Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Snowhill

Almost three weeks since that first sail of the season down to Marker - the crafty day off a few weeks ago came to nothing as the wind also decided to take a crafty day off, coupled with lack of tides, cold, wet, and as you can imagine I was surely gagging for a little sailing action on my own boat ...

So it was that sunny weather, a stiff breeze (F4 gusting F5 forecast) and a 1500 HT  had all the portents of being a superb day out - and oh Lord, did it deliver in spades...

Got to the boat about 1'ish, got everything loaded and set up - I put in two and a half reefs (by sail slides as I have roller reefing) and have to admit was wondering if that would be enough - and dropped the mooring about 1:30'ish....

You could tell it was going to be an interesting day almost immediately - the brisk SW'ly I was getting full force on the reefed main, was a very broad reach, and down the "ditch" I was doing 3.5 knots against tide without engine... Rolled some genoa out as we got to the entrance of Northney and then we began to shift...  4.5 knots up wind as easy as you like..

Knowing it usually 'honks up' as you come round the headland into the main channel I hove to and put another half reef in the main, and pulled in a couple of rolls on the genoa, and away we went...

Single beat to the bottom of the harbour, 4.5 to 5 knots against the tide, sunny, lovely... Bore away at Verner for the shortcut over Pilsea sands and literally aimed the boat (like an RPG! ) at Hill Head and she went off like a grey hound....  5 to 5.5 knots straight as an arrow...  exhilarating sailing, one of those champagne days, the spray was flying and glittering in the sun (Lord he's gone all poetic on us...) and I was going so fast I couldn't get my waterproofs so ended up a mite ..  errr... damp.. 

Hill Head ahead..
Got to the other side of the sands and after dodging a couple of boats on Itchenor reach heading towards Chichester, I rounded Snowhill, and headed up harbour doing similar and better speeds back across the sands, before joining the main channel for home...  pheww...!

"Hello, my friend
So happy to see you again.."
Lyrics courtesy of Jimi .. naturally..

Some lovely, lovely, sites out today...  this is "Mikado" [clicky], and note, no reefs, unlike me!



What a brilliant day - ended up dropping sails at the entrance to Northney and then a wet motor back to the mooring saw me tidied up with time for a beer and a cigar in the sun before the tide went....parfait


Oh, and finally, do you want the good news or the bad news??

OK - lets be positive - the good news is that the arms on the windex are now pointing back in the right direction! Hurrah....!

Ah, bad news? The pointer/arrow went flying on that long beat down the harbour and has gone for a Burton...    Better start shopping for a fourth, and add it to the winter layup list

Log:



Distance: 10.41 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: .  SW top end F4 gusting 5
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
Speed: Max 5.4 and that would have been under sail / average 4.2 knots - not a bad average for a two and a half hour sail!

Monday, 15 May 2017

"Cowes for lunch?"

..quoth Rodders, and who was I to say "no"..  I almost bit his arm off because what with weather and tides I haven't been sailing since that first trip out two or three weeks ago..

So it was that on last Thursday morning, having taken a crafty day off, we dropped the mooring lines at HMS Excellent/Whale Island at 10:30 and then enjoyed three marvellous hours of sailing to Cowes, a trip up the Medina, and a nice lunch at the Island Sailing Club (where I was gently chastised for not having taken off my hat...  mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ... but isn't it wonderful that there are still places in the world where such things are noted.. they are the very last notes of Empire and good behaviour...)

An interesting day for wind though it seemed to swing around a lot but when I check the Bramblemet readings it was fairly clearly stuck in the SE'ly quadrant.... so a soldiers wind all the way to Cowes watching some truly huge container ships coming at of Southampton (we didn't see it, funnily enough, but apparently the "worlds largest" transited our area during the day), and a couple of fleets of Sunsail boats racing (and being muppets in some cases..  you know who you are)

Heading down the Medina towards Cowes ..
After parking at Cowes Yacht Haven some lunch was the order of the day (following) and hat incident notwithstanding I do like visiting this place..  amazing views...  oh, and nice beer - Goddard's "Yachtsman" - a fine, old fashioned, dark amber traditional bitter....


Trip back in the afternoon was a humongous beat - just one tack to clear Gilkicker and shot into the harbour via the outer swashway...  looking over our shoulders we could see we were being chased by rain, and sure enough it hit just as we turned the corner for Whale Island, and the Heavens opened and we even had a crash of thunder...  damn good day out with the guys..

