Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Delivery cruise - AmiLy

Almost bit Rod the Mod's arm off when he asked if I fancied joining him on AmiLy for a little delivery trip round from Portsmouth to Chichester..

Rodder's is in the process of getting her ready for sale and she had a little glass fibre damage as a result of life on a pontoon in the middle of all the winter gales, so was taking her round from her usual berth to Chichester, in fact Northney marina just across the way from Sparrow's domicile, for repairs..

So an early start was in order so as to be able to do some bodging on Sparrow's tender and launch trolley before I met up with him; the trolley is old and is beginning to succumb to terminal rust, for the time being I angle grinded off the worst bits, and bolted on a new block of wood as a nose rest..  I then added a few extra screws to the tender to tighten up the block that the rowlocks fit in, and also tightened up the bolts that had worked lose from the last fix in on the transom [clicky] - finished up with a coat of wood preservative and all was good for a return to the pen in time to meet up with Rod..

Left my car at Northney - we then went to pick up Dave - on the boat and leaving by 12 in what looked like some boisterous conditions. Heading out of the berth a decision was swiftly taken to put a reef in (just the one but it turned out to be a good call) before we headed off down harbour..

Big Lizzy was in...
..and that was largely it - we then had the most fantastic downwind/very broad reach to the West Pole via the outer gate in the submarine barrier - getting windier as the afternoon went on, but with tide behind as well it was a glorious sail in a Solent at its very finest; a bit pitch'y and roll'y because of the aforesaid wind tide combination, but the sun shone, the water glittered, and visibility was as clear as a bell all the way to Cowes and beyond...

Gybed (remarkably easily and controlled) at the West Pole and then had a broad reach into and up the harbour before arriving Northney, tying up, and collapsing for a beer and a snooze in the sun...  three old men content with the world!

Superb day..

Log:


Distance: 18 miles (13.91from start of track - added a few miles from their to Whale Island)
Wind: F5 gusting F6; SW going SWxW
Sail Plan: One reef in the main, full jib.
Speed: 7.1 / 5.6 (!)

Monday, 16 July 2018

Fishing and HISC and catwalloped..

How good was it to get out on the water in Sparrow...

So - been a while since the last sail - a whole load of duff tide weekends, and then the Jolly Boys cruise, then a spot of being ill, and here we are 6 weeks after I last took her out...

Prime time tide today (14:00'ish) so I was on the boat by 11, in what looked like not very much water (and still no sight of the damned windex ).

A quick sort out, checked the bilges (dry) and I then changed the fuel in the outboard remote tank to fresh as it dated from Easter/launch weekend, and in this heat that's more than long enough. with fresh fuel engine started up second or third pull, and we were ready go..  only downside was what looked to be not very much wind.. in which case, fishing rod was deployed and ready...

Motored down the channel - I did consider raising main in the pool by the bridge but there really wasn't a lot of water about - and then finally raised main and rolled out genoa as I passed Sweare Deep... just as I caught my one fish of the day..

Motor sailed past Marker as the wind was just, just, right to do it on one tack most of the time - it kept veering a few degrees more south every now and again - but the engine was finally switched off just past Marker and then I had a couple of excellent sails down to HISC (almost) and back, while enjoying the sun, and an increasing breeze..

Cracking day rounded off by a chat with some of the Jolly Boys (and partner) on their kayak's, and Silhouette Chris back on the moorings - and another seal sighting in the moorings as I was tying up ...  absolutely cat-wolloped when I got home though - that bout of illness took it out of me..

I'm doing a delivery trip with Rod the Mod on Tuesday - AmiLy is going into Northney for some work so he, t'other Dave, and I will bring her round from Whale Island - we have high hopes we'll be able to fly the chute (also known as the purple meany)..  I'm meeting them at 11, so I think some much needed bodge'ry on the tender and launch trailer is the order of the day before I meet them..  more anon..

Log:


Distance: 9.42   (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F3 going F4 (& gusting bottom end of a  F5 by the end of the sail); SW going SWxS
Sail Plan: Full main; couple of rolls in the genoa..
Speed: 2.3 / 5.0

Saturday, 23 June 2018

Jolly Boys Cruise - 2018

Just about recovered from this years Jolly Boys cruise, and as the washing is now done I guess I need to write up the log.. 

So yet another triumph..  in fact considerably better than last years trip,but not without the usual Lymington cock up...

