I was just about to add a 2:1 block to the daggerboard raising tackle when for some reason I decided to pull the daggerboard out of its trunk to inspect it. I was shocked to say the least! The grounding we had had during one of our early trips had obviously not been as gentle as I had hoped and a massive chunk of the daggerboard was missing. Could this have been responsible in part for the rather slow performance we had been experiencing? The daggerboard construction seems quite flimsy and daggerboards seem to be considered a consumable item in MacGregor circles however I suppose it is better that the easily replaced daggerboard crumples than damaging forces are transferred to the hull of the vessel. I was fortunate to find that SeaDunes had a spare daggerboard in stock so was soon the owner of a shiny new one, installed with the mentioned 2:1 tackle. Now to test it....
Friday 22nd May 2009
- With the kids and Rachel off for the weekend plus three days half term holiday, I decided that it was time to relax too and took some leave. On the Friday we trailed Morwenna
down to DOSC and popped her into the water in record time but even so, I could virtually ring the sweat out of my shirt by the time we were done. It's well past the equinox now and the number of hours of heating up under the daytime sun is more than the number of hours cooling down at night. That means the temperature is soaring - we reached 42degC / 108degF in the shade that day and I wasn't in the shade during the rigging process!
We were meeting up with friends so I motored across to the marina and found an empty slot whilst Rachel parked the car and trailer. When Mike, Karen and Oscar arrived we had a quick coffee then headed out to sea. There was a nice breeze so we set the sails and sailed off towards the edge of the World. Beating to windward we were making 4½ to 5 knots which was definitely about a knot better than we had been achieving. After about 40mins we bore away and started heading down towards Safa Island with the spinnaker set, hitting 5½ knots for a short time. The kids had been keeping themselves amused playing with their Gameboys whilst the adults chatted but this lack of activity and hunger was beginning to turn them fractious so we decided to put back into DOSC for some lunch. Even just walking from the marina berth to the club house along the tarmac was enough to burn the soles of the feet for those in thin soled sand shoes - the heat is getting ridiculous.
After a tasty lunch we re-embarked and figured the children were due some fun so we set up the tow-toy just outside the harbour and gave Robert and Oscar a good bouncing on the way down to Safa Island. At half time it was time to change over so Luke took care of Karen as we pelted back to DOSC. They all voted that it was good fun and we were all very happy when we confirmed that we could leave Morwenna
in the marina for the week rather than having to recover her.
Saturday 23rd May 2009
- We cleared the harbour once again by 10:30 and again it was stiflingly hot at 44degC / 111degF. After setting sail in a gentle southerly f2 breeze we hove to and had a brief dip into the warm sea in an attempt to cool off a little. In never ending hope, we put the fishing lines over the back, making use of the new rod holders for the first time. After just over an hour of sailing we had trolled out to the edge of the World and back to Safa Island but of course there are no fish to be caught anywhere close to shore in Dubai. Giving up on the fishing we anchored for a swim and lunch. The sea is heating up quickly now so the kids were happy to splosh around for ages as Rachel and I laid back and read our books in the shade.
We raised anchor and deployed the tow-toy for the trip back to DOSC, tucking Morwenna
back in her berth by 1330 - the peak of the heat of the day.
Friday 29th May 2009
- Although we had initially planned to sail during the week, events conspired with the heat put us off until the weekend. Even though the forecast was for a good f3 increasing to f4 in the course of the morning, the sea was like a millpond as we left harbour at 0955. With no hope of sailing we decided to head offshore, to the other side of The World, to try our luck fishing on one of the wrecks there. We zipped around the western side of The World and arrived ¾ hour later at a wreck site known as Sheikh Mohammed's Barge (SMB) since the Ruler of Dubai paid for the wreck to be marked with a cardinal buoy after being sunk deliberately as a dive site. At one time this was a fantastic dive with massive shoals of fish darting around in clear waters 16m deep. The last time I dived it, the wreck was covered in a layer of silt from all the dredging operations to build the offshore projects, the visibility was poor and the fish had largely disappeared. I was hoping that since most of the dredging is now complete the fish may have returned but there was no sign of any fish and none were caught after trolling around for just under half an hour.
We anchored on the edge of the wreck site; a speck appeared on the horizon and quickly resolved into a large motor cruiser tearing along under full power. Larger and larger it got as it headed right for us. With all the sea space out there why did it have to roar past only 30m away, leaving us to roll in its wake? With the threat of being mown down receding into the distance we took it in turns to swim around the boat. There was a reasonable current running - easy enough for me to swim against but too much for the boys. After a picnic lunch and still absolutely no wind we turned for home and returned via the eastern side of the World; at least we had completed another circumnavigation, even if it was totally under power.
I dropped Rachel and Luke at the DOSC marina to collect the car and trailer and moored up with the dhows as Robert and I prepared to land Morwenna
. We had just completed and were walking round to help Rachel reverse the trailer into the water when the phone went to announce that she had already done it all on her own and where were we? Well done Rach!
After pulling Morwenna
out and getting her home, I washed her down and covered her with her new tarpaulin. Many consider May to be the beginning of the sailing season but here in the Middle East it is the end. Roll on September....