Friday, 30 May 2014

Jolly Boys Outing part the deux...

Few extra piccies from the rest of the guys...

First night - Yarmouth
Dinner at the Bugle (Yarmouth) - what can I say, I tried and failed to finish - the Timmy Taylor was as good as it looked....
Yours truly at the helm on passage to the Needles - visibility err... "impaired", and 100% humidity, bloody awful.....
Spirits still high.. I can only assume alcohol was imbibed....

Champagne sailing - this was Sunday en route to Lymington - could be the Caribbean....
En route Lymington - t'other Dave concerned that there might not be enough carrott cake..
I think we heard on the VHF that there casualties on board - he was on his way to Yarmouth where an ambulance had been arranged to meet him

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Jolly boys Cherbourg trip... err, or not....

So ...   just back from four days on Ocean Waves and no we didn't quite make it to Cherbourg.... in fact we didn't quite make it by about 40 miles but there you go, more on that anon....

The jolly boys, and what a bunch of reprobates...  left to right, Rod the Mod, Dave, Chris (preparing a reasoned argument), and t'other Dave..


Day 1: Port Solent to Yarmouth

The plan for the day was to overnight at Yarmouth as that is one of the most westerly stopovers in the Solent, and ideally placed for a jump to the Channel, being just inside the Needles (that mark the western entrance of the Solent)...

We picked the boat up from Port Solent where it had been having some work done on it, and by 1300'ish we were off...

Our ride for the next four days - a Jeanneau 40..

Copper coated - amazing stuff...
By 1400 we were into the Solent in the rain and drizzle, but cutting south of the Bramble, past Cowes, we had some absolutely stonking sailing in the afternoon - full rig, good speed, bright sunshine, and a single tack took us all the way from Cowes to Yarmouth in a nice but gusty force 5 - it really doesn't get any better, and I would say that we all enjoyed it enormously....  this day set the scene for most of the days to be honest ie. very, very changeable weather.

Arrived in Yarmouth, moored up, ignored irritating woman on pontoon who kept offering mooring advice, and after a quick scrub and polish (us not the boat) we repaired to the pub [clicky] for a meal of quite astonishing proportion, washed down with a couple of pints of Timmy Taylor Landlord...  I think it safe to say we were very optimistic for the following day if the weather remained as was, and after a little mooch around Yarmouth (just lovely) including a walk out to the end of the pier, and an admire of the yacht clubs location, we went to bed ready for an early start....

   Distance: 24.44 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: Force 4 gusting 5, going down to a 3 gusting four as the afternoon wore on. Direction was a few degrees either side of dead south, going (very) slightly more westerly as the day edged on
   Sail Plan: Reefs in main & jib but let them out as the afternoon went on - engine for manoeuvring...
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 6.3 knots - average speed 4.5 knots

Day 2: Yarmouth to Cherbourg (err... Cowes)

Up at 04:30 and off by 05:15, making coffee/tea as we motored down to the Needles as there was no wind, there was however plenty of greyness, rain, hail, and a greasy looking sea...utterly disgusting.


As daylight got brighter the wind began to pick up rapidly, and as per the day before the wind was almost dead south - we passed the Needles at about 07:00, but the problem being that it was now a F6, possibly 7 (ie. direct from Cherbourg), and the sea state was confused with standing waves, leading to a most unpleasant ride...

After a couple of hours of that one of us was already physically ill, and another was well on the way to the same, and although I was OK, I was not enjoying it at all - with 12-15 hours of this likely if we went for it, we plodded on for a bit more, but were not making the direction for a good trip to Cherbourg (best we could do was 150' and Cherbourg was 180') and the unanimous decision was made to turn back at 09:00 - we'll go another time....

Needles behind us and no indication whatsoever how miserable it was a mere half mile away!
Shell shocked, but recovering, crew...

A 12:15 we slipped back through Hurst narrows after a particularly lively reach back in (surfing down breaking waves was a new experience), and we were back in the Solent after a knackering 4 hours of rinse cycle. As if on queue the weather turned and the sun came out, and we had a superb sail back to Cowes, against the tide, but by 15:00 we were tied up in East Cowes absolutely exhausted...  late lunch, papers, cup of tea, and the Toulon game (rugby) on the radio took the rest of the afternoon before we went into Cowes in the rain for food (them) and beer (me)... 

