A ques­tion of sea­man­ship

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS -

‘How do we sail into this berth?’ With no en­gine and a tricky river pon­toon, how would you go about com­ing into this moor­ing? asks James Stevens

QJenny and two friends are on a cruise to Brit­tany on board their Bavaria 32, Fire­bird, a stan­dard pro­duc­tion boat with a fin keel. It has slab reef­ing and a roller furl­ing jib. The trip has been a great suc­cess un­til 10 miles from en­trance of the Trieux river, the en­gine fails. Jenny has com­pleted the RYA Diesel En­gine course and re­alises it’s not a prob­lem that can be fixed at sea.

The in­ten­tion is to moor at Port Lézardrieux seven miles up the river which has a boat­yard and a diesel fit­ter. For­tu­nately, con­di­tions are favourable for sail­ing to Lézardrieux. It’s blow­ing ESE Force 4 and the tide is flood­ing up the river. Jenny is a good dinghy sailor who is de­ter­mined to sail the boat into the ma­rina with­out re­sort­ing to a tow or other as­sis­tance. Apart from her pride, there are good fi­nan­cial rea­sons for berthing on a walka­shore pon­toon when the en­gi­neer ar­rives.

She sails up­river and luck­ily, the ham­mer­head at the end of the first pon­toon in the ma­rina is free on the star­board side of the river. On the ap­proach, the wind is flukey, blow­ing about 10 knots. Fire­bird is on a close reach on port tack. The ti­dal stream is flood­ing at 0.7 knots and the pon­toon is par­al­lel with the river­bank. Does she sail along­side port or star­board side to? Full sail, jib only or main only?

A Un­less the ti­dal stream is very weak, it is al­most al­ways a mis­take to come along­side un­der sail or power with the ti­dal stream from astern. The ti­dal stream is the strong­est force so Jenny needs to come in port side to point­ing into the flood tide. The boat will then be on a broad reach so if the main­sail is set, it is im­pos­si­ble to stop. The fi­nal ap­proach needs to be un­der jib alone.

She should sail past the ma­rina up­stream to some clear wa­ter where she can smartly drop the main­sail and pre­pare the fend­ers and warps for com­ing along­side, then turn into the flood tide and sail back to the ma­rina un­der jib alone.

Speed can be ad­justed by using the roller furl­ing to in­crease and de­crease the size of the jib and the op­pos­ing tide will help to slow the boat down. It sounds com­pli­cated but it is sur­pris­ingly easy. Even if the boat comes to a halt over the ground, it is sim­ple to ap­ply more power from the jib and start mov­ing again.

Lézardrieux, a pretty town on the Trieux river in north­ern Brit­tany is well worth a visit

With wind against tide, com­ing along­side this river pon­toon un­der sail could be tricky

Shel­tered mari­nas are great un­til you need to come in with­out help from the en­gine

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