Sunday, 28 April 2013

First sail....

..and after the perfect weather of last weekend when 'fortunately' I was otherwise engaged, I had a brief opportunity today to get out on the water and get the "washing up" for the first ever time on Sparrow...

Just a couple of hours as I was required to collect my little'un from school - she'd been doing a Duke of Edinburgh weekend up on the South Downs so I was keen to see what condition she was in......

Quite surprised at the weather I got which, at least for the start, was quite bright, if not actually sunny - more surprisingly we also had a SW'ly when I was expecting north...  conditions were perfect, F2 maybe occasionally F3

All the washing out and Sparrow slipping along nicely...

Not without a little trepidation - well you are, aren't you - I dropped the mooring, fired up the trusty donk,and headed off down the channel - I had no intention of going much further to be honest- just wanted to see how she would sail...

As the halyards are not (yet) lead back to the cockpit I decided to go out to the main channel under engine - just off Northney Marina, where the channel widens, I wound out the jib - still stiff but better since I did the job on the fore-stay..  I then headed up into wind and raised the main  - which went up quickly and easily... engine off and hinged up (fantastic to be able to do that, was one of the few downsides of the outboard well on "Papillon") and away we went....

We were sailing - and proceeded to do that for another hour and a half...  massive tide so just a couple of knots heading down to main channel but big speed over the ground when going back towards the bridge... GPS showed 6 knots plus a few times...

Proof!
Spotted one of my mates on my old long board when I go to the end of the channel - too far away to say hello but he was also going well - the board is a Fanatic Ultra Cat (a race board), with his own sail - an 11m2 monster

Nice board!
Scores on the doors:

Distance: 4.94 miles (cumulative total in the 2013 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 2 gusting 3.. south west
Sail Plan: Full jib and main - engine for manoeuvring..
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 5.9 knots but there's proof we were going faster just above! Either way this was under sail as we ran up the Northney channel..  average speed of 3.1 knots..


...and finally some movie footage - the main is borrowed my sail number is #109...

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Forestay fix....

More work over the weekend...  

You may remember that when I got the boat the back stay had a piece of line wrapped round the lower stay to provide tension...  like this....


The bottom part of the stay was clearly too long so the fix was to take it to my local rigger and have 4" taken out of it - job was a good'un.... or so I thought .....

Just before launch I was doing some additional checks and I found that the forestay was attached to the boat by two small'ish (rusty) shackles - you can't clearly see it in this picture but trust me - they were nasty....


So on Sunday I let off the backstay - cranked on some down haul with the main sheet (using the main halyard) and removed the shackles and re-attached the furler with clevis pin and washers - job's a good'un!

Having let the forestay pressure off however, I found out why the lower backstay had been so long (grrrrrrrr....) - it was right all along for a properly connected forestay - DOH!

A rummage around in the spares box found some spare shackles so it is now reconnected - this weekend I'll go down and make it good with a spare bottle screw I have......

A check of the rest of the rigging shows I need a number of new split pins/rings to secure other clevis pins...

Next on the list (after this) is to plug the leaks - no boat is ever completely water tight, but a little too much rain is getting in.....

I also need to complete the curtain hanging...

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Delivery trip...

....and so to the delivery which as usual with me was not without it's surprises, joys, and mistakes...!

Either way, first stop was at my sailing club to pick up my crew ("Coral" Paul) for the day - I guess I could have done it on my own, but it was the first trip and I (really) welcomed the company - don't think anything flusters Paul at all!

So after the pick up we were at Bosham by10'ish and met Sparrow where she'd been left the night before...


Tractor soon came along and dragged us down to the wharf, where last nights heavy duty crane did the reverse job and dropped us into the water by the side of the jetty...  she  was already floating, but the guys gave me a chance to get on board to check and make sure the cockpit drains weren't leaking - tick - no issue, dry as a bone....

Slings off, and we started up the engine...  ran sweet as a nut....  for 5 minutes, and then stopped...  bugger....  lots of pulling on the starter cord..  nothing...  double bugger....  fuel cock off (we might have flooded it) leave it for 5, fuel cock back on and the engine started again...  success.....  and then stopped...  double bugger....  call engineer, he can't make it as he's on his own today and I'd need to take the engine to him...  if I do that we won't have time to get round...leave her there for the night? Try the engine again, it starts, and this time keeps running...... OK, let's chance it....   it's blowing a hooly by now, solid force 5 but sunny...  

After a lot of swearing while we try to get her to turn round* and face the right way down the channel we're off....

We got to the end of the Bosham channel and we'd had a good trip averaging 3.5 knots over the ground against tide, so clearly the engine was a good'un. We then turned west into the Itchenor channel and got full strength of tide and wind against us - no point putting any sails up - far too windy and a beat anyway so we knuckled down, turned the rev's up, and battled on  towards the harbour entrance - at times no more than 0.5 or 1 knot over ground. 