   Distance: 43.04 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: Everything from nothing at all up to force 7, but almost all of it dead south
   Sail Plan: 2 reefs in main & small jib but let them all out as the day went on - engine for manoeuvring, and to get to the Needles, and back through the Needles...
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 7.5 knots - average speed 3.1 knots

Day 3: Cowes to Lymington

We had not been able to get into Lymington the day before as both marina's were full, but we got lucky with a late cancellation so the destination for the day was the Berthon Marina in Lymington (another place I've never been before)....

After a later start (sausages and bacon and the Sunday papers, while sitting in the sun) we dropped the mooring lines at about 11:30, and by 12 were in the Solent where we headed east slightly to get out of the scrum and put the sails up; full main and jib, in some powered up conditions...


Turning for Lymington we then had the sail of our lives - Smithy put in a 10.3 knots at 12:08 (according to the logs), and then t'other Dave put in a 9.7 knots an hour later (all over the ground) but that was after we'd stopped to put a reef in on main and jib...! Brilliant day in the sunshine and did a lot to wipe away the poor showing the day before....

As the wind began to drop in the lee of Hurst spit, we had afternoon tea as we slipped into Lymington, most civilized...  mug of tea with one of the cakes that Smithy's missus had made (carrot, and absolutely superb) - only out for four hours but what a belting sail.

Time for cake then...

So what about Lymington - very narrow, winding, entrance - dominated by the car ferries that run between there and Yarmouth - not the place to be on a low tide with a deep keel...  the water in the harbour is a most unusual brown...


Without a shadow of a doubt, along with the afternoon of Day 1, this was a champagne sailing day, breezy, sunny, and an ideal direction for some fast exciting sailing...

Washed and scrubbed we amused ourselves in Lymington by going to the pub, where we placed chips on t'other Daves head for the seagulls to snatch, had a few beers, and then headed up the hill into town for some Chinese food of great quantity, and quality and where t'other Dave was all set to elope with the (Romanian) waitress (to be fair she was nice... reminded me of a young Helen Baxandale)....



   Distance: 26.87 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: A fairly solid 4 gsuting 5 all day - SSW direction
   Sail Plan: Full main & jib to start with but we reefed down about half way across - engine for manoeuvring..
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 10 knots - average speed 5.8 knots (amazing..!)


Day 4: Lymington to home (Portsmouth)

What a difference a day makes - woke up on the last day to rain, and grey, the difference being that on this day it stayed with us all day....  and the winds had gone northerly as we expected. After a shower in what must be one of the plushest showers I've ever been in, we fired up the last of the bacon and sausages, slurped tea, looked despondently at the weather, and got the wet weather gear on ready to depart....

A short stop at the fuelling berth (and it was short as we only needed 24 litres - amazing when you consider we'd had the engine on a fair amount - especially on the Saturday) and at 11:30 we were off into the murk...


A fairly uneventful trip, we were against tide for an hour or so, but we kept north of the Bramble on this trip to shorten the distance end to end, at 14:00 we were off Cowes and the wind had picked up a bit. Twenty minutes later we set a course for Gilkicker Point which we got to by about 15:00'ish. fifteen minutes after that we were on the Transit, and then we turned into Portsmouth.

Tide was low, and with a keel like ours we wouldn't be able to get back on the pontoon for a while so we took a trip up Fareham Creek and found a space on a mooring pontoon (where I went ar*e over tit on the slippery surface - clearly not a very used pontoon! ) where we settled down to clean the boat and get ready for end of trip....

Thirty minutes later we'd tied up at Whale Island, washed the boat down, filled the water tanks - adventure over....



   Distance: 26.05 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: Top end 3, low end 4 all day... wind direction either side of dead north
   Sail Plan: Full main & jib - engine for manoeuvring..
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 7.8 knots - average speed 4.5 knots

Full plot:


Monday, 19 May 2014

Camber clamber...

Alliterations abound...

A beautiful day, a forecast force 3 and a 1500'ish high tide all conjoined to make a Sunday on the water an absolute must...

