Friday, 20 October 2017

....out, but not down...

...  well I like to think so... 

Thanks to storm "Brian" everything happened a little quicker than we were expecting this year, but I'm jumping ahead of myself so lets start with last weekend, where on the Sunday (15th) that hard working core of the Jolly Boys (sailing chapter; mast dropping sub-chapter) convened on "Sparrow" yet again for what is a genuinely enjoyable session with the A frame, blocks, pulleys, that is the annual mast dropping session..  honest, I love it and they seem to as well though I'll be the first to admit I let them down on the catering side as the bar was empty..

Anyway, one of the most trouble free mast drops we've had I think, though we have it down to a fine art now having done it a fair few times - there was then much tea consumed, banter exchanged (given and taken! ), sultana and oatmeal biscuits consumed, before we headed for shore as the tide began to disappear and the clubhouse bar opened, where I was then able to remedy the catering mishap...  cheers guys - very much appreciated!

Come Monday or Tuesday then and eyes were being drawn to the weather forecasts for this coming weekend - not good - Saturday was showing Force 7 with  Force 9 gusts and a half an inch of rain, Sunday was marginally better - kept an eye on it but it wasn't getting any better so on Tuesday morning I popped into the club to see if there was any contingency and was surprised to see the tractor and hoist going at full chat, and half the yard already full of boats (we don't start lifting until Thursday, hence the surprise!) - either way, the club had also seen the weather and contingency plans were in force...  I shifted Sparrows lift from Saturday to yesterday (Thursday) and she's now out on the hard.. 



Good lift for me - think I was the second boat out? Came under the bridge as soon as I was on the boat, picked up a mooring to wait, and then came straight in - must have been sat on the blocks ashore by half ten/11?


There then followed the usual frenetic-ism..  outboard was taken to the tank and given a bloody good run through with fresh water (first in six months), once that was done and engine lifted into boot of the car, I then went out in the tender to recover my mooring gear..  swivel and chain was new this year and I don't see the point of leaving it in the harbour all winter - as is usual (and whenever has ANYONE not seen a galvanised shackle rust solid inside of five minutes in the sea? ) I had to hacksaw the main shackle but the rest of it is safe ashore now and I'll pressure wash the weed off the chain (and the boat) this Saturday.....

Talking of weed ==>


Some, but not loads - good crop of barnacles this year which I've already scraped off before they case harden - fairly happy with that to be honest, not premium antifoul so I wasn't expecting it to be as good as that..

Next stop, Saturday, with the pressure washer - if it's going to be windy and wet I may as well do it at the same time....   bring on the winter jobs....  of which more in the next, or next but one, post..

Friday, 13 October 2017

Last sail of the season..

...so that's it..  all done...   end of the season but not with a whimper but a bang...

I'm hoping to get the mast down on Sunday weather permitting (we have a warm dry spell this weekend but it's a little blowier than I might like so time will tell) but with a few days still left in the holiday bank, and a decent forecast, I took the afternoon off for one of those crafty afternoon sails that so often have delivered the goods - my thinking was that if it was rubbish I could always start taking the rig apart ready for Sunday...

As it turned out a biggish tide, sun, and a steady force four resulted in some reefs in the main for the first time in a while, and then a cracking sail down to HISC, and I even poked my nose into the Solent before turning for home.. always a pleasure when you can get on a single tack to take you to the bottom of the harbour - I had an hour/45 minutes where the wind was slightly more west than it was the rest of the afternoon which definitely helped...

Big tides though ==>

..look at that rooster tail.... and this was almost HT...
...and even so, with tides against and a mucky bottom, still tracking up wind at 3 knots... go on girl...

...and so it was found ourselves passing HISC and thinking "we might be able to make the nav marks in the Solent", and we almost did, if it wasn't for the fact that it would be dark in a few hours I'd have gone for it as it was I had an absolutely beautiful view of the IoW in the haze and sunshine, but then tacked and turned at Eastoke for the elevator ride back into the harbour on the last of the tide..  6.5+ SOG..

HISC...   where bad boys are sent for wanting to ...  hssssss...  race...
Back on the mooring I stripped the boom sail kicker and detached the topping lift - that's now in the garage for the winter...  on Sunday just the boom crutch and A frame to rig, and take the genoa off...

Log:


Distance: 10.13   (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F4 gusting F5; either side of SWxW
Sail Plan: Reefed main/genoa.
Speed: 5.7/3.1

Monday, 9 October 2017

Motor sailing... and why not...

..because it's bloody noisy that's why not! Needs must though ...  "winter is coming"

Big old tide - 5mtrs and I almost didn't go as the weather was distinctly grey and uninspiring, if not also wind-less. An hour before high tide though and the sun came out, and there seemed to be a little breeze, and with lift out fast approaching (two weeks) I took the opportunity..

Kind of pleased I did but it wasn't exactly blowing hard..  started of with a bit of NW for the run down the ditch, bang on cue it went round SW'ly for the beat down the harbour against the end of the tide, and bugger me if it didn't go back NW'ly so I had a nice beat back to the mooring, against the tide again!

In the end the wind dropped completely so it was a motor back - n'er mind - saw friends...


...hung the fishing line over the side (nothing today), and generally chilled to the calming sounds of Classic FM, we'll remember evening like this come the depths of February....


Log:


Distance: 8.32   (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Force 2 gusting 3; NW through SW and back
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa (with a few rolls in).
Speed: 4.0 max / 2.8 avg

Friday, 29 September 2017

Dog days..

Sneaky afternoon off as the weather forecasts for this weekend are looking a mite ... errr...  equinoctial .. and I needed some boat time.. 

..."equinoctial"...

...this had all the hallmarks of being a classic season up until about 6 weeks ago, and then all of a sudden it just went to rat-sh*t weather'wise..  it was almost like someone flicked a switch, and from sunny and breezy, it went to grey and windy, with rain...  I'm kind of used to a hiatus about this time of the season - when I look at my old logs I've usually had a two or three week break by the time the Southampton Boat Show comes round - usually because of tides/holidays, but this time it was five weeks, and reasons were tides/weather/health (I had man-flu one weekend )

So it is that I find myself two weeks away from the mast drop weekend with not enough miles for my liking in the log, where up to the end of August it was looking to be a bumper year... OK so it's not just about the miles, or a tick on a list, but lack of miles also means lack of boat time and that's far more important.... with what looked like a weather window on Thursday afternoon a decision was made to take the opportunity..  glad I did in the end!

East Head... errrr...  ahead

Neap tide, 18:15 HT, but I figured I should be able to get away 3 hours before - as it turned out, because it was neaps she was already afloat when I got down at 1400, and I eventually dropped the mooring and was away by 1430 - gob smacking...  almost four fours before HT!

Wind built and generally settled down to a south westerly - no more than two other boats in the harbour - had a cracking tack to Marker (did it in one!) and then laid a course for the bottom of the harbour - nothing particular in plan other than a niggly idea I'd head out of the harbour for one of the two nav marks in the Solent...

Good seal spotting day for sure - low'ish tide meant lots of sightings....

In the end the wind ooched round a bit making a trip out of the harbour more of a slog than I was willing to commit to (it would have been on the nose basically so short tacking or put the engine on) and in the end I settled for bearing away for East Head, a cruise along the beach, and then turning for home - besides I was getting cold..

Lovely sail - good to blow the cob webs out...

Log:


Distance: 10.47 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Top end F3 gusting F4 but dropping; SW going SSW
Sail Plan: Full main and most of the genoa
Speed: 5.1 max / 3.1 average

Monday, 25 September 2017

Southampton Boat Show 2017

Let joy be unconfined - it's that time of the year again, and I love the Southampton Boat Show... ..clearly someone else does as well as we were also blessed with unseasonal warmth, good breezes, and the rain when it finally arrived was after we'd left..  good result! My sis and I attended this year...

This is the three master Kaskelot [clicky], which despite her aged appearance was only built in 1948 - she's Danish and one of the largest wooden three masters still afloat.. somewhat surprisingly she's also privately owned (not a charity), and she isn't a sail training vessel..  used mostly for private charter and film work... and beautiful - major refit in 2014 and it shows..  clean and shiny as a new penny...



....those of you who check my other blog will know I have an interest in things historical and military so straight from Kaskelot to this one which was moored just behind and caught my eye...  I originally thought this was WWII era, but it's actually Cold War era instead, the last Rhine patrol boat of the US navy.. one of 17 built by a German shipbuilder just after the war, and handed back to the German navy at the end of her commission..


She's also a film star and appeared in the recent "Dunkirk"... unusually again, she is also privately owned (not a charity of heritage lottery funded)


Put me in mind me of the boat in "Apocalypse Now"


So on to the real boats...  at the show I have two things I look for - the big sailing boats for bling, and anything my boat's size to see what's coming along....  I would say it was an OK year, but nothing as good this year as the Haber 620 [clicky] we saw last year...

This one was rather nice though...  lovely clean lines - day sailor - this one was electric driven...  not sure about the transom though - wasted space??




Next - this was an X-Yachts X6 [clicky] boat on the outer pontoon - no way I was going to be able to get on her, but what caught my eye was those hard top bimini's - look like carbon fibre??  Seem to have a rebated drop down blind on the side...  either way, ugly as sin, but on a beautiful boat... 


Just for fun - and because the Jolly Boys cruise is on a 342 - I thought I'd have a closer look down below at the Halberg Rassy 40 (next) - a quantum difference in space is the answer... a whole extra cabin between saloon and fore cabin.... that would solve the "problem"..  ! Build is the same though (excellent) but they've also raised the head room on the rear cabin so it's no longer a crawl in double coffin...


...and looks sensational of course...


So we were chatting to the salesman and I mentioned we chartered a 342 and he said, "oh, you need to go and have a look at the latest version of that hull size" .. and as she was next door it seemed foolish not to....

First main difference -drop down swim platform/transom...  second main difference wheel not tiller, in fact two wheels, on a 30 footer...?!  HR weren't the only ones to do this - yacht'y equivalent of go faster stripes??? 



Track still in the middle of the cockpit - just not on a bar between the two seats...

 Instruments same place, windscreen same, opening struts same....


Spectacular difference on lay out below though (next) - kitchen is on the opposite side, and on the 342 there's a heads there with the nav station in front of it..  note the big windows above and in the hull - much lighter! Aft cabin is bigger - main cabin is ooch'ed backwards making room for the heads to shift forward and alongside the mast..  on the whole it's better than the 342 - the aft cabin is bigger, the main cabin is lighter...



More "small one's" (next) - another Dutch boat builder - elegant lines - a day sailor - not sure I fancy trying to get into that cuddy though! 6.5Mtr [clicky] so she's about the same size as Sparrow..  self tacking jib (that would make life easier when short taking in the narrow Emsworth channel!) small size of which compensated by a big main... oh, and you can also fly an asymmetric...  no good for me..  fin keel though...


..another one with electric drive - diesel also available... but nowhere to put an outboard... asymmetric flies from a small bowsprit that's retracted on this one...  lovely lines..


..bigger hull, 8Mtr (26 foot) same basic design, but a different layout...  weekender style this time..  if I had the cash this is the one I'd go for...  good review from PBO here [clicky] again though - fin keel and inboard only...



..and the last one from the same boat builder - this was mad (in a kind of good way) - all that orange and brown was like stepping back into the late seventies.. She was certainly something else - looked super fast - a 33 foot day sailor [clicky] - would love to have a go!!



...onwards an upwards - last big boat of the day - this one took my prize for the most luxurious - Swan 50...  details details...  forecabin - leather handles on drawers - light woods throughout, and how nice not to have the universal brown with thin white stripe flooring...


Second cabin..  this was bunks on the HR40.. 


Lovely flat unencumbered deck going on and on for ever....


Not much to hold on to forward though...


...and cockpit - twin wheels each with mahoosive plotters... Harken throughout (naturally )..  if you have to ask you can't afford her....


Fantastic..  by this time it was Guinness o'clock so we duly partook, and then had a long wander round the halls to look at all the stuff you didn't know you needed (12v individual aircon units was my "blimey moment"!) before heading over the road to the Woolhouse [clicky] for a couple of pints of (excellent) "Bone Dry" [clicky] and wending our way home...

So what did I buy? Other than the Guinness and a new sweatshirt, nothing.. I was looking for idea's this year - want to improve my taking speed and I think the answer is stand up blocks for the genoa sheets..  I reckon it's a couple of these I need...  "stand up single block"...

...the search starts here..