So it was the team conjoined on Friday evening at Rod's place for a swift trip to the boat which was reached about 5 in the evening only to be found well and truly stuck in the mud on the pontoon (low water springs strike)..  doubly irritating as target was Cowes which easily 3 hours away and we were looking for dinner..  Rod had moved her round earlier in the day, but clearly still not deep enough despite the dredging they've done this summer..  Nothing for it but to have a tea, and then try the motor at ever increasing revs, and an hour later we were off and the decision was taken to go for Gosport Marina (the Premier one) rather than Cowes..  safely ensconced (and this marina was a first for me) we departed for food and found an all you can eat Chinese buffet, which we took full advantage of!

Saturday dawned sunny, but with a stiff breeze, and the decision was to put in the second reef, the good news is that the boat we charter ('Ocean Waves of Albany', a Hallberg Rassy 342) had been fitted with roller furling over the winter so less faff with head sails..

Good decision, with a stiff F5 on the nose (it seemed to be for most of the weekend to be honest) we had a good 3 or 4 hour upwind beat to Cowes arriving mid afternoon to find the place absolutely rammed..  seems there were a number of rallys on this weekend and also a leg of one of the big ISC races..  we ended up on the pontoon at the Folly, and another first for me because we were rafted, as middle boat of three.. catching the ferry down to Cowes we caught up with Smithy and t'other Dave who had left early to watch the rugby, grabbed some beers in the Island Sailing Club, and then adjourned for food at the Duke of York (very nice I thought)

Folly reach..

Sunday dawned grey, with the same breeze blowing we left the reefs in, and after a later breakfast (while we waited for the tide to set fair in the Solent) we left for Lymington and had what I think was best sail we've ever had..  it had  picked up a little from yesterday so was more F6 than F5, but a Hallberg Rassy is a heavy old boat, with a heavy old keel, and she just loved it..  superb sailing, a real sense of achievement when we finally dropped sails outside of Lymington and headed in for a well deserved beer...

Dave, Dave and Smithy looking Volvo Ocean Race'ish..  or not...

"Captain, my captain.."
...calls made earlier we were already booked into the marina so headed in..  now readers who have read previous logs of the Jolly Boys cruise will know it rarely goes well in Lymington..  and so it was here...  Dave took her in but got blown by the wind as went round the corner of the finger berth, so we sent Smithy and t'other Dave in to the finger berth with mooring lines to pull her in...  hauling manfully on the forward mooring rope, I looked down fascinated to see the end of it just coming off the cleat on the boat, and Smithy took two steps back and disappeared off the other side of the pontoon...   Having checked he was OK first, we then laughed and laughed - one of the funniest things we've seen and easily better than me going full stretch on my arse two years earlier on a slimed up wooden pontoon in Portsmouth...  I can confirm his auto inflate life jacket went off..  I can confirm that from sheer luck he didn't have his phone on him... 

Drip.. drip..  drip... drip..
...a fully clothed shower ensued, and then having found the dryers in the marina laundry we put it on the hottest setting and shoved the whole lot in.. time for a curry (Rivaaz - very good!)

I can confirm we slept well..  

Monday just for once dawned sunny, but still windy, but being at the "top" of the Solent we had more options, and the decision was taken to go for lunch at Newtown Creek a very favourite destination with the Jolly Boys..  being a Monday we were also hoping it would be quieter than it looked when we had gone past the day before..

Two old men looking for cake...
Jib only run down wind with tide ensued and there surely isn't a better way to travel

Hurst narrows over our shoulder as we ran down wind from Lymington..
...and this was my view for most of it...   a screen saver if ever there was one...



Soon enough though Newtown was reached and we were able to conform that there was indeed room at the inn for a 34 footer on the moorings..

Entrance to the creek..
The entrance to the creek is narrow to say the least and it was low water (on previously mentioned springs) so although it was deep'ish there wasn't much room to manoeuvre once we got in but happily e got the one on the end and settled down to watch the world go by for a totally edifying couple of hours while we decided where to go..

...and just inside...damn windy as can be seen..




Soon enough time to depart however, and a decision was taken to try another new to us location - Hamble le Rice..  dropped the mooring, almost motored over it, and then threaded our way out of the narrow entrance before running for Southampton water in an ugly nasty wind over tide chop, with waves of up to three feet at times..  two hours of that and we were more than a little happy to round Calshot and head into Southampton water..

Our destination for the night was Port Hamble marina, which is damn difficult to find in a river that is completely and totally rammed with yachts in marina' from one end of it to the other...! 

Noisy neighbours Port Hamble marina..
Funny old place the Hamble.. absolutely rammed with boats..  there must be thousands and thousands and thousands of them...  mostly high end, and/or racing machines..  so MUCH money it makes your eyes water...

Time for some beer and dinner..  first stop of the night was the RAFYacht club who mde us very welcome (one as visiting yachtsmen, and two because Ocean Waves is chartered from the Royal Marines Sailing Club so there's a service link) - they have a truly lovely location which must be worth I don't know how much, but some beers outside n the verandah were very much enjoyed...


