Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Cruising on Moonfleet - happy friends

I've recently recruited two keen crew for Moonfleet: Andy and Paul. Paul has proved himself a good helmsman [good = even better than me! Ed]. Andy is a former skipper with experience measured in decades and boats much bigger than my little cruiser. Their experience and enthusiasm is proving valuable: Moonfleet certainly seems happier with more people aboard. We spent a happy Friday evening finding Moonfleet from under the algae and mould which accumulates depressingly quickly before taking a slow potter out under the swing bridge and off towards Beccles. We were there mainly to make a list of everything that needed doing. Coming home we proved the navigation lights worked more for a test than because of the encroaching gloom. I knew most of them worked but had been a little concerned about our green starboard lamp. We returned on Saturday for cleaning mark II 'Algae, meet your nemesis' and maintenance part I 'Look linkages, this is grease!' Lunch was an assortment of butty's and cake purchased at Somerleyton Post Office and Tea Rooms, an excellent and friendly little retreat we visited on our way down to the boat. The maintenance had used most of the days sunshine but only half the hours of daylight so we pottered off down the broad towards Reedham under clouds and through intermittent showers. We found The Bell Inn at St Olaves for a swift diet coke and then decided to press on towards Reedham to see what was out there. The answer, from our low deck, was not a lot apart from reeds. One advantage of bigger boats with fly-bridges is you can see more over the reeds but conversely have to wait for swing bridges to open while Moonfleet can potter underneath closed bridges. Our trip back was enlivened by a thunder storm so we used the Nav lights again and appreciated why we were one of the few boats out for a cruise. It was great fun being so close to the storm, just sheltering under a bit of awning. By the time we moored the storm was over, everything had that 'just rained on' freshness and it gave us a great opportunity to enjoy Moonfleet in her glistening cleanness. We had debated cruising with the canopy down but were glad we hadn't. Maybe we'll save that for a summer day, after all, this was only August! Andy announced the boat is 'much prettier' without it's canopy but the showers and subsequent storm proved that keeping the canopy up was a really good idea, even if it was prompted by laziness. We now have a list of things to improve, kit to buy and more questions to answer.

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