Sunday, 23 August 2015

Pole dancing...

You have to take your chances where you can this summer..   forecast tomorrow (Sunday) was for decidedly blecchhh weather (wind and rain), so I took my chance on a Saturday afternoon sail either side of the late high tide (17:23); my first sail in Sparrow in 3 weeks (grief!)

Either way, was on the boat in beautiful sunny conditions by 3'ish, and delighted to remember that I had left the reefs in from the last trip as the forecast for this afternoon was to get cloudier, and windier (in the gusts) with perhaps the chance of a few spots of rain later - I was guessing I'd need them... filled the tank for the outboard (NB. don't think I've used more than 10 litres all summer so far) and went for my usual plan of motoring to Marker before hoisting sail..

Wind was SE'ly so got to Marker, hoisted sails, and then reached the sailing club at the entrance to the harbour on almost one beat.. first tack at Verner (look at the tack angle! Tide flowing strong in my defence..) ... hmm, "was it possible to get out of the harbour today?" I started thinking - the wind was almost the same direction as last time ('3 strikes and I was still in'.. ) but perhaps slightly more easterly? Tacked again at NE Pilsey, and for the final time at NW Pilsey and I knew it was going to be possible..
3 strikes (tacks) and you're out this time..
The weather was closing in, 100% cloud, but stupidly warm so pushed on - I was doing 2.5 to 3 knots, on reefs, up wind, but against a significant tide, so progress was OK, and once I got to the West Winner I could bear away for the Bar Beacon and the West Pole..

Huge tide going westwards outside (as expected) but "Sparrow" went roaring past the Bar Beacon and before I knew it there was the Martian tripod also known as the West Pole..  about a quarter past the HT now, so I turned back for the harbour..  really didn't want to have to fight a whole load of water even with a reasonable breeze up the chuff.. barring the usual motorboat numpty who insists on charging past within 10 yards at 20 knots (for the record, you're a dick head, mate..), the entrance passage was good, though even with that breeze I was still only making 3 knots - a lot of water empties in and out of that harbour.. 

...bit grey and gloomy...
Delightful run back up the harbour, but the wind really wasn't doing what was forecast, and was dropping to nothing.. after a contemplative beer, a cigar, a check of the seal colony (west side of the channel between Marker and Verner, and they were thriving), and a little Albanoni [clicky], I dropped the main at the entrance to the Northney channel, started the engine, rolled away the genoa and headed back to the mooring...  it was almost dark as I came ashore...  the daylight is disappearing fast (well .. about two or three minutes a day, actually.. )

Another memorable one....

NB. Lift out dates have been announced - they're later this year - end October - so two weeks more in the water than last year...  Sparrow's anti foul seems to be holding up well - sailing her more would help, but jut a few bits of weed on the waterline... I scrubbed her mid-September last year so we shall see...  

Log:


Distance: 11.06 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: F4 (bottom gusting top), SE going ExS by end of afternoon
Sail Plan: Reefed main (two rolls) and reefed genoa (between 2 and 4 rolls) - engine to get to Marker (not included in track)...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 4.7 knots (which would have been under motor, but I saw a few 4+'s while sailing) - average speed 3 knots

Monday, 17 August 2015

Dib dib dob....

I was hoping to get out for a decent session on Sparrow yesterday..  13:30'ish high tide, sunny weather, all boded well for an excellent day out, but unfortunately it was not to be....  no wind...  been a right binary summer this year in the UK - either blowing a hooley or flat calm; raining cats and dogs grey or sunny.... in between days are few and far between seemingly

Either way, not having been on Sparrow for a few weeks a visit was in order - we've had some rough days, and a fair amount of rain, so I wanted to check we she was all OK, and dry...

Turned up at the slipway and was getting the tender out, when a little old lady came hurtling down the slip way (not literally I hasten to add - just moving fast) - 70 if she was a day but I have poor ability to estimate these things - told me she had come down from London that morning by train, was a fellow club member, that her husband was on a business trip, and that she was worried her Centaur was sinking, and could I give her a lift to the boat...

No worries I said - I'll give you a lift out but I'm only going out for 15 minutes is that OK? "Yes" she said "lovely", and leapt in the tender...

Either way, gave her a lift out to her boat, dropped her off (and was most impressed at how she went up the back of her boat...  quicker than I could have done it!) went over to Sparrow to check all was OK (she was, bilges bone dry), dropped off replacement stores (Diet Pepsi) and new VHF antenna (to be fitted later), lounged a bit and then went over to collect her....

Two of the guys on the boat next to hers were getting ready to go, and they reckoned she'd shifted 13 buckets at least....

Anyway - she said enough was enough, climbed in to the tender and we headed for home - offered her a lift to the station, but she said she'd brought sandwiches so was going to make a day of it....!

