Friday, 27 November 2015

That was the year that was.. 2015

Time for the now traditional review of the year past; at this time of the year, when it's wet cold and windy this is a reminder of the good times, warm weather and fair weather sailing in shorts and t-shirts... bliss.... I really enjoy putting this together, it's a good excuse to read all the old posts, and look at the video and pictures from this years logs....

Not a lot done so far on this winters job list - I'll get going eventually (I always do) but she is scraped and cleaned, and to all intents and purposes is ready to go back in the water except for a coat of anti-foul, and besides I have a shed load of other stuff to do!

I would say that once again it's been a "Good" year, probably slightly better than last year, but again only "almost" a classic.... my perception was that one, this was a windy summer, I spent a lot of time under various states of reef and two that it wasn't a stand out summer weather'wise - we had some warm periods but we also had plenty of grey (and cold) dampness....

This was my third year as owner of Sparrow and as ever the learning curve continues but I've been quietly pleased with what I can do with her - she'll go the direction I want, stop when I want, and I can seemingly manage her - lots still to learn, and no one round here is getting over confidant, but I don't think I'm a danger to anyone....

A poor year for Solent trips (on Sparrow), I was out there on a few occasions but for the first time this year didn't have any Solent destinations marked off...  no Bembridge/Seaview/Nab. All my major Solent outings this year were either on "Ocean Waves" or "Ami Ly" where in addition to the stand out "Jolly Boys Outing" we also had an absolutely blinding couple of days on Ami Ly - one watching the America's Cup, and a few weeks later a blast under the big blue meany back from a bucolic lunch in Cowes....


Of last winters jobs [clicky] the big ones were the cockpit lids [clicky], and the new genoa cam cleats [clicky]). Of the two the standout was the cam cleats - they've worked faultlessly all summer and are a huge step forward. Over the winter I'm going to change the genoa sheets back to a non-matt finish so they feed quicker through the blocks, but they are a delight to use after the old ones. The cockpit locker lids however, were not such a success; poor preparation on my part has lead to them splitting on one edge - this winter I'll glue and re-paint...  mea culpa...




Last summer I replaced two forms of motive power; the outboard, which after those initial teething problems [clicky], has done sterling service this year, I'm absolutely delighted with it and long may it continue to do so. The other replacement was the foresail, or genoa ("big bastard") [clicky] which I'm still learning to manage. There is no doubt that this is a big sail - she's a handful when close tacking is required, and 8 times out of 10 I usually have a few rolls in to make managing it easier. I'm not quite ready to admit she needs to be re-cut (the few occasions I had the use of the whole sail were very useful) but we'll see what difference the non-matte sheets will make..  and either way, regretfully, Arun Sails went into liquidation this year...  a real shame as I was also considering asking them to make me a main this coming year.

So all in all that rates as a good year....  8 out of 10.. 

Like a spider dipped in blue ink and left to wander all over Google Earth - here's where Sparrow went this year - looks like the east of the harbour was my chosen stomping ground this year:


...and the following in (the new) "Ocean Waves" this summer on the outrageously entertaining Jolly Boys Outing [clicky]
 

...which was a brilliant three days in the Solent - the highlights being my first visit to Newtown Creek, the midnight visit(I laughed so much my teeth ached), and once again Smithy's missus's carrot cake...  legendary....   We had some superb sailing - the new boat is heavy, but fast...


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Number of visits down (ie. on) to the boat: 20 (one more than last year roughly) but once again if you count all the times I visited in the mornings/evenings while she was on shore (usually two to three times a week), and the days I worked on her pre-season - easily triple or quadruple that...

Total distance sailed: 141.29 miles, which compares with 137.98 miles last year. Third year in a row of mileage increases - granddad baby sitting duties chomped a bit of time, rather delightfully I'll admit..    ...work has put me on call one week in four from this year and that stymied a couple of weekends..

Nights on board: None - no need really, I know she's comfortable enough, just never had the burning desire to swap nice warm wife & bed for down-market camping...!

Crew on occasion: One... once...  youngest knocked me over with a feather and came out for the day and it was brilliant...

Youngest on the helm - me getting an entirely new view of Sparrow under way....
Cruising range: Mooring to the west, Emsworth to the north, Chaldock Beacon in the East and the just south of the West Pole to the south.. I squeezed a lot of sailing into a small area this year

Biggest Cruise: Prinstead [clicky] with the youngest.... it was just shy of 17 miles on a single tide, not bad! A sunny day that had some good breezy sailing in it, with plenty of laughs and chats....


Best Cruise: Choices, choices... Prinstead (already mentioned), the first sail of the year, the first anchoring session, that day drag racing up and down the harbour; I'm going to go with Prinstead again.. sunshine and breeze, lots of laughs, food, and an overwhelming remembrance of everyone smiling - a good day.....!

Worst cruise: This one [clicky] - bloody awful day (see next piccie).....



Oddest cruise: Probably a tie with the worst cruise, but this one [clicky] wasn't specifically odd, just frustrating... !

Best anchorages: Only one this year, my first ever, so a definite shoe-in for best anchorage as there was no other competition...  delightful hour or two watching the seals...  she didn't drag but then again the weather didn't really put up anything that might cause her too..

Best mooring:  ...my club mooring .. It continues to be a delight; water 3.5+ hours either side of high tide...


Worst mooring: None really...  they all provided function/service....  if I had to choose probably the one I used on the worst cruise day, but only because it was such a rubbish day!

Plans for next year: The America's Cup comes back to Portsmouth in July 2016, so that's a definite if I can persuade Rod to take "Ami Ly" out again. Next year it really would be good to get to some Solent cruising in but I've given up making plans and resolutions..  too much pressure.. 

