Sunday, 26 July 2015

Pilsey dash..

Bit of a honus bonus this one as despite the lack of quality sailing time on Sparrow (been out on lots of other boats though..) this weekend was looking distinctly sub optimal to reverse that trend..

Tides were 7 and 7 (morning and evening), and in addition to that Sunday was looking stupid weather'wise.. add in grandson sitting duties (the significant women are all working) and I'd settled for a non-sailing weekend with perhaps a spot of Americas Cup highlights to get me through.. you can imagine my delight then when grandson was offered an overnight at his other grandparents, and having gone it was still two hours to HT!

Just a quicky then.. on the boat just shy of 1800, whacked in 3 sliders of reefs on the main as Cambermet were reporting solid F5's. Made the mistake of leaving the main up as I thought it might be easier, it might still be, but when I dropped the mooring the effect was to drive her broadside to the wind towards my neighbours boat (even with maximum free main sheet).. Not good - distinctly amateurish in fact - no damage done though, except to pride as I had the outboard on and a burst of reverse saved the day. I'll remember that next time..

Swift run down the channel on main, wind was strong, 3.5's/4's (knots) against that last of the tide on just main. Rolled out genoa as I went past Northney and then we began to shift... 'turned the corner' by Emsworth Beacon and came on to the wind and she was a handful so rolled in a little more genoa (six rolls) and that balanced her nicely. Shot down the harbour, tacked at Pilsey, and then shot back up the harbour.. superb sailing, the spray was being thrown about and it was sunny, very few other boats about...

Main down/genoa furled at Sweare Deep and back on to the mooring in the face of a strong wind directly down the channel by 19:30'ish

...blew the cobwebs out nicely!

Log:



Distance: 6.43 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind:Force 5 gusting Force 6; West by South
Sail Plan:Reefed main (3 sliders)/genoa between 6 rolls and 4 rolls - engine to manoeuvre...
Speed:GPS track says the max speed was 5.5 knots (which would have been under sail) - average speed 4.1 knots (another fast outing!).

America's Cup Preview Day

For those in the know (yachties mostly! ) Portsmouth is the place to be this week/end as it is hosting the first of the preliminary rounds of the next (the 35th) America's Cup which will be held in 2017..

We have six international teams in the city, including the UK team which is skippered by Olympic champion (Sir) Ben Ainslie Racing... Thursday was preview day, Friday (today as I write) is practice racing, and then Saturday and Sunday are race days with two races a day..

The teams are looking to get points which they can then carry forward into further qualification events (in Sweden and Bermuda this year, and Portsmouth again in July next year) and the winner at the end challenges the current holder (Oracle) in a one on one race series (in Bermuda again)

Either way, there was no way you could miss the event (in my humble opinion); this is quite possibly a historically significant (sailing) event as it may mark the start of the successful British campaign to bring the cup back to the UK.. happily Rod the Mod felt the same way so he, one of the Dave's, a friend, and I took Ami-Ly out to see what was going on...  it was a brilliant day out, though it taxed my little point and shoot to the limits - maximum zoom most of the day it seemed like.

Anyway - on with the photo's.. click to embig'en.. 

Next - Emirates - the New Zealand entry - just launched from the race village in Portsmouth dockyard. You can see the French entry (Groupama) in the background. Fascinating to watch as the boats are stored ashore without masts - they step and rig the solid aerofoil mast each time the boat is launched...


Next - love this picture - new and old - the UK entry slips past HMS Victory

Next - closeup - I have no idea if Sir Ben was on board this particular day...  the boats for this challenge are smaller than the last time - in the last series they were 72 foot, these are 45 foot... blisteringly fast though, they accelerate like brown stuff off of a digging implement...



Next - Artemis, the Swedish entry, which is skippered by Sir Ben's mate Ian Percy - they remain good friends, must be an interesting dynamic when they pop out for a beer and a chat... Twin foresails by the way, the smaller one (this one) is hanked on, the bigger foresail sets on a roller from the end of the bowsprit - you can just see it in the picture (the striped "tube" under the bowsprit) - it's not been hoisted yet... by the way, the rollers must be pure silicon because they can roll it out and in like lightning!


