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..

Monday, 15 August 2022

Out with the Jolly Boys...

The Jolly Boys convened for a day sail last week - due to various wrinkles not all of us had managed to make the last few sailing opportunities, so things were looking good for this one as we could all make it ..  that is until t'other Dave threw himself off his mountain bike over the preceding weekend, exploding his elbow, and then getting admitted to hospital for the next 4 days while they pumped him full of anti-b's and then rebuilt said appendage..  being the good fellows we are of course, we decided to go sailing anyway..   😁

Lot of easterly's at the moment, not sure why, but we are experiencing record breaking temperatures at the moment, there are monumental barometric highs, there's clearly an element of heat driven sea breeze, but the prevailing wind is usually SW'ly

Anyway 10'ish found us all on board, temperature already climbing, breeze disappointing and NE'ly - downwind run to Cowes - decision taken...  run out of the harbour, plenty of water to take the inner swashway (close to the sea wall) before finding open water, and the first major event of the day - a chance to hoist AmiLy's big asymmetric, also known as the "Blue Meany".. 

"Go Canada" - huge - IMOCA class.. if you look carefully  there's a bloke about 75% way up the mast..

We don't get to use this much - it's a big old sail, and we're not used to it, and the scope for disaster is huge, but it went OK..  sail with snuffer was raised, snuffer dropped, sail filled, and even with jib doused we had another knot and a half, which given speeds due to low wind was in the region of 5 or 6, is a considerable lift..  our problems came when we went to gybe to head over to the island..  decision to leave the sail up and allow it to swivel round and pull in on new sheet was unsuccessful..  we played for 15 or 20 minutes getting used to it to see if we could make it, but it wasn't going to swivel or go cleanly to the other tack, so we decided to drop it and head for Osbourne Bay to anchor up while Smithy had  a swim..

Never pales..  Cowes in the summer... 

Hour later we pulled the hook and headed into Cowes for lunch, which was at our favourite venue in Cowes, the Island sailing Club..  lovely food, good beer, nice people, fantastic venue..

Alongside Cowes...

The wind could be seen to be coming up throughout lunch and the wind was also going round more southerly - a good long stretchy beat until about 3/4 of the way home when the wind dropped and we had to put the engine on..  about this time we had the second major event of the day when this bugger (following) came powering down the Solent on full chat, causing us to take multiple avoiding actions as we wouldn't figure out for the life of us, which of the two usual channels for heavy shipping he was going to take.. he could see we were worried I reckon - 'cos he gave us 3 hoots... at least it wasn't 5.. 😀

"I am operating astern propulsion"..  didn't look like it!

No harm done, and a leisurely and gentle sail back into the harbour saw us tied up about 7'ish, and home by 8, slightly frazzled by the sun round the edges, and ever so vaguely salt encrusted..  glorious day...

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


Distance: 26.65 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3-4 going F2 later; NE going round SSE by end of day
Sail Plan: Full main and jib, plus asymmetric
Speed (Max/average in knots):  8.1 / 2.5

Sunday, 14 August 2022


We're in the middle of a heat wave at the moment and highs don't always guarantee wind.. so it was that with a decent mid day tide I was hoping to get out on a long one, but the wind didn't kick in until just after HT so as I sweltered under an umbrella in the garden looking at the tops of the tree's not moving, the first signs of a breeze saw me heading for the boat..

Huge tides at the moment, 4.8 mtrs on the moorings, and arriving at the time I did there was only two feet between the gate of the tender pen and the water!

Filled up the outboard remote tank with 2 litres, covers off, engine on, and then just an hour and half sailing, but what an afternoon..  glorious force 4's tacking in the sunshine, chatting with a guy on a 420 dinghy as we swapped tacks, until I got the long board just off the entrance to the Emsworth channel and headed south..

  • 2 litres of fuel added
  • Oil checked (good)

Distance: 5.69 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  F4 (both ends) / SExE going SSE
Sail Plan: Full main and full/reefed jib
Speed (Max/average in knots):  3.7 / 3.1

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Evening sail...

Just a short trip out as this is one of those "off" weekends where the morning and evening tides don't quite cut the mustard..  in this case 07:00 and 19:00, tomorrow 08:00 and 20:00.

Early morning breezes always seem to be fickle so I went with my best option for an afternoon sail which was yesterday/Saturday..  neap'ish tides and I was on the boat shortly after 16:00, but first order of the day was to give the bottom a quick scrub..  keels and rudder were growing stuff (full light of the sun on them), but the rest was better

Once that was done I replaced the tiller pilot mounting base which had had two coats of epoxy primer, followed by two coats of my usual exterior silk white during the week, and then it was time for a sail. Sea breeze was kicking in, and augmented by the usual prevailing SW'ly we had a reasonable breeze, gusty at times.

Hour and a half of tacking and reaching - no surprises, no upsets, fancy trying some thinner jib sheets to see if they'll run better..  just a short trip due to the time but good to be out..

  • Will need more fuel for the next trip
  • Little drip of oil in the floor pan of the outboard, so we do have a current issue - nothing serious but it will need checking on the next service ..

Distance: 5.21 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Bottom end F4 ; SW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.2 / 3.1

Monday, 1 August 2022


Fettling?! Chaos...😁

Been a fortnight since the last sail and I was hoping to get lucky this weekend, but I was busy on Saturday, my day of choice, and as suspected when I got to the boat yesterday (Sunday) it was blowing a high end 4 gusting 5 from the West, along with grey and slightly (very slightly) showery intervals...