Dropped the mooring at just before 12 so a little over three hours before high tide - stunning - Pap's old mooring was still mud when I left, although to be fair it was a 4.7m tide...

I had definite plans that included being beyond Marker (!) so with a S/SSE wind I put the engine on and motor sailed to the end of the Northney channel under jib/genoa..  at the end of the channel I rolled it away as the wind was on the nose, and plugged on against a fairly brisk tide, before finally switching the engine off just past Marker...  sails up and we were sailing though it was still an hour or so before high so the adverse flow was pretty fierce and the tacks were mostly flat!

As the tide started to calm the tacks became more like....err.. tacks, and as the harbour was widening I managed to stay clear of the stronger flow by heading further towards Thorney on each tack, before eventually I was able to bear off and head towards Bosham and Itchenor about half an hour after high tide. It was on one of these tacks that I had my first seal sighting of the year in almost exactly the same spot that I last saw one when I was bringing Sparrow home on that arctic delivery trip...

If I'd had more fuel with me I'd have left the engine on longer - but to be honest the racket gets irritating after while, and the blessed peace when you switch the thing off is just brilliant....

Entrance to the harbour - HISC on the right
Went past the end of the Prinstead Channel, enjoyed the sun, past Camber [clicky], spotted Bosham and Cobonor in the distance but decided I needed to turn for home because if the wind dropped I was low on fuel.

Fantastic fast reach back to the main channel (5+ knots), and then a goose wing run from one end of the harbour to the other before finally rolling/furling everything away and putting on the engine for the last 300 yards...

Printead Channel looking north towards the South Downs
Brilliant afternoons sailing - the roller furling continues to delight - the genoa (going to stop calling it a jib as it's mucking huge) is brilliant though it takes careful handling..  I need longer sheets as fully rolled out the distance to the tack from the opposite side of the boat is almost the maximum for the current length...

As the wind comes up I've found that rolling in a few turns can make a huge difference to the comfort levels especially when beating - off the wind there's no issues and I just let the whole lot out...  I've decided I don't need winches - I sail solo so cam cleats suit me perfectly, winch handles and all the rest of the associated gubbins are difficult in a small boat, and I can handle the full sail by hand anyway...


Bit of video fun...  I was doing five knots, the video makes it look like I was doing fifteen...


Log:

Distance: 14.91 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Both ends of a Force 3 - looks like it picked up a bit at just after high tide but then went back to normal levels.. and almost dead South, but going more SE by end of the afternoon.
Sail Plan: Full main/3 rolls in the jib but let them out as the afternoon went on - engine for manoeuvring and to get down beyond Marker at the beginning of the afternoon...
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 5.1 knots (which I saw under sail) - average speed 2.7 knots

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Ocean Waves - shakedown cruise...

Not the best of days to do a shakedown cruise on an entirely new boat, but needs must and the charter was paid..  either way, we did a lot more than I thought we were going to be able to do at the beginning of the day!

So Saturday saw us take a 40 foot Jeanneau "Ocean Waves" out in far too much wind.. but no one was killed no one injured, and boat was returned in one piece..  full marks I'd say given the conditions


Bramblemet shows it as F6 or 7 gusting 8 while we were out...  we used heavily reefed main only and just a short trip to get the feel of the boat before we use her to go to Cherbourg on the Bank Holiday weekend in two weeks tine..

So out from the pontoon into the harbour and the (totally unexpected) sun came out, main up (eventually ) with two reefs in (would have gone for 3 but the cringle wouldn't reach the reefing horn which made us think no one had ever reefed that much before!), cracked a little bit of jib and headed for the entrance of the harbour...

"Gray  Power"
Absolutely barking out there but a quite astonishing feeling to be sailing in control in that  much wind - most impressed, and very exciting... I've  lost the track for the afternoon (user error!) but we were consistently seeing 7 knots plus, and when we got back into the harbour at the end of the session I saw an average speed of 5.5 knots..

So out to the Outer Spit cardinal, rolled away the jib on the way (didn't need it), turned at the cardinal and headed back into the harbour for a few circuits up Fareham Creek before taking her back to the pontoon as the wind picked up even more.


