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..  


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...


  1. Nice little sail - I would have loved to have seen the Spitfire dogfight - cool as!

  2. Sounds like a perfect day, stress free sailing in the harbour.We saw what I thought was a Spitfire over Itchenor, but it seemed to have clipped wing tips rather than the classic elipse - - might have been a Hurricane.

  3. Langstone Cutters went out that day too, but as rowers aim to avoid the wind as far as possible we kept to the lee of Hayling and went to the Ferryboat Inn for a nice beer.