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..

Thursday, 26 January 2023

Running rigging replace...

Time for an update on winter maintenance, which to be perfectly blunt, has not been the hive of activity one might like ... 

Two reasons really.. one, the weather has been atrocious, wet followed by cold followed by wet, and repeat, really disincentiv'ising...  and two, I've been car'less as my old one was side swiped by an 18 wheeler lorry on Christmas Eve, and the insurance company declared her beyond economic repair. By the time the insurance paid out, and I then found a new (to me) replacement car, January had all but disappeared. With launch only a little over 8 weeks away it's time I cracked on with at least some of the items on the list..  I suspect the bilge pump project will slip for sure, too many other priorities.

Job #14 on the winter maintenance list is to replace the running rigging which are original to my ownership of the boat, so they've been in use for 10 years..

There's nothing significantly wrong with them except that they are getting a bit stiff (salt water) and also a bit green/grubby, so the plan is to replace them with new ones, but then give them a good wash, check/replace whippings, and then store them ready to swap over when the new one's start to show the same signs of age...

The new halyards were sourced at the Southampton Boatshow last year. Three lengths of 20mtrs (one of them is a bit shorter), 6mm braided, and they're from the off cuts bin on the English Braids [clicky] stand - the whole lot came to about £45

These have plastic eyes in one end (I don't trust my splices) so to whip them in I used a variation of a locking whip (there's more types than you can count when you check Google.. 😁) to make sure the eyes remained in position..  as I say, lots of variations but this one (following) was nice and simple and the one I used..

Happy with these, and that red halyard is sex on legs..  😁

The mast is down at the moment so I have the choice of replacing them now, but to be honest it's probably easier with the mast up, as at the moment everything on the mast is tied down so halyard runs  are not as simple as they will be when the mast is up and everything is hanging free... jury's out - I'll check the the mast next time I'm down at the boat..

The first of the Jolly Boys to launch will be Rodders - AmiLy is going in at the beginning of March. He and I will be slapping some anti-foul on her before then - I feel sure pork pies and beer may also feature.

Will put the outboard in for repair and service next week..

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

That was the year that was.. 2022

Solo sailor in 2022 - everything to hand..   πŸ˜€

Wall to wall sunshine...
Yee gods, it's the end of 2022 already..  and with New Year fast approaching that must mean it's time for my traditional look back at the sailing year..! 😁, the big event for me this year was retirement, which eventually happened at the end of August - it was a shame that it couldn't have been earlier, but thems the breaks. 

Despite (one) the late start to retirement and (two) having also broken my thumb and (three) also succumbed finally to COVID, I had a brilliant seasons sailing in what has been measured as being one of Britain's hottest in years (if not ever)...

This is my tenth year as owner of Sparrow and apart from the amazement at where those years have gone (it only seems like yesterday that I first drove into the car park in Bosham, saw her at the back, and just knew she was the one I was going to buy 😍)

 I still have absolutely no interest in parting with her - she does everything I want in spades... so the following is some happy memories of good times, bad times (few or none of those to be honest), warm weather, sunshine glinting on the water, and fair weather sailing in shorts and t-shirt...

So many expectations at the beginning of the season, as they came to lift her in..

I always enjoy putting this together, it's a good excuse to read all the old posts, and look at the videos (one this year, and riveting it is!) and pictures from this years logs....

Result of a small contretemps with the ground when I came off Gertrude, my electric bike.. easy she came off considerably better than I did.
. πŸ˜€

As of this moment work has not really started on the winter jobs list, but as usual she is scraped and cleaned, and to all intents and purposes is ready to go back in the water except for a coat of anti-foul (which is already purchased). There are perhaps one or two essential jobs this winter which makes a nice change, none of them are mission critical though, and other than the aforesaid antifoul she could go back in the water tomorrow if I wanted..
  • the washboards which were showing signs of water ingress have remained good despite the bodged repair a couple of years back and there is still currently no need to replace them - they'll need a coat of paint though..
  • the curtains, after eight years of UV are beyond the pale, in fact they are very pale (πŸ˜€), and could still do with being replaced..  if I could get my hands on a sewing machine I'd do my own..
  • I was looking at the cabin wiring the other day and while it all works, and is mostly tucked away, neat it isn't - some ducting perhaps, and I need to label it better in the switch box..
  • the gelcoat is beginning to get thin in places - not surprising after almost 55 years of exposure to the elements - the easiest solution is probably to colour match some paint, I am not painting the whole boat, that way lies madness, so patch repairs only where needed.
  • first major is to give the antifoul another good abrading - it's stuck well so the issue is not flaking, but despite being soft/ablative there is build up over the years that has lead to a lumpy and cratered surface..  what I want to do is flatten it off..  I got a sanding pole and mesh lst year and it worked well, but the mesh was not coarse enough, so I have got some new mesh and will do it again this year...
  • I am toying with plans this winter to install bilge pumps - I have a manual one but perhaps something electric this time. The complication for me is the Hurley 20 under water profile which has two half depth bilge keels, meaning two pumps are needed...
  • the other major is the outboard which has an oil leak that definitely needs finding and fixing

