Monday, 9 April 2012

There and back

We had a brilliant sail on Lyttelton Harbour yesterday, in perfect cloudless autumn weather. We started in the lowest low tide I've seen there, so low that we could see parts of the launching ramp that we'd never seen before. We threaded our way through the large number of Sea Scouts having a major regatta; there were lots of sailing cutters and Sunburst dinghies, with several hundred kids having a great time.

We tacked up the harbour in strange sea conditions; there was a large rolling ocean swell, piling up into 3-4 metre waves in shallow areas, with a strong incoming tide and a chop on top, and wind around 15-20 knots. The boat felt like it was sluggish, though we actually made good time to Camp Bay. We had intended to tie to a buoy there and wait for Chris Hutching to join us in his little bilge keeler Henry Salad, but we couldn't find the club mooring. We sailed back down to Purau, and sailed into the bay where we could see Chris still rigging his sails. We had a rather circular time there, trying to pick up a buoy, as this close-up of our GPS track shows.

Grab the buoy! Oops, missed it,
we'll have to go round again!
As we pulled down the sails and started eating lunch, Chris motored over and tied up behind us, then hopped on board to have his lunch and a chat. By then it was 1.30pm, and Schroeder and I were on a deadline; we had to be back in town for our crew Darren Armstrong's engagement party, starting at 5. So we left Chris to motor to the Heads then sail back, and we sailed out to the middle of the harbour before turning for home. By this time conditions had improved greatly; the tide had come in and the wind had dropped to around 10-12 knots. The big rolling swell was still coming in, but the chop had disappeared, so the run back down was in perfect conditions.

We had the boat packed away by 3.30pm, and were home by 4, ready to shower and go out to Darren and Amber's party. Needless to say, we didn't stay late; after a day of sun and sea air, a few drinks had me yawning. Heather had been busy gathering treasures from the garden at River Road, so she was weary too - it was home for an early night.

Some photos of Chris and Henry Salad, to finish.

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