Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Job #9 - Cockpit locker lids - started

Chuffing freezing, but needs must, and a distinct worsening in the condition of the cockpit locker lids lifted them to the top of the queue...

This one has actually holed, so it's currently being used while in a bin bag to keep water out of the boat...  I remember distinctly this one cracking.. I caught one of the lines I use for retaining the tiller under the edge of the lid when I sat on it..


Not so bad - but the beading around the edge of the boards is splitting..



Basically my fault..  should have painted them well before now and they would have been good for another season...


So large sheet of 12mm exterior ply was 28 squids.. didn't need that much, but a small (half size) sheet of the same stuff was still £23, so I figured I'd buy the big sheet.. plenty for spare...

I used the old lids as templates for the new one's, and with the use of the trusty jigsaw soon had two lid shaped bits of ply.. 

First fit looked pretty good, edges could have been straighter but I don't have the skill for a panel saw, and I don't own a circular saw; I'm thinking I may fit a batten to the back edge to hide the worst..


These will be painted, so labels and marks will be covered..


Need to smooch a couple of mm's off the edge on this one


Smooth the curve out on this one and she's good to go..


...and just trim a few mm's off that edge and she'll be the same...

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Seasons Greetings


Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year, and here's wishing us "Fair Winds" for 2015.. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

That was the year that was... 2014

Lest you think I have shuffled off this mortal coil I can confirm that not a lot has been done since lift out - she's scraped and cleaned, and to all intents and purposes is ready to go back in the water except for a coat of anti-foul, but I do have some jobs to do (see list top of page) and I'd like to get some of them done before next season, but the weather has turned wet, windy and cold, and I have a shed load of other stuff to do!

So, I do at least have time for the traditional review of the year past; I've said it before and I'll say it again I really enjoy putting this together as it's a good excuse to read all the old posts, and look at the video and pictures from this years logs....

I would say that it's been a "Good" year, definitely a step up on last year, almost a classic and only missed on that because of time constraints that kept me off the water as much as I'd have liked.... the summer was even better than last year and seemed to go on for months, but despite that it seems to me there weren't enough sailing days mostly because of family commitments.. I simply can't justify pushing off for 2 or 3 days as that puts the work on other people, and given they 'accept' the boat at best, I don't want to cheese them off...   

This was my second year as owner of Sparrow and the learning curve continues (I'll be amazed if it ever stops...) The sailing lark is a complicated one. I did manage to combat my harbour'itis though with a couple of decent days in the Solent, and the boat performed beautifully (except for a few small niggles) all season...

After last winters jobs (and the big job then was the cockpit drains [clicky], which leaked not a drop all summer by the way ) the summers big project was a new Genoa (also known as 'big bastard' [clicky]) a real driver of a sail compared with the old one - as is the nature of these things however, that in turn revealed the niggle I referred to, as the sheets kept slipping which was driving me up the wall.  This has become job #19 [clicky] on the winter job list - and is to replace the old (original I suspect??) cam cleats with new ones...  (I've started on this by the way..)

Interestingly, I've noticed a marked decrease in weather helm in a breeze since I got this sail - I look forward to doing some more practice next season as the new cleats will hold more sail.....


This summer I also replaced the outboard which had done sterling service, but was when push comes to shove fairly old, and probably a little on the small side - no mechanical issues with it this year, and no intention to swap it until a mate from the sailing club mentioned he was selling his four stroke 6HP Tohatsu - a real no brainer and the engine was a joy to use... after swapping the sparkplug...! To be honest, as a mechanical numpty, I was chuffed to have done it myself - I wouldn't have even considered it a few years ago (and I wouldn't have had a spare plug anyway), so I'm coming on... slowly.... 

So all in all that rates as an good year....  8 out of 10.. 

Like a spider dipped in blue ink and left to wander all over Google Earth - here's where Sparrow went this year:


...and the following in "Ocean Waves" this summer on the Jolly Boys Outing [clicky] II
 

No cross Channel trip (again!) as we'd hoped (another weather casualty) but a brilliant three days - the highlights being my first visit to Yarmouth and Lymington, and Smithy's missus's carrot cake...

