Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bosham blast!

Oh, man...  this was a serious enjoyable bit of windy weather sailing! I've had gusting F6 a few times, but this was fairly consistently mid to high F5 - looking at the old logs this was only the 3rd or 4th time I've had such windy conditions, but Sparrow handled it like a trooper even if her stupid skipper did let her down on the reefing..

So Saturday had been warm, sunny and windy but I'd been busy, Sunday however started grey but the weather gonks on the BBC were promising me sun by the afternoon so I took a fly'er. A 15:30 (big) HT, so I was on the boat by 12:30..

Took the decision to put some reefs in the main there and then, then dropped the mooring and was off down the channel against a spring HT still doing 3+ knots on main alone...  got to Fisherman's at the end of the main channel and came up on to the wind and rolled out 75% of the genoa and she was beginning to shift - wind direction was good enough to easily lay the Marker mark on one tack...

As we went past Marker the wind was building all the time (Cambermet shows it going from solid F4 to solid F5 about now), so I took the opportunity to heave to and roll a few more rolls into the main..  having bore up on to the wind, I also let the genoa fly and took a few more rolls in (guessing I was on about 50% now)...  reached the Verner mark and was in two minds - my plans had been to visit Bosham - always a long trip but should have been good with this wind, and I had 6 hours, but the wind showed all the signs of continuing to build (so against what was forecast, 'natch ) In the traditional way therefore I dodged the question and bore away to see what speed the tide was - 7 knots SOG to Marker gave me a rough indication we had about  2 or 3 knots against...

Bugger it I thought - it's sunny...  so headed up into wind, pounded down to the Verner mark and bore away across Pilsea Sands (the 'short cut') for the Itchenor channel ..

Super fast reach across the sands and then turned for a fast run down to the Bosham inlet - running in strong wind is deceptive, so when I bore off to head northerly into the Bosham channel there were indications that it was going to be ... errr...   "lively"

Pausing only for a quick photo..

Bosham, ho!..  or should that be Bosham Hoe?? 
...I tacked, and started heading back to the main channel through a myriad of moored boats and ongoing dinghy races (I was sure I'd got a siren for a place at one point but a dinghy was going past at the time so it might have been for him )

Bosham channel is narrow - and the yachts are moored in line in the middle of it... ==>

Target rich environment...
..so we have what the military would call a 'target rich environment' for a small day sailor beating into a blow, and just under control..  Two quick tacks to get into the middle of the Bosham channel gave me an idea that this wasn't going to be a doddle - the problem in the main Itchenor channel was then traffic; boats heading up and down under motor, I had to keep tacking to clear them, and more of the aforesaid moored boats, but eventually I cleared most of the traffic and there then ensued 45 minutes to an hour, of some of the heaviest weather beating I can remember - using the full width of the channel to gain the greatest benefit, I almost threw in the towel and turned on the donk a few times, but thought I'd give it a go, and anyway the boat was handling it, and it was sunny, and I had hours to spare..  glad I did, as we got to Copyhold mark and I knew that was my turning point for home, job done and very satisfied...

Another super fast reach over the sands and I stopped to drop the main at the Northney channel, and motored back through the spray being thrown up to the mooring for 1730'ish...  18 miles in 4-5 hours, good going!

Postcript - the cabin looked like a tumble dryer afterwards - everything that could have moved to the floor did... not surprising, the leeward gunwales weren't quite under but they weren't far off at times...  hindsight is a wonderful thing, but when I hove to that first time, I should have put in more rolls than I did - funnily enough when I rolled in some genoa as I came out of Bosham (so down to 30% - 40%) I noticed how unbalanced she felt, and rolled it back out - it was the mainsail I needed the reefs in...

A memorable days sailing..  straight into my top three of all time - stoked!


Distance: 17.9 miles
Wind: SWxW; F4 going F5, gusting F6
Sail Plan: Reefed main and reefed genoa
Speed: 5.8 knots maximum and 3.5 average - that maximum would have been under sail (and I saw a slew of 6.5+'s and a 7 on that little drag race I did)...


  1. I had a good day on Saturday, the wind was a bit more moderate, but in the gusts I had Sprite over on her side and romping along. But the leeward shrouds were a bit loose I noticed, so maybe I was pushing things a bit far considering the state of Sprite's rigging. Sunday was a bit too lively for me and the boat. I sat on the mooring on Sunday and watched the dinghy sailors keep capsizing when the gusts caught them. It was a bit lively even just sat on the mooring. The dinghy was bashing the side of Sprite so much I eventually tied it to the stern and left it on a long leash.

    1. Mark - still running on the adrenaline now.. superb day...!

  2. Great post Steve and good to see you sailing in a decent breeze!

    I hear on you good little video a lot! of wind noise. Even with hardly any wind blowing I get this on my videos making it hard to hear anyone who is talking to the camera. I wonder if there is some way of reducing this noise?

  3. Cheers Alden -it really was blowy.. :o)

    PS. Re. wind noise.. the professionals use foam covers on their mic's, stops direct noise from the wind on the mic but still allows other sounds to be recorded...

  4. Well done Steve, the kind of days sailing we all need to remember why we bought a boat.

  5. Well done Steve, the kind of days sailing we all need to remember why we bought a boat.

    1. Jim - I know I'm going to get to the end of the season, or reading the logs over the winter, and remember that day like it was yesterday...