Hi Skipmac that must've been a lovely trip. I've spent quite a while flying around on Google
Maps and looking at user-submitted photos (a very distracting hobby!). It seems that once you get through every major city port, there's often a beautiful, peaceful quiet river navigation
further inland. What a lovely way to explore a new country.
Currents and river traffic can be tricky, but usually worst in the estuary which can be a busy port with strong tides so once you get through that you're laughing. With my local club last week we kayaked from Putney right through central London to Tower Bridge and that was amazing. Some rivers will take you a thousand miles and you get a more intimate encounter with the shoreline and locals. In Russia
you can go up river from the Black Sea and visit Kazan and Moscow, some beautiful lakes and finally pop out in the Baltic
at St. Petersbourg. Unfortunately they're not very keen on foreigners doing that at the moment.
I wouldn't get a shorter mast
, just put your mast in a tabernacle (basically a supported heavy duty hinge & stopper) so you can lower it on the fly. That way you're only limited by draft or power of propulsion
against the current
. If your boat doesn't have one, it can be retro-fitted to a rigid alloy mast. Another forum user, boatman61, has a tabernacle on his boat:
Originally Posted by boatman61
A lot of Hurleys were fitted with tabernacles to facilitate trailer sailing... they're pretty simple set-ups.. a base plate with an 12 - 18in cheek either side, a back plate about 6in and the front open... two holes for through pins to hold the mast upright till you set the stays... pull the bottom pin for lowering and the mast pivots on the upper pin... forestay is released and a line attached for lowering.
My boom could hinge up flush to the mast...
Originally Posted by Mark Johnson
A tabernacle mast is not a problem. Of coarse you need a hinge base... You rig some side shrouds with a bit of stretch to them. Hook up the forestay as well. Then you also rig some stretchy lines from the boom end to keep it under control. It needs a strong toppin lift
line to the mast head
. (this makes the boom a "gin pole") With a block & tackle you can raise the mast by pulling aft and down on the boom end. It is really easy once you get your "system" figured out. You can do it by yourself.