Page published 13 February 2021

Originally posted on what used to be "The Blog", this page records a cruise I took on on 17 August 2011 aboard Deux Chevaux friend Ian's home build yacht.

The Cruise

Back on May 17 I recorded how I helped Ian with The launch of Deux Chevaux. Now Ian was asking if I could give him a hand with making a tweak to the rigging aboard his boat. It was an ideal opportunity to return all Ian's gear to him and get a go on his boat. How could I refuse?

When Ian arrived, we had a coffee and chatted through some of the things I had mentioned in my email. I had an update to give him. I had found a supplier that was a little cheaper than the one I had mentioned to him and had ordered some "self-adhesive sandpaper" to use as the anti-slip pads on Just 17. Probably we spent most time talking about the window framing issue. Ian's view was that I should buy some of the appropriate thinners and paint the existing aluminium strips with Hammerite. (I had just started the refit of Just 17 and there's more about all these issues in the My SeaHawk section of the site.)

When we did set off, it was not directly to Deux Chevaux. Instead we called in on what I have now learnt is "Just Plastics", the company that occupies the warehouse opposite the Hotel at Wayford Bridge. It's a bit of an Aladdin's Cave and, it turned out, they could supply some of the missing parts for my socket set, so while there I ordered what I needed and was told I should be able to collect them on Monday.

Leaving DC's Mooring

There's a mass of weed in Ian's mooring bay, but we negotiate our way out without fouling the propeller.

Eventually, we got to Barton Turf. The task was, indeed, the ten minute one that Ian had suggested. It was just a matter of drilling a hole through the fore deck and securing a bolt. I was needed to hold the bolt in place, while Ian, below decks, tightened the nut. However, as we took with us all the gear for the cruise to be taken after the work was done, we didn't really start the clock running till a little while after our arrival. As Ian began to rig Deux Chevaux, I began to get worried about an appointment I had. I needed to be at home at lunch time. However, in the end things worked out fine and we had a splendid little sail on Barton.

Ian Ruston

Ian at the helm of Deux Chevaux while we cruised out to the open water of Barton Broad

We motored out of Ian's mooring. There's never any wind there as it's surrounded by large trees, and continued under motor down the channel until we reached the Broad. I took over the helm while Ian played with the furling gear that we had just installed. Once under sail I commented that I thought that Deux Chevaux seemed a lot more stable than I had remembered her, but perhaps that's because I had her shipping water after one particular gust, that I had not anticipated last year.

On Barton Broad

We had Barton Broad virtually to ourselves. It was a shame I hadn't got the time to enjoy it for longer.

We had passed one cruiser as we entered the Broad and Ian had given Simon, from BTAC, a wave as he gave instruction from his Safety Boat, to his few students learning to sail, but apart from one further craft we had the Broad to ourselves, if you ignore the moored boats.

Once Ian was satisfied with the new furling mechanism, I had passed the helm back to Ian. After a couple of tacks Ian announced that he was surprised how noticeable moving the luff of the jib back by three inches was. I did wonder if it was that which had made the boat seem less twitchy, but I suspect that the reality was that it was blowing a bit more last time I was aboard DC.

A Westerly Chieftain on Barton Broad

The Westerly Chieftain, the yacht we couldn't identify when we were on the Broad

That other craft, with which we were sharing the broad, caused us some debate. We decided it must be a Westerly of some kind, though neither of us recognised the sail emblem with certainty, and neither of us recognised the model. Looking it us later I identified her as a "Chieftain", the only design in the Westerly catalogue to feature a centre cockpit.

Once I had a worthwhile photograph of the boat, so that I had something with which I could compare details when trying to identify it on the web, we headed for home. It had been a pleasant little morning out. I only felt slightly guilty for missing a nice sunny morning to work on Just 17.

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