Log:



Distance: 12.4 miles morning/13.53 in the afternoon (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: ESE in the morning going SE in the afternoon; F4 in the morning going F3 in the afternoon
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed: 4.7/6.5 AM and 3.8/5.7 PM

Monday, 1 May 2017

Completed job list - winter layover 2016/17

Purely for reference (mind like a sieve ), I completed the following this winter just gone:
  1. Mastfoot/tabernacle - drilled out the lower bolt holes slightly, and gave it a coat of Hammerite
  2. Electrics - fitted cabin lights [clicky]
  3. Tidied up the tender seat repair from last year
  4. Repaired the strut on tender launching trolley and freed up the wheels - and a bigger bit of bodge'ry than the repair to the strut is harder to imagine..
  5. Painted the inside of tender [clicky]
  6. Replaced the cockpit hatches (again); poor preparation on my part meant the ones I made a couple of years ago split and de-laminated. Cut, test fitted, epoxied.. rubbed down, washed and one coat of paint..this was the major item in this winters refit, and was not without it's ups and downs! Started here [clicky] and finished here [clicky]
  7. Binoculars holder (they kept falling off the shelf! ) made and fitted


  8. Tender rubbing strake needs repair/patched
  9. Rub down and coat of paint on  the wash boards
  10. Rub down and coat of wood preservative on rubbing strakes / cockpit board / outboard pad / hand rails (as needed
  11. Anti-fouled
  12. Serviced Life Jackets
  13. New Windex fitted - time will tell on this one!
All in all I'm surprised how much I got done...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Just visiting...

Well that was a bit interesting...  so with a bank holiday weekend looming here in the UK, some long long hours at work, and not being on call, I went for the extra days holiday on Friday with a view to turning it into a four day'er and go sailing on the Friday..

Forecast the weekend was looking 'iffy, but Saturday was not really an option, Sunday looks atrocious, so Friday and Monday are sailing days - if it comes off..  except when I got on the water on Friday there wasn't a breath..  motored down to Marker to give it a chance, went backwards at 1.5 knots...   gave up and was motoring for home when a sudden thought made me whip out the binoculars (which up until then I had been using to have a look at the seal colony on Hayling) and I could see that the visiting pontoon was empty.. 

Never having landed there before it was too good an opportunity to miss..  dug out the fenders, dug out a mooring line (all of this while steering with a foot ) came round the end of the pontoon and then did a ferry glide light as a feather onto the pontoon - good job...  hopped on to the pontoon tied up, and then proceeded to clear the boat of bird cr*p..  before sitting in what passed for sunshine with beer, cigar, and watched the world go by...  cracking!

Going to have another go on Monday..  that's twice now with very little breeze, chance has got to go my way soon..


Log:


Distance: 4.32 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind:  F0 to fitful F1; every direction under the compass
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed:  5.4 / 2.5 all under motor

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Marker and back...

First sail of the year and according to my old records this is the earliest I've sailed in the year since that Baltic delivery trip [clicky] back in 2013... not quite as cold today, and certainly not as windy, but as a shake-down cruise it certainly hit every single one of the right buttons... 

Just a short outing then - wind wasn't up to much and it was also a late tide (16:30'ish) and neap'ish (only 4 mtr) but a much needed opportunity to slope off the the sloathful'ness and mild anxiety (that always presages the first sail of the year!) and actually get out and do what the boat is meant for....

So a trip down the cut (how many times have I done that) with much of the same but plenty of new to be seen, and then sails up (main) and out (genoa), outside Northney marina, and bear away for the end of the Emsworth channel....   did that two or three times and decided to head for Marker - wind dropping all the time, but rather than having to beat back, the wind, which was changeable all afternoon, went round almost 180' so I had a run down to Marker, and a run back - most unusual....

Cold though - northerly's most of the afternoon - layers going on all afternoon... but oh my, a boat, a breeze, and the Classic FM Hall of Fame [clicky] countdown (my top three came in at #'s 39, 135, and 224 by the way)..  does it get any better?????

Playing with the new selfy stick...

Log:


Distance: 7.36 miles  (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: All over the place in speed and direction...  F2 mainly (climbing F3 for last hour), gusting F3 mainly (F4 for last hour) . NExE going SWxS for last hour..  at about 1600'ish Cambermet shows the wind going through 140'!
Sail Plan: Full main and 90% genoa..
Speed: Max 5.8 (under motor) / average 2.9

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A cautionary tale...

.. first off Happy Easter to everyone...

