Sunday, 23 June 2019

Pilsey Potter

Wind on the nose, but despite that, the vista of an entire harbour, it's warm, I have 5 hours of tide to play with,..  bliss!
First time out on Sparrow in what seems like ages..  I have car issues at the moment so that has contributed, but there was also the Jolly Boys Cruise, and also some duff tide weekends, but nothing was going to stop me getting out today..  beautiful day, warm too for the first time in ages..

Nothing exciting, one of those typical days n the harbour, beating against a tide but a motor sail saw me start the process beyond Marker and as the tide filled, the tacks got longer and longer... couple of hours later I found myself just off North Head..

Met Sparrow's big sister on the way down, this is a Hurley 27, had some fun trying a tacking race and although I was a good 100 mtrs clear at one point, he went past me like I was standing still later..  

...and at that point I turned and had a quite brilliant goose wing run up the harbour on tiller pilot..  I need to make myself a bench seat this winter as my new favourite spot when the the tiller pilot is on, is sat on the companionway lip .. 


Distance: 11.34 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 gusting F4; SE
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.7 / 3.1

Friday, 21 June 2019

The Jolly Boys Cruise - 2019

...our ride for the weekend...  Halberg Rassy 342
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 probably not as good as last years trip, purely because the weather last year was outstanding, and this year it also was, but for entirely different reasons.. you'll be pleased to know there was no Lymington cock up this year..  amazing...

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 3 hours away, but conditions were blustery to say the least. We could see boats in the main harbour over on their ears, so Rod decided to go there and then with three reefs on the main...   wise decision. Once we were out of the harbour it wasn't quite bang on the nose - quick southing towards Ryde and we had enough room for a long single tack to Cowes, that doesn't happen often, but the boat was shifting even with a pocket handkerchief main..  I also think it fair to say that as a crew we've developed over the years to a point where conditions like we were getting (top 4 gusting into top 5) no longer freak us out, most gratifying ... mooring was obtained at East Cowes (which I generally like because it's a bit quieter than the other side of the river, but where on this occasion we had some chav's in a motor boat, playing over loud chav music a few boats away), a walk into Cowes (where we ogled a quite astonishingly lovely Oyster 82), followed by beers at the Lifeboat, and then food at the Duke of York (still) very nice I thought..

Saturday dawned grey, and with even more breeze than the day before, we left the reefs in, and after a later breakfast (while we waited for the tide to set fair in the Solent) and a sit in occasional bursts of sunshine, we left for Lymington.

Now I thought last years sail to Lymington was a cracker, but this years was in a different order of magnitude..  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...  this year we decided to try Berthon marina (not without some quizzical looks - it has to be said that the crew of Ocean Waves think the showers in the other marina are quite possibly the best in the entire Solent ) not the least because it is closer to town...  beers on the boat, and a curry at the Rivaaz (pricey but good) finished the day - I can confirm we slept very well..  

Hurst and the Needles in the distance as we came into Lymington...  sums up Saturday weather nicely that does..
Sunday dawned grey again - this time with persistent rain - long breakfast (full English cooked by Smithy every day) papers, and a wait for the tide meant we finally left for the long down wind run for that evenings target about lunchtime...  jib only run, and we were still seeing solid 5's through the water, extraordinary..  after last years success we had chosen the Hamble again for our overnight stop. A quartering sea on the stern with breaking two and three foot waves for a little over 3 hours and we were damn pleased to get into Southampton Water.

Destination was again 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 RAF Yacht club who made us very welcome again..  lovely pint of Doombar here..  we then ended the day with Italian in the village - I thought the best food we had all weekend..

The resemblance is uncanny..  Rod the Mod exhibits breeding...
...and so the day dawned for the final trip - Monday - and at last the sun shone.The wind had dropped as well so all reefs were taken out and we had a fantastic broad reach from Southampton to Portsmouth where we were aiming to arrive lunchtime'ish so we could get on the pontoon. We timed it just right - QHM Portsmouth closed the small boat channel an hour after we arrived as Queen Elizabeth was going out..  stooged around watching that for a while, while having lunch, and that was it for another year...

Cowes in the sun on a sunny Monday - the Solent at its finest..
...all food mostly finished, all beer mostly finished, and we were back on the mooring and packing up by one/two and I was home for 3... a brilliant four days out...  now, where's Sparrow... ??

Big Lizzy readying to depart..  those helicopters had come over us on the way to Portsmouth that morning..


Friday blue, Saturday pink, Sunday green, Monday yellow..
Distance: 62.76 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)

  • Fri F4 gusting F5; SSW
  • Sat: F5 gusting F6; SWxS
  • Sun: F4 gusting F5; SSW
  • Mon: Both ends of a F4; SW going SWxW
Sail Plan: 3rd reefed main and second reef jib all weekend apart from the Monday when we put everything up
Speed: See distance section above..  Saturday was a day of big speeds and big winds..  8.9 knots over the ground and an average over 2.5 hours of over 6 knots!

Monday, 3 June 2019

Harrison Butler...

Funny old day but a midday tide is not to be sniffed at...  after the glorious weather on the Saturday (wall to wall sunshine, warm, and a breeze) the weather gonks were predicting a bit of a damp end to the day, and the weather apps were all showing pretty much the same..  F4 or 5, gusting 6, SW'ly, cloudy, ending in rain - when I got to the boat though, it was warm, sunny and no more than a 3!