Past the end of Prinstead channel and half a mile further and I decided it was safe (height of tide by this time) to start bearing away for Emsworth. At this point I cracked out a bit of jib to help us, and with the engine revs down to conserve fuel the jib more than made up. We were hitting 5 kots up the channel and made double quick time as it was dead water. We got our first seal sighting of the year just before the Marker post - no more than 20 yards from the boat, and very inquisitive - male I think because it was quite big..  brilliant..!

Bearing away for the Northney channel I wound the jib back in as the wind was on the nose again, but pausing only to re-fuel as we proceeded, we were on the mooring a little less than 3 hours after we'd left Bosham ...and the engine continued to run as sweet as a nut all the way round - which wasn't surprising really, as we'd accidentally left the fuel cock "closed" when we left Bosham  

You guessed it, I'd misheard the instructions the day before and was turning the fuel off just before I started the engine - not surprisingly it ran for as long as there was fuel and then stopped - switching the cock off when we thought it had flooded allowed fuel back in, and not surprisingly it started again and ran until the fuel ran out again...  what a plank!

Brilliant trip but we had every kind of weather coming back, (lots of) wind, rain, sun, squalls, cold..  felt like we should have got one of those Arctic convoy medals by the time we got back.. 

Pausing only to christen the boat with a pint of Fursty Ferret (good slug for Neptune along with a request for fair winds this season and his blessing on the new name, a good slug for the boat, and the rest for the crew) we tidied up and Paul dropped me back in Bosham to pick my car up..  sorted..  very relieved...!


Scores on the doors:

Distance: 8.63 miles (cumulative total in the 2013 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 5 gusting 7 .. almost west (but Bramblemet says there was more south in it than I felt..?)
Sail Plan: Partial jib (tiny amount out) and engine..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 5.2 knots which was under sail (and low motor) as we ran up the Emsworth channel..  she's certainly fast .. average speed of 2.6 knots..

...and cheers Paul!

* trying to get this one to steer in reverse was an experience - it wouldn't - think I need to do some practising!

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Final Jobs..

Last few hours before launch and Thursday afternoon found a hive of activity aboard Sparrow..

A good constructive afternoon though....

6/. Drill the mast gate to take a locking pin (to keep the sail slides in the slot)  Done

10/. The jib was too short for the roller reefing to work (luff not long enough for the halyard diverter to work), but one of my readers came up with a cunning plan to add a length of line to the top of the sail - effectively giving it a longer luff... Pleased to say that this worked really well - roller is till hideously stiff, but it does work, and the halyard no longer wraps..  cheers, Julian..! (Think I saw Billy's mast was still down? Give me a shout if you need an assist, definitely owe you one...)

12/. Main sheet - 18 mtrs of 10mm arrived from Bosun's Locker Chandlery [clicky], an on-line enterprise I originally found on eBay, but they also have their own website. Wholly recommended , their rope prices are very cheap, delivery is super fast, and the quality is excellent...... either way, plastic eye whipped into the end and the sheet was then made up very easily..  the new blocks are superb...   and so they should be at that price they cost...

15/. Curtains fitted...  I'll be painting the blocks eventually, but I'm pleased with these...

Port side...  small confession, still got starboard and front to do...  but it'll happen...

18/. Source new long shaft engine - done - bought a Suzuki 4HP long shaft 2 stroke from Bill at Home Marine in Emsworth Yacht Harbour. Part ex'd the old engine for a reasonable amount - I might have got £50 more if I'd sold it privately but doing it this way saved me the faff.... Funny old thing, but the new one is lighter than my old engine despite being long shaft, and the same HP...  also got 3 months warranty (I'd also recommend Bill/Home Marine for outboard stuff..  been going to him for years now..)

19/. Fill screw holes on transom- this was the most important job of the day as despite the fact they're above the waterline, where I moor the boats sometimes sit awkwardly on the mud and this can mean water is above the waterline for a while until the tide is in enough for them to heave themselves fully upright/afloat...  either way what I wanted was secure/water tight/quick solution (I'll fill them properly next winter) - solution was a stainless bolt with a penny washer either end, and a rubber washer between outer washer and hull. Half dozen holes later jobs a good'un...

At which point Tim from the Bosham Yacht Company came along and asked if I minded him putting Sparrow on the trailer ready for launch tomorrow..  I was largely done, so I climbed off and they went to work...very impressive, they use a humongous crane but the degree of accuracy is down to cm's..


Straps on

Looking good...


Nice view of the curtains...

Almost done..

Ready for launch

Monday, 8 April 2013

Even more off-set steps...

Item 7...
Launch day is fast approaching (this Friday), and the jobs are slowly being ticked off the list almost as quickly as I add new ones to the end........ 

