Tuesday 2nd December 2008, UAE National Day
- Almost exactly a month after entering the country, Morwenna was at last fitted out, registered and ready to go. The kids had a three day dingy sailing course at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC), the sailing club that we had just joined, so Rachel and I took Morwenna down to the sea and out for her first trip.
It took me about ¾ hour to get the mast and boom up and launch. Whilst Rachel parked the car and trailer at the sailing club, I motored across to the marina area and found an empty berth. After a coffee I then spent a while getting the genoa onto the roller furling and mainsail onto the boom before we stopped again for lunch. At 1250 we proceeded to sea for the first time, got the sails up in a gentle westerly force 2 and had a little sail out towards The World.
Everything went well as we sailed a little figure-eight course but all too quickly it was time to go and pick the kids up from their training so we were back in harbour by 1514, recovered onto the trailer by 1600 and on our way home after de-rigging by 1710.
Although much of the UAE had been blessed with an extended National Day / Eid public holiday, prior business arrangements meant I could not continue sailing immediately.
Friday 5th December 2008
- Mum/Grandma arrived on the evening of 3rd Dec so at the weekend it was time to take her out for a trip and it was also the first trip for the boys, Robert & Luke. We launched at DOSC at 1245 and proceeded to sea by 1330. Since wind was rare and lunch was late we motored up the coast to a small artificial island in front of Safa Beach Park, hereafter referred to as Safa Island for want of a real name. There appeared to be some sort of regatta for the local racing dhows going on - many local craft and natives seen! (Those who have read Swallows & Amazons will know this is not a derogatory comment!)
1530 After a fine picnic lunch (and swim for the children - way too cold for us sensible adults) we sailed back to DOSC, arriving at 1630. We had checked with the Club Manager and agreed that we could use a vacant slot for the next few days so avoiding the turmoil of rigging the boat each day. With Morwenna safely tucked up it was time for the Official Naming Ceremony so a bottle of bubbly was uncorked and a little dribbled on the bow. The rest was dribbled between the adults...
Sunday 7th December 2008.
The weather forecast had been poor for the Saturday so we took to the seas again on Sunday. Without the hassle of having to tow/rig/launch we took it easy and were still proceeding to sea by 1030. We set sail immediately outside DOSC harbour and took a leisurely trip up the coast. At 1100 we hove-to to make hot drinks from the flask and then continued on our way. By 1155 we were just beyond Jumeira Fishing Harbour and in sight of the QE2, recently arrived in the UAE for retirement, when we decided to turn for home. We reach Safa Island at 1325 and stopped for lunch for an hour or so before reaching DOSC at 1515. Virtually all of the day was spent sailing and we were beginning to get a little more confidence.
Tuesday 9th December 2008.
Although there was little wind forecast we left harbour at 1030 and motored towards Atlantis at the end of the Palm and even tried setting sail. With the main and spinnaker hanging like limp rags we drifted 400m in half an hour before we finally admitted defeat and got going under motor again. On meeting the seaward end of the Palm we decided to follow it back towards land and we tried sneaking into the inside of the Palm to have a look at the villas but got chased out by the security boat - oops. We stopped for lunch in front of one of the big private palaces with great views of the Burj al Arab and Jumeira Beach Hotels and the Burj Dubai in the background. Dubai has grown quickly in the last few years and on land it largely resembles a building site but from the sea it seams much nicer and much less traffic. Pity we had to come back to land really, but it was the end of the holiday and time to return Morwenna to base.