Monday, 29 May 2017

Damp squib..

Must be keen..  hot, muggy and practically windless, but I dropped the mooring anyway to see if there was anything going on in the harbour wind'wise..  not a sausage.. 

Drifted with what little wind and (mostly tide) there was from the end of the Emsworth channel back to Northney, turned with the intention of doing the same again and I felt the first spots of rain..  enough was enough, all sails down and motored back to the mooring which I got to just as the Heavens opened...  quick pick up (faultless..  phewww) and shot below out of the rain...

On other fronts, look what's just arrived in Chateau SteveThe Wargamer...  whoop whoop...!


Distance: 3.43 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F1gusting nothing; all points East..
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa...
Speed: 5.8 (motor)/3.1 average

Saturday, 27 May 2017

HISC haec hoc..

Warmest day of the year so far here on the south coast on Friday, so after a long week at work I opted for one of those crafty (half) days off and slipped out at lunchtime to take as much advantage of the tide as I could..

The winds that characterised the last trip out continued, albeit they'd shifted round easterly for this trip..  12:45 HT, but having left work at lunch time I finally managed to drop the mooring at 12:20 - happily I took the decision at the end of the last sail to leave the reefs in, so no need to put them back in..

Motored for the end of the channel, with the aim of getting as far easterly as possible in order to clear Marker and get to HISC on the one tack..  almost did it, but had to slip in one tack before hurtling off down harbour, it was a top end F4, mid F5, all afternoon, and gusting easily a whole force higher...

Speeds all afternoon were high, not sure I ever saw them drop below 4, saw a few 5.7's, and even a few 5.9's, on what was yet another champagne sailing day of warm sun, glittering water, Spitfires (yes!), and strong breezes...

"Terror" - the last surviving Emsworth oyster boat
Easterly is a good direction for a run down to the mooring, so on the way back and just for fun, I thought I'd try to sail on to the mooring..  probably not the best of idea's in a F5 but there you go..  nothing ventured nothing gained, and there's no guarantee it would be any less windy if I needed to do it in a real emergency..  good to practice...

Just to make it really difficult for myself I also did it on main only (I'd rolled away the genoa, as it was a dead run down the channel so the main was blanketing it)..  with engine on in neutral (backup in case it went tits up) I approached the mooring beam on..  rounded up.. grabbed the mooring buoy.. and proceeded to sail right over it as the main was still drawing 

Ah well..  in a real emergency with no motor that would have been good enough..  but yeah, sat there is a force 5 with the mooring chain stretched out, and the boat just held at the stern by the tender, and fishing round with a boat hook to untangle the line from the bottom of the engine leg I could have hoped for better.. 

Untangled myself, dropped the main, kicked in the engine, circled round and picked up the mooring..  and then did exactly the same..  untangled, and gave up this time!

Lessons learnt..  strong easterly and a strong easterly tide, should probably have approached the pickup buoy from the other side (it was streaming dead down wind, and I was picking up from the south side), oh, and genoa only, not main...  good to learn!

Only two or three hours but it sets your whole equilibrium back in order...  the glass of Tanglefoot and a snooze in the cockpit also helped! 


Distance: 10.27 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F4/F5 gusting F5/F6; ESE
Sail Plan: Reefed main and reefed genoa.
Speed: Max 5.5 (under sail - saw a bunch of 5.7's and 5.8's as well) average 3.8..

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


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


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..


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...