Ships log for the yacht "Sparrow" an Ian Anderson designed
'Hurley 20', sail no. 109, launched 16th November 1967.
This is the day to day stuff involved with owning and sailing a
small boat, so nothing earth shattering but there'll also
hopefully be some adventures along the way..

Monday, 27 September 2021

Toe in the water..

Been a while, but following the last sail where the engine decided to go "putttt" I took her off to the outboard engineers for a once over convinced that the issue was the throttle cable (despite it being in good condition)..

With the delivery issues we're currently experiencing in the UK (bottom line a shortage of HGV drivers that may, or may not, be caused by Brexit depending on who you believe) he was concerned that it could take 3 to 4 weeks, but as it turned out 2 weeks and she was done, and yes, it was a throttle cable which was replaced..

Took a day off and refitted it over one high tide - again using the boom as a crane, and the main sheet for lifting "grunt" - this worked so well that I could almost get it into the outboard scoop  whilst still using the tackle - excellent, and so much easier...

I'd also noticed that I seemed to be leaking oil from somewhere (I suspect the oil dipper wasn't screwed in tight enough), and after a top up of oil gave her a run just to confirm all was good - and it was..  

Going forward I have decided to not raise the outboard leg to the top position when I leave the boat..  because the boat is nose heavy, it can mean the prop is higher than the block at times, and that can't be a good thing, so I now leave it in the mid position - the prop is half/quarter submerged while she's floating, but the angle of the leg when she dries is much better, and when I went out this time there was no sign of any further leakage, so job's a good'un I think..

I had no intention of actually going out at all when I got to the boat, the intent was to give her a once over and make sure everything was OK as the weather when I left home was grey, humid, and wind'less - when I got to the boat however, it was warm , sunny and with a nice breeze!

Throwing caution to the wind I dropped the mooring and headed off down the cut in a weaving and zig zag manner as I re-learnt some sail raising skills after what seemed like a long time..

It was a short trip - by the time I got to the headland at the bottom of the Emsworth channel it was gusting a good top end 5, and greying over..  I wasn't ready for it (too much sail up, couldn't be bothered to reef, and just after HT anyway) so turned, dropped the sails and went back to laze in the cockpit on the mooring, but not before losing my prized BAR America's Cup hat over the side... a perfect man overboard recovery (albeit on the the 3rd attempt!) however, and she was returned to the boat..


Distance: 2.5 miles  (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 gusting F5; WxS
Sail Plan: Full main partial genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  3.5 knots

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Southampton Boat Show 2021

We're hot to trot...

So after the huge disappointment of last years late cancellation (and yes I'm fully aware that that could at best be described as a "first world problem" in light of the other sh*t that has liberally besmirched us all thanks to COVID, but as my mate says "that may be so, but I live in the first world") the Boat Show is back - albeit on a slightly smaller scale, and with a few extra hoops to jump through to get in..  minimum requirement was double jabs, but they also asked for one of those to the left within 48 hours of attending...  no skin off my nose, I was just pleased they were putting the show on and attempting to keep us safe.. throw in the fact that the tickets were paid for out of the voucher they gave me last year following the last shows cancellation and I'd say that I was more than a little looking forward to it...

Plans were drawn to attend with my sister and brother in law, but a week before we were due to go, the brother in law (who works for Clipper) was sent abroad so in the end just me and my sis went - but what a cracking day..

Number of exhibitors was down - not noticeably so - but at the end of the day, when I looked back, I had missed the usual Chandlery culprits as I was looking for a few bits and bobs that normally I would have got from them - the big trade tents were reduced to one (normally there are a couple). On the plus side the pontoons were as busy as ever (in fact I thought busier), and the food and beverage choices were better (which had had a positive effect on the price of a pint)

Good day then - so just a few pictures

One day I'll have one of those (above) - who am I kidding, no I won't...  Morgan were at the show and I couldn't resist the 3 Wheeler - British racing green, RAF roundels, Flying Tigers graphics..  lovely..  and the guy running the stand was a delight - knowledgeable and happy to chat..

