Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Gone... and first jobs...

...

Three days later and I'm out, and work has already commenced, but after four days of hard work I'm glad to be back at my desk for a rest!

So Friday was mast down, Saturday was work party at the club for lift out - eight boats lifted and plenty of time on the water (which is a good thing), on a variety of boats (also a good thing), it was mostly sunny (ditto) but my goodness it was chilly...  some biting northerly's..

Sunday Sparrow was due for lift out so arrived early, got a lift out to Sparrow (so no tender required) and motored her under the bridge for one last trip tis season before picking up a spare mooring in the pool between the bridge and the old railway line to wait for my turn on the tractor..

Not so bad this year - fourth out I think - and an absolute prime position right by a power/water bollard, and just in front of t'other Dave's boat (he of Jolly Boys "fame")... most chuffed..

Note broom pole as temporary central mast support...
The following makes it look like it was hugely gray and stormy - but that would be because it was ..  we had at least two deluges during the lift out..  hideous....


Enough was enough - outboard engine taken off and flushed with fresh water and I headed home for a warm shower...

With a plenitude of holiday still in the bank at work I had booked off Monday for wash down and hull clean - I had a list and I was going to stick to it!

First on the list was a better mast support - all the years I've had Sparrow I've just hung the mast between the two end points (crutch and pulpit) but with no central support it bounces, and I am wary of issues with putting weight on it while moving about the boat, so for lift out I put in a temporary broom pole and lashing to support the centre, but I wanted to make something more permanent - bit of 3 x 2 later and all done...

Next job (while I waited for the tide to fill in) was to start job #8 which is one of my priority jobs for the winter..  Sparrow has a couple of glassed in metal stringers running from one keel to the other - my guess is that it is keel reinforcement - over the years the glass has split and let in water so the stringers were beginning to rust - not a good thing..  so Monday with the help of the awesome oscillating multi tool I cut away all the glass fibre, to get a good look at what was underneath.. 


Not so bad I was relieved to find - just surface - but needed treating..  I also noticed that the stringers are not directly attached to the surface of the boat underneath which reinforces my view they are not part of the hull reinforcement, but purely for keel reinforcement... I think..  no matter have asked some experts and we shall see...

In the meanwhile I cleaned them off with a wire brush, and then coated them with Fertan [clicky] and left them for the prescribed 24/48 hours


Depending on what I hear, I will either just paint them and leave them exposed (I prefer this one as I like to see stuff, not hide it under glass fibre) or glass them back in (if they are also hull reinforcement). Whatever I choose to do, I will also clean and paint the bilges in the immediate area...

That done and it was time to go recover the mooring pickup chain and buoy - I always do this as I take the view that the pickup chain will last a lot longer living in my garage over the winter than it will lying in the mud and the crud of the harbour bottom..

Last time I installed the chain, purely to see if it would help, I sprayed the thread of the shackle that attaches to the mooring buoy with waterproof grease, and I was hugely pleased to see that this year I could actually undo it rather than having to hacksaw it as I usually do - bonus...

Safely ashore and tender stored, last job of the day was the pressure wash of the hull (which was much needed - see video evidence below) - in the great pantheon of sh*tty jobs that have you to do on a boat, pressure washing underneath the hull, between the keels, is right up there as #2 or #3 (antifouling will always be #1), but an hour later, a considerably soggier Steve was done (O rings had gone on the pressure washer lance, so it was leaking up my sleeve )


Note new mast support...


Got a weeks holiday coming up, so one last session before I go - need to give the decks and cockpit a wash down, and I'll hoover out the dust/debris in the bilge, and wash down the stringers ready for a coat of paint - if they're dry in time, I'll give them a coat of metal primer there and then...

Last of all, the worlds most boring video - purely for interest I like to document what state the hull is in each year on lift out - this is this years, look at that crop of barnacles!

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Going, going..

....the Jolly boys convened yesterday for our usual festival of fun as we got the mast down.. remarkably trouble free this year.. damn cold though, and the first major frost of the winter this morning..  roll on next summer, but not so fast as last year please, as I fancy getting some work done this winter! 



Monday, 22 October 2018

End of the season...

