Friday, 4 October 2019

Southampton Boat Show 2019

Shtandart [clicky]

Much overdue, but I've been busy.. 

A good show this year again I thought.. my feet certainly told me it was the next day anyway..  I refuse to get excited about going on the big expensive one's, but I never tire of looking at them, and there were some crackers to look at.. 

Given my usual sailing experience I am far more interested in the smaller boats..  less of the newer/development one's this year (though the tried and trusted Cornish/Bay were there in force as usual, and also some smaller boats I've seen before in the main arena)..  this one did catch my eye however.. BTC-22 from Buckley Yacht Design [clicky] entirely British made..  and in Southampton as well...  more here [clicky], but I had a long and interesting conversation with one of the builders/designers (for which kudos, as it was the last weekend of the show, he'd been there a week, and still took time out to talk to a 'tyre kicker'.. )..  reasonable price, and from a quality builder (they build the Hawk 20), I do hope they do well..

They usually have a tall ship at the show (Kskelot last year) but this years was a bit special..

The frigate ‘Shtandart’ is a full-size replica of the flagship of the first Russian Baltic fleet built in 1999. There were no plans so they used naval historian, Victor Krainyukov, who had been commissioned in 1987 by the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg to find out everything possible about the ship.

After extensive research in the archives and records for multiple nations, and with the discovery of an 18th Century which showed the Shtandart in action, they had enough to go on to rebuild the ship. She's made in larch and is stunning..  the web site [clicky] has some shots of her under full sail that are superb..

From old style to old school..  Gypsy Moth was also at the show looking good..

Top it off with good company, and a couple of pints of Guinness in the Guinness bar and there's not a  lot not to like..   roll on next years show...

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Lazy hazy day drifting..

....with perhaps a little fishing along the way... fishey's were damaged in the making of this production, although a decent size, I thought he was better off with the rest of the guys and girls, so after his/her photo shoot he went back over the side..  by the by, handsome looking fish, mackerel..

Anyway - I jump ahead of myself..  a brief hiatus of Indian summer here in the UK, and from the ridiculous (of the last sail) to the sublime of this weekend...  Wth a dog tide weekend in between where the tides were good for nothing, I was determined to try and grab some sailing time, though I knew up front the winds weren't going to be up to much..  nonetheless this seemed to be the better of the two days so down to the boat by 10 - three hours before high tide - signs that other club members were doing the same..

I'd bought the stiff bristle broom with me as the last time I came down I noticed the weed was beginning to take hold - two transits of the boat and the weed had gone from waterline and rudder, and I hopped on board to ready the boat..  we were gone by 11, motoring down the trench in a light Easterly wind, and following a fellow club boat....  as we came off Northney I noticed the gulls sitting on the water, so engaging autopilot ducked down below for the rod to be ready..  as we went through I dropped the rev's and let go the spinner and 5 minutes later the chap/chap'ess above joined me..  first fish of the season..

Raised the main shortly after, let out all the genoa, bore away fro the harbour entrnce and then...  just drifted..  occasional puff of just about F2, bit of F1, occasionally nothing, and all the time the wind was heading as the heat kicked in..

I felt for the guys doing the Round Hayling race.. hard work...  I noticed SUP's were in the race this year..

Half an hour later 4 dragon boats came past and that looked even harder work...

When it became clear that I was never going to make Marker against tide and a fluky wind, I turned for home, dodged the Optimist fleet that was drifting in a race, and headed back to the mooring..  I was crisp round the edges, but a surprisingly good day considering I hadn't gone anywhere!


Distance: 5.19 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 going F2 and occasional F0; anywhere between E and SSE
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  4.9 (motor) / 2.0

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Clipper Round the World race 2019/20 - race start London

....must be be my third Clipper start and it was as good as ever..  hard not to be affected by a race that starts on the Thames, in the sun, and all those enthusiastic crews..  let's hope they're still enjoying it as much when they get to Punta del Este in 4000 miles time... 

First thing first though, beer...  the Dean Swift is still one of my favourite London pubs and fulfilled that wish in spades...  a walk across Tower bridge to St Katherine's dock (the official race start) and after a small wait we were on a spectator boat..  a day of firsts today, and this was the first time I remember going under the bridge...  a stupidly fast tide running (springs - see yesterday) so we went under backwards.. 

