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..!

Monday, 22 September 2014

Lift out approaches.... thinking thinking thinking

.....where did that summer go then???

So I have my lift out booked for the afternoon of the 12th, and now the regular annual mind marathon starts..  do I drop the mast, or do I fancy sailing her round, and if either...  "when"??

Have spoken to "Coral" Paul and he's dropping his mast and going under the bridge for a lift out on the 11th, and has also said he fancies a sail round and will crew if I do it....

It's fairly moot as the mast will need to come down anyway this winter as I want to fit a VHF aerial/windex combo and replace the masthead tricolour, but it's an opportunity for a last adventure before the winter strikes....

This was the last (and only) I've been round - 2010 on "Papillon" - 16 miles in all, in about four and a half hours....
If I go, and the weather is the decider, then I'd plan to go this coming weekend (27th/28th) as tides are 07:00/07:30 and 19:00/19:30... at 4.5m I would leave about 10'ish, and there'll be water the other side from 4'ish... the weekend of the 4th/5th which is the weekend before the lift out (and clear to any numpty who chooses to look at a calendar properly...) The only problem is that the tide is small and the times are not optimal 0900/2100 - great for leaving, but getting dark for arriving......

Long range forecast for Sunday looks good so far, fingers crossed.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Both ends of the harbour..

The last days of Summer are playing out here on the south coast, but somewhat serendipitously, it is also coinciding with a warm spell - a real Indian summer - so thoughts are turning to getting in as much sailing as I can before the season ends and the boat has to come out of the water - you may have noticed the countdown timer on the left....

Tides were not perfect on Sunday, but were good enough for me to get away from the mooring by 13:30- I would have gone earlier but it was time to give Sparrow a waterline scrub to get rid of her green moustache...  I've been fairly impressed with the  anti-foul this year, but after this number of warm months some growth has to be expected...  so using the same technique* which worked so well last year I spent 10 or 15 minutes clearing growth - worked a treat this time too, and pretty soon there were fronds and clouds of seaweed floating off with the tide... that'll do now until lift out.

* (take one long handled yard brush with a fairly stiff bristle - mine has plastic ones - sit in the tender with one hand on the toe rail of the boat, and the other holding the broom; resting the broom on the thwart of the tender push it into the water t6owards boat - pull tender towards boat, and when you have contact with the broom saw it up and down using the thwart and your arm to maintain tension - move tender backward and forward sawing as you go... jobs good... )

Having finished that, and with a stiff'ish easterly blowing, the goal for the day was going to be the Prinstead Channel, with that wind direction it would be a reach down the harbour, up the channel, and back again...  I put 2 reefs in on the main before I left, strapped the engine on and departed for the main channel...

Prinstead plans started to fall apart fairly soon though, as the wind went round SE'ly after an hour, so I settled for a long beat up the harbour, a run up to Emsworth, and a beat back to the end of the Northney channel before gybing for home.... conditions were very good though - top end force 4, with an occasional gust mean Sparrow was moving nicely.... the wind, of course, changed just after I'd gone past Marker, and on that state of tide you could lose 50 yards on a tack (see the track to see the effect), but with the wider harbour, and more water, the tacks became longer, and I enjoyed myself watching the jets over Goodwood (part of Goodwood Revival I think) and this chap ==>


...which believe it or not was a seal laying on his back eating a fish...!

Turned at Pilsey, where I got the tail end of the flood along with a stiff breeze, that was where I saw my 5.5 over the ground..  Brilliant run up to Emsworth where just before the channel I turned into wind and shook out the reefs as the wind had dropped fairly considerably..  then carried on up to Emsworth, turned at Fishermans and then had an easy single tack beat, back to the top of the channel and bore away for home - was hoping that I'd be able to sail on to the mooring for some practice, but the wind dropped and in the end the trusty Tohatsu was deployed..

Good day...  concluding thoughts.....
  • the port side jam cleat is driving me up the wall - the fix/replacement job is moving up the job list
  • the starboard side genoa sheet feeder block parted company with the track - just for once I managed to grab the (failed) clevis pin before it went over the side - now fixed (failed split ring) but it did make me wonder if the sheet feed angle wasn't actually better without the pulley....
  • a lack of feel in the tiller today started me wondering if I hadn't rolled away too much genoa - was OK in the gusts, but the lulls were difficult to judge... 
  • I'm now well past my 2013 mileage which is pleasing...  especially given how busy the year has been off the water...