....bloody brilliant - I hope I have half that energy and "get up and go" when I'm her age...!!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Pre-Cowes Week Cowes trip

Rod gave me a shout last week with the offer of a ride on Ami-Ly with the same crew who did the America's Cup trip, and seeing as the tides this weekend are distinctly iffy (early and late), I bit his arm off..  especially as a trip to Cowes was on offer, the day before the Cowes Week racing started - so lots of busy'ness and boats to see...

Quiet trip over - a distinct lack of breeze, and from an entirely unusual direction (NW) so with one small aberration just to check it really wasn't sailable, it was motor all the way..

Despite the very low water we used the inner small boat channel to Cowes (behind the new breakwater) - think Ami-Ly has a draft of about 1.5 mtrs (Legend 290 with the wing keel) and the minimum I saw (under the keel) was a metre.

As expected Cowes was rammed but we managed to get 3 hours on one of the outside pontoons at East Cowes Marina for (I thought) a very reasonable £10. Lunch was in the Lifeboat (after having ogled a quite beautiful young lady sunbathing in a bikini in the boat two over from us - four old blokes, we shouldn't be let out alone..) was excellent, with a cracking choice of ale..  "Timmy Taylor", Goddard's "Fuggle de Dum" (IoW brewery so how could I not!?) and "London Pride" (for the hard of thinking )

Spirits were high when we therefore left, and having narrowly missed the chain ferry we pushed out to sea, where we found that over lunch the sea breeze had filled in and presented us with a superb opportunity to fly Rod's "blue meany", also known as the 'big bastard'..


Cracking sail down wind with this helping us on our way..   wind direction was difficult so as you can see from the track we had to basically do a number of shallow gybes down wind, but the practice was good, and I think it safe to say Rod was very happy with his sail..

Ryde in the distance..
Good chance to play with the snuffer as well - which worked a treat


IoW car ferry going in Fishbourne
 So - lessons learned - the opposite tack sheet needs to go round the front of the clew attachment and the forestay for better gybing (we tried it just round round the forestay but it was much slower to transition) - when you gybe let fly the lee sheet quickly so that the sail doesn't wrap..


Back on the pontoon by 18:30'ish...  six and a half hours of sunny weather sailing in the Solent, a fine lunch, and a load of laughs and banter, does it really get any better???

Log:


Distance: 12.6/14.12 miles (morning and afternoon respectively - cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Low end F1 in the morning - approximately north west; F2 gusting low end F3 in the afternoon but more westerly
Sail Plan: Full main and full genoa which we rolled away when we deployed the blue meany - engine to get to Cowes in the morning...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 7.8 knots in the morning (must have had some tidal push), 5.8 in the afternoon (and that was under sail - we had a couple of gusts come through) - average speed 3.6 knots all day

Monday, 3 August 2015

Camber clamber...

Two trips in three days..  looking good, and the season is/was definitely looking up, sunny weather and consistent breeze (if not a fair amount of it - it's been a breezy summer I think), either way, there were two things affecting the sailing today, the wind direction ( a very unusual easterly), and the tide height (a big one at 5 mtrs - the UK has had a blue moon [clicky] on the 31st July, so clearly the effects are still being felt.. )...

First things first though, a running repair to the tender saw the (loose) seat support strut bolted in place via a square block of wood between seat and strut and a couple of bolts..  the repair is sound, but I'll tidy it up this winter. I'll also have a go at replacing one of the struts on the launching trolley which has succumbed to age and rust - need to find someone in the club with some welding kit, or I'll just bolt in a wooden block... (both items added to the job list for this winter, which is now added above - Lord, how time flies.... )

Having done that lot it was time for some sailing..  conditions were good, but I could already see a fair amount of breeze, and quick check of current conditions at the Camber weather beacon at the bottom of the harbour showed a solid force 4 - the forecast was for the wind to increase, so I slapped in a couple of slides worth of reef - I'd put more in if I needed it..

Cast off without issues this time, and motored away - plan was for the same as Friday, motor to Marker and then see what happened...  breeze was picking up all the time, but just before Marker the GPS went on, and just after it, once there was a gap in the almost solid line of boats heading down harbour, I hoisted main and rolled out genoa. With a ESE'ish wind I made it almost all the way down the harbour on a single tack, and even against the (clear) heavy tide we were seeing 2.5/3 knots....  rolled a little more genoa away as the breeze built, but apart from being put on her beam ends every now and again we were going well...

So - where should we go...??  I was thinking a trip out of the harbour would be good, first time this year and all that, but not to be..  the tide was absolutely ripping, and the wind was not quite allowing a clear tack out of the harbour - tried to line it up a few times but it wasn't happening, and a few other boats were having the same issue...   we were also bouncing about a bit - wind over tide - and I really didn't fancy starting the engine (nasty, brutish, things) so decision made and I tacked and headed towards Chichester - I had a mind to go and visit Camber seeing as I'd just checked it online...