Soon the boats - 11 of them in this race - were exiting St Katherine's to cheers all round and loud music..  quite liked the choice for the Seattle boat (Nirvana, 'natch...)

..once they all exited the docks, they headed up river before coming down river in a procession of sail through the raised arms of Tower bridge... stunning..

Punta del Este sponsored for this race by the port of the same name..

Lovely day to be on the river and we settled down for a gentle stroll down river to admire the boats and the sights...

...I never fail to be amazed by how many channels, dock gates, and water entrances there still are on this stretch of the Thames..   most of them gentrified and turned into flats and developments now, but this must have been an amazing site back in the day when all the wharf buildings were warehouses rather than plush apartments..

...Greenwich looking stunning in the sun...

Passing the O2 with Canary Wharf and the banks in the distance..

...and then my second "first" of the day..  waving goodbye to the boats at the Thames barrier we actually went through before turning to come back up river...

...the tide fairly shifts through there..  I suspect the little Mariner might have struggled...  

Brilliant day..  fair winds to the crews, safe returns for all, and good racing!

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Something wicked this way comes..

...told you.. 

An unusual Saturday sail this week as tomorrow (today as I write) I'm off to London to see the start of the Clipper race [clicky] (the Sir Robin Knox Johnston round the world race for amateur crews) which is always a cracking day out..  my brother in law works for the race and has managed to get us some guest tickets on one of the spectator boats... more in the next post...

Either way - forecasts were indicating it might get a bit lively, certainly livelier than it was when I got on the boat, but needs must, and 'proper preparation prevents..' etcetc so I wacked in a reef on the main and cast off for a dead down wind run down the trench..  the wind was almost westerly for the whole trip which is ideal for getting to the bottom of the harbour..  typically of course it went round more south for an hour in the middle, but happily, after I'd passed Marker

Other than that a lovely trip..  with the wind westerly I had planned to head straight out of the harbour, as I had plenty of time, and we're on springs so plenty of water. The wind heading, and then that view above over my shoulder put paid to that..  the camera didn't do it justice (honest..  ), it was black and ominous, and as it came in the wind picked up half a force at least, so a decision was taken to gybe and head for home...

Stupdendous drag race then ensued up the harbour, wind over the quarter and the weather helm on the tiller was building, slack tide so 5.5 knots true, she was flying..  came round the corner at Fisherman's and the wind came on the nose so sails down, engine on, and back to the mooring..  job done..  man it was good to be sailing again.


Distance: 9.25 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 gusting (top) F5; WxS with an hour of SWxW in the middle
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.5 / 3 knots

Tuesday, 27 August 2019


So my sailing season lurches back into a slightly stilted form of life after the events of a few posts back..  so what's been happening?

First off - despite 3 glorious days of warmth over the national holiday weekend in the UK, tide times were rubbish, and if I'd been tempted to do a double tider (and I was) there was not a breath all 3 days - massive high with zephyr like breaths of wind...  no good...

On Saturday I grabbed the opportunity anyway, bolted on the new/loaned engine (fresh from a service), and departed for a test motor with the option of shoving the sails up should there be even a breath...  well the engine was good ==>

...despite it's diminutive size (and it is so light..) it pushes the good ship Sparrow along at 3.5 knots against tide - which is enough..  but no wind, I put the main up, then took the main down, slapped on the autopilot, got the fishing rod out...  no success - so back to the mooring for a chat with various members...  

Course for the day..

So I hear on the club grape vine that I am not the only one to have suffered - one of the other club members has had an engine stolen as well, and when I got down to the pen where I keep the tender I find a big hole and one of the other members has had his tender stolen (owned it all his sailing life - much loved and looked after)... What is wrong with people?? What sh*ts... 😞 For me the insurance has paid out so I'm looking for a new engine, but I'm not in a rush - the loaner has given me time to look about..


Distance: 4.07 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top - but this not counted as it was all motoring)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  n/a
Sail Plan: n/a
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.7 / 3.1