...second off, an advisory tale... I was out on Sparrow on the mooring yesterday afternoon (lovely and sunny but a chuffing freezing wind direction!) finishing off some last minute paint jobs as I'm hoping to get out for the first sail of the season on Monday (stay tuned as they say), when I was disturbed in my endeavours, by a muffled shout... looking up, I could see that the chap on the boat next to my mooring had fallen in while trying to get from his (new to him) boat to his (new to him) tender... thankfully he had a life jacket on, and also thankfully he had a boarding ladder as there was a strong'ish current through the moorings, and I was 50 yards away, and it's April...

...he was fine, cold, very wet, but OK.. lost his handheld GPS, and now has a long session getting the outboard going (which was attached to the flipped tender), but I suspect he considers that to be a fair exchange... I'm not the RNLI (so it ain't my job to lecture or advise ), but clearly the lifejacket he was wearing helped, he was also lucky one of the club rescue boats was also around, as he didn't have oars for the now righted tender (and he was cursing himself roundly for it)...

... there but for the grace of God go I, but for me the lessons I took away were
  1. I'm going to put a change of clothes in a bag somewhere on the boat, and
  2. get that boarding ladder fitted soon as I can
I read somewhere that most sailors drown transitioning from big boat to little and vice versa, so the LJ is already worn every time I go...

...oh, and if you're relying on a donk on the tender don't forget your oars... 

Had to laugh - windex is still up there..  but spot the problem...  and no it's not the leaning tower of Pisa effect..  LOL...  I'm really not safe with a set of tools...

Sunday, 9 April 2017

W'em ready...

...and the sun shone, and the waves lapped, and three old men gathered together yet again for the annual wrestle of the pole into an upright position, whilst not killing themselves, any passing wildlife, or damaging anything on the boat..

A remarkably stress free and relaxed event in the end - we have been doing this for a few years now though so we tend to know what we're up to...

The drilling out of the lower hole on the tabernacle was a limited success...  better than if we hadn't but still not 100%...  what we actually need is almost a slot to allow for the movement of the bolt...  I will give it thought over the summer and next winter..

Another change I plan for this summer is to modify the crutch the mast sits in...  one the legs are too long as the mast sits way up in the air...  a foot of the bottom, cut at 45' to sit flat on the deck when deployed will help - and two, the arms are too long, as it is a right palaver to lift the mast spreaders over the arms when inching it back to position the foot in the tabernacle..  what I plan is to leave the arms as they are, but put in a hinge and peg so that you can drop them when not required...

...either way... mission accomplished with the minimum of fuss...  and the beers were cracked open and the pork pies eaten in the sunshine which was superb... they are good mates!

Having said good bye to the work party, I then pushed on and put the sails and boom on...

...oh, and check what's still present on the top of the mast!
..no excuses.. four day weekend coming up... better go sailing then..

Monday, 3 April 2017

All done...

All done indeed... me especially... 

After an exhausting week or two she's finally afloat, and not leaking...  took some effort to get there though...

So starting with the list of things I wanted to get done...

1/. Another coat of paint on the hatches - then fit to the boat

What a pain in the nether regions this one turned out to be - so having applied two coats of epoxy, then rubbed down, sugar soaped and painted (Dulux "Once" - as it is self priming, oil based and gloss for hard wearing), you could imagine how delighted I was to find that patches on one of the boards were still tacky 4 days later..  😒


What I couldn't understand was that one of them was unaffected - either way - it was a cool/cold shaded garage so I went ahead and fitted them to the boat thinking some warm weather and UV might help

...you'll note the finger marks between the hinges
Still no good - and tacky to the point where paint was transferring to fingers and clothes so I bit the bullet, and rubbed down the offending board with a white spirit soaked rag, and then gave it a coat of the paint I use on the washboards - water based, exterior, silk white so not so hard wearing, but easier to use - and it dried OK (yee haa!)...  gave it another coat, and then fitted again..  I'll keep an eye on it and give it another coat mid season if I have to - I've chucked the "Once" in the bin - crap stuff...

..on the right the new treated board, on the left the original

I'll paint the other board to match at some point this summer....

2/. Windex - attach to mast head - done - but despite it being a Hawk, a cheaper and shoddier bit of plastic I think it would be hard to find - disappointing...  I'll be amazed if this makes it to the end of the year...  all I can say is that it was still there when I left the boat... 

3/. Tabernacle - drill out lower bolt holes, and Hammerite - done - and fairly straight forward...



4/. Another coat of paint on the washboards and 5/. another coat of wood treatment on the outboard pad - also trouble free and completed....

So that took 3 hours on the Friday, on Saturday I was rostered to work on the launch working party for the club - tiring day (you spend the whole day walking the length of the club yard escorting ne boat after another down to the water) and at the end of it I spent another few hours working on that damned hatch cover....