So all in all about 12 miles, most enjoyable...roll on Cherbourg!

Monday, 5 May 2014

Shakedown cruise and more lessons (re) learned..

Pre script: In putting the sails on (after the mast raising exercise) I of course realised that I had been far too confidant in assuming everything had gone up OK.. 
  1. make sure the roller furler feed goes on with the feeder in the right direction - yes I got it on back to front again with the feeder facing forwards..  gaaah..  took me an hour to get that right and not without an inordinate amount of stress when at one point a line that was holding the mast up came undone..
  2. mainsail halyard was the wrong side of the spreader, judicious use of a heavy hammer tied to the end and pulled up the mast to above spreader, while I then walked around the boat to get it to swing the right way, and then eased off the end I was holding to let it down on the right side of the spreader solved that..  
Elementary schoolboy errors (and not the first time in one case [clicky]) and I should know better...

...anyway, all done now, boom on, new jib fits, mainsail bent on despite foolish errors..  there's a lot to do/track and I missed them - going to draft a check list for next time..



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

So it was that I arrived at the boat yesterday for the seasons shakedown cruise - 16:10'ish high tide, and I was on the boat by 1300 with thoughts that I might do a long trip to get me going but realistically as the first trip of the season with a new jib to get used to and the myriad little lessons & tricks learned last season to re-learn I settled for an extended shakedown..

Strong tide flowing of course but gratifying to get 2.5 knots on jib alone against tide...  made a right cock of getting the main up outside of Northney (halyards on wrong cleats etc) but eventually all up and we started to drive the boat a it harder...  about this time I'd say it was a top end 3 gusting 4 so I decided to roll away a bit of the jib, four rolls taken in and still bigger than the whole of the old jib but much more manageable in the conditions..  the roller furling is MUCH smoother this year, I'm putting it down to three things, the forestay is stiffer, the new sail is much bigger (which helps with unfurling as the you get more wind assistance), but also I gave the bearings a good spray of teflon.. One thing that I do need to  do is service the jib jammer cleats - the new sail is considerably more powerful and they weren't gripping as easily as I would like..

One of the Emsworth Sailing clubs had laid the obligatory dinghy race across the entrance to the fairway which made life interesting but all in all Sparrow was going well and I was more than happy to be keeping up with some bigger boats and pointing well...

Lots of tacking as you can see from the track - they look to be shallow tacking angles but I had a strong tide against which narrows the angle markedly!


An excellent afternoon, but it was a cold breeze (3 layers!) and having got almost to Marker I decided to head back to the mooring as I was concerned the standing rigging (especially port side) was still a bit loose, I expect it to go slightly lack on the lee side when on the tack but this was markedly so; rather than stress the boat I headed for home..

Back on the mooring, lunch was consumed in the cabin (much warmer!) and then rigging tightened up - I need to get some split pins to replace the manky mousing wire currently holding the clevis pins in, but the rigging is much tauter and laying my head at the bottom of the mast and looking up it all looks fairly straight...

Last jobs were to house clean down below, empty half an inch of rainwater, and lastly to mount two new additions to the boats inventory - clock and barometer...   beginning to feel more comfortable and homely down there..


Log:

Distance: 8.21 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Both ends of a Force 3 - gusting Force 4 - dropping as the afternoon went on.. and almost dead South but going more SW by end of the afternoon.
Sail Plan: Full main 3 rolls in the jib but let them out as the afternoon went on - engine for manoeuvring...
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 4.5 knots (which I did under sail) - average speed 2.6 knots

PS. New jib is a beauty!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Completed job list - winter layover 2013/14

Purely for reference - it was a pretty good winter, not too cold, so I got a fair amount done...
  1. Replaced fair-lead on the bow, on the starboard side
  2. Replaced roller in bow fitting
  3. Repainted hatch covers - main, forehatch, and rear cockpit
  4. Started painting the cabin - 50% is done; fore-cabin completed
  5. Cockpit drains - sea cocks and hoses replaced, all double clipped
  6. Ordered and received a replacement/new jib
  7. Applied boat name
  8. Re-riveted spreader plate 
  9. Pressure washed and cleaned hull
  10. Applied lifting marks
  11. Installed an inspection hatch in forward bunk
  12. Replaced the jib halyard diverter
  13. Outboard serviced
  14. Antifouled
  15. Life jackets serviced - one gas bottle replaced
  16. Freed up the fore hatch hinges which were rusted almost closed...
Now let's go sailing... 