I would say that it was an "Good" year; not the best season I've had either in 'Sparrow' (or 'Papillon' for that matter) but it definitely was way better than the last 3 or 4 years... looking back there were three main reasons for that - one as mentioned was the weather, I love hot and dry and we got it in spades. Two, my perception (backed up by the logs) was we had a lot of easterly's which are a good direction for me, they were also strong - the majority of the trips I recorded were F4 or more. Three, I had a huge (compared too previous years) number of trips out with the Jolly Boys - always good fun, and always longer trips, we're all retired now so I look forward to that continuing... 

Hurst Castle on this years Jolly Boys trip - sun glinting on water, lovely..

 Twenty one trips this year (c/w 10 last year) of which six were in the Solent either on 'AmiLy' (Rod's boat) or 'Kings Ransom' (t'other Dave's boat) so not included in my totals. The Jolly Boys Cruise was as usual immensely and stupidly enjoyable, but it rained like a bastard on the third day, and we also had to squeeze all 5 of us on to AmiLy as our usual ride (Ocean Waves) was in for repairs after a particularly bad, storm based, bashing.. 

...note swivel mounting arm...

Of last winters jobs the one that worked beyond compare well, was the depth instruments - a NASA Target 2 depth sounder - such a cheap and simple thing, but it worked perfectly, and was a huge help on a number of occasions.. For the kind of sailing I do depth instruments aren't really necessary, but it was a fun project, and it has definitely helped my sailing, as I can now tack much deeper angles knowing exactly how much water is under the keel.. I am also stupidly pleased with the hinged mounting arm which works uncommonly well...

The cockpit locker lids - which must be about the third iteration, are at the moment, touch wood (see what I did there? 😏), behaving...  the epoxy primer undercoat spray is the dogs nuts, and one of them is perfect, but the other one has a slight split of the layers on one corner - I've taken them off the boat for the winter and put the old ones covered in plastic bags in their place. Once it's dried out I'll inject some epoxy into the split and clamp, and then give them a good coating of paint again ready for the new season..

New ships clock, left...., along with a new battery installed, the aforementioned smooth off of the anitfoul, and a titivate of the tender and trolley, plus the new ships clock courtesy of the brother in law, I would say it was a good year for maintenance and projects - go on then, 7/10....  😁

Like a spider dipped in blue ink and left to wander all over Google Earth - here's where Sparrow went this year.. yeah, not enough Solent venturing....    

  ...but the following in "AmiLy" and "Kings Ransom" this summer...

...and then there was the Jolly Boys trip πŸ˜€


Number of visits down to the boat (ie. actually on it): Difficult to say, but about 25...  best of all though, 15 sailing trips c/w 6 last year, sometimes even sitting on your boat on the mooring (and I did that few times - usually flat calm), or even in the car park come to that, is preferable to not being on your boat at all...  sometimes you just miss that "boat smell" 
Total distance sailed:  Just shy of 125 miles , the best seasons distance since 2018!

More downhaul on the main needed, but one of a number of goosewing runs up the harbour this year

Nights on board: On Sparrow, none - nada - 'nuff'ing.. I've done it before and it's usually cold and uncomfortable.. 😏

Crew on occasion: None...the whole year was solo...  I don't mind, I'm good company.. if I start talking to the tiller pilot (who I love by the way) I know I've got a problem.. 😜

You can take your Sydney's and New York's, I reckon Pompey is one of the loveliest harbour entrances in the known world...

Cruising range: West Winner to the south, Thorney Channel to the east, let's move on.. 

Biggest Cruise: This one was easy - the cruise on the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend [clicky] was brilliant and also the longest single tide cruise I've had since this epic sail [clicky] in May 2016 (!) Also apropos of absolutely nothing, it just goes to show what you can do when the wind direction is Easterly...  this was me on the way back...

Best Cruise: A few to choose from this year, but probably the first trip out after I caught COVID and also broke my thumb - I went to Snowhill, and the weather was lovely and I was so pleased to be back on the water..

Worst cruise: Well "worst" is a stretch, but the day of the recurring errors was a bit "interesting"... 