Despite the weather turning when we tried to get to France - we had some superb sailing - down to Yarmouth the first day, but especially the leg from Cowes to Lymington - warm sun, big breeze, blue sea - champagne sailing.... it really could have been the Caribbean


~~~~~~~~~


Number of visits down to the boat: 19 (about the same as last year funnily enough) but once again if you count all the times I visited in the mornings/evenings while she was on shore (usually two to three times a week), and the days I worked on her pre-season - easily triple that...

Total distance sailed: 137.98 miles, which compares with 113.73 miles last year, and 173.29 miles in 2012... a better year - harbour'itis kicked into touch, but granddad baby sitting duties chomped a bit of time.. rather delightfully I'll admit.. 

Nights on board: None - it will change as I free up a bit more time....

Crew on occasion: None... nada... no-one...  not even a dead parrot.. "Hello I'm Steve, and I am solo sailor, it has been two years since I had a crew.."

Cruising range: Bembridge to the west, Emsworth to the north, Bosham in the East and the Nab Tower to the south..


Biggest Cruise: Bembridge [clicky] on a lovely day off mid-week.... it was just shy of 30 miles in a day not bad considering the wind dropped to nothing at the end... a sunny day that had some good sailing in it.....


Best Cruise: Choices choices...Bembridge, the Nab possibly (for distance), but I'm going to go with the trip to Bosham [clicky] - first time I've been back to Sparrow's home port since that Arctic delivery trip.. I had sunshine and breeze, and an overwhelming remembrance of everyone smiling - a good day.....!

Worst cruise: None - I can't remember a bad one..... 

Oddest cruise: None really - they all went fairly to plan...  that first "sail" of the year on Ami-Ly was odd though [clicky] - I have never, ever, seen the Solent so flat...  it looked like it had been ironed..  Then on the Bembridge trip the wind dropped to almost nothing on the way back and I was assailed by fruit fly things while at least a mile off shore...  super fly guy....


Best anchorages: None... didn't anchor this year again...  really need to do something about that, I've never anchored in all the years I've sailed! Part of the problem of course is that everywhere I sail there are huge numbers of empty moorings so there's little need but I can't help thinking a bit of practice might help... and given I have the anchor hawse pipe to fit there's less and less excuse!

Best mooring:  ...my club mooring It continues to be a delight; water 3.5+ hours either side of high tide...

Happy days.....

Worst mooring: None...  blimey...  I only ever used my own mooring all summer!

Plans for next year: More Solent....   pure and simple......  Cowes... then there was talk of another jolly boys outing but this time just in the Solent as we enjoyed it so much..  I also have a yen to do a weekend in Langstone... as a younger, thinner, fitter bloke I raced windsurfers round the islands in the harbour - I have a yen to anchor up in one of the channels for a night on the hook..

Mileage:

Click on the date to go to the log entry post....

Date
Distance:
Wind:
Direction
Sail Plan:
Max Speed (knots):
Average Speed (knots):
Comments:
12th March
21.42*
F1
N to NW
Mostly engine
6.6
5.5
An early season motor to Cowes on AmiLy for lunch
4th May 8.21 F3 gusting F4 S Full main and 3 rolls in genoa 4.5 2.6 Shakedown cruise in a very cold breeze..  new jib used first time!
10th May 12* F6 gusting F8 WSW 3 reefs/main only 5.5 8+ Test sail (on the 40 footer we're taking to Cherbourg) on one of the windiest days we've had in some time!
18th May 14.91 F3 S going SE Full main and genoa 5.1 2.7 Down to Prinstead/Thorney Channel and just beyond Camber - motored past Marker.
23rd to 26th May 24.4* F4 gusting F5, F3 gusting F4 end of day S Reefed main/jib to full main/jib 6.3 4.5 The jolly boys outing for 2014 - Day 1: Port Solent to Yarmouth
23rd to 26th May 43.04* F0 to F7 S Reefed main/jib to full main/jib 7.5 3.1 The jolly boys outing for 2014 - Day 2: Yarmouth to Cherbourg (err... Cowes)
23rd to 26th May 26.87* F4 gusting 5 SSW Full main/jib to reefed main/jib 10 5.8 The jolly boys outing for 2014 - Day 3: Cowes to Lymington
23rd to 26th May 26.05* Top end F3 N Full main/jib 7.8 4.5 The jolly boys outing for 2014 - Day 4: Lymington to home (Portsmouth)
13th June 16.97 F1 ending up F3 S going SW Full main/genoa 5.4 3.2 Bosham trip
21st July 28.41 Nothing to top end F3 NE going NW Full main/genoa from full to small reef 5.2 3.2 Bembridge trip
27th July 6.57 F1 and less NNW Full main/genoa 4 1.7 Sunny Sunday afternoon drift
3rd August 9.47 F4/F5 gusting F6 WSW Reefed main and genoa 6.3 3.4 HISC drag race - what a contrast to last time!
20th August 24.98 F3 gusting F4 NW/WNW Reefed/full main and reefed/full genoa 4.8 3.3 Nab Tower run - new engine not running..
3rd September 5.5 F1 to F2 S/SSW Full main and reefed/full genoa 3.9 2.2 Post work pottering - sea trails for the fixed engine
