Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Nip to the Nab

Another one of those crafty days off... I had lots of plans for this day though and managed to achieve.. err.. most of them...

So with a 7 and 1900 tide it was ripe for an all-day'er, and the first job I wanted to get done was getting the new outboard on - it's a fairly heavy engine so I'd decided that a tender out to the boat and then try and man-handle it on board was probably not the best idea. The solution was to book myself a short stay on a pontoon at Northney Marina, but this was not without a enormous amount of faff as I still had to get boat to Northney and engine and etc.

In the end I drove (with bicycle on the back) to Northney and booked my pontoon (they had empty space right on the open ends of one of the pontoons..  "four hours for £8.20?? that'll do very nicely, sir"..  ouchh!) left the car with engine there, and cycled back to the club (where I'd left oars for the tender) and then brought the boat round..

Only the third time in a marina...
Happily, no issues with the pontoon - only the second time (solo - third time with crew) I've ever planted her on a marina pontoon so I was very happy; I did the usual long mooring line to the fore cleat lead outside the lines/shrouds; short line to slip over the cleat from the stern and then step ashore and make bow secure... (lesson - next time, make sure the fender lines are under the long mooring line.. )

Pretty soon the engine was on board and in place, she started first time and sat there purring like a cat..  superb...

It all started so well...  peeing like a race horse and purring like a sewing machine...
I then made the fortunate decision to keep the old engine on board for a while - I almost didn't as they are not small items, and the new one was giving every impression of being very well behaved - bloody glad I did in the end because as I was leaving the marina new engine went from purring to silent....  bastard....  re-started straight away and then did the same, and again, and again...  the engine was happy to idle, either in gear or out, and would rev out of gear, but the moment that the engine was put in gear and revved it would then splutter and die after a few minutes - all the signs of fuel starvation but I had no idea what was causing it....  in the end I limped to a spare mooring, checked everything I could, 'read the bleeding manual', and gave up and put the old engine back on...  bit of a dampener....  more thought required, but I suspect it will be something stupid I haven't done, or a service required (cruddy carb or blocked running jet??)

Either way, engine swapped, I put a couple of rolls in the main (it was feeling a little lively), and departed for the bottom of the harbour, and then ten minutes later I was on the sand...  at this point I was thinking, one, that I was going to be there until the tide came in, and two, it really wasn't my day...


Anyway, rolled away the genoa, let off the main sheet, started the engine in reverse, and vectored towards the main channel. and wonder of wonders, it worked and we were off and sailing again...  took the opportunity to take out the reefs, wind had dropped slightly and before you knew it, I was out at sea....

Winds were westerly, and northerly, but they slipped between the two most of the day - so I took the decision to go for an easy days sailing, and the Nab was the target for the day...  just over an hour and a half, in nice conditions (solid force 3), and I was there..


It's changed a bit since the last time I was there on Papillon...


All the metal work removed, and it looks like they've removed the upper half of it as well..


With an adverse eastbound tide the trip back was more beat, than reach, but in the end I hit (not literally) the Westpole on just the right line for a fast run up the harbour on a flowing tide - coming through the entrance and past the sailing club (HISC) I saw some 5 and a half's over the ground.... so a brisk, easy, beat to the top of the harbour, on with the trusty donk, and I was back on the mooring by 5.

Tidied up, and then some fun and games fitting an outboard lock to the Suzuki - I'd recently bought a Fulton lock that fits over the outboard screws, but on Sparrow the engine sits in a scoop on the stern and whatever I tried I couldn't get the lock to fit over the screws without fouling one or the other end on the side of the scoop - in the end I had to shift the engine to the side so far that the tiller arm fouls the side of the scoop - it's also a faff fitting the key to the lock which is between the floor of the scoop and the lock - pfffffttt....  It'll have to go back if they'll take it, if not, eBay... I'll have to go a more tradition route for locking...

...and if that wasn't enough to end my curious day, while tilting the engine up, the locking bar slipped out of the hole and dropped in the 'oggin - typical! Rigged a line and held it up that way.. will need to replace...  and that, was very definitely, that....!

Log:


Distance: 24.98 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: WNW Force 3, gusting force 4..
Sail Plan: Reefed/full main and reefed/full genoa - engine for manoeuvring....
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 4.8 knots (that was under sail; I saw 5.2/5.5 under sail a couple of times) - average speed 3.3 knots

Monday, 18 August 2014

Fort Purbrook boat jumble..

So with the aftermath of Bertha, or the next low, or whatever, making itself felt over the Sunday what better thing to utilise your time than a bit of browsing among the tat, sorry bargains, at the local boat jumble...

So it was that little'un and I made our way to a truly blustery Fort Purbrook for the boat jumble..  all in all I felt it was good value, but only because the  jumble was also in the fort and it gave me an opportunity to have a mooch round (my other interest is wargaming/military history)


Not a huge number of stands, the majority of them appeared to be professional or semi professional and the usual culprits but I went with an open mind rather than a shopping list, and came back with some bargains...


So in order
  • a new cleat that I will use to replace the main cleat I currently have which is a little small and on the weedy side (this is job #1 on the winter job list) - only £6 bargain..
  • and anchor chain/hawse pipe - "Sparrow" has clearly not done much anchoring in the past as there is no means for feeding the chain from anchor locker to outside - this will resolve that problem - that was £4, they're £20 upwards new so I was chuffed...
  • then for a fiver I got that roll of neoprene self adhesive tape (6mtrs of 25mmx3mm) that will be used in job #9 the refurb of the cockpit locker lids - I'll use it to seal the underside of the lids where they sit on the lip of the opening... make them weatherproof, and also provide sound insulation..
Good day out... 

Friday, 15 August 2014

Bertha and aftermath...