Oddest cruise: The day I lost my fishing rod [clicky].. every wind direction with an E in it you could think of and a slingshot'ed fishing rod to finish off..  mad..  😁
Best anchorages: None - all moorings and pontoons this year..
Best mooring:  ...the waiting pontoon at the sailing club [clicky] while I waited for my lift out - so warm, and a lovely opportunity to catch up with a lot of members I hadn't seen all season..

Worst mooring: Easy..  kissing the putty [clicky] - while not necessarily "moored" we did come to a halt in an arrested manner..  😁

Plans for next year:  
  • The Jolly Boys cruise..   
  • I am looking forward to be able to sail on more occasions next season... 
Riveting video award:

No review of the weeds on the bottom this year as I removed them too quickly... so you'll have to make do with this one.. 😏

2022: (Click on the date to go to the log entry post)

NB.* Means mileage not counted in year total... probably because I'm on someone else's boat, or it was all on engine...

Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail
Speed (knots):
7th May 6.3 F3 gusting F4 SE/SSE Full main and genoa 6 3 Shakedown sail - autopilot power failure
12th May 5.5
F2 W Full main and genoa 3.8 3 Second shakedown following pilot repair - Marker glorious in the sun...
13th to 16th May
Various Various Various 9.4 4.5 The Jolly Boys Cruise of 2022
21st May 9.62
F4 gusting F5 SW Reefed main and genoa 5 1.6 Marker tacking on a sunny day - blew a fuse it was so good... πŸ˜€
3rd June 13.93
F3 gusting F4 E/S/SE Full main and genoa 5.5 3 Thorney channel on a Jubilee weekend - fist seal sighting and plenty of flags! (4 litres of fuel added)
12th June 9.85
F4 W Full main and genoa 5.3 3.1 A sniff of the Solent...
15th June
F2 gusting F3 SSE Full main (no genoa)
9.4 3.9 Kings Ransom delivery trip LSC to Port Solent
16th July 11.58
F3 gusting F4 SWxS Full main and genoa 4.9 3.1 First trip out post COVID and thumb break; Snowhill
17th July 9.09
F3 gusting F4 SExE/
Full main and 90% genoa 5.7 3 Second sail in one weekend - HISC and back - an unusual trip for the number of minor issues!
6th August 5.12
F4 SW Full main and genoa 5.2 3.1 Evening sail
10th August 26.65*(70.99) NE going SSE Full main /genoa/asymmetric 8.1 2.5 Jolly Boys fly the Blue Meany on the way to Cowes
13th August 5.69 (76.68) F3/4 going F4 SExE going SSE Full main and full/90% genoa 3.7 3.1 Short sail after the sea breeze kicked in, racing with a 420 dinghy
28th August 7.94 (84.62) F3/4 going 2 E going SSE Full main and 90% genoa 4.9 2.7 Lost fishing rod!
F3 gusting top F4 ENE Reefed main and reefed genoa 5.2 2.8 New rod deployed and mackerel caught
2nd Sept 27.39*(93.93) F2 NNE going SWxS Main and asymmetric 6.9 2.8 The big blue meany flies again...
4th Sept 6.74 (100.67) Both ends F4 SxE Reefed main and reefed genoa 4.4 2.8 Kissing the brown 😏
17th Sept 8.66 (109.33) Both ends F4 NWxN through N Full main and 90% genoa 4.1 2.7 Sunbeams and swimmers...
25th Sept 8.2 (117.53)
Both ends F4 NNE Genoa, then reefed main and 60% genoa 4.5 2.3 Downwind genoa run
1st Oct 7.19 (124.72) F5 W Reefed main and 75% genoa 5.9 3.2 Blustery soldiers wind...  last sail
9th Oct 6.1* (124.72) . . All motor . . AmiLy delivery to winter mooring
12th Oct 14.79* (124.72) F3 just gusting F4 SWxS Full main and genoa 6.5 3.5 King's Ransom delivery

Year total : 124.72 miles

Neat as a pin...

2022 total (in Sparrow): 124.72 miles
2021 total (in Sparrow): 44.5 miles 
2020 total (in Sparrow): 0 miles (COVID)
2019 total (in Sparrow): 77.59 miles 
2018 total (in Sparrow): 151.12 miles
2017 total (in Sparrow): 141.91 miles
2016 total (in Sparrow): 138.29 miles
2015 total (in Sparrow): 141.29 miles
2014 total (in Sparrow): 137.98 miles
2013 total (in Sparrow): 113.73 miles
2012 total (in Papillon): 173.29 miles
2011 total (in Papillon): 193.41 miles
2010 total (in Papillon): 154.23 miles
2009 total (in Papillon): 125 miles

Sunday, 27 November 2022


2.5 litres Hempel Cruising Performer...  just over 50 quid, bargain...

Job 11 done - "Centre mast support needs trimming"..   an inch of the bottom and then drilled holes either side of the original hole...

