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

2 comments:

  1. Nice one Steve, a 'bit' of weather keeps it interesting :)

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    Replies
    1. Got to say it was a real confidence builder... :o)

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