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Mast up

After a poor weekend for putting masts up (don't mind rain, but it was windy) I took a crafty afternoon off yesterday to put the mast up with Rod the Mod - erstwhile skipper of Ami-Ly [clicky]. It turned out to be a perfect afternoon, wall to wall sunshine, and a slight breeze...

So..  in order....

Undid all the mast fastenings and free'd everything up, made sure the halyards all ran clean, and then undid the fastenings holding the mast to the crutch and the pulpit. One foot at a time we then moved the mast back, so we could attach the foot to the tabernacle - two holes at the mast foot, used the top one as the pivot point. Left the upper part of the mast in the crutch...
Next the A-frame was then deployed - I have no mid-ship cleats (#tag oneforthejoblist ) so I used the forward chain plates as the anchoring point for the base of the frame as they were nearest in line with the mast tabernacle...

Next, using the jib halyard as the lifting line - I attached it to the apex of the  A-frame (upper edge) - I used the main sheet as the lifting tackle (it's 4:1 so loads of grunt) one end also goes to the apex of the A-frame (under side) the other end (the pulling end) to the stem fitting. I use a fixing point on the stem fitting just behind the point where the forestay attaches, so that the tackle doesn't get in the way of attaching the forestay..  A frame was tensioned so that it angled about a foot from vertical towards the top of the mast... (if you're interested this will give you the idea [clicky])

Then we attached the cap shrouds and rear lower* shrouds

At this point another mate (Dave) turned up, which turned out to be most useful as he had his dinghy with him which allowed him to move round the boat attaching clevis pins and adjusting shroud tension as required, but without having to get on the boat - cheers Dave!

So all in place - roller furling/forestay on my shoulder ready to pass forward as the mast raised, I sat on the foredeck facing forward I took up the strain on the main halyard as Rod in the cockpit started to lift the mast and away she went - short halt half way to free up the cap shrouds that had caught under the pins for the aft lowers, and also to detach the forward lowers*..

Once the mast was up, Dave attached forestay to stem fitting, and Rod and I struggled to get the bottom pin into the mast foot - it was half a cm out until in the end we came up with the ploy of using my biggest screwdriver as a lever to just lift the mast slightly - just slipped it under the mast and used a scrap piece of ply to protect the deck and act as fulcrum which raised it enough to slip the bolt in. Thinking on it - I think the existing bolts are under sized, so the upper one is not holding the mast as snugly as it should - I'll get bigger ones for next time (#tag anotheroneforthejoblist )

Once the mast was secure we attached the forward lowers, Rod attached the back stay, we all tightened everything up, and job done. Guess it took about an hour end to end but we weren't exactly rushing...

Retired to the cockpit for post-prandial snifters...  thanks Badger! Errr... all free samples gratefully received...

They have the look of people who have earned a pint - I'd agree! Dave left, Rod right, me behind the beer in fore ground...

... bit of chat ensued and we reckon we've known each other for 25 odd years now..proof below...

This was 1989 at a regatta at Calshot Activity Centre..   Dave second from right, me on the end far left, not sure where Rod was!
I took up windsurfing in about 1986 I think, I believe this is Dave in 1984 sailing his wooden Orbit at I think Grafham or Rutland Water.. I remember that board fondly as Dave kept it way after he'd started buying more modern kit... it was like a piece of Chipendale it was so highly polished...!


....chat completed, tide going - it was time to head for home, or in mine and Rod's case The Ship for another pint and a pork pie.

Last of all - the proof in the pudding - apologies for the quality - forgot to take one when I was in the dinghy so this was on the way home...

I'll fit the boom and sails on Saturday hopefully, which leaves Sunday/Monday for first sail - can't wait...



* Bit of a lesson learned - the forward lowers act against the rise of the mast if they are attached - better to leave them off..