Four nights aboard during a heat wave

I’ve hit lucky with the weather this year. I’ve just done four nights aboard, which is one of my longest stays , and it was unbroken heat and sun the whole time. Just after the summer solstice, so the sun was up at 5:00am (I know because it shone into the cabin and woke me up ) and down just before 10:00pm, with some spectacular sunsets.

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I started out very professionally . The wind, tide and busyness were just right, so I sailed off my mooring without the engine even ticking over. First time I have actually done that, but it is good to practice for when it is essential. Many more boats out now, with local X boats racing nearly every day as far as I can judge.

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They are lovely wooden boats, but with a deep keel, which is strange in a Harbour with an average depth of 18 inches. I’ve often seen one on the mud, canted over whilst the skipper tries to pretend he beached on purpose to clean the underside…

I didn’t sail huge distances, just changed anchorages to alter the view. Sailed out one morning to Studland beach, where everyone was enjoying the sun.

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Too hot for a beach run but I did a lot of rowing in the shallows, looking at the birds, fish and deer which abound here. 18 inches is not a problem to a small rowing boat.

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I find I scull with a single oar over the stern most times now, unless the wind is strong or I really need to get somewhere.

I used the cockpit canopy a few times, which wasn’t really necessary, but it reduces any dew on the deck in the morning. Getting this photo involved getting up at low tide (5:30am!) and wading out through glutinous mud, but I wanted a record of how well the canopy fitted.

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And I swam! Several times a day, it was just so pleasant. The water is warm and you just blow dry back on board. I’ve discovered the trick of getting back up a short transom ladder which only projects one rung into the water. I put one knee on first rung, which is easy, and then I can push up with that and get the other foot on beside it . Trying to get a foot straight on is a real contortionist exercise.

I also discovered during some very gentle wind, that Daisy G will hold her course so well I can walk about and sit on the stern or the bow, which is really very pleasant in the sun. I wouldn’t do it in any wind, as she would soon sail away if I fell in.

My trusty but ancient GPS unit seemed to die for half a day. It just said it couldn’t acquire satellites, and was showing the wrong time, which is unheard of for GPS. But after a few hours it suddenly kicked in again. I don’t want a new one, as electrical wiring is not my strong point.

All in all, a wonderful four days in Poole Harbour.

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