One more work session before launch (I've got Thursday afternoon off) so how are we doing???  Well of the immediate jobs....
  1. Outboard well bracket/protection? The "back" of the outboard well is protected, the front - where the clamps are tightened - is not....  the well is in good condition so I may well bring a couple of pieces of wood with me to use as protection, to keep it that way....
  2. Fit a more chunky cleat on the foredeck, if required Will still do - but this is slipping towards the "medium term" list... I have a boat jumble at Netley [clicky] coming up next month - I may see what's available there as I also want some separate mooring cleats for foredeck and mid-ships....
  3. She's missing a fair-lead on the bow, on the starboard side - replace....See 2/. - for the moment I'll plug the srew holes and wait...
  4. Drill the bow roller to take a locking pin (to keep the rope or chain in the roller)
  5. Check and see if I can find a replacement roller for bow fitting....
  6.  Drill the mast gate to take a locking pin (to keep the sail slides in the slot)
  7. Replaced starboard side mushroom vent Port side still to do but this was a quick win as I found a (single) new one in the boat and it seemed foolish not to fit it...may find another one at Netley if I'm lucky....
  8. Replacement halyards are on the way (for topping lift, main and genoa) current ones are in a poor state (sound, but very old, and very green).... 
  9. UV strip for jib
  10. Bend on the jib, Too short for the roller reefing to work (top of the sail isn't high enough for the halyard diverter to work), but one of my readers came up with a cunning plan that I hope to try just before I launch....
  11. About to order a boom/sail cover off eBay and I’ll fit it if it arrives in time (no time to make one though I toyed with the idea, but at £60 I wonder if it’s cheaper than I can make it anyway!) The cover arrived and was fitted at the weekend - I have to say that I'm very impressed. Quality is good, heavy duty zip at the mast, velcro under mast fastenings, and tie backs at each end...also delivered extremely quickly...   I'll be interested to see how it lasts longer term but I'm optimistic..
  12. Need a main sheet - current one not sufficient... :o( Blocks have arrived (Selden 50mm set) and the line arrived this morning - 18 mtrs of 10mm... I'll make it up this week...
  13. Attach the boom and bend on the main All done... I have a block at the out haul to provide some tension to the foot, I've bodged a kicker until I can afford a jamming cleat (Netley if I'm lucky), the boom claw is fitted, and the claw retainer (to stop it sliding forward when kicker is applied is also in place....  looks good...  time will tell.....
  14. Is the roller furling line long enough? Yes - just...
  15. Curtains
  16. Item 6....
    1. Measure up for curtains... I'm hoping Ma-In-Law will make them for me..Done
    2. Buy curtain material Done
    3. Get them made up (in hand) Done
    4. Fit curtains - wooden support blocks fitted (the hooks for the curtain wire will screw into these) - just need to get curtain wire and hooks...
  17. Last but not least – remove old name and .. ..and what a job - also had to remove the old (case hardened) gum from the gaffer tape used to apply the "for sale" sign - copious amounts of Turps and Mr Muscle, and a wallpaper scraper, finally got it off....
  18. ...give her a damn good power wash No can do as no water/power source
  19. Source new long shaft engine - in hand... New one this one, and an unpleasant surprise...  but....  at least I thought of it a week before the launch rather than finding out about it on the day! My current engine is short shaft and not suitable, I'm hoping I can part-ex it with the guy who services my current outboard as he has a nice Suzuki 2 stroke 4HP for sale...
  20. Fill screw holes on transom Like a colander it is....    They're all M3 sized - no idea what they were for - longer term I'll fill them the proper way, but for now they're above the water line so I'll fill them with a nut/bolt/penny washer with a gloop of sealant between washer and hull....

  21. Longer term...
    • Consider lining the cabin with ply - roof only perhaps... The more I live with it the more I like the ability to get to all the fittings without having to remove linings.....!
    • Fit electrics - nav lights/VHF/stereo/cabin lights Next winter
    • Solar panel for battery charging Same time as electrics
    • Replacement main Jelly Bean Phil [clicky] popped by this weekend (he'll always be Jelly Bean Phil even though he sold the aforesaid Jelly Bean a couple of years ago now! ) and dropped off a used full size jib, and a spare mainsail he was using last year. The main is is in cracking condition in comparison to the one I got with the boat..  all I needed to do was swap the sail slides over and I now have a fully functioning main....  cheers, mate! What that means is that I may be able to wait until next year for new main.... in the meanwhile, I'll keep an eye on eBay for a genoa...
    • Standing rigging By end of season minimum.... as part of fit out however, I have made good the back stay tensioner (a cable at the bottom of the single backstay that fits over a block and makes the backstay an inverted Y)..
    • Tiller pilot and electrics Long way away...