Unpacked everything, thought long and hard, and decided to take the reefs out I had put in last weekend, the tiller pilot is a bit of a game changer...  if I needed to put them back in then the pilot makes it a lot easier to do.  Then I had a problem getting the outboard to start, I suspect that I had caught the choke cable when I put the engine cover back on, as it was not working - managed to start it under throttle, took the cover off to check all was ok, the choke was then working (hence the assumption), put it all back together again, left it to run for 5 minutes and as there were no further problems, dropped the mooring and we were off..

Like I say, funny old day, definitely not what was forecast..  the wind did come up, but Sparrow was never really pressed as the gusts were short duration. I rolled away a bit of jib but that was it, and then it was a single tack to the bottom of the harbour and I just kept going..

I wasn't quick enough, but this came past at a rate of knots and was a thing of beauty - I think she's a Harrison Butler, and I think this may be her..
Past HISC, I could see the West Pole and the Bar Beacon and was considering going for them but it would have meant tacking in the entrance to the harbour on a busy Sunday, or putting the engine on, and to be blunt I couldn't be faffed with either..    Bore away and with the last legs of the tide under me had a lovely reach up the harbour before being headed and having to pull all the string in to get to Emsworth Beacon (at the bottom of the Emsworth Channel)...   pilot on, head to wind (which was straight down the cut), sails down, engine under pilot to the mooring, job done...

Chris with his new (to him) Centaur "Iris Blue"..
Beer in the cockpit for me, and a cup of tea for fellow club member Chris, to talk about his new Centaur ended the day very nicely..


Distance: 9.74 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  Top end F3 gusting F4 ; SWxW
Sail Plan: Full main / full and reefed jib
Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.4 / 3.4

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Snowhill and seals..

Even the seals were enjoying the sun...
At last - a glorious day on the water, after two weeks of man flu, poor tides and indifferent weather..

17:06 HT so out on the boat by just after 2, quick check to make sure all was good (we've had some pretty rubbish weather since I was last aboard), all looked good, quarter of an inch of rain water (which I can live with - the insulation seal on the cockpit locker lids is clearly working), everything else where it should be (including, wonder of wonders, the windex! )

Whacked in a couple of rolls of reef on the main as the wind was fairly brisk in the anchorage and better safe than sorry...  engine on and dropped the mooring, headed for the bridge and unrolled the jib as I turned the cardinal for a lovely run down the cut with the wind on one quarter - three or so knots against the tide, with engine on tick-over only, is not to be sniffed at ..

At Swearedeep I engaged auto pilot and told it to keep head to wind, and I went forward to raise the main ...  what a joy....  no more standing at one end of the cockpit with the tiller between your legs twerking to keep the boat head to wind while simultaneously hauling up the main, ducking out of the way of the boom, and with your third hand adjusting the main sheet..  instead engine on tickover there was the gentle whirr of pilot and I had time to sort everything out in peace..  LOVED it..

Bore up for the bottom of the harbour past Emsworth Breacon and then came hard on the wind for HISC - the wind direction was perfect - single tack to the bottom of the harbour against tide, and Marker hurtled past..  lovely views of the seals on the mud banks on the Hayling side between Marker and Verner, and when Verner was reached bore away for a drag race across Pilsea flats to East Head and the Snowhill boy.. 

Busy East Head..
 Stupidly busy down there with both the Sunbeam and Swallow fleets out racing from Itchenor in the near perfect conditions..   dodged across the main channel, rounded Snowhill and headed for home..

Couple of tacks to make my west'ing, before bearing away across the sands which is always a little heart in mouth as every now and again the sea gets very light as the sand gets closer to the surface (ie. shallower! ) for the drag race to the top of the harbour with the last of the legs of the incoming tide under me....  saw a few 6.4's/6.5's, not bad at all for a boat with a theoretical maximum hull speed of 6 knots, even if it was tide assisted..  

Bore up for Northney but was enjoying it so much I gybed and went back for another run round Emsworth Beacon before gybing again and heading back for the mooring under pilot, while I tidied up..

Cracking day - both ends of a F4, a direction that allowed a rip roaring race to the bottom of the harbour and back, and with a little shimmy on the end for the sheer joy of it..  more, please!


Distance: 12.08 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): SW going WxS ; both ends of a F4
Sail Plan: Reefed main/reefed jib
Speed (Max/average in knots):  6.3 / 3.8

Wednesday, 8 May 2019



Leisurely trip down to the yard Monday to put the rowlocks to rights after the breakage on Sunday... here's the damage..  sod's law of course that it was a couple of inches to the right of the last repair..  if I'd just extended the last repair all would have been good..

Dismantled everything, cut out a good section of the inner and cut a new bit to fit (from eldest's old pine bed which is a gift that just keeps giving and giving and giving... ).. cut a smaller bit of the outer thwart to replace the rotted bit and then started reassembling using all the original bolt holes and bolts...

The smaller outer is effectively just a spacer and is held in place to the inner by the same bolt attaching the rowlock holder..

While I was at it I also cut a small rebate on the top edge as no matter what  I did orginally when fitting it stood proud once I'd tightened everything down, and last year I noticed the oar was rubbing it..

Job done..  coat of dollop and she's good for another.... year...

Apologies for the gratuitous leg shot...