a lot and had a fine first 24hours.

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