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...  


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


  1. Sounds like a great sail Steve. I notice fences (sand retaining function??) at right angles to the shore line in the first photo. Are these to stop sand silting up the river entrance? Does the entrance require periodic dredging?

  2. Hi Alden - yes groynes we call them

    No regular dredging, but it is surveyed yearly for depths: