Winter’s Coming: Sailing notes…

Time for an update.

Well as Winter approaches in the Norther Hemisphere (Mid October), it seems time to add a few notes on actually sailing Befur. I see it’s 23rd July since we posted an update, so I am clearly getting lazy! In the interim it seems WordPress have “improved” their editor, duh! more unnecessary software to learn. grrrr!

Befur moored at Ferry Nab
Befur sitting on her berth at Ferry Nab

While we have continued with the stream of maintenance-cum-repair-cum-development that seems to be the bread and butter of steam-based boating, we have made progress and have usually got where we are planning to go without mechanical break down. 🙂

The decision to relocate to Ferry Nab “Marina” has been an excellent one. We get power, loos, showers, a burger/coffee hut and a complete absence of Rib/Seagull! Well done Louise for realising this was the answer….


We have actually got to do some sailing! Four of five trips. We’re being rather cautious, as we are rank amateurs, and we have yet to prove the stability of the hull with sailing rig attached. So far we seem to have done quite well in the light winds we feel comfortable learning in….

Here’s a short video shot by some (far more experienced) sailing friends during a short trip down the lake… We have one panel reefed, so there’s quite a lot of creases, it does set better than this, but it’s working.

Sailing with the Moirs – Poor Angie isn’t enjoying the cold!

What have we learnt:

  • She really is hard to tack if there’s not much wind/headway (lots of stuck-in-irons) – although gybing does seem to work.
  • The leeway can be quite pronounced (witness being driven over some danger marker buoys while attempting to tack) – quickly raising some pressure and starting the engine saved the day…
  • … On the same subject Lou got an object lesson in “where you are pointing may not be where you ae going” as we ran aground returning to the berth via slightly different route (note to steersman: we installed the depth sounder for a reason, but you do need to turn it on!)
  • She is quick when you motor sail – just a few revs on the steam plant and a full sail and 4-5knots is easily achieved (with far less diesel being consumed). This also makes the tacking easier, and allows escape from impending disaster on a lee shore!
  • She steers well (the barn door rudder was a good call), not enough experience yet to determine if she has a pronounced weather/lee helm, but thus far seems neutral.
  • The fumes from the stack can be a pain, but switching to steering from the wheel is OK, but takes a minute or twos set-up.
  • The rig seems easy to set and handle, without much continual tweaking required.
  • She seems “quite” stable, although our cautiousness prevents too much experimentation. We did take some advice from a man with a deal of marine architectural experience and (following some measurement and computation) we now know that Befur exhibits a “MetaCentre Height” of about a metre – I wish we knew if that was good!

So, all in all, good. We just spent a day on a number of maintenance jobs (re-packing stuffing boxes, adjusting drive belt lines, and cleaning stray oil out of the bilges etc!), so we are ready for another trip. We also discovered that none of the chandlers on Windermere stock decent wet weather gear, lots of flash stuff for the wakeboarders, but nothing serious….

We’re going to fit some demountable tubular heaters in the boat to help avoid the risk of frost damage over the winter. (fingers crossed).

Hopefully we will have some more dry/bright autumn/winter days to enjoy the lake- and get better at sailing…

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