Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Mackerel summer...

...  so with a free day before I went back to work after a few days away (Paris) I was idly checking the weather forecast on my phone on the train when I happened to note that after a long period of grey and wet, the next day - my free day - was looking very pleasant..  force 2's were forecast, some cloud but mostly sunshine...  aha, I thought 

With a mid-day high tide it began to look even better, and so it was that when I got up in the morning I was more than chuffed to see that the sunshine was there as promised - but unfortunately the wind wasn't... 'go to the boat anyway', said the current Mrs Steve-the-Wargamer, "you can sit and have a coffee'..  job done...

On the way I picked up 5 litres of fresh fuel as one of the jobs I had in mind was to change the outboard fuel (which had been in the tank at least two months)..   my outboard engineer - who I trust implicitly (30+ years in the business, and regularly consulted by the UK agents for the main brands on technical queries/issues) - once told me that the new fuel constituents (ethanol and the like) are contributing to a shorter and shorter shelf life, he reckoned you're better off changing any old fuel every couple of months rather than risk it causing a problem to the engine - he also advised buying cheap fuel (from supermarkets and the like) better to buy from a branded petrol station.. so I've followed that advice ever since - any old fuel I chuck in the car where it's mixed with 20+ litres of fresh and isn't going to cause a problem - in this case it was four litres of fresh replacing two or litres of old, and all good, and suffice to say the outboard started first pull despite having lain int he bottom of the boat for the last two weeks...

Fuel swapped it was time to scrub the waterline - she's growing some weed but two transits of the boat with the stiff bristle broom braced against the dinghy thwart and sawed backwards and forwards saw streams of weed and clouds of blue anti-foul drifting off down tide..  she's now much cleaner and  there's less anti-foul to get off when she comes out...

Climbing back on board I was contemplating a coffee when I noticed a very slight breeze had come up while I was busy..  north-westerly/westerly..  sod it quoth I, lets go for a drift...  it was an hour after HT so I was only planning to go to the end of the ditch and back...  got everything ready, raided the bar for a beer, got the fishing rod out as I thought it might be an opportunity, dropped the mooring and headed for the channel...  pulled the main up by the bridge (or rather did after I noticed there was still a sail tie on at the mainsheet end! ) and gently motored off down the cut while I got the rod ready..  engine off and up by Northney and then gently sailed with tide as I trolled with the rod over the side, when bugger me if I didn't get a bite.... most unusual - a nice 10" mackerel which was returned to the briny after it's photo opportunity...


..a most excellent day - the sun shone, the rain stayed off, the beer was good, and I caught a fish...

Back ashore and I found that the lift out schedule is published - Sparrow comes out of the water for the winter on the 21st., I'm on lift out duty on the 22nd...  looks like we need a countdown counter to concentrate the mind.... never mind, Southampton Boat Show this weekend!

Log:


Distance: 4.83 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Both ends of a F2, occasionally bottom F3; SW going W
Sail Plan: Full main
Speed: Max 4.7 average 2.2

Monday, 11 September 2017

Where did the summer..

... go????

You could be forgiven for thinking that all was dead and moribund here, and you'd mostly be right - no sailing now since the 13th August, and with the Atlantic lows rolling in, and weekend commitments, seemingly (in both cases!) one after another, I don't see it changing for a while...

It's been a succession of no tide/not feeling well/no wind, weekends - I did manage to get out to Sparrow the Saturday before last but it was as flat as a flat thing - not a breath - and the next day, Sunday, was howling ('natch), weekend before that I wasn't feeling well (man flu ) and the weekend before that the tides had been wrong...  ah well..  I managed to get some paint on the washboards while sitting in the sun on the flat day, and on one of the other days I managed to get some paint on the cockpit locker lids, so all has not been totally wasted... she's also in urgent need of some bottom scrubbing, no movement equals ideal growing conditions....

..not a breath, and as hot as Hades...
This weekend I'm away, the weekend after that is the Southampton Boat Show, the mast comes down October 14th/15th weekend, the boat comes out October 21st (Trafalgar Day!) so I reckon I've got two or three more sailing days at most - unless I slip in a cheeky day off... c'mon weather, start playing ball...!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Corr...

Look what I got to go on yesterday.. 

...if you Google "Suhaili" [clicky] you'll know why this was an amazement and an honour...  and she was looking superb, and there's no way I would have gone round the world in her.. hats off...

Monday, 14 August 2017

Beat, sideways, beat, sideways, and repeat..

One of those very typical summer days in the harbour - I spent the afternoon battling the (biggish) tide hurtling though the narrows by Marker - didn't care though, F3 gusting 4 very occasionally, wall to wall sunshine - lot of south in the wind (sea breeze?) - finally gave up and motored south of Marker for a little free sailing across Pilsea Sands before heading for home slightly crisp round the edges and salty... brilliant day

Got a little more lucky with the camera this time but still not perfect - that black dot on the right is the Spitfire that was following! 
A pleasure to meet up with one of my fellow club members while I was out - this is Pete on his immaculate Trident, "Red Stripe"..  couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong as he was going upwind like a train - then I spotted the cooling water outlet!


...and Pete's Mum returned the favour...  always a pleasure to get pictures of your boat under way...



Log:



Distance: 10.23 which takes me through the 100 mile for the season! (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F4 going F3; SWxS
Sail Plan: Full main, few rolls in the genoa
Speed: Average 2.6 / maximum 5.5 (under motor) - lots of water sloshing round so 2/3 knots over ground would be 4 or 5 through the water - she was moving nicely