Friday, 23 October 2020

Delivery trip.. errr.. redux..

So almost fresh from having delivered t'other Dave's boat (see last post) to her winter home, this week it was time for Rod's boat (Ami-Ly) to come out..  

In order to bring us up to speed though, and by way of a brief interlude, over the weekend we'd been observers on a work party at the club to drop the mast on t'other Dave's boat (he has some work to do on it over the winter). The guys in my club have been doing it this particular way for some time, but I've only ever seen it once, and Rod hadn't seen it at all so we decided to mooch along, have a watch, and generally heckle t'other Dave to make him feel loved and wanted..

Going to guess "Ransom" is about a 27 footer so this is not an insignificant mast, bigger than you could do with an A frame for sure, no tabernacle just a single hinged/coach roof fitting. When she'd been lifted he made it known he wanted to take the mast down so she'd been placed between two similarly sized boats. What then happens then is that block and tackles are rigged from the main halyards of the boats either side, with the bottom of the tackles being connected to a loop/strop that goes round the mast on the boat having the mast taken down. The strop is hauled up the mast to just about the balance point, and then tied tied off. Taking up the slack on the two tackles means the mast is fully supported from the masts of the two other boats via the strop.. rubbish diagram as follows..

Dave then undid all the stays, slipped out the bolt holding the foot, and people on the two side boats haul in on the tackle to just lift his mast a couple of inches - you can then have a couple of people walk the foot of the now freed mast forward (or backward depending on requirement) as the crews on the two side boats let out their lines at at an even rate - until the mast sits in its cradles fore and aft..  bloody amazing...  and yeah I know Nelson's sailors would have been doing that in their sleep, but we aren't Nelson's sailors.. to attest to the efficacy of this, I was on Dave's boat to walk the mast forward at the relevant point and there was less than half a stone of weight to control...

Anyway, I digress.. Rod's had Ami-Ly almost from new, but that cracking sail we had back from the Hamble the other week [clicky] had focussed his mind* on the fact that all the standing rigging is original, and it must be getting on for 15 or more years old..  

*38 knot gusts have a habit of doing that..  focussing the mind, that is..

Plans were made by him then, and in addition to the usual winter lift out, Rodders also engaged a local rigger to take the mast off, and replace the rigging during his winter layup - happily all this could be done at his usual winter stopover spot..  interestingly the cost of having a single someone do that worked out only a couple of hundred more than Rod doing some of the the stuff himself and subcontracting for others, so a no-brainer..

Short trip round from his home base then, we were soon ready for lift..  now this was quite interesting, as the rigger turned up as we went in to the hoist..  then I noticed that hoist has a HIAB type crane on the front of it, this was going to be a bit different to the Nelsonian approach we'd seen last weekend..  as it turned out not that different though - looped strop, check, tied off, check, hook from the crane, on to the strop, lift, and after that walk the foot to the back, where it was then lifted on to a trolley and taken away - not that different at all - just a bit more pneumatic than last weekend..

Then the lift out..  pressure washed (the bottom was very clean) - note the wing keel by the way

Interesting - they put the boat on the cradle while still in the lift out strops, and then carry the boat - in cradle - to where it's staying..

So that's it - all three boats out and safe..  better start getting ready for next season then..

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Delivery trip ...

Another day another boat..  I'm blessed with having two mates with their own boats, and neither of them seems to mind taking me out on them..  

This time it was my first trip out on t'other Dave's boat, "Kings Ransom", as the plan was to bring her round from her summer moorings in Port Solent for a lift out, and her winter stay on the hard at the club..  Given we had had no excuse to convene and eat pork pies this year on Sparrow , the annual mast dropping session, t'other Dave had come up with the idea of a pork pie eating delivery trip..  #splendididea!!

So it was that Rod the Mod, the aforesaid Dave, and I met at the sailing club* at a truly God foresaken hour (it was 8 but you don't want to let the truth get in the way of a little drama ) to swap cars and make our way to Port Solent..  

*t'other Dave and I are members of the same sailing club..

Lovely day if not a little cool - first sailing trip of the year in long trousers for me and very much needed... a careful wend of the way down harbour through the "S" shaped approaches to Port Solent, and then a quick trip out through the harbour entrance only to see a mahoosive Royal Navy auxiliary ship (HMS Scott [clicky] I think), with accompanying tugs, come out of the harbour almost on our shoulder, and next a polite request by the MOD police launch escort for us to keep just outside of the main channel to give them as much room as possible (it was low tide)

Super fast transit to the IoW where Dave's plan was to drop the hook in Priory Bay (one of our old stomping grounds) for a chat and some beer and some of the aforementioned pies, before pulling the hook and departing for his lift out at about 13:00'ish...  genoa only but we were easily reeling in the 5's and 6's, and the sailing was good!

Dropped the hook in Priory, and after an initial drag, pulled it, shifted over, and dropped it again and all was good..  much banter, beer and porkpies later, we pulled the hook for a slightly more sedate trip to, and transit through, Langstone harbour entrance (a first for Rod, but my second time [clicky])

A brief stop on the waiting pontoon, and Dave was invited to nudge his boat aground for recovery by the lift and tractor..

Not much water, so Ray got to use his very bright waders (following)..


The usual scenes of frantic activity (following)...

...and out..  and a much relieved t'other Dave..

Last shot..  this fascinated me..  couldn't for the life of me figure out what it was until one of the other guys told me..  that's mullet (fish) feeding tracks... they are clearing the growth as the move across the keel..  amazing..

Lovely day out, good company, boats, beer, sails, wind..  and pork pies...  doesn't get much better!


No GPS with me for the day so the following distance/speed results are estimations..

