Saturday 6 July 2024

Jolly Boys Cruise 2024

So the annual event that is the Jolly Boys (Extended) Cruise is now all over bar the shouting..  or rather banter'ing..  the washing machine has been emptied, the contents dried, and the sleeping bag has been put away for another year..  time for a write up on what we did, and where we went, and a few of the photo's to give us some memories in future on less sunny and happier days..  πŸ˜€

Our 'normal' ride "Ocean Waves"(a Hallberg Rassy 342) is largely unavailable these days; due to ongoing issues on charters the insurance is beginning to get stupid, so as there were only four of us this year, our ride was our usual one, Rod the Mod's boat "Ami-Ly" (following) a Legend 290...

Four old blokes on a 29 footer for four days, what could possibly go wrong!πŸ˜€

Day 1 - Monday 1st July:

Portsmouth to Cowes - only thirteen and a half miles, but a good days sailing as we rode the tide to the west.

Couldn't help not seeing this beauty arrive as we pottered towards the harbour entrance..

Chilean Sail Training Ship ESMERALDA

Stupidly impressive, all the crew were lined up on deck, the orchestra/stereo banging out what sounded like a national anthem, and they got a spot alongside within the actual dockyard - the crew are Chilean Navy so that might explain it, but also that she has a bit of a dark past. Amnesty International, the US Senate and the Chilean Truth and Reconciliation Commission described the ship as a kind of floating jail and torture chamber for political prisoners of the Augusto Pinochet regime (1973 to 1990). Given the likelihood of protest, a spot within the dockyard would definitely be the safer option..

The ship is fascinating though and given my interest in things historical I couldn't not look up a bit on her background.. In summary, construction began in Cadiz, Spain, in 1946 as she was intended to become Spain’s national training ship (in fact she has a sister ship who still is). In 1950 Chile and Spain entered into negotiations in which Spain offered to repay debts incurred to Chile as a result of the Spanish Civil War in the form of manufactured products, including the not yet completed Esmeralda. Chile accepted the offer and the ship was formally transferred in 1951, she finally launched in May 1953.

Wind was 'lively' in the harbour so we took the opportunity while we had it, and put a single reef in the main - didn't regret it, as the wind slowly built all morning to a solid top F4 by the time we arrived off Cowes..  it was sunny and bright and the Solent was looking beautiful..

A repeat of the experiment in 2022 and we overnight-ed at Shepherds Wharf in Cowes (west side of the river) which was stupidly quiet (a feature that repeated itself all over the Solent for the 3 nights we were away..  compared to previous years where we've had to book ahead almost a week in advance there was plenty of available space..  where was everyone first week in July??)

As we'd arrived fairly quickly, we walked the Red Squirrel trail to Newport in the afternoon (5 miles). A pint and dinner in the Duke of York  finished off the day nicely!

Nice spot in Shepherd's!

Day 2 -  Tuesday 2nd July:

Cowes to Lymington

A quick vote over the breakfast sausages, and a decision was taken to go for Lymington. A quick call identified room available at Berthon Marina when we checked, so a slot was booked for the evening.

Bye, Cowes

We departed late to get the west bound tide (the 'Solent travellator') and it was on this leg that we saw the fastest speeds ..  8.5 knots SOG, in fact we went so fast that we overshot Lymington, but it was getting cold, threatening rain, the wind was building, and we'd had enough so having sailed up wind against tide for an hour, we switched to engine and just got the hell in to Lymington and the warm..   πŸ˜€

Dinner that evening at a local pizza restaurant was cracking - one of the nicest calzone's I've ever had..

Day 3 - Wednesday 3rd July:

Lymington to Hamble

A long slow start to the day as the wind was westerly, strong, and we were heading east - so we needed to wait for the 'travellator' to turn in our favour.