Mileage:

Click on the date to go to the log entry post....

2015:

Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail Plan: Max Speed (knots): Average Speed (knots): Comments:
4th May 14.04 F3 gusting F4 SW going SE Full main and reefed/full genoa 5.7 3.3 First sail of the season, and my first seal sighting
17th May 4.76 F1 gusting F2 SW Full main and reefed/full genoa 5 2. Frustrating day trying to reach Marker while getting cold...
24th May 27.08* F1 up to F3 W Full main/full genoa/mostly motor 5.7 4.3 Jolly Boys Outing to Cowes on Ami-Ly - lunch at the Folly, long run downwind home
7th June 8.98 F3 gusting F4 SW Full main and reefed/full genoa 5.4 2.7 Warm sunny afternoon practising my beating and using the main track to improve pointing angle
14th June - Nothing - - - - Blechhhhh...
21st June 13.45 F5 WWN to WxS Reefed main (3 slides) and half the genoa 6.5 4.2 Very windy Sunday with westerly winds allowing reaching the length of the harbour
28th June 8.1 F3 SSW => WxS Full main and partially reefed genoa 4.9 2.9 Run down to Emsworth on a sunny Sunday morning
16th July 10.7* F4 gusting F5 NE Solent rig (genoa only) 5.6 3.2 Day out on "Solitaire", lunch in the sun, seal sighted, twin Spitfires, and playing around with reefing..
23rd July 19.16* F4 gusting F5 SSW 1st reef in main/full genoa 5.6 2.6 America's Cup preview day on Ami-Ly - superb!
25th July 6.43 F5 gusting F6 WxS Reefed main (3 slides) and genoa 5.5 4.1 Cheeky evening dash to Pilsey and back. Fast sailing, and a handful in the gusts.
31st July 11.18 F3 S => SW Full main and partially reefed genoa 5.2 3 A crafty day off and trip to Snowhill/East Head, finished off by painting the hatches..
2nd August 12.15 F4 gusting F5 ESE => SE Reefed main (2 slides) and full/reefed genoa 6.3 3.1 Blowy Sunday and an unusual wind direction to go to Camber - huge tide (5m) and lots of water slopping about! 
7th August 26.72* F1 up to low end F3 NW => W Full main and asymmetric 7.8 3.6 Sunny weather, low wind trip to Cowes the day before the racing starts - flew the blue meany - no one killed!
22nd August 11.06 F4 SE => ExS Reefed main (2 slides) and reefed genoa 4.7 3 Trip to the West Pole on a grey day....
18th - 21st September 92.4* Various SW'ly Various 8.5 4 Jolly boys outing - all points Solent
27th September 16.21 F4 gusting F5 NE => E Reefed main (2 slides) and reefed genoa 4.6 3.2 Trip up to Prinstead with daughter - gusty wind, big tide, seal spotted in the moorings
8th October 8.5 F1 gusting F2 NW => W => SW Full main and genoa 4.3 2.4 First anchoring (ever), and some seal watching on a beautiful, but light wind, day
11th October 13.24 F4 ENE Full/reefed main and full/reefed genoa 4 2.5 Bar Beacon trip, reefs in, reefs out all day.
18th October 13.19 F3 ENE/E Full main and full/reefed genoa. 4.9 2.7 Last sail of the season - Chaldock Beacon
. . . . . . . .


Year total (to date): 141.29 miles

NB:
2014 total (in Sparrow): 137.98 miles
2013 total (in Sparrow): 113.73 miles
2012 total (in Pap): 173.29
2011 total (in Pap): 193.41
2010 total (in Pap): 154.23
2009 total (in Pap): 125
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Monday, 2 November 2015

...and he's out...

..and with not so much as a bang but a whimper out she came...  

This year "Sparrow" was being lifted on the Sunday which was also the last day of the club lift out so by the time I got down to the mooring I was met with a whole load of not very much at all - just "Sparrow" and two other boats there, everyone else had been lifted already..

I was on the boat by 11 (I'm nervous the night before a lift out - no idea why...) which was three and a half hours before HT (), so just a little time to get on with a little work...  I wanted to remove the mooring chain before I left the mooring as otherwise I'd have to come out again on the tender which is always a messy job...

As expected the galvanised shackle had rusted completely - tried to unscrew it but it wasn't going to go, so resorted to the hacksaw...  all removed, and shackle and swivel now in the bin - the swivel was an original from "Papillon" so is the better part of 5 or 6 years old, as was the chain, and I've decided that for next year I'd have new...  the swivel and chain have been through some heavy weather over the years - best to renew them before they fail...

So chain off and left in the tender, which I left on the mooring (standing instructions for lift out is to not tow your tender as it gets in the way) - engine on and warmed up, and roughly two and a half hours before HT I motored for the bridge...


..now you see why the mast has to come down....



..picked up a mooring the other side and put the kettle on while I waited for enough water to get the tractor and hoist close enough...


....one explosion in a coffee shop later (a long story, but the nub of it is don't try to make a frothy coffee in a sealed thermos mug with boiling water by shaking it up and down vigorously ) I'd opened the beer (!) and was taking layers off as the sun was out (it had been a foggy start) and the temperature was rising...

..two boats later I was taken in...  this is me in the hoist, chap at the front is one of the two lifting crew they put on each boat...



...and then plonked down on the gravel in roughly the same space I had two years ago...

First things first, I was interested to see how the antifoul had done this year - outstanding crop of barnacles, fair amount of weed, but not seemingly too much different to a lot of the other boats...


...so the work begins - first bad news - the hatch covers haven't stood up well, there's some de-lamination already...