Saturday, 29 August 2009

The mix of sail and power

It occurred to me that the Norfolk Broads is one of the few inland waterways where sail and power are regularly in the same space at the same time. It can and does happen occasionally elsewhere, such as the vicinity of sailing clubs on various rivers - notably, for me, at Trent Lock. However, you can and do meet substantial yachts - some of them pleasure wherries - under sail in the confines of a river. Fine for both parties under certain states of sail but when running or most states of reaching in a narrow stretch, the yacht has a boom out and that can dramatically increase the space of the 'envelope' needed to operate (whichever side the boom is on). When running close hauled, the sail boat needs to tack constantly and that can be utterly confusing for an oncoming stag-weekend party of boozed up lads. When mooring, it can be more tricky with a strong preference to avoid the lee bank.

Surprising then that we were never given any warning about sail boats and protocol before hiring a day boat from a yard in Horning, and the motor-boaters we met had also been given no real advice. These boaters also had absolutely no idea how yachts or dinghies worked, so were oblivious to the potential mishaps. Having said that, you rarely hear of any significant problems so maybe it all works out OK through common-sense.

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