...next stop was top end however, Royal SouthernYC, who also welcome visiting yachtsmen but perhaps not as much as their RAF neighbours do (or maybe it was the slight smell of diesel and mould we all had, or the shorts, or the fact that Dave pulled the red emergency cord in the disabled toilets thinking it was the toilet flush? ) anyway, it is a truly awesome building, but a little "stiff", and we are not... 





....and after a further beer and some good food while listening to the end of the England Tunisia match we again slept well...

...and so the day dawned for the final trip - Tuesday. I have to admit I was keen to get home as I had a funeral on the Wednesday but didn't want to drag everyone else back but it seemed most were OK with a suggestion that we do a long run downwind under jib to Seaview where we could pick up a mooring and bask in what little sun there was while we finished the provisions..   

...and that was it, all food finished, all beer finished, and we were back on the mooring and packing up by five... a brilliant four days out...  now, where's Sparrow... ??

Log:


Distance: 70.92 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)



Wind: 

  • Sat F5 gusting F6; SW
  • Sun F5 gusting top end F6; SW
  • Mon Both ends of a F5 gusting F6; SWxS
  • Tues F4; SWxS/WSW


Sail Plan: Either full or 2nd reef main; full or second reef jib
Speed: See distance section above..  NB. Dave N. had the weekend record with a spotted 8.7 kts (SOG) on Sunday afternoon..

All done... and work beckons.. 

Monday, 4 June 2018

Scraping the bottom of the barrel.. err, knee..

After a day spent fettling last weekend, this time I was definitely going sailing..

So it was that just shy of 1400 I was seen throwing off the mooring chain for a pootle down the harbour.. the outboard was where I'd left it, the new cover for the engine head worked a treat, and I can confirm that not having to manhandle the beast across the cockpit saves an inordinate amount of time...

Winds were southerly, which are a complete and total b*tch for getting anywhere, so I knew it was going to be a motor day, as I was damned if i was going to spend the time beating against tide to get past Marker.. 

Cracked out the genoa to get me to the end of the Emsworth Channel (which gave me a knot or two against tide), then rolled it in as I turned south to head for the mouth of the harbour...

Motored until I got to Verner, put the rags up, and then bore away and headed south east across the sands towards Hill Head and Itchenor Reach...

..this is fellow club member, and Hurley owner, Chris, in his immaculate Silhouette Mk.3



..not what you'd call a fast sail - I averaged four all the way I think, and I was continually being headed so had to slip in a couple of tacks to stop me going too shallow, but finally arrived at the channel, shot across, weaved between the myriad of anchored yachts and motor cruisers, rounded Snowhill, and then close reached towards HISC (the sailing club at the entrance to the harbour)

East Head in the sun - popular attraction as you can see!
Broad reached to the bottom of the main channel just off the sailing club, and then turned for a goose wing run in a dying breeze, before putting the engine back on just south of Marker for a quick trip back to the mooring before the water disappeared..

Fellow club member Julian out for the same as me - noticed both he and Chris had reefs in - apparently the forecast was for considerably more than we actually got..
Good trip on the whole...  glorious weather....

..had the VHF on and was pleased to hear a fair quantity of legible traffic on Ch 16 and 67, not perfect, but OK..  I was even picking up traffic from QHM Portsmouth..  I'll carry on with the plan to replace the plug and we'll see if that improves the situation - it's more likely that the VHF set is 'getting on a bit' to be honest...

..picked the mooring up first time, tripped on the edge of the fore hatch, fell over, landed on the foredeck, scraped knee, but happily didn't go over board...  every now and again we are taught lessons about not taking boats lightly... and I was mightily pleased I'd fitted the boarding ladder.... 


  Log:


Distance: 11.27   (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Both ends of a F3; S going SWxS (sea breeze filling in)
Sail Plan: Full main / most of the genoa...
Speed: 4.9 knots max. / 3 knots avg

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Fixed VHF.. err, fixed..

UK has just had another long bank holiday weekend, but despite good weather, the sailing was not optimal..  F6's and F7's on the Saturday, and then nothing on the Sunday/Monday... fairly typical of my luck...

So it was that Monday found me on the boat to do some more fettling - I mentioned on the winter job round up I had a couple of jobs to finish and with the weather roasting, and the harbour flat as a flat thing, today was the day...

