Friday, 27 September 2013

Double Spitfires

You're going to have to trust me
but that is a pair of Spitfires flying wing tip to wing tip
Snuck in a crafty afternoon off from work, as we had a 17:00'ish high tide...  only a neap but I had hopes of getting off the mooring early...

I reckon in the end I dropped the mooring about 13:15, and apart from sticking on a little mud bank between mooring and channel for  5 minutes I was away and clear three and a half hours before high tide..  on a neap.... astonishing - info stored for later as I think one of the last trips of the year will be a circumnavigation on lift out weekend and the sooner I can get away the better...

Grey miserable old afternoon, no rain, but an easterly  breeze made it feel colder than it actually was - the summer is drawing to a close....  there were no more than a dozen boats out all afternoon....

Winds were fairly light all afternoon, so having motored to the end of the Northney channel I proceeded down towards the sea/HISC under sail in what started off as a reach but ended up as a port tack...  wind must have shifted around about 90'... ??


Despite being neaps there were still vast quantities of water being shifted around...  look at the rooster tail on Pilsey, and I reckon that was only half an hour or so before hight tide...

One of the two was this one - a two seater
- picture courtesy
Boultbee Flight Academy - Goodwood [clicky]
So a slow old trip down harbour, couple of knots at best, but the highlight of the afternoon arrived just off HISC with the arrival of a couple of Spitfires overhead, flying wing tip to wing tip - I've found out subsequently that they flew from Goodwood (Boultbee Flight Academy)...  absolutely amazing sight..

Having finally managed to get to the Pilsey buoy (and it took a couple of tacks due to meandering all over the place while I was watching the Spitfires, and having to tack!) I then cut inside the moored boats off HISC and ran back up harbour...  wind was dropping almost constantly and by the time I turned for Northney most of the forward momentum was tide, but I did manage to get a few 4+ knot surges when an occasional gust came through...  in the Northney channel it was so still you could hear people talking on shore...

HISC ahead...
Motor on as I passed Northney marina and 10 minutes later I was back on the mooring...  a good afternoon despite the grey, the cold, and the light winds....

The end of the season is approaching fast - some of the boats already have masts down - my lift out is scheduled for the 20th October, so at best I have 2 or 3 more sessions and I'm away for at least one of them...  at the moment I am still planning to sail Sparrow round for the lift out (my clubs slipway is the other side of the bridge from me so those of us in Chichester Harbour either drop the mast and motor under the bridge, or sail round) but all of this is weather dependant....

Log:

Distance: 9.49 miles (cumulative total in the 2013 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Both ends of a Force 3 - dropping as the afternoon went on.. Started E ended SE.
Sail Plan: Full jib and main - engine for manoeuvring and to get to Swearedeep on the way out...
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 4.1 knots (that was under sail, but I also saw bursts of 4.3 and 4.5 knots under sail) - average speed 2.4 knots


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Americas Cup 2013

...for one reason or another I'm late to the party, but everyone's raving about it, so I thought I'd check out the action on BBC iPlayer.....

Picture courtesy BBC

...it's about as far from the experience of sailing Sparrow as I'm likely to get but it's also some of the most exciting yacht racing I think I've ever seen...   latest race there is episode 5, I'd get in there quick if you don't want to miss out. 

Two things struck  me as I watched the footage  (other than the speed of these things..  race speeds of 35 knots +!), listen to the loadings, these boats creak like a man in pain; huge stresses involved heaving that much weight out of the water and onto the fins...  the other thing took me longer, but if you listen there's a constant high pitched whine in the background - it stops when they're not on the fins so I'm forced to the conclusion that that's what "speed" sounds like - it's water over the hydrofoils....  astonishing

Miss it at your peril....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03b468z/episodes/guide

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Pilsey via a cloud burst....


Somebody had a bad day....
Not the best forecast I've seen, but it's been two weeks since I've been on the boat, and needs must...

I'd done a club volunteer duty the day before pressure washing the slipway, and given it was low tide I could clearly see the festoons of weed hanging off Sparrow - not good.... so today my plan was to arrive really early so I could have a good go at the weed, before I got a sail in...

