Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Bar room crawl...

The dog days of summer are upon us here on the south coast of Britain, and my lift out date is fast approaching. There's a distinct chilly dampness in the air in the mornings and evenings, the nights are pulling in (and for the first time this winter the bike lights were deployed on the way home from work this week), and the mornings are darker as well... So it was that a sunny Sunday with good winds forecast was grabbed at with both hands, and not just by me - the entire day was slightly frenetic, it was if every boat owner realised they'd better make the most of it as there wouldn't be much more of these before next May/June...

Winds were North Easterly but appeared to be fine, so I tookout the reefs that seem to have been in all summer and headed off,  main up just off Northney, shook the genoa out and with the NE'ly I was sailing almost as soon as I turned for the corner...  the wind on the corner of Sweare Deep/Emsworth Channel however, was gusting hard, and as the sail plan was a handle I hove to and put some rolls in the main before heading for the bottom of the harbour and the Solent - target for the day was the West Pole...

Spotted this beauty heading into the harbour..
4,5 mtr tide on the day so there was a lot of water sloshing around, even so progress was good..  2.5 or 3 knots (occasional 4) against what I conservatively estimate to be a 1/1.5 knot tide but it was clear the wind was dropping and by the time I got to the Bar Beacon I was running out of time and wind...  hove to again and took the reefs out (must have been a bottom end F4 by now) but finally admitted defeat as the (huge) west going tide kept pushing me west, and not enough wind to easily get back against it .. turned and ran back to the harbour before having a lovely beat all the way back to Sweare Deep, dropped the main there and then motor sailed back on to the mooring...  perfect day but I seemed to spend the whole of it sailing "against the grain" 

Take your partner by the hand, dosy-do, etc etc  :o)
I have my lift out confirmed for the 1st November, the weekend before I'm on call, but have arranged for 5 or 6 hours off to drop the mast (thanks chaps!) either on the Saturday or Sunday depending when Rod the Mod and t'other Dave are available...



Distance: 13.24 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Both ends of a F4 direction ENE
Sail Plan: Full/reefed main and full/reefed genoa - engine to manoeuvre and get back to the mooring...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 4 knots (which would have been under sail) - average speed 2.5 knots


  1. I had a load of "other stuff" to do Sunday, but did get out to the Greenhouse Cafe for lunch, on the way back I was wondering if you were out there, looked absolutely perfect.

  2. Here in Northland NZ it is possible (In fact most clubs have a 'Winter Racing' series) to sail all year round so I am not overly familiar about the English climate except that you have snow most winters and it's very cold. The late great Charles Stock and the owner of that diminutive little boat 'Shoal Waters' has a chapter in his book 'Sailing Just For Fun' where he fulfills a long cherished dream and spends Christmas day on board his boat - is winter sailing totally out of the question for you guys down there at the bottom of the globe?

    1. Alden - it's not common, though a number of people do leave boats in all winter... for me there are three problems, one insurance (it covers me for the main season only), two I'm on a fairly exposed mud mooring so getting to the boat during winter storms is dangerous, and three, I'm an unashamed fair weather sailor... my ideal sailing clothing is shorts and tshirt! :o))

  3. All very sensible reasons Steve. I have to say shorts and tshirt and the weather that implies is very much my own idea of good sailing.

  4. Oh these stolen days on board are the best :). Ref winter sailing, Our club will only allow boats to stay on the moorings until the end of Sept but some members do take up winter moorings further up the harbour. I would like to do this at some stage but the extra outlay, the need for maintenance and as you say, Insurance out-way the few days use that I would get from it.
    I have my last Solent trip this week end then I'll be looking for a suitable day to take Ciao Bella out for the winter.

    1. Err.. October not September :)

    2. Yep - this weekend is probably my last sail of the year too... where on earth did that year go!