I’d always taken a look at this bay on the chart, situated on the western shores of the dam, just north of the Island, and thought that it would make a good lunch stop-over. In all my years of sailing the Vaal, somehow I’d never had the opportunity or made the effort to sail up this way. While seeing the place from the road each time I’d driven to Deneysville, I’d often thought of sailing in and dropping the hook. Well today was the perfect opportunity to check it out from the water-side!
We’d had a wonderful sail from Pennant Nine, with a good westerly wind blowing steadily all afternoon. With full sail up, Ocean Blue was a little over-pressed in the gusts, and we’d furled and unfurled the genoa countless times to keep her on her feet and sailing fast as we beat around Big Bend and up towards the Confluence.
I’ve not often sailed through the Confluence on a single tack, but today was perfect, both sails drawing well as we set course for the south of the Island. Keen to see how Ocean Blue handled the waves in the main dam, we set a course, west of the island toward North Bay. I was about to see Government Farm Bay from the water for the first time.
Alas, it was not meant to be. I don’t recall why I was down below, but I thought, while I was there, to have a quick look in the bilge. Wow! Super, over-flowing-full! The Miura has deep bilges, so ‘full’ means quite a lot of water. Bugger! Well, at least I can now vouch for the bilge pump. It’s not just a monster to look at, it actually moves water at a phenomenal rate. It’s also perfectly located so you can sit on the starboard bunk, back up against the galley bulkhead, and pump with your right hand while still sipping your drink with the left.
It’s called relaxed panic!
Whoever installed the pump did a good job and within 10-15 strokes of the handle, 40l of murky Vaal soup was back where it belonged. The boat had happily resumed it’s status as a sailboat rather than a fish-bowl.
By the time I’d finished duty on the pump, Government Farm Bay had passed me by and we were almost as far as we could go up North Bay. The setting sun saw the wind dying and us turning for home and we lit the braai and settled down to a steady 5.7kt journey under motor back to PNYC.
So after all that, I still haven’t seen Government Farm from the water and on top of it all, I’m puzzled as to how the water is coming aboard. It only seems to do so under sail and also only on a port tack. I guess that means either the bilge pump outlet or the sink gas-drain hole is letting in the water. I think. The only way to test the theory is to set sail again and put a plug in both the holes to test out the theory.
Oh the joys of figuring out a new-old-boat…..!