The windvane on Blue Mistress was damaged at the end of last year. A small yacht misjudged leaving the visitors’ pontoon in Dartmouth and ran onto it – “altering the shape” of it. This year I have been watching it closely in different conditions to check there has been no lasting damage. I took these short clips off Teignmouth earlier this month.
The wind was gusting strongly – (note the untidy lines), and I thought I’d record the effect of the gusts on the self-steering gear. In the second clip, the boat is heading higher than I wanted. In the third clip, I have adjusted the windvane to correct direction. A stronger gust then brings the boat up into the wind. In the fourth clip, I have adjusted the sails slightly. This works.
I am an eldest child. The problem with being an eldest child is that they like to stay first . . . meaning they like to get-things-right! . . . which is a complete pain because they don’t always get things right! I guess it makes them try harder – but then the second and third siblings are already doing that. My tongue trembles in my cheek – I don’t mean to make it sound like a competition. It’s more the way life is.
I find photography like that. I like to get it right and when I don’t I’m pretty fed up . . . but it does make me try harder. The problem is that few of us have instant talent. Most of us spend our lives struggling to reach some level of competence – struggling to be good enough . . . then a bit better.
I thought I’d take three colour images that I wasn’t happy with and see what they look like in black and white. I’m happy with the subjects. The problem is technique.
I had plenty of time to reflect on single-handed sailing during the week away. I passed many yachts, some with large sociable crews, more with large racing crews. They are the norm. So what about single-handed? Is it about sailing from A to B with no crew or is it something else – sailing for the sake of it, a little of which can be illustrated on camera but most of which remains in the mind of the sailor? The following records a few moments on the passage back from Dartmouth to Plymouth on that Friday evening.
I’ve been away for a while – first a week on the boat then a trip to London for a ’45-year’ reunion. In the latter we met up as fellow students, still recognisable as the young people we used to be – (well . . . some more, some less)! It was fun. But the London of today is not the same as it was 45 years ago. Our dental hospital was in Leicester Square and we could walk across the square without having to push through crowds of tourists. Not that I wish to turn the clock back – tourists are good for the capital, but I want to record this enormous increase in population and to contrast it with the single-handed sailing I enjoyed a few days before.