Thursday, 28 July 2016

VHF testing on America's Cup Sunday

Much windier on Sunday, and as the tides were late, I took the opportunity to watch the second days racing on BT Sport..

Conditions were considerably better for foiling than they were the day before, so the racing was hot and furious..

Pic courtesy BT Sport
Look at that (following)...  they're doing about 26 or 27 knots...  that's 30 mph...  must be an amazing ride!

Pic courtesy BT Sport
So end of the third race, and Sir Ben had got a first and two seconds (the American's were hot today, much better starts in the last two races for sure) which gave him the event win by 1 point

Pic courtesy BT Sport
...but also catapulted him into overall lead after the 7 races so far - Oracle moved up a place and Emirates New Zealand dropped a place.. they definitely missed their usual helm (Pete Burling has gone to Rio for the Olympics) and suffered badly this weekend as a result..

Pic courtesy BT Sport
A celebratory cup of tea later, and I legged it down to the boat, but as it was grey, cold'ish, a late tide, and with generally uninspiring weather I took the fixed VHF with me to do some testing on the antenna rather than go sailing..  

As I mentioned in the last sailing post I'd connected everything up to the hand-held but was getting very little traffic so this was by way of trouble shooting to see if the issue was the antenna, or the connection to the hand-held...  wired up the fixed VHF to the ships 12v (hurrah - how good is it to report that?!), plugged in the antenna, and I can report I'm getting traffic (Ch 67, Ch 11 from QHM Portsmouth and Ch 80 including traffic from Port Solent which given the land masses between is pretty impressive!) so the antenna is good, but being low down I suspect the aspect of the boat is more important to its reception....  either way it's good to know it works, so I've bought forward plans to install the fixed VHF - the wire/cable is on it's way, and then it's time to do a little sanding and epoxying to put in place a batten to attach it to....  

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

America's Cup Saturday..

The Jolly Boys [clicky] convened on Saturday for a run out on Rod's boat Ami-Ly to see the first day of the America's Cup racing in Portsmouth (our home town), and what a superb day on the water it turned out to be...!

Met at Rod's at 8, on the boat by 9, and departed a 'suspiciously' quiet Pompey Harbour by about half nine.. a beautiful morning, but very quiet.. we were expecting much more traffic...

This year the organisers had provided a spectator mooring area so for the first time on Ami-Ly we actually deployed the hook - 5 mtrs of water and after the usual initial kerfuffle it had set by 11'ish and we settled back for racing which was later that afternoon.. an inspired decision by the way as would become clearer later in the morning....

Much banter ensued, some fishing (in which I actually managed to catch a living thing, albeit only slightly larger than a goldfish), a few beers, Smithy's missus had made a chocolate cake, the sun shone (and it was warm!), the Solent was aqua marine, Smithy threw (all) his clothes off and went swimming (which was amusing, as the RNLI turned up for a photo opportunity at just the moment he wanted to get out) - nothing better - the only slight worry was the lack of wind - it was building but not what you would have called full foiling conditions for the AC45's..

Following a aerobatic display the racing started and as usual it was fast and furious... these are short races - no more than 15 minutes...  mid way start line and then two figures of eight...

Three races, back to back, and in these conditions no foiling, but they were flying a hull occasionally...

The inspiration for the mooring area became clearer - there was no way we would have been able to watch and steer like we did last year - I would estimate at least three times as many boats...

...and as to the racing??  After a shaky start (5th), Sir Ben pulled off two firsts and won the day - the sirens blew!

I wouldn't have sad we had the best view (but no worse than anyone else) as the mooring area was the opposite side of the cordoned off race course to where most of the racing was taking place, and where the finishing line was (which is fair enough - the people in the grandstand were paying £25 a head) but the buzz was huge and I wouldn't have missed it for anything....

