Dreams of Easy Sailing

The roads to the coast were covered in a thin layer of black ice due to the heavy rain during the night. The back wheel slipped and skidded up hills and over the roads, while I kept the front wheel straight and tried to turn by using my body weight. Luckily I had no accidents, but it was unexpected and it took me longer to get to the boat. When I did I saw the tide was already creeping round the harbour wall and I had about 10 minutes to get inside and check the bilges for water (a little in the bottom) and sponge it out. Then I checked the plastic covering over the boat and making it more secure with more rocks to keep the wind from blowing the edges away from the hull. The sun came out and the wind died down, the sea was calm and I wanted to raise the mast and sail. The raising of the mast takes quite a bit of effort and planning, it can be quite a task to haul it up; it is not a task that takes a few minutes so preparation is needed if one wants to sail. I stood enjoying the good weather and looking at the boat visualizing how I can make the process of sailing easier and quicker. The main problem was erecting the mast, but if I changed the sail and had a smaller mast I could erect it by myself and without stays and less halyards, I could have it ready to sail in a comfortable time. I have just completed designing a mast and sail for my kayak by using a Lateen rig (1 short mast, 1 triangular sail, no boom, no stays) and this design could also be used for the boat by using the existing mast and boom and mainsail. The boom could become the mast and the existing mast could be the yard that supports the sail. All I needed to do was to make a support so the boom could be made secure to the top of the cabin. By this time the sun had melted the ice and the roads were better, I got home with a glaring sun in my eyes all the way, and the odd sheep dog barking at my wheels.

In the afternoon I played Border pipes practising tunes and working on the reed. I noticed that the edge of the reed was cracked. This could be the end of the reed but I have had such problems with my Northumbrian pipes many years ago and I glued it together. I dropped a bit of glue over the cracked edge and continued with the tuning. In the end I admitted defeat, I could not get a perfect “A” (440c) chanter, it was flat somewhere between a G# and A. But it was in tune and if I did not play with others it was fine. I tuned the drones to the chanter and enjoyed playing and memorizing tunes from the Border repertoire.

Later I got a phone call from BBC Radio Cumbria arranging a date for recording a programme for them for Burns’ night.


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