...which I then joined them up with the jig saw as that will allow for adjustment in future years...

Have also bought the cockpit hatches home to keep dry - have used the old one's in place (covered in bin bags) to keep the rain out.  Toyed with the idea of a cockpit tarp but decided it was overkill, and too windy where the boat is...  it wouldn't last longer than a month...  😏

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Slowing down - first jobs and deliveries

So, after that frenetic burst of activity a couple of weeks ago, time to slow down into the off season (curse you, Alden, and your Kiwi summer about to start! πŸ˜€) but stuff is happening, stuff is being bought, and projects are being formulated/designed/cogitated...

By way of a digest then...


The boat has been pressure washed - she is clean again - weed removed, all remaining barnacles gone - to all intents and purposes, another coat of antifoul notwithstanding, she would be ready to go back in...


Mooring pick up chain, shackle/swivel and pick up buoy pressure washed, all weed removed, all checked, after drying sprayed with WD40/white grease and stored in the boat - 
  • main shackle (mooring buoy to swivel) is good, 
  • swivel was new 2016 and so 7 years old next season, but given one year was missed (COVID) and one was very short (same), I think it looks OK for another season 
  • minor shackle (the one between swivel and pick up chain) is old and needs replacing - I'll take the opportunity to end for end the chain (bought 2016) at the same time (new job #11)

Job #6 (smooth off of the antifoul) is still on the list from last year - last year I did it, and definitely saw an improvement, but I was using 120 grit mesh, classed as medium, which for this function is way too fine - I am of the opinion that the coarser the better, so I have some 60 grit on order - I'm not looking to go back to hull, but it does need smoothing out..


Rodders ('captain, my captain') contacted the Jolly Boys the other day to let us know that the litany of bad luck associated with Ocean Waves (our ride for the annual Jolly Boys Cruise) has continued, and she's suffered yet more damage this week, this time due to Storm Claudio rather than us...  πŸ˜•πŸ˜”

After the damage in February (Storm Deirdre) which resulted in her not being available for our cruise =>

"ouch"...  so in the severe weather the waves pitched high enough to force the fenders out..  the boat then smashed into the wooden surround of the pontoon breaking it off, but leaving the retaining bolts, that then did what you see...

This time Claudio did for her - apparently a bow line parted, and as a result the stern ended up bashing repeatedly into the pontoon - by the time she was found she was holed as seen, and flooded to the level of the cockpit sole => 

She has no luck - or they seriously need to consider changing her berthing position which is on one of the outside pontoons...

Last of all for this update - I have decided that my winter project this year will be bilge pump(s) - job #4. 

Time to start deciding what and where I want...  initial thoughts -
  1. electric or manual or both? thinking electric at this stage
  2. How many and where? Sparrow is a bilge keeler with substantial recesses at the top of each keel - cockpit sole is much higher so I'm thinking a suction point in each keel will do (lowest points)
  3. Where do I vent the water?? I dislike "through hulls" so I want to use any I already have, if possible, and that means utilising the 3 cockpit drains - vent water into the cockpit???
Time to start doing some research..

Sunday, 16 October 2022

King's Ransom Delivery

Water and boat time was coming thick and fast, as no sooner had we delivered AmiLy, and bought Sparrow out than it seemed to be time to bring t'other Dave's boat round, "Kings Ransom"...

Dave keeps his boat at Port Solent but over winter keeps her in the same yard I do, so this would be a delivery from Port Solent to Langstone...  crew for the day me and Smithy, plus both of Smithy's loin fruit (or I think that's what he said 😁), Rodders and Dave were otherwise occupied but missed... a bit...

Nothing to extraordinary - not as much wind as we would have liked, but a god trip in warm'ish weather nonetheless.  

Left Port Solent at 09:30, locked out without incident, and departed harbour entrance roughly an hour later, out submarine barrier by approx. 11:15 and we were coming though Langstone harbour entrance an hour after that...  huge help from the tide as wind was up and down, but a quick trip...

Not immediately apparent but clicking on this for a bigger view will show the tide rip in shore at the entrance to Langstone...

Glorious day - this is looking up harbour from the entrance towards Portsdown Hill... ==>

Arrived at the club about 13:00 and plonked ourselves on the waiting pontoon to await the lifting crew and lift, and 15 minutes later she was out - half an hour later we were in the pub sinking pints as we watched the tide slowly disappear and the mud return...  that's it - all boats ashore and the winter can now start.

Thanks for the lift, Dave...


....and Dave's plot...  πŸ˜€

Distance: 14.79 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):   F3 gusting F4 (occasionally) ; either side of SWxS
Sail Plan:  Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  6.5 / 3.5