Racing finished about 3, and as the day was yet young and the wind was building, and the tide was with us, we waited for the scrum to clear and broke away for the west Solent in absolutely sparkling conditions - the Solent never looked better, sunshine, breeze, and that particular sparkle you get when water and sun meet... poetic perhaps but it was champagne sailing... before we knew it (and we were doing between 7 and 8 knots over the ground) we were off Cowes so we ducked in, picked up a spare pontoon place (couldn't get into East Cowes, and the Folly pontoon is a bit of a rip off when you've got a boat of 5 to get over to the pub) had a beer, finished the cake, relaxed, and then headed for home...

As we'd gone into Cowes the wind had picked up to 20 knots (shame we hadn't had it for the racing!) and was still perky when we got out but this time tide had turned and we were running with it..  auto pilot on and we were doing 6.5 knots down wind sweet as you like - mile after mile... 

Love that shot - old and new....

Quick stop at the fuel pontoon and back into the berth by 8 in the evening and home by 9 after a superb day...  a definite classic.


Distance: 26.96 miles overall; 4.48 in the morning and 22.48 in the afternoon (post racing)
Wind: Little or none in the morning, peaking F5 in the afternoon; WSW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed: 5.2/1.0 and 7.4/5.2 (we were tramping given this was down wind!)

Monday, 18 July 2016

Bar crawl redux

First time in four weeks of what we laughingly call "summer" here in the UK, where:
  1. there's been a tide
  2. it hasn't been raining
  3. it hasn't been blowing a hooley
  4. I haven't been otherwise occupied with family, holiday, or other calls on my time...
...better go sailing quick then!

So also the first time out in four weeks almost had to re-learn the basics it had been so long...(it had been so long I actually went out to the boat - in the rain - last week and bought the outboard tank back with me so I could empty it into the car and fill it with fresh fuel!)

Winds were westerly so just a blip of the outboard to get me away from the mooring before the main was up and I was pushing off down the Northney channel under sail - beautiful morning, warm but overcast, and with a cup of filter coffee accompanied by a fresh scone with jam it doesn't get much better!

Winds were light, but 1.5 knots against tide was good enough, and with a westerly it was perfect for my first trip up to Northney....  coming on to the reach up to Emsworth I suddenly realised that I had the full legs of the tide under me so we fairly whooshed up the channel - shame as there really were some very lovely boats about to gawp at (see following)

"Little and Large"..
..with enough west left in the direction (I knew it was forecast to go round more southerly) I aimed at the end of the Emsworth channel (one tack!) and then simply carried on down the harbour - seemed foolish not to, given the decent breeze, and the direction - I had it in mind to poke my nose out into the Solent for the first time in a while..

One for Julian [clicky].. to HISC (Hayling Island Sailing Club) at the entrance to the harbour, at just about high tide, and the wind was perfect for a continued transit - basically one long tack from Emsworth to HISC and out into the Solent - lovely trip down even given the adverse tide..

To the strains of Wagner and Gotterdammerung on the boat stereo (got to love Classic FM ) we ploughed on towards Eastoke Point, and the Bar Beacon...  the sun was now out, the sun cream went on, but the wind was dropping..  pausing at the Bar Beacon only to marvel at the complete twat'tery of some motor boat skippers (not all he hastens to add) I turned and headed back, but with tide against and a dropping breeze a little engine power helped me back until I switched off by the lifeboat station and with a growing breeze hared off up harbour and home...

Brilliant day out...

While out I was also testing the VHF reception [clicky] and can confirm that the radio is working with the stubby aerial, but when I attach the external big aerial to it via the connector (an SMA<=>PL-259 adapter) I get nothing...  either the aerial is shot or the adaptor - next weekend I'll bring the fixed VHF down to the boat, connect it up to the power, and plug the aerial into that...  hopefully that'll give me an idea as to whether its the aerial or the connector that's knackered... onwards and upwards!


Distance:  13.45 miles
Wind: Both ends of a F3; WSW going SSW
Sail Plan: Full main; full and semi genoa.
Speed: Max 4.6 knots, saw a few 5's when I turned into the Emsworth Channel with the tide under me; average speed 2.9 knots