My eldest is an Eleanor so that was for her - lovely day boat..  note the electric outboard - it was something I noticed increasingly at this years show...

Ludicrous... the Boat Show always has a few niche sellers and this was one of them - above - these are ice buckets on the grand scale - but £500?! Funnily enough the cow was sold already and we saw the new owner taking it home through the middle of Southampton on our way back...  πŸ˜€

Sunseeker or Princess - above - I forget which, but despite not being a motor boat fan I thought that picture was too good to miss - beautiful sunny day and that row of bows just looked fantastic...

My boat of the show - above - the Tofinou 10 [clicky] was absolutely beautiful - stunning boat, and look at that varnish - almost French polished...  also very clever as the sheets and lines run underneath it so as not to intrude...  note also the recessed cleats... looking back over previous Boat Show posts I do seem to have a thing about the Tofinou boats!

From the sublime Tofinou to the ridiculous - above - Dutton...  who buys them???  πŸ˜€

Lastly - above - no show is complete without a classic - and this years was the Dutch tall ship "Morgenster" [clicky] a sail training vessel originally built in 1919, but substantially altered over the years, including a period of service in the pirate radio line! All I can say is that she was absolutely immaculate - a very well looked after ship indeed...

No pictures - but another stand out boat was the Viko 21 [clicky] which I first saw back in 2016, there's a pretty good review of it here [clicky] but I still remain absolutely gobsmacked at the price - the one they had at the show was £26K (!) for a  21 footer..  ready to go... amazing..   The one at the show had a built in A frame to lower/raise the mast with integral 6:1 blocks for doing the lifting and dropping...  lift keel with a bulb..  sails..   roller furling... 

 Couple of pints in the Platform afterwards to end a brilliant day.. love the Boat Show! 

Monday, 23 August 2021


...well that was a funny old day and no mistake...

With sunny days few and far between this summer, any day where no rain was forecast, irrespective of temperature or cloud cover, was always going to be a shoe-in for a day on the water, and so it looked for this Sunday..

13:45 HT and I was on the boat by 11:00 as the first order of the day was to replace one of the two cockpit hatches... these have, without a shadow of a doubt been a catalogue of horrors since day one...  the large sheet of "good quality" "exterior" grade ply that I got is utter rubbish..  voids, gaps, and the mere mention of precipitation and the damn stuff is drinking down water like a Foreign Legionnaire after 7 weeks in the desert...

Irrespective of what I have done, and that includes full epoxy coating the boards, with paint, and extra edging as well, they have singularly failed to perform more than two seasons - which is rubbish...

So I replaced the port side lid over the winter, thinking that the starboard side would do, but the summer has been torrential and interspersed with high temperatures..  and the starboard side ended up taking on water... 

Sh*te..  if you'll excuse the French

 Knocked up a new one this week (getting fast as I've had enough practice), drilled and fitted it this weekend...  I have epoxied all the edges, filled gaps/voids with epoxy and micro ballons, two coats of epoxy primer per side with edges done at the same time (so four coats), and two coats of paint...   if it makes it to the end of the season*, I'll be amazed...   πŸ˜€

Having done that I fired up the outboard (first time on Super, as the base unleaded in the UK has gone E10 - 10% methanol - but super remains E5 for the time being), dropped the mooring and headed down the ditch on a most unusual reach...   

Not a bad mooring at all...  😊

North westerly's are rare round here so the chance to full reach down the channel is rare..  in a south westerly the land mass causes a wind shadow..  even weirder to goosewing to the top of the main channel, and then turn on to a broad reach down it...

Sun came out, shed loads of boats, not much breeze but every now and again a gust would come through to make you pay attention..  have to say that it was idyllic sitting on the new cabin "perching pad" and watching the world go by as we gently perambulated down the harbour (against tide) at 3 and a bit knots..  glorious...

