Continuing South

Friday 12 August

A warm and sunny morning inspired the Mate to suggest hoisting the mainsail while still at anchor. Unfortunately the wind rose quickly and by the time the anchor was weighed she needed to gybe the mainsail to follow the channel, while the Skipper was still busy at the bow. Gybing me safely is a two-handed job as the mainsail needs to be pulled hard in, I’m turned through the wind and the sail is then let out gently on the other side, so it all got a bit tricky for a while. We sailed out into the open sea alongside a traditional barge, who kept pace with us until we spent a long time taking in a reef as the wind continued to build, while her gaff rig held her angle to the wind – an interesting illustration of traditional design for local conditions over a modern ‘go anywhere’ sail plan. Mid-evening found us in the most industrial landscape so far, at the mouth of the River Medway in Kent, marshy flatlands against a backdrop of power stations, docks and wind turbines. Once again we anchored in our own private creek.