14th September 10.71 F4 (occasional gust F5) NE->SE Reefed/full main and reefed/full genoa 5.3 2.9 HISC to Fishermans, and a seal eating a fish on a breezy day...
28th September 12.25 F3 dropping to F2 SSE/SE Full main and reefed/full genoa 5 2.5 Beat to Bar Beacon - last sail of the season in big tides and fitful wind..

























* Not counted in year total...

Year total (to date): 137.98 miles


NB:
2013 total (in Sparrow): 113.73 miles
2012 total (in Pap): 173.29
2011 total (in Pap): 193.41
2010 total (in Pap): 154.23
2009 total (in Pap): 125

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Group Captain F.H.L. 'Crab' Searl

A long (long ) time ago I learnt to sail at Emsworth Sailing School, run by an exotically named gentleman known as Crab Searl - there's no Wikipedia entry for this gentlemen - so the following will act as a data dump for a possible Wikipedia article - if you have information feel free to post a comment - with your sources....

==============================================

Group Captain F.H.L. (Francis Henry Louis) 'Crab' Searl


Nicknamed "Crab"; nothing to do with the water variety; it had to do with him flying aircraft sideways.

Was with 211 Group [clicky] RAF, Middle East Forces (letter signed 8 Jan 1943 (5))

Started the first (date?? earliest I have is 1959(4) ) sailing school in Britain after the Second World War in Emsworth (at 59 Bath Road) where he was Chief Instructor.

Sailing School was incorporated on the 16 April 1962(1), but went into liquidation in 1978 (3)

He was Race Coordinator for the inaugural, Daily Telegraph and BP sponsored, ‘Round Britain Powerboat Race’ in 1969 (2)

Owned PR company Pronautica (went into liquidation December 1977) (6)

Books:
  • The Pan Book of Sailing (Published by Pan Books Ltd, London (1964) - reissued 2nd Edition 1967 ISBN:???????) The Handbook for the ABC Television Series 'Plain Sailing'
  • Inshore Dinghy Sailing (Published by NEWNES 1965 ISBN: ????????)

  • "Learn Through Strips" - a series of three books compiled from the long running Evening News feature "Plain Sailing":
  • Plain Sailing - Dinghy (Published by Rigby,1975 ISBN: 0727000128)
  • Plain Sailing - Cruising (Published by Chancerel, 1973 ISBN: ???????)
  • Plain Sailing - Power Boat (Published by Chancerel,1975 ISBN: 2854290127)


==References==
(1) https://www.opencompany.co.uk/company/00721553/emsworth-sailing-school-limited
(2) http://powerboatarchive2.co.uk/galleries/Library/Media-Reports-1960-2013/1969/Round_Britain_Dt.pdf
(3) LONDON GAZETTE , 7TH MARCH 1978 (https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/47481/supplement/2927/data.pdf)
(4) http://new.lookandlearn.com/childrens-newspaper/CN590516-004.pdf
(5) http://www.kingscollections.org/catalogues/lhcma/collection/l/li30-001/lh9-11-21-military-writings/li0913
(6)  https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/47428/page/83/data.pdf

Monday, 13 October 2014

Out!


So the morning of the lift out dawned grey, damp and chilly - albeit dry for the time being...

Popped into Wilkes (other large anonymous DIY supermarkets are available) and picked up a couple of large fence posts for Sparrow to spend the winter sitting on - I was going to go railway type sleepers, but thought it was overkill. Also got hacksaw blades for a different job I had in mind....

Got down to the club at about 10:30 (HT 14:30), checked I was on the list for the day (yes there actually is one, but to paraphrase the words of Helmuth von Moltke the Elder, I'm not sure it ever survives the first boat ashore... ), and then headed for the boat, stopping for a quick chat to arrange with "Coral" Paul getting his mast down...

Once on the boat I winched up the mooring so I could get to my mooring strop/chain - as I suspected the shackle attaching swivel and chain to buoy had rusted solid, but I didn't want to leave the chain/swivel etc on the mooring all winter so 20 minutes later and I'd hacksawed it off - so new shackle next year (and possibly a new swivel as well, as its five or six years old now)...  slipped a line through the mooring, attached boat, and removed mooring gear...  job done...

Slipped into the tender and rowed over to Paul's boat where with the help of one of the shore crew we dropped the mast safely... agreed that the best plan with a tide the height we were expecting was to go under the bridge soonest as it would be impossible (even with masts down) for an hour either side of high and by now it was already 1'ish...  once on the other side of the bridge we could pick up a mooring on Langstone side until the lifting guys were ready for us...

Forgot my camera so this is off the phone....  taken while enjoying a coffee and waiting my turn - this is Coral being lifted...
..and carted away...

Fired up the trusty mechanical donkey (and it really was easier manoeuvring the outboard with the mast crutch on the rear deck) and motored under the bridge and was soon sat on a spare mooring waiting my turn..  cup of coffee later and I was the second or third one out...  lifting this year involved putting four people on board with boat hooks - amazing how low a Hurley 20 floats with five blokes on board!