Bottom of the harbour was nose to tail, racing dinghy's, cruisers heading for the Solent, fishermen, foiling and non-foiling windsurfers, everyone was out to play - including this fellow...

Apologies for the quality - he was a bit of a way away...

Turned and then had a lovely beat up the harbour...   every now and again the wind would come a little more westerly and you gained some magic yards on the north'ing, but the sun continued to shine and as I got to the end of the rythe the engine came on for a fast run back to the mooring...

Where it then all turned a bit pear shaped....

As I approached the mooring I lowered the revs to make sure I didn't overrun the mooring and 20 yards short the engine died...  "uh oh" I thought, and went to restart it..  sometimes she doesn't like idle on low revs so it wasn't too much of a concern, but the fact that the engine wouldn't restart at all, was... 

No way that engine was going to restart, and given it had been running completely well to that point, my immediate thought was carburettor, blocked perhaps?

Practically teleported to the front of the cabin, threw everything out of the way, finally grabbed the anchor, and headed for the cockpit, tied the end of the anchor chain to the the nearest bit of rope I had (main sheet as it happened), and chucked the anchor over the side, and tied off the rope - anchor held, the Lord be praised..

Next job was to find a lift, the alternative was to swim with a long rope as the mooring was still only 30 yards away, and once I got there I could tie it off and haul myself in, but just as I got my phone and came back in to the cockpit, my boat neighbour turned up... bless him#, 15 minutes later I was back on the mooring, tied up and tidying up...

A check of the engine identified that it has revs in plenty when the throttle on the actual engine was flicked..  but not when the throttle hand grip was twisted...  removed the cable - no issues, but noticed that there was drag where the cable meets the metal elbow at the twist end (see diagram) and there were indications of previous damage...  tide was disappearing fast which stopped any further investigation so I  put it all back together, tidied up as best I could, and headed for home and a beer... 


Went out this morning, completed the tidying, had a little more time to investigate the issue, got nowhere, so with the help of the boom and mainsheet as a crane put the engine in the tender, and have now dropped it at the mechanics for repair and investigation...  worst case two weeks, but if the part is in stock then much shorter...

Bit of a pfffft day, but on balance, given the number of crisis and challenges, I think it was  good result..  I learnt a lot more about the engine, the decision to deploy the anchor was done quickly (I need to get that anchor hawse fitted though), anchor worked, and the boom crane was brilliant, worked far better than I thought...  

* the summer is going fast, she comes out the week of the 17th-24th October
# Chris, many thanks matey, I DEFINITELY owe you a beer...


Distance: 9.19 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 gusting F4; NWxN
Sail Plan: Full main and jib
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.7 (motor)/1.8

Sunday, 15 August 2021

Quick trip out..

Hadn't even planned to go but was much taken with the sun, warmth, and general loveliness after what seems like weeks of wet, rain, gales, and duff tides...

Plan was actually to go out on Sunday, but having got down to to do some more first aid on the tender (the thwarts are gravitating to the top of the job list this coming winter) I had planned (with the lateness of the tide) to just have a lounge, read a book, and maybe dangle a line...  but the wind was the clincher, glorious, so I dropped the mooring for an hour and a half of bimbling..

Boat electric power good, I also put 5 litres in the fuel tank (I've changed to super/premium as the basic unleaded has gone to E10 and for the small amounts I use it wasn't worth the saving and the possible "costs" of the increased methanol content in damaged pipes/plastics etc.)