...so a little under four weeks ago when I said those words "I could come out tomorrow content, but a few more trips would be nice..." they turned out, unfortunately, to be famous last words....

Faced with a succession of low pressure systems featuring rain, wind, rain, storm Callum (must be bad if it got a name), plus a number of family drama's, and so it was that I arrived at the last weekend before lift out to be faced by a high pressure zone over the UK that was so high you'd need a Hubble space telegraph to see how big it was...  beautiful warm sunny weather but not a breath of breeze....

So what does a man do when his boat is coming out of the water the next weekend for a long cold winter and there isn't enough wind to sail? He fires up the metal donkey, drops his mooring, goes in search of an empty mooring, and then starts frying bacon while he watches the world go by...

Bacon sizzling - my permanent mooring is in the far distance - look at that water, flat as a flat thing...


Lovely day on the water, the bacon was good, the coffee was good, I got to watch the boats coming out of Northney, and I sat in the sun..

Bare feet in mid-October - unheard of..

Regrettably time and tide wait for no man so I motored back to the mooring and then stripped the sails, boom, and halyards - the jolly boys are coming on Friday to drop the mast, east pork pies, and drink beer...  I have a work party Saturday (lift crew), Sparrow comes out on Sunday, and I have the Monday off to pressure wash and clean the hull...

Few more jobs added to the winter job list - one, storm Callum did for my sail cover and the cheap and cheerful I bought way back in 2013 has finally given up the ghost, splitting along the top seam - long term exposure to UV had done for the stitching...  I have a choice - repair it or buy a new one, but given the material is also now as thin as tissue I think a new one can be afforded - it cost me £50 five years ago..  tenner a year? Bargain...  Second, need to renew the whipping on the genoa/main/topping lift, eyes...

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Snowhill.. or bust...

Just over 3 hours on the water on a crafty Friday afternoon off.. a little over 4 weeks to lift out so I'm enjoying it while I can, but at this stage of the game I have to say it's been an outstanding season - possibly one of the best I've had, certainly the best while in Sparrow's ownership..  I could come out tomorrow content, but a few more trips would be nice...  

So...  on the boat by 1300, HT at 14:30, neaps, and a breezy gusty old day..  and an unusual wind direction post storms Ali [clicky]and Bronagh [clicky] which had put paid to sailing last weekend.. we don't get very many easterly'd of any kind but this was a NE'ly..  so a little on the cool side..  still in shorts but the jacket stayed on for the whole trip..!

Hurley  22  - "Sea Rose" - grown up "Sparrow"....
Reefs had been left in after the last trip so preparation was suitably quick - with this wind direction there was no point in putting any of the rags up until well past Northney, so engine on and off down the cut..  Well done to the Conservancy (the guys who look after the harbour) for replacing the missing navigation marks, by the way..

So main up past Northney as that's the point I can bear off a little and get some wind assist..  motor sailed to Sweare Deep and then rolled out some genoa (five or 6 rolls in) and bore off for a fairly brisk run down harbour - 3 knots against tide, with foul bottom, and on a run.. not too be sniffed at...

...the only thing you hear is the light clatter of the sensor wand on the front...
At NW Pilsey I bore off for East Head, I'd had an idea for a trip to Snowhill.. usually I'd do that at Verner, but on a tide about to start falling, and a Neap, I didn't want to chance the sands..

Lovely trip down to the Head, the beach was looking beautiful in the late afternoon sun..  only a few boats anchored off the beach today but the wind was heading me (it swung about a fair bit today - easily 10 or so degrees either side of NExE, and sometimes it was handy and sometimes - as now - it was not)...couple of tacks against the tide, but time was running out, so with Snowhill tantalisingly close it was tack and bear off for the top of the harbour on a beat against tide..

Happily one long tack saw me almost to Marker - three or four further tacks and I'd made my north'ing and bore off for the cut..  rolled the genoa away but for the first time this season sailed all the way home only dropping the main when I got to the bridge..

Brilliant day out...  and smashed last years mileage record in the process...  in fact, it must have been a good year as in 10 years of boat ownership this year is already the fourth best for mileage, and the best for Sparrow.. and still four weeks to go...

