Sydney Harbour Cruise - 22Dec09
I set out from Woollahra Sailing Club at around 6:00pm on Tuesday 22 Dec. After I got the AI in the water I found that the rudder was not travelling fully to starboard, so it was back up the ramp to rectify the slack in the rudder control line. That done, back down the ramp, hook up the main sheet, unhook the sail tie, unplug the cart, pull down the rudder, unclip the bungie on the Mirage drive, push off and get out there.
I was all thumbs and totally uncoordinated at the bottom of the ramp - first I couldn't manage the bungies on the rear luggage rack to secure the cart (later I found that I had secured the cart on top of the main sheet), then I could not make headway with the Mirage drive to escape the NEster blowing me back into the ramp - whilst fiddling around I ended up drifting into a Moth which came up to the ramp whilst I was mucking around - thanks to the skipper for fending me off. At that point it was time to step out and start off again. This time I pushed off directly into the wind and managed to peddle out a few meters, but now I had no starboard rudder. I peddled a bit further out, clear of the moored boats to investigate - I hadn't cleated the rudder pull line - line now pulled tight and cleated I had starboard rudder again, and ready to sail. Next I pulled out the sail - what was the resistance and the sail did not look right - looking over my shoulder there was my cart up in the air, also I could not point the boat - I wonder if the dagger board, still in its holder on the deck, was a contributing factor?
I got well clear of everything and driftet for a few minutes whilst getting everything in order, and get my head back together.
At last I was sailing.
The drift plan was a basic harbour cruise - under the Harbour Bridge and beyond turning back at 7:00pm.
I was reaching on a line to Bradleys Head with a 5-10 kt NEster (I wonder if the wind ever blows in other directions on this Harbour). As I headed out I watched a massive rain squall cross south to north in the western suburbs and appeared to be approaching the city. I wondered if I should break out the spray jacket. As I approached Tooronga the sky to the south of the squall cleared and by the time I reached Kirribilli I was bathed in sun.
The flags on the Harbour Bridge were pointing due south, but the wind on the water was still from the NE. As I reached the bridge the wind dropped off all together, with not a ripples to be seen across the harbour. With the sail luffing miserably, it was time to furl and peddle around Milsons Point and on to Blues Point. Now the wind came up again and I was reaching across towards Dawes Point. Unfortunately it was 7:15pm and time to head for home, so I started tacking into a now westerly (whilst the flags on top of the Harbour Bridge still pointed due south).
To speed up my return I was peddling hard and pointing as high as I could without luffing the sail - then Mirage drive problems. The drive felt like it was skipping teeth. I took it out to inspect, but the chain tension felt OK. The skipping worsened soon at a point where the drive was virtually useless. Without a spanner and pliers I couldn’t adjust the chain tension and became totally reliant on the wind.
The trip back was taking much longer than anticipated and it was getting dark. All the craft around me had their nav lights on. The previous week I had invested in battery operated LED port/starboard and steaming lights. The port/starboard light has a clamp, but I found it would not satisfactorily clamp to anything on the AI. I managed to mount it on the Scotty rod holder on my port gunwale. The steaming light has a suction cup - it worked fine on the back of the Oasis, but the only smooth piece of deck it would stick to was in the cup holder on the starboard side behind the seat.
Lights rigged I was visible and on my way again.
I was back on the WSC ramp at 8:50pm, and another great AI adventure on Sydney Harbour over.
More pics at http://det-hem.ourpix.biz/main.php?g2_itemId=39611
Trip Stats from the GPS Odometer (including demo sail off Balmoral Beach):
Trip distance: 7.69 NM
Max Speed: 7.1 kts
Moving Average: 3.4 kts
Time Moving: 2hr 17min Time stop: 22min