Log:



Distance: 10.71 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started NE went SE, both ends of a F4 (Cambermet shows a couple of F5 gusts)
Sail Plan: Reefed/full main and reefed/full genoa - engine for manoeuvring....
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 5.3 knots (which was under sail just after Pilsey) - average speed 2.9 knots

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Post work pottering...

Time is at a premium now (lift out is in 6 weeks..) Sunday had been absolutely gorgeous but I had put the time aside to get the outboard fixed (you may remember it was suffering on the Nip to the Nab trip [clicky])

Armed with carburetor cleaner, I had departed for the boat expecting a long and fruitless afternoon with me having to bring the outboard back for more serious investigation - in the end though, it was something completely different to what I expected.... 

Anyway - on to the boat, old engine taken off (as well as Fulton outboard lock which I am going to sell on eBay as it didn't seem fair to return it to the seller), Tohatsu put on (and it really does seem as easy to manhandle as the Suzuki), and started it...
  • first, I wanted to check I still had the same issue. After four or five minutes at fairly high revs (in neutral), the engine coughed and spluttered - check, still have the same issue....  
  • start engine again, and this time deployed the spray carb cleaner to the air intake (and I know that the better thing would have been to take it off and clean it thoroughly - but I wasn't keen to do that on board as it would be the first time I have ever stripped and cleaned a carb). As per the advice from my engineer bro-in-law, engine really didn't like it, but I blipped the power, kept the engine going, and kept spraying....once finished, four or five minutes at fairly high revs again and the engine coughed and spluttered - gah, still have the same issue.... buggery....
  • at this stage I was thinking I needed to do a proper strip and clean, but one last possibility was to change the spark plug - I always carry a spare, and in fact bought one when I got the engine - no harm in changing it...  old plug whipped out, hmmm....  brown and cruddy base (as in carbonized)... new one put it, revved up, and this time she kept going...  
...sea trial required to confirm but I think the jobs a good'un...
So it was that on Tuesday after work I headed for the boat - we've hit a warm patch and the weather was superb... bit of breeze, clear skies, and the opportunity to test the outboard....

Not much to report to be honest - I had a couple of hours of the most perfect weather, reclined and lolled in the cockpit with a beer and a cigar - could have done with a little more wind (which died to nothing by half seven) - but the engine performed a treat...

Bit of breeze at the beginning of the session - was trying to get a picture of the keels as she was heeled over..!
One of the primary differences I've noticed with this engine is that while at cruising revs the engine performs fairly similarly to the smaller Suzuki, and the cruising speed is about the same (3.5 to 4 knots depending on tide) the Tohatsu has far more grunt in reserve...  on the Suzuki, opening the throttle more has little direct benefit, but on the Tohatsu the boat goes considerably faster (and I'd only opened it to half revs)....  the other difference of course is the physical size - the power head is considerably bigger, and while it fits the outboard scoop on my 1960's boat, vectoring the engine is far more limited as the turning angles are much reduced due to the width...

...whooooohoooooo....
So just a short run out - took the opportunity to practice some heaving to, wanted to see if there was a difference with main sheeted in, or left loose - marginal I would say, noisier with the main not sheeted in though...


Also played around with the genoa sheets - it's a huge sail, and because I was mostly beating I took the opportunity to roll a few rolls away - she points better as the belly of the sail moves forward...  I need to add the cam cleats to the winter job list, as the sheets continue to slip in a most irritating manner - the jaws are not clamping the sheet, I suspect because the springs are tired (they are tufnol and probably original, so I can't complain)...


..anyway - back to the mooring, tidied up, said hello to some fellow club members, jumped in to the tender and decided to check the waterline...  she's getting a little weedy, not surprising give the amount of time she's been in I suppose (been in since mid-April), but this weekend I'll bring the brush out and we'll have a go at shifting some of it....


..already thinking "I must do that again soon"!

Log:



Distance: 4.55 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Southerly, and about a F1 to F2
Sail Plan: Full main and reefed/full genoa - engine for manoeuvring....
Speed: GPS track says max speed was 3.9 knots (that was probably under motor) - average speed 2.2 knots