So you can imagine how pleased I was when he told me that he was sailing in the Solent and would like to meet up. I sailed Emmelène out towards Seaview (my first trial single-handed with my new sail) and there on the horizon was a familiar, red sail: Tammy’s Hasler-McLeod rig:
We negotiated a vulgar and discourteous racing group of scows, and headed towards Bembridge, against the tide, in our convoy of two junks; a rare sight.
Once we were rafted up in the harbour, we spent several hours comparing our boats and doing maintenance. In particular, I was very impressed with Richard’s “can-do” attitude. His broad experience of the sea and of boat-maintenance in general is impressive, and in no time we had dropped his mast to check the fittings and to alter the course of his VHF-antenna lead. He soldered some coaxial fittings and we changed a bolt at the foot of his folding mast. These are all jobs that I would find slightly daunting, or would at least think carefully about before undertaking: but Richard leaped around both boats in his bare feet and was confident and un-phased by the various jobs we did (on both Coromandels). I kept my note-pad handy as he chatted to me, because I want to remember the suggestions he made. He had a wide array of useful tools aboard Tammy Norie.
We enjoyed dinner in Emmelène’s cabin. Toulouse sausages, lentils and Chianti wine.
Next morning, we both went out for a sail aboard Emmelène in order for Richard to compare his rig with my split-junk rig. Although my rig is more complicated and experiences higher tensions than the Hasler-McLeod rig, he was pleased with Emmelène’s ability to point to windward- and her balance: the helm remained utterly central for fairly long periods, even if unattended. Richard pointed out that this may be a useful feature when I come to build my Hebridean wind-vane: a balanced rudder will make less work for the self-steering.
It was wonderful to sail together and very enriching to meet Richard and Tammy Norie. Here’s hoping that we will be able to meet again soon and perhaps involve some other junks in a rally.
Thank you, Richard, for making the effort to come out to Bembridge, and for all the advice and guidance!