All aboard the RMS Jennïkins!

Yesterday I went up to Fell foot park at the south end of Lake Windermere in the Lake District. It’s an easy enough place to get to from here, and it gave the opportunity to sail my boat under her own power for the first time since she underwent a full rebuild last year. It’s wind power, but it all worked quite well. I took Zoë who has never sailed before, but really liked the idea and wanted to give it all a go.

On the first trip up the lake towards Bowness and back we nearly capsized. My Bosun is sail number 3 meaning that it is one of the prototypes built as evaluators to get the contract with the navy to supply a small sailing boat type. It won the contract and eventually their numbers now total more than 3500, and they are still available new. It’s quite nice to have a slice of history with the oldest Bosun known to still exist. It also means that the sailing horse arrangements on the transom are somewhat primitive and took some time to get used to with the main sheets unable to change sides every time we tacked or gybed. Luckily I learnt PDQ when water started shipping over the side and I averted a capsize! It did mean that we got wet feet though.

Returning to the slipway the wind conditions are really challenging. The lake narrows between two wooded hills, and the wind can come from several different directions at the same time and change just like that. We had trouble getting to the jetty, but made it in the end.

After lunch and warming up Zoë’s wet feet, we took her out for another trip up towards Bowness. However a fitting gave way that held the jib up and we were forced to turn back with only the main sail set. However the wind was energetic and despite this mishap we made good time. Not wishing to have such a hairy landing this time we moored to a buoy out in the marina and took down the sails then paddled back into the jetty.

All in all the boat’s first trip out on the water in what could be quite a few years and her first since she has had a new keel, stem post, transom and gunwales as well as a lot of her rigging and a repaint was a great success. We’re both looking forward to a repeat trip where hopefully we will be able to get a lot more sailing in as we gain experience with the boat.