Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dinghy full of water

Festival session in Shortt's Bar, Feakle

We went to Winter Solstice today for the first time in a week apart from a quick spin-by at the weekend. It was the Feakle Traditional Music Festival and we've been on festival time, playing tunes every night in sessions, going to bed at three (or four or five) and getting up very late. Today was wild with wind and rain, and we'd had mad torrential weather on Tuesday, so we were worried about the dinghy in Mountshannon Harbour. She was surely full of water. So we wanted to take her out and bring her home.

We needed life jackets, and a boat hook, all of which were on Winter Solstice, so we called at Scarriff to pick them up. And there was a letter! In the cockpit. People read my blog! Thank you Andrew and Helen, crew of Woodpecker. And yes, we'll definitely be back on lovely Lough Erne again.

The dinghy was indeed full of water, but still afloat. Joe set about baling

Baling out
while I had a look about. The lake was very high. Another boat here that needs baling:

The swimming area in Mountshannon
We pulled the dinghy round all the moored boats on the council jetty where we'd tied her temporarily, me with the painter and Joe with the boathook. Then I had to let go and Joe was on his own. I thought I'd lost him at one point. He was pushing straight into the roaring gale, had had to let go with the boathook and the wind caught him. He and the little blue boat were on their way to the Yacht Club's floating moorings. But no! He managed to haul out an oar and regain control. Here she is with her mast unstepped (destepped?):

Waiting for the trailer
And out she comes:

Ready for home
We had a mooch about the harbour before we left and spotted this:

Hein Goodewind
An old timber cruiser from the Norfolk Broads. The owners came back from the shop as we were leaving and we were able to have the typical timber boat owners' chat. Leaks (where, not if). Painting (also varnishing). Winter covers (importance of). The question everyone asks (with or without sharp intake of breath); 'needs a lot of work does she?'

This boat is a lot older than ours. It seems there were four of them imported into Ireland at the same time. This is probably the only one still in regular use - or, indeed, still in one piece, although there may be another being worked on in Shannon Harbour. Maybe we'll go and have a look. Hoping to go off for a jaunt this weekend. If this wretched (but also exhilarating) wind ever dies down so we can get up the lake.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Launching of the boat

Holy Island from Knockafort
An unexpected invitation to celebrate the launching of a boat. Doug had built an Ian Oughtred designed boat and it was ready for the water. There are two masts yet to be stepped, and no sails, but there are four oars. It was Thursday, that first true summer's day, and this was just what we needed. We'd been in Feakle the night before, playing at a session, bed at 4.30. Sunshine and water would bring us back to reality.

Ian Oughtred boats always have beautiful lines and look gorgeous in or out of the water. This one was no different.

Preparing for launch
We'd drank the wine (or in our case orange juice, an after-the-night-before necessity), all the witnesses were assembled, and into the water she went.

Afloat in calm waters (and a tilted horizon)
The family were the first to take her out, as is only right. The boat needs three people to make the most of her. Two at the oars and one at the rudder. They disappeared towards Holy Island on their inaugural voyage having been sent off by first a piper then two flutes and a banjo.

Out into the misty distance

Joe and I played The Launching of the Boat. After that it was all water themed. Out on the Ocean, Ships are Sailing and so on until we ran out of ideas. Then the swimming togs came out. I've never swam from here before - or launched a boat from here for that matter - but it seems you can swim out to the reeds you see in the photo and stand on the sandy bottom. A destination!

Get set
And they're off

The first party returned from their maiden voyage. The boat behaved beautifully. Everything worked.

Rowing through reflections
 Suddenly I wanted to be in the water too, the first time this summer I'd even entertained the idea - for obvious shite weather reasons. But I'd no togs. No towel. However, there is always underwear... Collette and I went in together - she had togs and towel. Silky lukewarm water. Head under to ease the hangover. Out to the gap between the reeds to stand on the sandy bottom but oh god feet down and slimy river weeds with likely slimy things living in them. Gulp.