Three and you're out....  except on this occasion it was three and your still in...  
Good decision - sea state calmed a little once we were abeam of East Head, and then we had some fast beating up past the entrance to Prinstead (picture following). A motor boat'ist went past and caught me unawares by shouting over as he went past... I looked a bit confused so he shouted again "Your bottom's lovely and clean"..oooerr, missus..  ok so I was heeled over a bit.... "Thanks" I shouted back, "I'll buy that again then"... 


Lots and lots of traffic about, but just past Camber I tacked and bore away for the entrance to the harbour - 6.4's and 6.5's seen, got back to Hayling Island Sailing Club (for the better angle on the wind) and turned up harbour for another absolutely delightful run up harbour... took out all the rolls on the genoa, first or second time this season????

Beating towards Camber - Sussex Downs in the distance...

Put the main away at the start of the Northney channel and continued on genoa alone - I had a plan to see if I could sail on to the mooring - always good to practice - approached the moorings, put the engine on in idle, rolled half the genoa away (it was still blowing), approached the mooring on a reach, genoa sheets in hand, five yards from the mooring headed into wind and at the same time rolled the genoa away, grabbed the pick up buoy........ and promptly ran over it....

Ended up with it stuck between keels and skeg... freed it up easily enough but not quite as good an arrival as I might have wanted...!! 5/10 then...  would have been 10/10 if I hadn't had an engine though as there's no good or bad way of picking up a mooring when the engines failed - you either score 1 or 10....

Two cracking days sailing...  perfick!!!

Log:


Distance: 12.15 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: F4 gusting F5 (top end of both), between ESE and SE
Sail Plan: Reefed main (two rolls) and full and reefed genoa (between 2 and 4 rolls) - engine to get to Marker (not included in track)...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 6.1 knots (which would have been under sail, and I saw a few 6.4's/6.5's as well) - average speed 3.1 knots

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Snowhill slide..

Time for one of those crafty days off that so often ends up in being a superb day out on the water.. no idea why that should be, but this one didn't disappoint either! I must do it more often.. 

So it was that sat at work at the beginning of the week, I was reminded that I still had almost 3 weeks of holiday to take before the end of the year, a delightful position to be in, but indicative this year I think of the bolleaux weather we've had on the whole - not been taking those sailing days where I would normally, so they've accrued..  forecast for Friday was looking good on the whole so decision made...

Winds were light, but as the SWMBO was at work I had the option for an entire day on the boat, either catching up on a little painting, or doing some sailing depending on what conditions were like..

Friday dawned sunny (check), but not a breath at home (gah..) so I packed the tool box thinking I would do a bit of work, and then lounge, Monte Carlo like, in my capacious cockpit (). Got to the club however, and the wind was coming up with the tide, decision made, left the tools in the car and set sail...

With wind this light, and direction (SW'ly) my plan was to motor to Marker (the pinch point at the top of the harbour) and then raise sail and see what happened...

Plan was OK, and there was sufficient breeze to move us nicely (3-3.5 knots) but I hadn't factored the biggish tide (4.3m), so as usual on my plots the tacks on the track look pretty shallow (basically I'm travelling against the tide in both directions when I do a day sail)...  well that's my excuse anyway! By the time you get 200 or 300 yards south of Marker though, with an hour or two to go to high tide, then you can start using the shallows, less tide/longer tacks/better progress...

So past Marker at about HT, and the sun was still out, and I decided to head for East Head, and in particular a buoy I'd visited last year, Snowhill...

East Head
 A superb days sailing, Sparrow was tramping nicely, sun shone, was actually warm for once, and a long track across Pilsey Sands saw me approaching my destination...


Next, obligatory "wake shot" as the mobo'ers call it, with my destination for good measure..



...and that was largely it, a small broad'ish reach back to the point I could start heading north (saw a run of 5.7's and 5.9's here, so I must still have had some tide under me) followed by a delightfully long run up the harbour, some of it goose winged... the bar was raided, and a cigar lit up... doesn't get any better, and way better than a day in the office..

Finished off with the obligatory motor to the mooring, but with a half hour of water left I masked up the three hatches and gave them a fresh coat of the own brand masonry paint I use as they were looking a little sorry...  just managed to finish in time, there was only a foot of water under her when I left (by the by, this game me the opportunity to have a check of the hull, and I'm pleased with the performance of the anti foul, only slime at the moment after 3 months..)

Log:


Distance: 11.18 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 3 gusting low end Force 4; S going SW by end of trip
Sail Plan: Full main and a pretty full genoa (just a few rolls in to help with the tacking) - engine to get to Marker (not included in track) and f;or manoeuvre...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 5.2 knots (which would have been under sail, and I saw a few 5.7's/5.9's as well) - average speed 3 knots