No loss..  a good breakfast, we then lounged, read, popped into Lymington for a look around (and for t'other Dave to make purchases in the Musto shop 😏) before we dropped the mooring about half one'ish and headed out into a particularly grey and dismal looking Solent..

Coming out of Lymington - Needles and Hurst Castle in the distance..

We were getting the last of the wind over tide slop and chop.. but with an almost dead westerly wind, and an almost dead easterly trip, we cracked open a bit of the genoa and did all of the almost 17 miles we did that day under just the reefed foresail..  once the tide fully turned though we were moving fast. 6.3 knots under a half reefed genoa is going some!

Destination for the night was the River Hamble, where to be honest we have history, but I do recommend arriving at slack tide (as we did) as getting into the berth this time (unlike last time) was a doddle! 😏

It was a long, cold and roll'y old sail, I even put on full fouliers at one point as we could see the rain rolling down Southampton Water, but happily we stayed dry - I can confirm though, that the beer has never tasted as good as it did when we finally sat down for one having made fast..  so good in fact I had two..  🍻

Not a bad view to have with a beer.. 

Dinner that evening was at the Royal Southern and was glorious - superb clubhouse, and good food..

1958 British America's Cup Challenger (she lost 4-0 😏) "Sceptre" [clicky].. she's stored ashore at Hamble..

Day 4 - Thursday 4th July:

Hamble to Portsmouth

So as mentioned one of the features of the Solent is the "express travellator" that runs four times a day, either east to west, or the opposite, and which had provided huge amounts of help on the Monday and Saturday to get us quickly from one end of the Solent to the other, but which we now needed help on in the opposite direction, but an early departure was required if we were to get back in time to get on the pontoon with water to spare, and with time to spare for us all to go and vote, and that meant an adverse tide..

So it was that 08:30 saw us ready to leave the berth and heading to the Solent, and that was after a cooked full English! Yesterdays grey, cold and windy westerly, was replaced by sunny, cold and not quite so windy westerly, but the sun was shining (occasionally..  go on then..  mostly) and the Solent was again looking all glittery again..

Another downwind run, but in a lesser breeze than the day before, but against that adverse tide, so we rolled out all the genoa and just hunkered down to make the best of it - if we'd thought yesterday was roll'y (and it was with tide so had a bit of help to keep down) today was double it - wind over tide all the way..  we hugged the north Solent shore contour lines and just enjoyed it for what it was..  and were rewarded with a quick sight of a couple of dolphins sounding off the port quarter no more than 30 yards out..  glorious!

Back on the mooring pontoon by 13:00'ish (we topped off the fuel on the way in, and then made three failed attempts to rescue a lost fender 😏) as the wind was picking up rapidly, we finished off as much of the food as we could, and decanted the boat into Rod's car ; I must have been home by 15:00'ish, and that after having voted..  I can confirm I slept well that night!!

Brilliant trip.. πŸ˜€πŸ‘


 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)

Wind (Speed; Direction): 
  • Day 1: Force 3 gusting 4; N going W
  • Day 2: Force 4 gusting 5; N
  • Day 3: Force 5 gusting 6; W
  • Day 4: Force 4 gusting 6; NWxW
Sail Plan:  Reefed main full/part genoa (day 1 and 2); reefed genoa only (day 3), full genoa only (day 4)
Speed (Max/average in knots): As above..

Monday 24 June 2024

Tack, tack, tack... Marker..

Thirty to be precise, but again I jump ahead of myself...  😏

After another period of naff weather, duff tides, and some time away, at last an opportunity to get out on Sparrow again..  beautiful sunny day, warm, bit of a breeze, but from a direction that is always going to be hard work from where I am moored..

HT was 13:19 and at 4.43mtrs Spring'ish and I was on board by half 10. Took out the reefs from the last sail, warmed u the engine, hoisted the "Hurley Owners" burgee, and then dropped the mooring about quarter past 11 to see what was going on in the harbour..

"Lots" as it turns out, wind was consistent though, but as mentioned SWxS - basically bang on the nose for any trip to the bottom of the harbour. 