Jobs added to the winter maintenance..  some patching and repairing of the sail cover...  all those storms, and 6 years of UV damage are beginning to make their presence felt, and it's paper thin in places..

Log:


Distance: 11.21 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 gusting F5, going F4; NExE but 10 degrees either side of that at random intervals..
Sail Plan: Reefed main, 75% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  4.4 / 3.0

Monday, 24 September 2018

Southampton Boat Show 2018

..another year another Boat Show, and for me a "must do" event in the year..  I love it - the buzz, the boats, the crowds, the "stuff" you never knew you needed, and the Guinness bar...


So here's a whistle stop tour of "my show"

View from one of the boats on the pontoons to show the weather the day I went - blustery and occasional splat of rain, but mostly sunny.. 


..this was mid blustery period - and being a boat show there were oplenty of wind speed instruments to have a look at - this one clocked 30 knots so a good F7..  happily they didn't last for long..


.. for some of the days of this years show the pontoons were closed so we were lucky..  my sister works for the National Oceanography Centre and this was taken from the upper deck of one of their survey ships which was open to visitors - very interesting ship by the way...


..this is her on a far nicer day..  not my piccie..


...ugliness personified following - though I suspect her owner loves her ....  motor cat... and absolutely mahoosive...


This however was fascinating - prototype of a new model of yacht being built by these guys [clicky] - lovely people, very welcoming, and very proud of the new innovations...  full on induction hob, lift keel not so revolutionary I know, carbon fibre rig (the whole mast weighs only 14Kg.) dyneema rigging, spacious open cabin, sliding doors to forecabin.....  my sister was much taken with the wheel which pivots between port, centre and starboard steering positions but stepping on that step at the bottom of the wheel that locks it in place once moved - very clever...


..but this was very clever - electric propulsion with a drop down drive - if you're not using it just lift it up and out of the way...  I recommend a read of that web page for more... 


My boat of the show this year - Halberg Rassy 58..  I sail an HR 342 on the Jolly Boys trip every year so was keen to see what a stretched one looks like....  nothing like in summary though that's not strictly true - there are little hints but this thing was absolutely stunning...  so ..  twin wheels, centre cockpit... I recognised the glass dodger - same as the 342 (just bigger)


...those seats are the dogs nadgers - bro in law and I would be entirely happy to have one of those in our sitting rooms - very comfortable. They are an option, I think you could have a bench seat if you wanted, but the cabin is huge and airy with a full bench seat and table the other side already, and for relaxing in they have no equal..  this (following) is looking to the stern and one of the three double cabins - the aft one en-suite


..nav station..  I recognised the upholstery style, the door.cupboard.draw knobs and of course the superb wood work...


..this was very clever...  proper washer/dryer in the shower behind a clear perspex door..


Lovely...


Wasn't all wind and bluster (following)...  sat on the foredeck seat on one of the big sailing cat's - didn't like it as much as the HR... 


Racing sledge...  superb, lovely clean design, and looks super fast but with room to get below for a cuppa when the weather breaks... 


French of course...  very pretty...


...finished off with a look round these two old ladies who were moored next to each other..


Lively Lady in particular was in stunning condition after the major part of a full restoration in previous months - worth following their Facebook page...


..and Suhaili - solid as a rock...


Great show - layout changes every year, but just as enjoyable as ever... 

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Drag race..

Quick trip out on a late Sunday afternoon..  tide at 1730 and I was supposed to be cooking Sunday dinner that evening so just a few hours on the water.. 

F4 gusting 5 according to Cambermet when I got on the boat, so I wound in the usual reef on the main and this time as an experiment I wound in a foam pipe at the luff end of the boom to try and preserve the shape a little better - not 100% sure as I had a crease, but performance was nothing to be upset about..

I had assumed a SW'ly from the forecasts so was expecting the usual long beat against a strong early flood but what I actually got was that soldiers wind again, which powered me down to the bottom of the harbour in a glorious manner..  3.5 and four knots against the tide with a foul('ish) bottom and you know you're motoring! Very pleasing..

Fast run back to the moorings and I was home in time to put the roasties on..  sublime...

