Wednesday, 17 May 2017


Almost three weeks since that first sail of the season down to Marker - the crafty day off a few weeks ago came to nothing as the wind also decided to take a crafty day off, coupled with lack of tides, cold, wet, and as you can imagine I was surely gagging for a little sailing action on my own boat ...

So it was that sunny weather, a stiff breeze (F4 gusting F5 forecast) and a 1500 HT  had all the portents of being a superb day out - and oh Lord, did it deliver in spades...

Got to the boat about 1'ish, got everything loaded and set up - I put in two and a half reefs (by sail slides as I have roller reefing) and have to admit was wondering if that would be enough - and dropped the mooring about 1:30'ish....

You could tell it was going to be an interesting day almost immediately - the brisk SW'ly I was getting full force on the reefed main, was a very broad reach, and down the "ditch" I was doing 3.5 knots against tide without engine... Rolled some genoa out as we got to the entrance of Northney and then we began to shift...  4.5 knots up wind as easy as you like..

Knowing it usually 'honks up' as you come round the headland into the main channel I hove to and put another half reef in the main, and pulled in a couple of rolls on the genoa, and away we went...

Single beat to the bottom of the harbour, 4.5 to 5 knots against the tide, sunny, lovely... Bore away at Verner for the shortcut over Pilsea sands and literally aimed the boat (like an RPG! ) at Hill Head and she went off like a grey hound....  5 to 5.5 knots straight as an arrow...  exhilarating sailing, one of those champagne days, the spray was flying and glittering in the sun (Lord he's gone all poetic on us...) and I was going so fast I couldn't get my waterproofs so ended up a mite ..  errr... damp.. 

Hill Head ahead..
Got to the other side of the sands and after dodging a couple of boats on Itchenor reach heading towards Chichester, I rounded Snowhill, and headed up harbour doing similar and better speeds back across the sands, before joining the main channel for home...  pheww...!

"Hello, my friend
So happy to see you again.."
Lyrics courtesy of Jimi .. naturally..

Some lovely, lovely, sites out today...  this is "Mikado" [clicky], and note, no reefs, unlike me!

What a brilliant day - ended up dropping sails at the entrance to Northney and then a wet motor back to the mooring saw me tidied up with time for a beer and a cigar in the sun before the tide went....parfait

Oh, and finally, do you want the good news or the bad news??

OK - lets be positive - the good news is that the arms on the windex are now pointing back in the right direction! Hurrah....!

Ah, bad news? The pointer/arrow went flying on that long beat down the harbour and has gone for a Burton...    Better start shopping for a fourth, and add it to the winter layup list


Distance: 10.41 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: .  SW top end F4 gusting 5
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
Speed: Max 5.4 and that would have been under sail / average 4.2 knots - not a bad average for a two and a half hour sail!

Monday, 15 May 2017

"Cowes for lunch?"

..quoth Rodders, and who was I to say "no"..  I almost bit his arm off because what with weather and tides I haven't been sailing since that first trip out two or three weeks ago..

So it was that on last Thursday morning, having taken a crafty day off, we dropped the mooring lines at HMS Excellent/Whale Island at 10:30 and then enjoyed three marvellous hours of sailing to Cowes, a trip up the Medina, and a nice lunch at the Island Sailing Club (where I was gently chastised for not having taken off my hat...  mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ... but isn't it wonderful that there are still places in the world where such things are noted.. they are the very last notes of Empire and good behaviour...)

An interesting day for wind though it seemed to swing around a lot but when I check the Bramblemet readings it was fairly clearly stuck in the SE'ly quadrant.... so a soldiers wind all the way to Cowes watching some truly huge container ships coming at of Southampton (we didn't see it, funnily enough, but apparently the "worlds largest" transited our area during the day), and a couple of fleets of Sunsail boats racing (and being muppets in some cases..  you know who you are)

Heading down the Medina towards Cowes ..
After parking at Cowes Yacht Haven some lunch was the order of the day (following) and hat incident notwithstanding I do like visiting this place..  amazing views...  oh, and nice beer - Goddard's "Yachtsman" - a fine, old fashioned, dark amber traditional bitter....

Trip back in the afternoon was a humongous beat - just one tack to clear Gilkicker and shot into the harbour via the outer swashway...  looking over our shoulders we could see we were being chased by rain, and sure enough it hit just as we turned the corner for Whale Island, and the Heavens opened and we even had a crash of thunder...  damn good day out with the guys..


Distance: 12.4 miles morning/13.53 in the afternoon (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: ESE in the morning going SE in the afternoon; F4 in the morning going F3 in the afternoon
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed: 4.7/6.5 AM and 3.8/5.7 PM

Monday, 1 May 2017

Completed job list - winter layover 2016/17

Purely for reference (mind like a sieve ), I completed the following this winter just gone:
  1. Mastfoot/tabernacle - drilled out the lower bolt holes slightly, and gave it a coat of Hammerite
  2. Electrics - fitted cabin lights [clicky]
  3. Tidied up the tender seat repair from last year
  4. Repaired the strut on tender launching trolley and freed up the wheels - and a bigger bit of bodge'ry than the repair to the strut is harder to imagine..
  5. Painted the inside of tender [clicky]
  6. Replaced the cockpit hatches (again); poor preparation on my part meant the ones I made a couple of years ago split and de-laminated. Cut, test fitted, epoxied.. rubbed down, washed and one coat of paint..this was the major item in this winters refit, and was not without it's ups and downs! Started here [clicky] and finished here [clicky]
  7. Binoculars holder (they kept falling off the shelf! ) made and fitted

  8. Tender rubbing strake needs repair/patched
  9. Rub down and coat of paint on  the wash boards
  10. Rub down and coat of wood preservative on rubbing strakes / cockpit board / outboard pad / hand rails (as needed
  11. Anti-fouled
  12. Serviced Life Jackets
  13. New Windex fitted - time will tell on this one!
All in all I'm surprised how much I got done...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Just visiting...

Well that was a bit interesting...  so with a bank holiday weekend looming here in the UK, some long long hours at work, and not being on call, I went for the extra days holiday on Friday with a view to turning it into a four day'er and go sailing on the Friday..

Forecast the weekend was looking 'iffy, but Saturday was not really an option, Sunday looks atrocious, so Friday and Monday are sailing days - if it comes off..  except when I got on the water on Friday there wasn't a breath..  motored down to Marker to give it a chance, went backwards at 1.5 knots...   gave up and was motoring for home when a sudden thought made me whip out the binoculars (which up until then I had been using to have a look at the seal colony on Hayling) and I could see that the visiting pontoon was empty.. 

Never having landed there before it was too good an opportunity to miss..  dug out the fenders, dug out a mooring line (all of this while steering with a foot ) came round the end of the pontoon and then did a ferry glide light as a feather onto the pontoon - good job...  hopped on to the pontoon tied up, and then proceeded to clear the boat of bird cr*p..  before sitting in what passed for sunshine with beer, cigar, and watched the world go by...  cracking!

Going to have another go on Monday..  that's twice now with very little breeze, chance has got to go my way soon..


Distance: 4.32 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind:  F0 to fitful F1; every direction under the compass
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed:  5.4 / 2.5 all under motor