Friday 27th February 2009
. Yes - its true! We circumnavigated The World
today. Unable to think of anything better to spend their money on, the super-rich are able to buy man-made islands off of Dubai that have been formed more-or-less in the shape of a world map. A complete waste of money? An ecological disaster waiting to be reclaimed by rising sea levels and unplanned erosion? Almost certainly, but where else in the world can you sail round The World in a day and still be home for tea?
This was the final weekend of my parent's visit to Dubai and they were quite keen to go sailing again. The fax asking for permission to sail was filled in and put on the fax machine as we were preparing breakfast. After an hour of continual re-dials being greeted by either engaged or number unobtainable tones we were just about to give up when it finally went through and the permit came back approved a few minutes later. We hitched up and trailed Morwenna down to the sea once more and were out through the harbour's arms on the dot of noon.
The sails were set just outside the harbour and we were off on a reach to the west. We kept up a steady 5 knots and peaked at 6.2 knots, the extra weight of the adults helping to keep the heel at a good angle. As we were skirting the western edge of The World it was getting time for lunch and although we tried to anchor, the security boat chased us off. We were well inside the exclusion area so we left quietly but always remember - what was once open sea to be enjoyed by anybody who cared to use it is now reserved for those who can afford it. There is only one house on the whole of The World.
Leaving "America" to our starboard side we sheeted in to a close haul and started the slow beat to windward. The wind had freshened to around 10 knots so we furled the genoa about half way. In an ideal world I would have put a reef into the main but there is only one reef point on the Macgregor's factory sail and that is a very deep one. We struggled on, somewhat over-powered, and continued to make 3-4 knots but were overtaken by the whole fleet of DOSC's Short-Handed Round The World Race. I must find a sailmaker to put an extra set of reefing points in.
After 3.5 hours plugging into the wind we made a final tack and started heading east across the top of "Russia". It was at this point that a heated discussion regarding the predicted time of return to harbour, lack of food to sustain the children and general lack of mental stimulation involved in sailing to windward precipitated a decision to abandon sailing in favour of petrol power. Sails were shed and we shot past the racers that had previously overtaken us. Ah - the flexibility of the MacGregor!
Oh well, we hadn't sailed
all the way round The World but we were back in harbour by 1730 and back at home for dinner if not for tea. Mum was thrilled at telling her friends about her adventures!