The forecast said Force 4 or 5. When we reached the boat the wind was whistling through the rigging and we began to wonder if this was such a good idea.
Still it was plainly too late to back out now, so we put in a reef for the first time and sailed off the mooring. A beam wind past the other boats on the Thurne and then as we turned into Candle Dyke the sail flattened against the shrouds and we were off. There was virtually nothing else on the water. We hung on as Heigham Sound went by, then Deep Go Dyke and before we knew it we were barrelling across Hickling heading for a little cluster of racing dinghies and a lone insane windsurfer.
We decided getting into the dinghies wasn’t a good plan so we came about and started tacking between the marker posts heading back the way we’d come. I had the keel down fully for the first time and this, together with the strong breeze made tacking much more predictable. We got through the trees on Deep Go relatively easily and then had our fastest ever trip down Meadow Dyke to Horsey.
By this time we were exhausted. We tried putting the mudweight down but it wasn’t holding in the wind so we hauled it up again and fired up the engine. We should really have tacked our way back across Heigham Sound but with a drive to Cambridge for some tango waiting for us we wimped out and motored back through the last of the open water.A good confidence building session. If it wasn’t a sure-fire way of conjuring disaster I’d say we’re starting to get the hang of this.