Motored to Sweare Deep, and raised the main under motor as apparent wind was from ahead..  bore away, cranked in on the main sheet, rolled out the genoa (rolled a bit in two tacks later), engine off and tilted up, and then started tacking. 30 tacks later (they look flat but that was because of a couple of knots of adverse tide) I was just coming up to Marker, but not before being rudely interrupted by fellow "Jolly Boy" Smithy on his kayak...  snuck up on me from just off the quarter and yelled "starboard!" just as I was contemplating a tack.. scared the living daylights out of me! πŸ˜€
Fellow club boat..  a Devon Yawl..  going up wind on rails, bone between her teeth and looking good..

Brief chat later and he headed off (he had a Sunday paper and lunch in a bag on the back) and I carried on..  tacking on the 1.5 mtr contours either side of the channel, and everyone having their own private little race with the boat closest (Cornish Shrimper in my case) before I turned for home just after Marker, and just after HT.

Dead downwind run, rolled the genoa away as it was doing nothing, deployed the fishing rod (nothing but weed caught), engine put on just shy of Northney and then dropped the main as I was going down the ditch. 

Was joined again by Smithy on the mooring and felt duty bound to offer him a beer.. 😏

Brilliant day out - not sure I'll get out again this week on Sparrow, but next week is the Jolly Boys Annual Cruise on AmiLy, and they're muttering about "Poole"..


Distance: 8.42 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Top F3 / SWxS
Sail Plan: Full main/90% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.5 / 2.7

Wednesday 12 June 2024

Completed job list '23/'24 lay up..

By way of record keeping, and to remind me in the future - here's the completed job list from the winter layover...  all in all I would say it was a good one, mostly because without a shadow of a doubt it was a VERY good idea to bring the tender home - it kept me occupied most of the long dark winter, whenever I got bored I went out and did a few more bits on it..  😏

Completed list...

1/. Titivate the tender - from this.. this..

Most gratifying..  the full list of what was done is here [clicky] and here [clicky] but in essence, washed down, rubbed down (both bottom and inside), all thwarts cut out and replaced with epoxy encased piping covered in three layers of cloth, rubbed down some more, sacrificial strips screwed and epoxied to keel, rear seat removed and strengthened, before sealing both front and rear seat - then painted..  inside with garage floor paint, outside with an off the shelf back oil based house paint, seats used the same stuff I use on the cockpit locker ids and washboards..  I don't have a picture (must get one) but I then permanently attached six fenders I got at a boat jumble over the winter with oversized tie clips. Done...  this winter I think I'll do the central seat, it needs a bit of strengthening.

2/. Jib halyard has worn at the eye strap for the diverter - cut out a foot and then rewhipped in the hard eye 

3/. Outboard well inner and outer pads replaced - for the outer edge I went with (rot free) plastic chopping board - a double thickness of high-density polyethylene chopping board - for the inner edge I used some aluminium plate I had knocking about

Oxalic removed the stain from the old pad at each end..

4/. New Windex sourced, and fitted (as I waited for the tide to come in πŸ˜€)

5/. Tiller got a much needed does of love with a rub down and re-coat...  

After...  nine (maybe 10 😏) coats of varnish later..

Regular/annual items:
  • Locker lids rubbed down, minor crack on one repaired, followed by two coats paint
  • Wash boards - two coats paint
  • Tiller pilot support - two coats paint
  • Tiller pilot clip rest two coats paint
  • Rub down and coat of wood preservative cockpit board - gave it two coats
  • Antifouled - Hempel Cruising Performer this year
  • Serviced outboard - ouch...  I'm not paying that again next year 😨
  • Serviced the Life Jackets
  • Pick up chain - new shackle between chain and swivel, a new swivel, and a new shackle for swivel to mooring buoy connection
  • Pressure wash, pre launch wash, and Oxalic