I'd hoped to have a go while she was still partially on the mud but I was too late, so having brought a long handled broom with me I decided to have a go with that from the tender - which worked brilliantly......   resting the broom handle on the thwart of the tender gave it some upwards pressure on the hull and then one hand on the boat and the other on the broom, and just saw it back and forward while moving the tender along the waterline - brilliant, big chunks of weed floating off with the tide as I moved along scrubbing away...  finished by doing the rudder and all done...  she comes out in 5 weeks so that will take me through to the end of the season...

So leapt into the boat and got her ready to go..  forecasts said force 4, but there were some nasty gusts coming through in front of rain squalls so I took the decision to put 3 and a half reefs in (I count reefs in terms of sail slides as I have roller boom reefing) - good decision I think...

Engine fired up second pull and I was off...   wind was directly downwind in the channel so engine turned off quickly and then I started to shift...  two hours before high tide and I was still getting 3.5 knots through the water, downwind and against a stiff tide...

What a beauty.....  too far away for a good piccie...
Turned south for the harbour entrance and met the obligatory Laser race across the fairway lead by the obligatory numpty who insisted on shouting that I was in the way and "he was racing"... plank.... 

Conditions in the harbour were weird in the extreme - the wind was west of SW so I had a brilliant tack down to Marker - had to tack twice only because te first tack was short due to oncoming traffic, and before I knew it I was at NE Pilsey, but conditions were very changeable, and deteriorating rapidly...  cold, and increasingly squally as bands of rain came through though, though Sparrow was taking it in her stride with just an occasional splash across the foredeck...all balanced and not too much weather helm....  I draw the line at thunder and lightning though, and decided it was time to head for home...

Nice view...  this is one of the club dinghy's heading for the finish line - ominous clouds!
A drag race up the harbour ensued as I think I still had a tadge of the remaining tide under me - 5.5 knots at one point, but the sky was getting very dark....  you'd sail through a sunny patch and the water would be turquoise, then the next thing the sun would go in and sea would turn pewter....

.....Oh man - I'm about to get SO wet...
Turned up the Northney channel and the skies just opened, while at the same time someone turned on the turbo fan....

It was so windy, and so wet, I could see the rain fogging on the surface of the sea....  nothing to do, I could see the sun the other side of it so I just sailed on, and when the front passed, turned into the wind, rolled away the jib, dropped the main, put the engine on and headed for the mooring to change into dry clothes...  a brilliant days sailing in easily the windiest conditions I've had since that delivery trip back in April [clicky], a real confidence builder....


Log:

Distance: 8.31 miles (cumulative total in the 2013 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 5 gusting 6 (and Cambermet shows a single gust of F7).. WSW
Sail Plan: Full jib and reefed main (3.5 reefs) - engine for manoeuvring..
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 4.7 knots (that was under sail, but I also saw bursts of 5+ knots under sail at times) - average speed 3 knots

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race start - London

My sister and I headed up to the smoke on Saturday, for the start of the Clipper Round the World yacht race [clicky] a brilliant day out as we had tickets for one of the spectator boats courtesy of her husband who works for the race.. the sun shone, huge crowds and the boats looked superb....

We then followed the boats down the river to their last overnight stop at Tilbury before they start the race proper...   the river is an absolute delight, I had no idea there was so much  to see, so much history on view from the days when London was thriving trading port...  docks, dry docks, wharfs, superb very much recommended..  Greenwich looked simply fantastic and I've pencilled that in for a future "I have been to..." (I got lucky with one of the photo's as there was also a Tall Ships event on the same day)


Having enjoyed our time on the water we then took ourselves off to the pub, the Dean Swift [clicky], which was an absolute triumph, and entirely down to my sisters research. A hitherto undiscovered  (by me anyway) gem in the heart of London serving some of the best beer I've seen anywhere, at entirely un-London prices, good food, in a lovely, traditional type beer house... a lot of people enjoying themselves - recommended (a definite 9 out of 10'er)

...and finally the GPS track for a bit of fun ... and no, the spectator boat didn't suddenly sprout wheels, we lost satellite signal a couple of times!