Two jobs I wanted to do today, but the one I was looking forward to was the completion of the connectivity for the fixed VHF I physically fitted over the winter but never had time to wire in...  pleased to say that was completed, and I also took the time to start tidying up some of the wiring to the switch panel...  as I thought I'd have to [clicky]
as I put more elements into the switch panel I was running out of free switches, so first I daisy chained the USB charger and voltmeter to a single positive/switch to free up one of the two auxillary's using one of these left over from the cabin lighting job, and then used the now spare aux switch for the VHF - come the winter I'll fit some ducting I think to tidy the wiring but for not it's neat enough and runs down the back of the port hole curtain...  spare sticker and the aux switch becomes "VHF radio" and switching it one delivers the usual burst of static...


I have some further checks to do as reception is not what you'd call brilliant..

The VHF was acquired second hand three or four years ago and is old, pre-DSC in fact; the aerial is new but I have my doubts about the quality of the fitting for the (PL59) plug, so first step is to clean and resolder that..  something of a first, I have a butane soldering iron on the way as I'll need to do it away from the mains...

Once I've done that I'll also test on the hand held and see if there's a difference - if there is, then the fixed VHF is almost certainly past its sell by date, if there isn't then the aerial may be faulty and I can check that...

Swings and roundabouts - that's life on the water on a budget... 

Second job was something I've been thinking about doing for some time which is to secure the outboard to the back of the boat so as not have to keep lifting it on and off, and knacker'ing my back in the process.. the engine is fairly heavy, I can lift it, but it's not easily manoeuvrable and with the back board on the stern, and the recessed well it's a little worrying as at one point the engine hangs 80% off the back with just one of my hands holding it while I let go and swing the other hand over the board to re-grab it..

All done, and to insurance company requirements - I also have a new outboard top cover as taking some advise, I'm storing the engine cowl separately as another deterrent...

As in all things - none of it will stop someone who wants it - hell, one of the guys in the club had his engine chainsawed off the transom of his boat over the winter - but what I'm looking to do is keep the insurance happy that I've done more than the minimum, while putting off an opportunistic thief, but also whilst also not making it too 'difficult' to steal if they're absolutely certain they want it - I don't want to have to spend months repairing, when I could be sailing with a replacement engine...

..and on that happy note - time to look for some sailing time!

PS. Two weeks to the 2018 Jolly Boys Cruise..  can't wait...

Monday, 21 May 2018

..bird poo kind of a day...

...which sums it up nicely really..

Massive tide today - well into springs - and although sunny the wind was cold, but more disappointingly was well south of south west which meant it was directly on the nose.. not exactly conducive for a trip to the bottom of the harbour unless I ran the engine all the way, and I couldn't be bothered...

Brisk breeze though which allowed me to see how the stays were set (port side lower rear needed tightening) some decent speeds over ground when I turned with the tide...  but a busy old harbour today, I spent a lot of time dodging and tacking and dodging...  on the runs and reaches it was sublime, on the beats it was just cold...

Turned and headed for home and did a damn good clean of the boat which was disgusting when I got on board, damn shite hawks have clearly been living on a diet of seafood curry of the hottest type... 

...."clam vindaloo, sir?".. "I don't mind if I do"...
So in between wheeling a mop manfully, I also spent time tightening down the shrouds and then securing them with some mousing wire (though I have an alternative idea about that), also tidied up the forestay fitting, and cranked on an extra half inch of back stay...

...disgusterous beasts...
So all in all - a lovely day to be on the water, and while I didn't exactly set the world alight, I accomplished a bit, but definitely had a good day on the water... 

Log:


Distance: 6.33  (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F3 gust F4, going to F3; SE going SW through the session
Sail Plan: Full main, usual 75% genoa
Speed: 5.0/2.7 (though I saw some 5.3's and 5.4's when running with the tide on occasion)

Monday, 14 May 2018

An "ish" day...

Not the most exciting of days but boy did it de-stress....  a sunny (ish), warm (ish), gentle breeze, type of a day and with the winds from an interesting direction..  mid day high tide, all the omens were good, and it was a cracking day to be out on the water...  didn't quite manage to hit the "outstanding", but definitely hit the "good"...


The seals were also enjoying it... 


...and this was just beautiful...


...a remarkably low key kind of day for such a cracker..?

...talking of beautiful - I've had this as a desktop for ages


...and yesterday I saw Freyja (the one in the middle) in the flesh - an Emsworth boat, and I can confirm she is definitely beautiful...

...quick motor back to the mooring for a beer, cigar, and watching the world go by as I waited for the tide to drop a bit, which it did, but still no joy on the windex..  water too cloudy and too deep still... 

Log:



Distance: 10.24 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Both ends of a F3; WNW going SWxS (sea breeze)
Sail Plan: Full main; full/partial genoa
Speed: 4.4/2.9 knots (max./avg.)