Replaced the downhaul on the genoa so that I could lift it the extra few inches (better visibility) - may have some more playing to do there (want to experiment with tensioning on the genoa luff to see what effects there are on the roller furler), we shall see

So...  three or four transits with and against the tide, beating and reaching, bit of music, decent breeze, unexpected pleasure of a sail, nothing to see here..  move along....πŸ˜€


5.31 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Top end F3 gusting F4; SSW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 5.5/3.1 (and those were under sail)

Friday, 30 July 2021

The Jolly Boys Cruise - 2021

...our ride for the weekend...  Halberg Rassy 342 "Ocean Wave of Albany"

As the washing is now done, I guess it's the time to do the log entry for the now nearly mythical event that is the Jolly Boys Cruise..

So yet another triumph - they always are - but I would say not without some less pleasant challenges this time round...  however, you'll be pleased to know that yet again there was no Lymington cock up this year..  but only because we never went...


So it was the team conjoined early on Friday morning at Rod's place for a swift trip to the boat which was reached about 10 for a departure about mid-day (on HT). First days target was Cowes, an easy 2 or 3 hours away, but conditions were good, and also breezy while not requiring reefs despite a number of other boats doing so. Passed Cowes within an easy hour or two, and we just carried on enjoying the Solent tidal escalator that whipped us down to almost Yarmouth within what seemed like a stupidly short period of time. 

We should have realised..   for every idyllic tidally assisted "downhill" run, there is always the "uphill" slog to get back to where you wanted to be until the tide turns, and with 3 or 4 knots of adverse tide for 3 or more hours to come, and an upwind beat, Cowes was a way away now...   as it turned out I had the helm for this, and have to say that it was the most glorious sail I've had on Ocean Wave..  Halberg Rassy's are not built light, and she just went up wind in a good force 4 like she was on rails..  fantastic...

Our destination in Cowes was a first as well - Shepherds Marina, where we also had another first as we were rafted outside of another boat.. nice people with two little one's so we tried to be as quiet as we could..

By the by, all those years of doing Jolly Boys cruises earlier in the year had not really prepared us for some of the difficulties of this one..  a mix of Covid, lack of overseas holidays, start of school holidays, and it being mid July meant that almost every marina in the Solent was rammed..  thousands and thousands of berths and not a one to be had in most places.. Rod ("Captain, my captain") had started phoning round last week and had got spots for two nights - this one, and Yarmouth on Sunday, but we were berth-less for Saturday at this point. 

Food at the Duke of York was (still) very nice I thought.. it being Friday it was fish and chip night for me which was very good, the restaurant manageress made us laugh, and a good time was had by all.. cracking day, but that upwind sail from just short of Yarmouth to Cowes was a blast, and I was still grinning..

We should have slept well, but overnight there was the mother of all thunderstorms what seemed like immediately overhead...  sleeping directly under a 40 foot lightning conductor does focus the mind...

Picture courtesy my Sis..


Saturday dawned grey, still and mizzly - forecast was not brilliant - we knew we'd get sun later but there was little wind around (and by the end of the day the forecast was proven right). Quick call around while we were waiting for breakfast to cook, and we found ourselves a berth for the night in Port Hamble

What to do with the day though? Decision taken to have a gentle motor up Southampton Water to have a look at the simply huge liners and container ships.. there were loads of them in... a lovely warm day, no wind, gentle putter back up the Water towards the Solent and then turned for Port Hamble and the mooring.

Now this was where it all turned a bit brown coloured - suffice to say we were on Springs and there was a fair amount of water flowing out of the Hamble (river) into Southampton Water, but what we didn't realise was how much of that tide was also flowing through the actual marina pontoons. Long story short, our turn into the berth was not fast enough and we ended up t-boned on the anchor of the boat next to us - took out two stanchions on Ocean Wave but with the help of a couple of people on neighbouring boats we managed to haul her in on warps..  shi**y end to the day, but as we said, no one had died, no one was injured, no other boats except ours was damaged^^ (one of us had a roving fender..tick), the damage didn't look awful, but it was very much time for a beer while we sent Rod to the marina office to tell them it was all his fault, and report the accident....

