An important day. The boat is back in the water. What’s more Ken arrived out of the blue and fitted her new stainless steel A-frame which allows me to raise and lower the mast single handed. More significantly I no longer have to lie on the bank while my heart settles after wrestling the mast and gear upright. This single modification increases our cruising range enormously. Till now we have been restricted by the low stone arches of Potter Heigham Bridge. We managed to get through once last year but only at some risk to our health. Now we can go where we please. The fact it can be done single handed means that I can take the boat out by myself and cross over to the Yare and the Southern Broads. The weather is about to break for the worse but I’m still planning on getting across Breydon Water for the first time in the next few days. The tides are favourable. Which means that I should be able to reach Norwich and the limit of navigation at Bishops Bridge. That would be a major achievement.
All that’s still to come. Today we went for a shake-down cruise and reminded ourselves just how much we had to learn. It was a day’s comedy sailing with added moments of terror. The wind was much stronger than we’re used to. Gusting at 5 or 6 at a guess. We had several unsuccessful attempts to get away from the mooring with the sails up before we had to admit defeat. Wind and tide were against us – and we should probably have known at the outset our planned departure wasn’t going to work. We got a reef in and with the wind on the nose for most of the way out we gave up trying to tack in Candle Dyke and fired up the engine. On Horsey things got better for a while and we belted up and down until the jib sheet parted and we were left operating on the mainsail alone. By the time we got back we were completely frazzled. I even missed lunch dining instead on adrenaline and whatever the opposite of dopamine is. Back again tomorrow for more.