Over to Horning this morning to meet MB who also keeps a Gypsy on the Broads. The main purpose of the visit was to inspect his A-frame and see how it helped in the mast raising process. Very well indeed is the answer. Easy to do on the water, easy to do single handed. The only drawback I can see is the eyewatering price – considerably more than an arm and a leg even before you add the Harken winch on the cabin top.

There was an unexpected bonus. I mentioned in passing that Gypsy Roma comes out of the water for her winter lay-up at the end of October.  M looked puzzled and explained they sailed all through the winter. In fact, as he pointed out, with no leaves on the trees there was more wind about and of course far fewer hire boats.  Somehow I’d assumed storing the boat over winter was what you did – an idea reinforced by the box I’d filled in on the insurance form which offered me a season of 8 months.  As soon as I got back I phoned the broker who said there was absolutely no problem about using her during the colder months and no, there wouldn’t be any extra premium to pay.  So that was that. A season of winter sailing suddenly opens up. She’ll still have to come out to have the antifoul done and I need to do some work on the varnish.  But a Christmas sail is looking a certainty.

It was good to talk to someone who knew what he was doing. And could make decent coffee. Sailors seem to be a friendly bunch – which is promising.

The sun was shining when I got back after days of rain. So I inspected the bees. It seems I have three strong colonies going into the winter. I treated for varroa and wrapped them up again. They all had plenty of stores but I’ll keep feeding them for the next week or two. Then keep my fingers crossed until April.

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