Like all of us, I’ve been limited to day sails recently, and I’ve been giving some thought to ways of enjoying our boats under these different conditions. All through total lockdown I was promising myself I would sail at every opportunity once it was over. I have been out a few times, but you do soon start to think, is it worth the time getting everything ready just for a few hours?
But given we have no other option currently, let’s make the best of it, and the fantastic cruising area we sail in. Here are some ideas...
The Royal Western are moving towards a commencement of racing, and they will be posting details on Facebook and their website today of courses etc. It’s very much a tentative first step, with more of a facilitating approach than out and out race organisation, but it’s a welcome step and I’m sure other clubs will be keen to do something similar.
Obviously this is limited to either single handed, or crew from the same household unless you can realistically self-distance on your boat. It occurs to me that many of us who don’t race might want to have a go, as it provides a good way to go day sailing rather than just sploshing to Cawsand and back, lovely as that can be.
Lots of people are put off racing by the shouting and use of the dreaded spinnaker, but maybe some informal white sail racing could be arranged if enough people wanted to do it, I know there have been a few “friendly” races around the Eddystone between our berth holders. We probably have boat owners here who could arrange and run such Corinthian events.
2. Dead Reckoning & MOB Routines
What about practising navigation using dead reckoning? Cover your plotter, turn the autohelm off, sail for an hour, see how close you are to where you think you are!
If that's not for you, how about practising man overboard routines. Grab a bucket or a large fender and test your boat handling skills.
3. Treasure Hunt
How about a treasure hunt style rally with clues relating to seamarks or landmarks around the Sound. For example, what's the lat/long of our yellow PYH racing mark? (A clue - it's near Drake's Island). This is a great way to sail with other berth holders while keeping to social distancing rules - fancy dress optional.
4. Reefing Practice
Sailboats, when did you last reef at sea? It's a fun thing to do through choice, but may stand you in good stead when you have to do it for real.
5. Tamar Exploration
If you’re confident with your tidal heights, the Tamar can be navigated quite a way depending on your draft, it’s interesting, with the naval dockyards, but also very scenic, and you get to sail under Brunel’s bridge. Well worth a trip.
If you’ve found your own favourite ways of making day sailing fun, do share with us, or post on our Facebook page.