Log:


Distance: 8.25 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 gusting F5; SWxW going WxS
Sail Plan: Reefed main & 75% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  4.9 / 2.9

Friday, 14 September 2018

Fisherman's friend... up to Emsworth..

Another cracking day on the water in shorts and tshirt long after I was expecting to be able to.. 

Westerly's this time - a "soldiers wind" suitable for visiting either end of the harbour, the only wrinkle being there wasn't much of it, but there was a lot of water in the tide...

First order of the day then - fully three and a half hours before high tide was to actually get to the boat as there wasn't much of it about..  I have sailed three and a half before HT but usually they're a neap and with a 4mtr plus difference this was definitely a spring...

No matter - the sun was warm and I got the boat ready, tried a little spinning with the fishing rod, and on the hour of three hours before dropped the mooring and had a go..   little sludgy at times but we were soon pushing up the ditch...

First stop then, Emsworth channel..  past the mid channel pontoon, Fisherman's,  and I eventually did a curtsy by the visitors quay before heading back down harbour...

Just past Fisherman's...  lovely landfall..

Visitors quay/pontoon..
Wind continued to be fluky but mostly westerly, and a long slow reach down harbour against the tide was just what the doctor ordered...

With the clock ticking away though all good things come to an end and a turn and beat back to the top of the harbour soon set the world to rights...  another sighting of a seal in the moorings was a double bonus..

So no fish, but a glorious day on the water at the end of the season, and that little trip takes me to within 10 miles of last seasons mileage total..  it was a late starter but it really has been an amazing sailing year and there's still just over a month to go!

Log:


Distance: 9.41 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  F2 gusting F3; WxS through WxN
Sail Plan: Full main and 90% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  4.2 / 2.1

Monday, 3 September 2018

Vernerculi, vernercula, err.. redux..

Honest .. it was like ground-hog day..  

First on the agenda today though was a bit of a scrub as Sparrow's bottom was looking a bit unkempt (boom, tshh...) .. now in previous years two or three circuits of the boat with a stiff broom resting on the dinghy thwart to apply upwards pressure, and then broom pulled back and forth has been enough to clear most of the detritus, but I noticed immediately that this year was a little different..  hate to see what I'm going to find on lift out, but I suspect it won't be as good as last year, as this year I have a huge crop of barnacles...  hottest summer since '76 here, weeks of 30 degree Celsius, and the boat is basically sitting in an organic rich, warm, petri dish, so I suspect that's the cause..  in this case the solution was to turn the broom over and use the hard edge to scrape the barnacles off, before turning it the right way for the scrub..  antifoul??  Growmore more like..    It is however most satisfying to see hundreds of barnacles floating off down tide...

That done time for a sail...  that b*stard wind from Friday was still with us, with a bigger tide (more water sloshing about) but the weather was warmer, so same sail plan, same drill, just slower speeds...  there is something intrinsically weird at watching your boat move sideways almost faster than you are going forwards, but we were getting 3 knts through the water most of the afternoon...

Motor sailed to Emsworth Beacon and then the engine racket was too much, so off it went and I started tacking...  two hours later and made Verner, turned and had the run back to the mooring fishing rod deployed.. 

A major source of irritation throughout the afternoon was the genoa getting caught on the windward stays by the leech line cam cleat..  mine is one of these...  made by Gransegal I believe..


The issue was that the stay catches behind the lip of the cleat (on the right in this picture) effectively anchoring the sail on that tack, the only way to release it is main force and either pull it in from the tack you are going to, or pull it and release it again from the tack you are going from  - enough's enough, it's positively dangerous when you're short tacking in a confined space, so I have removed it - I had the same issue on Pap and did the same then ..  I don't think I've ever used the leech line, and should I ever need to there is also an eyehole to secure the leech line in...

Despite that it was an utter joy to be out..  start of September and a week ago I thought summer had gone, but today I sailed in shorts and tshirt and returned home, slightly burnt, and slightly salty, but much refreshed in mind..  what a cracking sail..

Log:




Distance: 10.64 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 gusting F4; SE going S
Sail Plan: Full main and 80% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 5.3 / 2.6