Then for the return journey! A vote was taken - and we opted to paddle back, having re-adjusted the trim by moving David to the back. Three up we seemed to fly.
Thanks Keith for a great day. It's always a learning experience!
Coniston - Another Perspective (KeithM)
The training workshop weekend was OK and well appreciated. There were 8 of us including 2 newcomers, Malcolm and Bev, both local to the area. It was a bit windy at times on the Saturday, so we sailed round a few buoys close to the campsite for the morning. Then in the pm we mostly teamed up in pairs to sail the circuit before giving in to the temptation of a cream tea at Brantwood. It was blowing between F3 and F5 or so and was therefore a little hairy, especially for Martin. He demonstrated his ability to do capsize recovery and bailing in his new boat, which he was trying out for the first time.
The forecast for the Sunday was for worse conditions again and as several people couldn't make it we called the Sunday off, though I suspect that DaveT may well have had a nice sail after all as the predicted foul weather did not materialise. (He did - Ed.)
Windermere Cruise (RoyB)
My idea of sailing down and up Windermere over two days (see last month's GOSSIP) was rather stymied when someone pointed out that there is no campsite at Fell Foot. However, having 'booked' the days off I turned up at Low Wray campsite, to find Noeline & DaveT waiting for me.
The highlight of our stay was a trip down to Bowness and back. We started off in a light northwesterly breeze, very relaxed in the sunshine, and even more so as the wind gradually fell away. We were roused from our torpor, however, by the sudden onset of strong gusts, mainly from the southwest. At times we had to let our sails flap to avoid risk of capsize - most undignified! Rather than stop for lunch on the grassy banks west of Belle Isle, we were forced to make for the public jetty at Bowness as the squalls became more prolonged. Sitting there, munching our sandwiches, we noticed that gusts were merging to form longer spells of wind (as Mr. Fish might say).
We decided that it would be no fun to beat further down the lake, so Dave reefed and I struck the mizzen and moved the main to its more central position. We shot away, intending to use the shelter of Belle Isle and its satellites to cross to the western side of the lake, avoiding the full strength of the wind, and then run back to Low Wray near the shore. After fifteen minutes or so the wind dropped to a gentle breeze and left us drifting gently northwards in the middle of Windermere, admiring the beautiful Fairfield Horseshoe.
For a while what looked like a brand new Wanderer dinghy sailed with us until we became aware of gentle airs from the west, which strengthened to a steady then strong wind from the northwest, sometimes a good force 4, I would think. The Wanderer fell away to starboard and a hard, close-hauled reach began up the eastern shore. Although it occasionally seemed more like survival than sailing, I never felt to be out of control. Dave moved on ahead of me, battered not only by the wind, but also by the occasional wash from passing powerboats. Eventually I was glad to see that he had landed on a sheltered beach about half a mile below the Youth Hostel, where we sponged out our boats, drank tea with the last of our sandwiches and congratulated each other on our efforts. Sailing out to cross the lake to Low Wray, I thought that the wind had eased a little - or had I just got used to it? With a couple of generous tacks we landed, home and damp, six hours after setting sail.
This sort of sailing gives me the greatest satisfaction - a longish trip, the challenge of various conditions, and competence successfully - touch wood - put to the test. And only in a canoe can one so easily draw up on a small beach and eat one's sandwiches!
Make Your Own Sails (DaveT)
Re: The article in The Gossip No. 134.
It is possible to make one's own sail for an open canoe that will perform adequately for most people's requirements. Several members of the OCSG sail with homemade sails, myself included. Some are modified dinghy, windsurfer or other sails; others are totally homemade from a variety of cloths and "sticks".
When I first joined the OCSG I was advised to purchase a very informative publication, "Sail Your Canoe", author: John Bull (yes, the very same!), which in simple terms told one how to convert an open canoe, including the making of sails, several patterns of which were included. Many years later I am still sailing my canoe with homemade equipment that has evolved through trial and error and