There is a Season – Tern,Tern,Tern

So, I have been worrying about several things lately. First is that the Scaffie is not in the water. She is skulking in Dead Man’s Gulch, having been untimely ripped from her natural element due to unjustified dread of typhoons, whipped up by the right-wing media, of course.

Cancellations of various meetings leaves me with a more or less clear day. I jump on the opportunity to liberate the Scaffie. A very highly educated team show at 07:15. We rush to the hiding place and slowly but surely ease the Scaffie down the beach. I love this stuff! So many meetings during which my main focus has been how to run a Drascombe Scaffie down a remote beach on the East China Sea.

The answer lies in the boards

The answer lies in the boards

I have pumped up the trailer tires and assembled a good collection of wide plywood boards.

We just run the boat down on these with the greatest of ease.

A delightful old guy, who walks down the beach every morning at 7:30 to do his calisthenics, comes to help

A delightful old guy, who walks down the beach every morning at 7:30 to do his calisthenics, comes to help

Stupidly, I organize this adventure at low tide. We get the boat down to the water no bother but it is not possible to push her through the underwater coral to a depth whereby she will float off the trailer. No problem we just leave her  there. The tide will come in and float her off nicely. We go to the Joyfull Restaurant for a great breakfast.

Good looking people. Thanks Hisashi, David and Laura.

Good looking people. Good looking boat. Thanks Hisashi, David and Laura.

The other thing that I have been worrying about is whether the Black Naped Terns have come back to nest on the cliffs of Cape Zampa. There is a strong wind blowing and the sea is fairly wavey. I set off on a broad reach towards the nesting sites. The Scaffie charges along and we get there in 30 minutes.

Cape Zampa off the port bow

Cape Zampa off the port bow

This probably does not convey the speed through the water nor the agitation of  the sea

This probably does not convey the speed through the water nor the agitation of the sea

I come in close to the cliffs and there are some 20 terns sitting there  but looking disinterested in nesting. The sea is too bad to get in very close but I suspect these are Roseate rather than Black Naped. Why do I care? Well, last year a couple of Black Naped Terns, hyper rare birds, nested on the rock in front of my house and raised two chicks. I did not realize what was going on until the last act. This year I dream they will come back again and I will be able to document the nesting, egging, raising and flying off, for all the world to see.  Will they be back? So much to worry about.

I beat back to the house. What a great sail! It is the first time I have sailed the Scaffie in high winds and high seas. This is what she is good at. The boat is remarkably stable. Big gusts come in that would have most boats of this length healed over dangerously and the helmsperson worrying about capsize. The Scaffie just shrugs down a bit and accelerates. She is also very dry. Beating into the wind in heavy seas usually means a lot of water breaking over the bows into the boat. The Scaffie miraculously shrugs off these seas and  spreads them wide from her bow.

I have also been very anguished  about the mighty Tophatsu. This engine has done everything she can to make me happy. However, I fear that her ample figure is just too generous for the Scaffie. Should I trade her in for a more svelte model?

I take her out today to test whether we have future together.

The  reubenesque Tophatsu mounted on my ex

The reubenesque Tophatsu mounted on my ex.

I bear up into the wind, lower the sail and manhandle the Tophatsu, who has been lying quietly in the bottom of the boat, onto the engine mount. This is a manouevre that I have fretted about through many meetings, as I feared that stumbling about a small boat with a heavy engine in rough seas would lead to falling overboard.  Not so, the Scaffie is very stable in the water and I mounted easily.

The tiller on the Scaffie is fitted such that you can lift it to about 60 degrees from the horizontal whilst maintaining full control of the rudder. This means that you can move the tiller above the huge bulk of the Tophatsu  and manoeuvre the boat without difficulty. I motor around a bit and everything is wonderful.

Tophatsu is heavy and curvy but she has power and reliability. What a relief that I will not have to sell  her down the river.

Beating back from Cape Zampa

Beating back from Cape Zampa

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2 Responses to There is a Season – Tern,Tern,Tern

  1. calder Ian says:

    It all looks just fine, photos never do justice to sea states. I hope the terns return, you could do a sort of Lester and Bagshawe project.

  2. Ha! Have just read up on Lester and Bagshawe. Very interesting and unknown to me hithertofore.
    So far no terns.

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