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...


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


  1. Nice one Steve, it's funny how quick the seasons fly by.

  2. Watcha Phil - 'specially this one as it's been so busy, and generally, the weather has been so good... looking forward to reading your Yarmouth blog..