Position this year is opposite the clubhouse - power and water about 20 yards away, bar about the same - it's going to be a good winter!

Too busy yesterday to pressure wash the hull (I know it seems keen, but I've found unless I do it soon the weed just case hardens and it takes five times as long) so popped down the club early this morning before work and pressure washed the vegetation off....  very weird weed this year, most of the boats show the same, like a very fine garden lawn....  usual crop of barnacles under the nose (where she settles when tide drops) and bottom of the keels, but it all came off fairly easily with the assist of a wall paper scraper....

Popped the engine into the tank for a fresh water run through and once all done, legged it to work - quite a constructive morning....

Friday, 10 October 2014

Job #19 - Genoa sheet cam-cleats

Never too early to start ...  just bought two of these.. 


They didn't cost that much by the way...... 

Monday, 6 October 2014

...gone!

...so where we left off last week we were in the current position....


...picked up Rod the Mod at the slipway on a quite astonishingly good morning - flat as a flat thing, sunny, warm.. perfect mast dropping conditions...

Checklist:
  1. Forward lowers disconnected, put a couple of small shackles on the freed up chain plates to make it easier to attach the A frame legs...
  2. Attached A frame legs to shackles, double checked jib halyard was firmly attached at apex
  3. Let off some slack in the backstay
  4. Main sheet attached to stem fitting and then underneath of the A frame apex - put some download on (at this point mainsheet/frame/jib halyard become the new "fore-stay")
  5. Loosened off cap shrouds and rear lowers
  6. Checked around to make sure all good and then detached fore-stay from stem fitting
  7. Eased off top bolt and undid/removed bottom bolt on mast/tabernacle
  8. Rod put some load on the back stay and I cracked a few inches on the mainsheet and the mast started to go..
  9. Eased off slowly while Rod guided mast from the cockpit, checking spreaders didn't foul the crutch
Done..  phew.. 

After that it was just a matter of easing the mast forward (after having taken out top bolt of the tabernacle, 'natch) and resting the foot on a  block of wood tied to the pulpit.... secured everything to the mast with a mooring line and all done bar coffee and a natter, then repairing to club bar for reviving snifters and more chat....  cheers, Rod!



PS.  Looks like just in time... 



Postcript: weather has been bad this week with wind and rain so I took the opportunity to pop out last night to check all well - it was but I also took the opportunity and whacked on a few more ropes to hold everything firm....

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Going... going...

Sorely tempted to go sailing, but yesterday afternoon was devoted to getting the boat ready for a mast drop - possibly this weekend - but the way the forecast is shaping up probably another time...

First job was to get the jib genoa off, and as I'd bought the A frame with me, deploy that as well - all done...

A frame sits outside the roller furling/forestay so that the furler can be lowered safely to the deck as the mast is lowered... the A frame legs are secured to the chain plates - I have them on the centre ones (the uppers) at the moment, but on the day I'll shift them to the forward lowers as it pushes the frame forward about half a foot...


The new halyard diverter I fitted last year worked a treat - it was obvious where the halyard had sat in the eye strap, but unlike last year no physical damage to the rope - chuffed with that...

Next job was the mainsail - all done and contents wrapped within sail cover - this year I took the decision to take it all ashore as last year it filled the cabin so much it was difficult to move around below...  all done, even in my tender, though there was a couple of feet of overhang......

With the boom gone next job was the mast crutch - this year I decided on a change - last year the legs sat in the cockpit but this had the double effect of being a pain in the ar*e to physically get round when I needed to deploy the outboard (and the new one is bigger), but it was also unstable as the legs were only the width of the cockpit floor apart...  can't sit them on top of the cockpit lockers as then I can't open them, and then I noticed that the coamings extend beyond the back of the cockpit - ideal spot as the coaming will anchor the end of the legs...

Just waiting for a mast....
...and that was largely it, once I'd loaded the Suzuki outboard into the tender....  beer o'clock time, and I thought well deserved!

Monday, 29 September 2014

Bar room crawl...

Last sail of the season time...  next weekend the mast comes down, and the weekend after that she comes out on the Sunday....

Weather was bright, sunny, warm and most unlike nearly October - shorts and tshirts weather - if this is global warming, bring it on say I....

