I think I bought the Heron nearly eight years ago. Time certainly flies by and I just thought that the wee boat seemed slower due to me becoming more familiar with it. I have however noticed that the foresail in particular was just getting too saggy to create any sort of decent shape. So a couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and ordered a new furling genoa.
The last couple of weeks have had some fine sailing weather but unfortunately the dredger Shearwater has been back digging holes and breaking down. On Sunday the weather was overcast but very hot. The dredger eventually stopped about 2:30pm and I was off out of the harbour for a sail.
I passed Jamie on the "Ambition" with his daughters. He had hoped to sail along to Belhaven beach but it was getting more overcast and the girls were looking a little green when they sailed beyond the shelter of the rocks. A little further out another couple of yachts were motoring in.
They all disappeared into the harbour and that left me alone on the Heron with an empty sea ahead. Clouds were gathering but I had a new sail to play with and there was a good hour of tide left before I had to get back to my mooring.
And what a revelation the new genoa was. It's actually a little smaller than the previous one but far closer to the recommended sail size. There was a little weather helm, nothing to worry about, just enough to know the boat will round up in a blow. When I turned on to a reach I realised just how slow the old sails had been. I had to use two hands to sheet-in and will have to get the little winches running again. Brilliant!
I just sailed around the rocks, tacking for the sake of tacking and enjoying every minute. But time and tide don't wait, even for the mighty Heron, so too soon I had to squeeze back in between the dredger and the wall and pick up a connection to the land again.
Above is the stern of a boat built in the 1960's. Below is the stern of a boat built in the 1960's, although from an older design. I know which I prefer. Bob Clunas has done a wonderful job restoring the "Mareen" and she should be attending a few classic boat meets this season.
A great little Sunday afternoon sail, although the Heron might just be coming up for sale as I have been coveting another boat recently. A faster, flighty younger model. The poor Heron may be scorned!