It really didn't fill me with a sense of joy so I decided to lounge about the boat on the mooring, fettle, fish, read, drink beer, and snooze instead...😀

Along the way however, some necessary work was done, that would have needed doing anyway so the time was very much not wasted..

First on the list was the hinge fitting for the tiller pilot which was showing signs of stress after a couple of years of use...

Here =>

The hinge is stainless steel but not particularly thick - and whereas I was right that it doesn't matter when the pilot ram is extending (as the base presses into the cockpit coaming and supports the hinge), when the pilot ram withdraws it causes a compression at the points marked by the arrows and the hinge has bent slightly..

Wanting to nip this in the bud, I wanted to put some extra support to the bolt hole closest to the hinge - the answer was to put a substantial penny washer on the outside of the hinge in addition to the one already in place on the inside...  to do that though required me first to remove the pilot base (that block of wood), and then remove the cockpit hatch cover, as you need to get your arm up inside the cockpit coaming to get to the nut end of the bolt holding the hinge to the side of the cockpit.. 

Either way - job done - already looks better - it may need a more substantial hinge at some time in the future but for now the job is done.  I've bought the base/block home for a sand down, and another coat of paint..

Next job was a check of the oil level in the outboard, which I had lowered when I first got on board to allow time for the oil to settle.. 

You may remember from the last blog post that I had noticed an oil film in the pan of the engine the last time I had sailed and was concerned it might be leaking..  

Either way, it was a warm day (despite the clouds) so I didn't think it was necessary to run the engine up to warm the oil further, pulled the dip stick and checked the oil (mine looks like that one right - the oil level is read from the very bottom part of the dipper - the straight bit just after the cone)...  

Happily the oil was mid way between the two marks, so no further action required, and a weight off my mind..  looks like the leftover oil was from a previous issue (I have a suspicion the dip stick wasn't fully tightened up during last years use and there was some leakage)

Last job was to check tension of the side stays upper and lowers, and all was good apart from the rear lowers which were very slightly less tensioned, so I gave them a few turns to taughten them up..

Jobs done - fishing rod deployed for the first time this year (nothing, nada, not a sniff), then a beer, a snooze, and a read, before the showers finally drove me home..

Good day but I need to bring the broom out next time - she's hairier than Jimi Hendrix under the water line..💩

Monday, 18 July 2022

Sunday amble...

Blimey - second sail in two days - what's wrong with me.. 😀

So - one of those niggle'some kind of days, one of those days when everything feels like it's a little bit against the grain.. starting off with my water bottle emptying itself into the bottom of my bag..

Quite a different day to the day before..  forecasts still showing F3 gusting F4, but the winds were up the scale in both cases, so top F3 gusting top F4 - either way a bit meatier to say the least..  I was in two minds about putting a reef in before I left, but the real time reports from the CAMBERMET  weather beacon at the bottom of the harbour were showing no more than F4 so I went with full main..

What was significantly different was the direction, SE'ly, usually a good thing, but for yesterdays sail it was damn twitchy, going between E and S of SE almost at a whim, and usually when I least needed one or the other! As you can see from the log below - long stretches on an almost direct down harbour beat interrupted by short tacks when the wind went round a few points and made the next channel marker too much of a pinch.. It was also very gusty, the autopilot was struggling, and I helmed for most of the down harbour beat..   

15:48 HT, 4.8mtrs, huge amount of water sloshing about as you can see from the tracks on the tack across harbour. Motored to almost Marker and then put the sails up to see how she would do, and left the motor off until the return trip..  Vigorous beat down to HISC, lots and lots of boat traffic including fleets of dinghy's racing across the fairway but it was sunny, warm, and the breeze was blowing..

Tacked just off HISC, and bore away only to be confronted by an entire fleet of dinghy's line abreast across the channel..  nothing you can do but maintain course and let them move round you, no issues so it worked..  ten minutes later though there was a gust causing Sparrow to head up, just as a large cruiser was trying to overtake - suffice to say I managed to spill wind and drop to windward and he did a quick 360 and any issues were avoided - not sure who was to blame, but he was a bit close, in quite lively conditions so I'll call it a 50:50.. 😀

Fast (fast) broad reach up the harbour - by now a solid F4 - was seeing 5's, and 5+'s, and even reaching she was trying to broach, so definitely windy, and definitely too much for the pilot..

Headed up and dropped the main just shy of Emsworth Beacon, and ran on under genoa, before winding that away as we approached Northney, and motored back..

Mooring pick up was a doddle, but there continued to be some niggles..

1/. The engine is idling fast - it has since the beginning of the season, but it is getting to the point where I need to address the issue rather than ignore it

2/. The floor pan of the outboard is showing (clean) oil - I need to check the levels next time I go out, and I've cleaned it to see if the issue recurs or is just an old accidental spill

3/. The pickup chain had jammed itself in the riser under the mooring buoy - so that took 15 minutes to unwind/unwrap.. no idea how it happened, but because of how busy it was I had locked the tender to the pick up buoy so maybe it had spun in the wind and tide..

4/. Finally, as I was putting it away the brackets for the cockpit tidy "exploded" - new nuts and bolts sourced and added..

I was more than happy to get home and get a beer! LOL.. 


Distance: 9.09 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): SExE/SExS; F3 gusting F4
Sail Plan: Full main/90% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 5.7 / 3