Getting a bit jumpy as I want to get out again, last weekend was kiboshed by a lady called Bertha - this was my tide window (high was at 12) - steady force 6 gusting 7 for all of it...  wind direction was interesting (not that it made a difference as I wasn't going out for love nor money!) - it swung almost 110' in 6 hours, so from S to NW...


...so I had planned for an all day-er this Sunday to make up for it as the tides are 0500 and 1700 and would be perfect. It's not to be though, the short range forecast is firming up and shows the following - not the nicest of conditions even without the wind!



May have to take a crafty day off next week...!

Monday, 4 August 2014

HISC drag race

Bit breezy today...

A contrast to last weekend where there had been very little wind; when I got to the boat today it was blowing force 4 with occasional wicked gusts coming through.. took the decision early to reef the main so put in two rolls. Reefs in, and it had been so long since I've had to do this (September last year according to my logs) that I made a schoolboy error, more of which later...

I was early but managed to get off the mooring by about three hours before high tide..

With a WSW it was a good direction and having motored up wind off the mooring I hoisted main as I approached the bridge (and the new main halyard, ex-topping lift, was an improvement..) and the engine went off almost immediately as I turned, for a fast run down the channel; averaging 2 and 3 knots down wind and against a strong tide..  the gusts were the issue and I noticed that some of the sail slides were out of the track, yes that was the schoolboy error...  when I reefed on the mooring I'd hoisted the sail, removed the clip that holds the slides in the track when the sail is down, reefed, and then dropped the sail but had forgotten to put in the clip so three or four had dropped from the track... didn't matter as I had too much main anyway, so I need another reef.

For the first time in Sparrow I hove to (successfully..  most chuffed!), dropped the main slightly so as to put the slides back in, rolled in another reef, replaced the clip (!) and off we went...  brilliant, was very pleased with myself..

That was largely it..   a quick trip as I only had two or three hours; I managed to get to HISC, against a big tide, inside of an hour and a half superb conditions, an easy beat all the way down the harbour... the wind was the perfect direction.

Just off HISC I turned for home and the wind direction then became a broad'ish reach...  with the last legs of the tide under me I clocked 7.3 knots over the ground, she was flying...  most of the way she didn't drop under 6...

Bore up as I entered Northney channel for a beat to Sweare Deep, and then engine on for a return to the mooring as the wind continued to rise..  brilliant afternoon.

Log:




Distance: 9.47 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: WSW Force 4, later force 5 gusting 6..
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa - engine for manoeuvring....
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 6.5 knots (that was under sail, and I saw 7.2/7.3 under sail a couple of times) - average speed 3.4 knots

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Mid season make do and mend...

An afternoon off for some some mid-season bodging...  err..  fixing..  and just for once everything on the list was completed..

First on the list was the launch trolley (for my tender) which has been used and abused for at  least three or four years now without me having done anything to it...   for shame..  I have two issues  (well three), one of the support struts holding the flat bar that the tender usually sits on has rusted away completely meaning that the tender can cause the bar to press down on the wheel like a brake - that's a job for winter as I need to find someone in the club with some welding gear to weld in a short piece of metal bar (or I'll bolt in some metal plate more likely). Less of an issue is the wooden supports on the metal bar which are the wrong shape for the profile of the tender so I just need to add some bits - not urgent.. On the list today was the wheels which had begun to seize...  the purchase this week of some Valvoline waterproof spray grease (left)  was the solution...  the wheels are the simple solid type on a solid axle with a washer and clip holding them on and I thought I'd have to take them off completely, but in the end the spray nozzle was just the wrong size to get in the gaps and that soon saw them turning again..  I'll be more careful with maintenance in future...

Next on the list was the tiller which had started to split along the length and needed seeing too before it got worse... the tiller on Sparrow has always been low, and the end points slightly down - normally that isn't an issue but if I want to do some helming from the back of the cockpit the tiller doesn't clear my knees so I have a tendency to lever it up a little - the problem is that the bolt through the head stock where the tiller swivels was stiff, so the pressure was on the actual tiller joint..  which resulted in the following....


I knew exactly what I wanted to do - through bolt it with a penny washer on each side - the bolts were a little long (they are stainless though, and came from the spares box) but I used an off cut of plastic breadboard to spread the load and also provide a bit of height to the tiller fixing the original issue..

The tiller head is clamped to the rudder stock with a long bolt which also supports the tiller - it's a bit of a bodge to be honest - I think I'll replace that long bolt with a shorter one this winter as the strain of the tiller pressing down on it's full length might cause it to snap... either way, the fix is good 'un - bolts were bedded in butyl tape at both ends to stop water ingress..


Last job was the hatch slider  screws which I had replaced temporarily a few years ago and then forgot about ..  all I'd had at the time were some coated soft metal screws from my spares box and not surprisingly they had rusted (following)...


I reckon I got this job just in time as some of them were a right bu**er to get out, soft screws, rust, equals no head to get a grip on...  some of them I had to get out with the help of needle nose pliers, one I had to use a hammer on (as an impact driver) just to get it moving...  eventually all out though and a new set of stainless ones in their place, all these are also bedded in butyl  tape so as to stop any water ingress via the screw holes into the coaming the slide rail sits on (I've seen other boats where water ingress via these screw holes has freezed over winter causing the glass/gel to crack...)

Job done!
A final spray of the waterproof grease in the rail and the hatch is sliding better than it ever has...  time for the kettle to go on and a cup of coffee...

Last item was to swap over the halyards I am using for main and topping lift..  I've noticed that the main halyard doesn't run in the best direction at the top of the mast and it rubs again the topping lift (next to the pulley at the top of the mast)...   Looking at them the topping lift looks to have a better more direct run for the main so I've swapped them over to see if it's better...  hope to test that on Sunday!