I said yesterday there were three conditions that would stop me from daysailing - high winds, high temperatures and severe thunderstorms. This morning, as I trailered Spartina to the ramp, I wondered if there should have been a fourth condition - rain. The drizzle began not a half mile from the house. It lightened up, then started again. At the ramp it stopped, then started sprinkling. That far into it all I decided to continue rigging. I'm glad I did.
The dredge that has been working the river for the last month was right downtown. Two weeks ago it was at the mouth of the Western Branch, last week it was at Hospital Point. By next week it will be out of my sailing area completely. I know the dredge needs to keep the channel clear, but it is noisy and the booms behind it reach across the width of the river. I will be glad when they are gone.
I've got to say I was tired this morning. A busy week, both at work and at home. I needed some rest. So after sailing down Town Point Reach on the Elizabeth River, rounding Lambert's Point to Craney Island Reach, I sailed over to the shallows and dropped the anchor. Then I got out my CGEAR sand free multimat.
This is a 6x6 mat that I read about last winter on Kiwibird's blog. It is a mat designed for the beach, it keeps you sand free. That was interesting, but what caught my attention was the video that showed it could also be used as a shade. Just what I needed for hot, sometimes windless days of summer sailing. With a birthday gift card from my Mom (thanks, Mom!) I bought one.
You can see Kristen using hers as a sand mat here. But I had not gotten around to trying it as a shade until today.
It worked perfectly. Less than ten minutes to set up, I was able to use already existing hardware - jib sheet cam cleats, reefing hook, reefing cleat and inverted hooks for the boom tent (that all sounds much more complicated than it really is) - to put the mat in place as sort of a boom tent/shade. That is the sun, below, peaking through the double layer mesh of the tent.
To give it a true test I took a nice long, well-needed nap. It was perfect. Plenty of shade, yet plenty of air circulating through the cockpit. The mat was enough to block the sun yet open enough to breathe.
I did not realize how well it was working until I slipped out from under the mat into the aft cockpit. The clouds had cleared, the sun was beating down and the decks were burning hot. Napping away under the mat I had no idea how hot it was. (Just now I'm checking the CGear website and see that the mat provides 90% uv protection.)
The mat will be part of my standard day sailing gear for the summer. It fits up under the foredeck, snugged away by bungee cords (where the boom tent resides for cruises). It will be perfect on those days when there is no wind - I can anchor out it Crawford Bay, have a nice lunch and read the NY Times in comfort. This will be cool in more ways than one.
Thanks Mom for the gift, thanks Kristen for the idea.
I saw one interesting boat today, Sandwhistle out of New Zealand (great name, don't you think?). I could not get close enough to get a photograph. When I used binoculars to read the name of the boat I saw that they were looking back at me with binoculars. I wonder if they realized the New Zealand connection of a John Welsford Pathfinder. They would not be the first Kiwis to recognize the design.
Happy Fourth of July.