Distance: Approx. 21 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Top end 4 gusting 5 or 6Going from WxN to WxS
Sail Plan:  Genoa only
Speed (Max/average in knots): Plenty of 5's and 6's

Sunday, 20 September 2020

Force 8 gusts!

Not quite that bad, though..  but it was a fantastic days sailing...

Rod the Mod gave me a shout last week with another offer for a ride on Ami-Ly, and yet again I bit his arm off..  I really have missed water time this year and the trips on Ami Ly are very much appreciated.. 

Friday the 18th dawned warm('ish), sunny, but surprisingly blowy compared with the recent weather patterns..  Looks like we have a front going through, as the same weather that has dropped temperatures by 10' in less than a few days has also bought wind..  what's more north easterly's, which funnily enough is the same direction it was the last time I went out on Ami-Ly!

Anyway, round to Rod's for 0800, on the boat by 0900'ish, got her ready to go, two reefs in (and I'll admit that was by error, as we'd only planned to put one in, but it had been a while since we'd put reefs in and and had forgotten what colour line the first reef was!  ) and headed out of the harbour past the two carriers*...

...and into a rock solid force 4, gusting more, running downwind you never get a real feel for how strong the wind really is, but a glance round could see waves with the characteristic rippled/feathered feel on their surface, and plenty of white caps...

*We were listening in on VHF to the QHM channel (Portsmouth harbour master, basically) as QEII (the front one in the pictures, with the Merlin helicopters on the deck) was due to leave on exercise that morning, and in fact three Merlin's came in over the top of us as we were leaving the harbour entrance..  suffice to say it was so windy, they aborted the trip...

Plenty of sail options

So, fast trip down wind, quartering sea, and a fair amount of surfing, before diving into the mouth of the Hamble where we found a spare mid river pontoon to tie up to for lunch and snooze...

A fairly average boat at first glance, but this is 'Lutine'
which is owned by Lloyds of London Yacht club

Left the berth at 3, knowing we'd have a long up wind beat, and you can imagine our surprise when we arrived off Portsmouth less than 4 hours later... WHAT a beat, a stupendous days sailing, one of those days that we very occasionally get, a real winter remembrance day when the sun shines on the water, and the wind blows, and the boat is in the track, and you are going up wind as if on rails at steady 6's with occasional 7's. 

We came out of the Hamble and were surprised to see that we might make Ryde on one beat, but every now and again the wind would track round, and we would edge up to take advantage for for a few hundred yards, until eventually we arrived off the island at about Seaview...  one beat...  a few further beats to get us lined up for Bembridge, and we eventually tacked one last time to inch down round Spithead and a final beat down the main channel. 

One last bit of excitement - we're on Springs and there was less than zero water on the pontoons when we got back so we had to abandon her on the outside of the outermost one, and come back next morning to move her "home" - what a stunning day...

NB. No GPS track for the day, so the following is a representation...


Distance: Approx. 43 miles to the best of my calculations 
Wind (Speed; Direction): F5 gusting F6/7 (and occasionally 8! ); NExE going ExN
Sail Plan: Two reefs main, reefed jib
Speed (Max/average in knots):  We saw a few 7's and I would say the average would have been top 3's/bottom 4's

Monday, 10 August 2020

Unguents and a two tick kind of day...

....but hasn't yet shuffled off this mortal coil....

So what's been happening? Bit of sailing, bit of maintenance, not a lot else...

Last weekend I put in a few hours on the transom board and rubbing strakes - the weather has been fierce this summer, and it's over a year and a half since they were last done (Feb '19). The good news was I didn't have to do the whole of them - just the rear third, and only the top edge at that, which I guess gets most of the water run off. Rub down to good with a detail sander, wipe off with white spirit, and a coat on each side and all done. 

Then did the same to the transom board (also known as the cockpit board) - from what I can tell thi sis the first time since 2017 so it's done well, but it had blistered in parts down to wood..  good sand all over, edges and top, removing all lose material, single coat and all good - took the opportunity to also replace the bungee's holding on the solar panel.

One job still to do is to put some varnish on the hand rails - but it is stupid hot here at the moment so I'll hold that over to this weekend..

..and sailing? That good egg Rod the Mod called me the other day and offered me a ride-out for the day... pausing only to spit his arm out, I bit so quick, we agreed on a jaunt last Thursday, and what a jaunt...  suffice to say I ticked two items off the bucket list...

First tick, we went past a pod of dolphins after we let Portsmouth! Cool as you like - just  dipping and blowing about 50 yards off the port quarter - we couldn't believe it...   we were no more than a mile off the harbour entrance, and I was watching dolphins...  bloody amazing...   😃

Carried on - it was easterly's, so dead down wind for most of the Solent, but with a bit of tide under us as well, we were doing 3 to 4 knots and had plans for the Hamble In the end we opted for a deserted mid river pontoon up the Medina from Cowes... food, beer, snooze (we're getting old) and then upped sticks for home...  and just outside of Cowes this speed merchant came hurtling past..

You can watch these in sequence...

Yep - full gybe on stilts - and never dropped off the foils...  simply stunning..  and another tick off the bucket list...

No wonder we sail in the Solent!

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Second wave..

All gone a bit quiet, which isn't to say nothing's going on, but in the words of the old Prince song 'I was busy doing something close to nothing'...

Launch date has been and gone, Sparrow is still on the hard, and I've decided that for the time being at least that's where she'll stay..


Second wave concerns, mostly.. the UK is managing it's exit from lock down badly, and nothing that I am seeing in mainstream media leads me to disbelieve that there won't be a second wave in about a month or two, with the inevitable lock down, and put simply I would rather the boat was in the car park, than on the mooring, when the time comes that I can't get to her...

I've got stuff I can do on her in the warm and the dry..  I fancy having a go at the damage on the nose for one thing.... 

More anon..