Sunday morning I was there bright and early'ish (10:30) ready for a 16:00'ish high tide..  I gave her a much needed wash down (last access to fresh water until October), loaded the soft furnishings that I'd stored at home, strapped on the outboard, loaded the pile of detritus from under the boat into the boot of the car, and it was tine for the job that signals the end of the maintenance... phewww....

All done!!!!


As a bilge keeler I usually get plonked on the mud and shingle right at the bottom of the club slip and left to it, but this year because of my position in the yard, they had to move a couple of other boats to get to me so I was eventually lifted in after a lunchtime pint...

Going....


...going - Windex still there? Check..


...going...  yard getting empty as the cruisers lift in - this was last but one day of the lift in...


....going - blimey - Windex still there? Check....


..main slip is behind me from where the picture was taken - this is one of the side slips... - got a lift to the boat from one of the club carriers - and waited for a little more water to come in - 4.5M tide so lots of it.....  once the water was a foot in front of the of of the keel started the engine and left it idling in reverse.... quarter of an hour after that she started gently lifting and rocking, and then five minutes after that she started off in reverse..  lovely, gentle launch...


...gone - back on the mooring!


So good to be back on the water...  mast raising next weekend, and if that doesn't catapult the Windex into the middle of next week nothing will.... 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

More jobs... and the tenders home done...

Only four days to launch so jobs are now getting prioritised...

First though - the tender is done - I noticed half way through last season that one of the rowlock holders had developed some wet rot round the thwarts where they were attached...  some mid season bodge'ry to try and fix didn't help, so that was first on the list...  the thwarts on the tender are two strips of wood sandwiching the GRP of the hull (old Optimist????) so any fix is in two parts - inner and outer edge

First the damage - and this was after the block holding the rowlock socket was removed - apologies for the blur in the first picture...  outer edge after I had trimmed out the rot..



..and this is the inner edge (other side) - from what I can tell the block of wood holding the rowlock socket had been attached to the two strips of wood comprising the thwart with a couple of screws - over the years water had penetrated, rusted the screws, and caused the rot..


Repair - decided to remove a strip of the outer edge entirely - it had half rotted, and my carpentry is simply not up to scarfing in small patches of new wood...  so first I drilled and bolted through either side of the damaged section - too stabilise and strengthen - and then cut out the damaged section completely, and replaced with a piece from the spares box..  (a bit of little un's old pine bed which continues to give and give! ) Yeah I know its a soft wood, but two coats of wood treatment on all edges should keep it going..


Bolted this though the hull, into good wood on the inner layer/edge, and then bolted the block holding the rowlock socket through the block and both layers of thwart..  the bloody thing now looks like it's armour plated but I've always gone for strength over appearance...


Inner edge showing the bolts for the block holding the rowlock socket (which I cut shoulders into for the washers)..  the block seems to be made of hardwood/teak


Once done - all thwarts/blocks were then given a coat of wood treatment, and I also replaced a few screws that had rusted and were no long holding the two strips of thwart to the hull....

Repair completed and time to do something about the inside of the tender:

Before...

All loose/flaky paint removed, scraped, hoovered, and then given a coat of garage floor paint:

..and after

Tenders done - it could probably do with another coat of floor paint but it'll have to wait...  we'll also see how well it stands up to UV.....  so that's jobs #7, #9 and #15 done....  tender's ready to go back to the compound

Two coats on the new binoculars holder and that's job #14 done - just need to fit them to the cabin shelf just inside the companionway...


Also rubbed down and painted the new cockpit hatches - these have had two coats of epoxy on each surface, and four coats on all edges - they were rubbed down, sanded, washed, and they've now had one coat of exterior gloss...  I'm not planning to paint the inner side (not enough time) but I will put another coat on the outer...


The drips on the edges by the way are epoxy not paint..    No matter how hard I try I always seem to get a drip line on the bottom edge of a board when I'm epoxying...  I tidy up all the edges, walk away, and the damn stuff drips and sets rock hard..  so I can sand it, but then you run the danger of over sanding it and taking it off to the wood layer, and to be honest, I don't care about drips if they are protecting what's underneath!


So what's to do.... in order....
  1. Another coat of paint on the hatches - then fit to the boat
  2. Windex - attach to mast head
  3. Tabernacle - drill out lower bolt holes, and Hammerite
  4. Another coat of paint on the washboards
  5. Another coat of wood treatment on the outboard pad
...couple of hours work? Call it three...  needs must 4 and 5 could be done on the water....

...and then launch..  be glad to get on the water for a rest!

Mast raising is scheduled for the 9th...