Anyway - 14:30 high tide, and a big one at 4.6mtrs, wind was light with occasional gusts - which kind of summed up the whole afternoon really - not quite enough wind, from the right direction, to counteract the large dollops of water being pushed around by the moon....

Started off south easterly, went round south east easterly as I passed Northney and stayed that way all the way down to the harbour entrance against a stiff tide - plans for a run up Prinstead were shelved and I decided to go for a run into the Solent one last time...

By the time high tide got to us (just as I got HISC) the wind started to drop until by the time I got to the Bar Beacon is was pretty much lifeless.

Pleasant afternoon ensued watching a 29er [clicky] regatta in Hayling Bay (that seemed to end just as I turned for home) and I made my way back to the harbour - against the tide again, and in light of the fact I was being pushed westward by tide, without enough wind to get me into the harbour, the engine went on and I pushed for home...



So not with a bang but a whimper - but it was good to get out, and I was on my boat, and it was sunny, and the water was warm....  and February won't be much like that!



Log:




Distance: 12.25 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started SE went SEE, F3 dropping to a F2
Sail Plan: Full main and reefed/full genoa - engine for return journey....
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 5 knots (which was under motor) - average speed 2.5 knots

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Southampton Boat Show - 2014

I do like the Boatshow - I think it's the buzz - and I like the fact that it changes very little year to year - and the people - and the pint of Guinness at the Guinness bar - the smell of new boats - and that vague whiff of money, affluence and Cinzano Bianco.... this year was no different, this year though, I attended solo - kids have as much antipathy to the show as they do to sailing, ditto current Mrs Steve the Wargamer, and bro-in-law/sis was on parent sitting duties.... which means I get to spend more time checking out the stalls.... 


Good show again this year I thought - the crowds were big even for the penultimate day, and although the weather was grey and murky/hazy (see above) it was at least warm, and it didn't rain....

I gave up going on big yachts a few years ago - they're all pretty much all the same really when you get below - the differences are primarily in square footage when you get to the prices of these boats - the quality of fit out is the same, you just get more or less of it...  having said that I did see one beauty this year and she takes my best boat of the show prize - not that I'd ever want one though!



Made by Solaris, an Italian yard, [clicky] this is their 48 footer, and what attracted my attention was the hull colour - such a nice change from the universal white.... she looked fantastic...  the gel had a fine layer of glitter in it which sounds hideous but looked brilliant and at a distance a metallic effect...  very nice.... yours for half a million if you want it...

Elsewhere - Clipper [clicky] were there - this is the bunch my bro-in-law works for - she looked.....   "hard worked"...    Not surprising really as she's only just come back from racing round the world...


I was also keen to see the Practical Boat Owner project boat - I'm a subscriber so have been reading the ongoing project with interest and wanted to see the boat in the flesh...  not surprisingly (given the amount of money spent, and also the time invested) she looked absolutely fantastic..


I was talking to Ben (one of the journalists on the magazine) and he mentioned that they were thinking about doing the whole thing again with a new old boat - but this time doing it on a budget - which I think is an excellent idea...  hugely relevant to my boating, and even more useful I think than this project, purely because I couldn't afford some of the the products they used (in quantity!)...  I hope they do it - it will be a brilliant read..

At the end of our chat he turned round and asked me if I sail in Chichester Harbour, turns out he had read my blog (and recognised the boat name from my t-shirt)... gob smacked, but if you're reading this, Ben, nice to meet you...


...and that was largely it - though I did enjoy this beauty...  despite her appearance she's newer than she looks, and was built in Denmark in 1920, but was restored from a derelict in 1988 and since then has appeared in numerous films (Columbus, Frenchman's Creek etc)...   more details here [clicky]






I was also much taken with the Royal Marine Assault craft - more info on that on my wargame blog...


All in all a brilliant day...  got some idea's for the genoa sheet camcleat replacement project....

Swallow boats..

Crabber - like this one..
Smaller Crabber
A chat with the guy on the Barton stand was very informative - he showed me a cam cleat of sufficient size to handle the sheets (a la the Crabber above) but which is also on a swivel base, negating the need for the feeder block.... similar to this....


Finished off with a beer at the Platform Tavern [clicky], and all was definitely right with the world..!