Next - Japanese entry - all black - looked like a stealth fighter..


...shortly after that we headed out of the harbour to the race course - which was a big square just outside the harbour entrance with the Spithead Fort almost in the middle...  the poor old camera struggled but I offer the following....



Next - escort ship for the event HMS St. Albans..


Next - this is what I came to see - Emirates, Artemis and Oracle, genoa's deployed, and up on the foil...


Next - from the ultra modern to the traditional - there were some beautiful spectator boats out!


Next - close up to show the size of the genoa's on these boats..


Next - they weren't actually racing, but always nice to the see UK entry leading... 


Next - says it all...  breeze had picked up enough to haul a 45 foot boat and crew on to it's foils, without the genoa! (Note also the pot buoy in the foreground - well inside the race area....)



Last - some of you may remember this spectator boat..     She was, as it happens, in superb condition... a real privilege...


Finally - a couple of crackers from Dave....



Race practice finished about 3, but the day was so lovely we upped sails and went sailing..  sublime conditions...  sailed towards Cowes for no good reason other than it was there, but then turned and ran down wind under auto pilot,supping beer and talking nonsense.. it was a good day!

Log:


Yellow - motor only - orange the afternoon sail...
Distance: 19.16 miles overall (9.85 for the sailing afterwards - cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 4 gusting force 5; SWW
Sail Plan: Main with one set of reefs, full genoa in the afternoon.. all motor in the morning for the race...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 5.6 knots (which was under sail) - average speed 2.6/3.9 knots for the whole day, or just the sailing bit, respectively...

Friday, 17 July 2015

Playing Solitaire

Not been out now in almost two weeks but the weather for the proposed trip (yesterday) wasn't exactly enticing...   grey, humid and windless... things looked up though as in the morning I got a call from fellow club member David, owner of "Solitaire" asking if I fancied a trip out...well .. no choice really as "Solitaire" is a Colvic Sailer 26 with inboard and all the comforts.. 

Different one,but a Colvic 26 nonetheless...
David currently has her in Northney Marina, so we agreed to meet up there for a day on the water, with some sandwiches, and maybe a beer or two...  when I got there though the conditions had changed considerably, we now had a force 4 gusting 5 and easterly. Pausing only to bless the boat for the season (David had had a bottle of "Summer Lightning" I gave him for the purpose waiting for this very thing for donkey's aeons!) we cast off, reversed off the pontoon and headed ut for an enjoyable morning pootling..

With the breeze as it was (easterly) we opted for "Solent rig" (headsail only ) but "Solitaire" handled it well even down harbour towards HISC, close hauled we were seeing 3/3.5 knots. Time for some mucking about so first we tried the new (to him) auto pilot an ST1000.. one of these is on my shopping list for Sparrow (eventually) so I was keen to see how it worked - first impression was how big they are, these are a fairly chunky piece of kit, easily a good foot and a half long.. To my mind David's worked well, the only "issue" being the angle of the unit to the tiller which we think was to far aft so it was only working at 45' to the tiller rather than a more optimal 90'..  I think a previous owner had fitted it there because the length of the unit makes it difficult to fit in between cockpit coaming further forwards - be interesting to see David's approach..

Having got to the bottom of the harbour though (and having completed a couple of shaky tacks which got considerably better as the morning progressed) next bit of investigation was the reefing, so main was raised (and it was now a sunny F5) and slab reefing tried..  worked ok, the lines ran well with minimum friction but the line for the leech reef point was too far forward on the boom and as it would require a complete re-run of the line we decided to drop the main and take a run up the harbour on genoa, with a run up the Emsworth channel to show him where the waiting pontoon was...

...and that was largely it -fast run up the harbour where we were entertained by the twin Spitfires from Goodwood (second time for me) dog fighting overhead, turned at Fisherman's and motored back to Northney where we put the reef to rights, chatted about a boom fixing issue, cleared everything away, had a cup of coffee and agreed that mucking about on boats is pretty good..  actually..  

Log:


Distance: 10.7 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 4 gusting force 5; north easterly.
Sail Plan: Genoa only - engine to manoeuvre and for getting back from Emsworth to marina...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 5.6 knots (which would have been under motor) - average speed 3.2 knots...