Berth was about where the red circle is - tide was running right to left (yellow arrows) - pic courtesy Ancasta

Dinner at Ye Olde Whyte Harte was OK, not as good as the previous evening, but a day on the water does wonders for the appetite, and certainly the beer was good.


Sunday dawned grey again - with mizzle again - another full English breakfast (this time cooked by t'other Dave) settled the nerves, and forewarned and forearmed by the knowledge of the previous day we made what must have been one of the quickest exits we had ever made from a berth! Plenty of engine revs to counter the tide that was again flowing adversely - even with that we had to do a little shuffle in reverse to get the angle on the exit...  huge sigh of relief to get out without further issue.

Few hours of motoring and the wind began to fill in, and this turned out to be the second best sailing day of the trip..  we had a good tidal assisted sail down to Yarmouth, albeit at one point in time through a cloud burst, and with the odd rumble of thunder over the island..

Smithy in full cloudburst mode..  being the caring bunch of mates we are, we of course disappeared down below to drink tea, eat cake, and hurl abuse...

Such a good sail in fact that we arrived too soon so turned up wind for a little additional sailing time against the tide. a good afternoon..

Sails down we motored into Yarmouth and were treated to the sight of a large seal surfacing, fresh from a kill - looked like he had a nice big flat fish of some sort. 

We had our own berth, but were caught out again by tidal flow in the marina (this time from the river we think) which threw us a little out, but a quick push by the marina's rib, and quick throw of a mooring rope ashore got us out of danger pretty quick. 

A shower, a few beers, and a much needed dinner at the Bugle ended the penultimate day - the food was very good, but a limited choice...

What a shower... Yarmouth pier selfy...


Early start to catch the tide east - we were leaving by 0800 - breakfast cooked and eaten on the go - I have only ever seen the Solent so completely still and flat once before. Not a breath or a ripple...

Leaving Yarmouth

Despite that, the tidal escalator was in full flow, and despite being on only tick over, we were doing 4 to 5 knots over the ground..  hot sun, Solent, and sausages..  perfect.

Passed Newtown, passed Cowes, passed Gilkicker, passed Ryde - took just over 3 hours - amazing. A decision was then taken to head to Seaview to pick up one of the sailing clubs buoys for lunch.

A very enjoyable couple of hours eating lunch and watching the local dayboat class (Seaview Mermaid class) racing - pretty boats..

Time at last to get back - one of the charter organisers wanted to see the damage as they had another charter later in the week. Good fast sail back to Portsmouth, and after a little flutter when we assumed we had engine issues (no/limited forward drive) that turned out to be weed, we were back alongside for 5'ish..

"Golden Horizon" - worlds largest square rigged sailing ship - a passenger ship - departed her berth as we packed up..

...all food mostly finished except lunch stuff (for one reason or another we didn't do a lot of lunches this time out), all beer mostly finished... a brilliant four days out...  now, where's Sparrow... ?? 
^^  Addendum - turned out that there was minor damage/scratching to the stern of the boat we t-boned so at some point there may be a bill, but owner agreed it wouldn't be much. The repair bill for the stanchions on Ocean Wave came to £30- bit of spot welding on one, some straightening of the other, and a couple of new bolts/screws. We got away remarkably lightly for an event that at the time was frankly, quite worrying...


Red Day 1 (Fri); Blue Day 2 (Sat); Green Day 3 (Sun); Yellow Day 4 (Mon)

Distance: 119.42 miles (c/w 62.76 last time!) (cumulative totals for the year in the mileage tab at the top)

  • Fri F4 gusting F5; SEE
  • Sat: F1/F2; SE quadrants
  • Sun: Started F2 ended up top end F4; NxW going NW
  • Mon: Both ends of a F4; SWxW
Sail Plan: Full main and jib all weekend apart from the Saturday when we motored the entire day, and Monday when we motored all morning..
Speed: See distance section above..  Friday was a day of big speeds and big winds..  10.2 knots over the ground and an average over almost 8 hours of over 5 knots!