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..

Friday, 19 March 2021


..with the news that over 3 million adults have now had at least one jab in the UK, we have been given a road map for the way out of this madness we have suffered for the last year, and after a period of some considerable introspection, I am getting a little excited about prep'ing and launching the mighty ship "Sparrow" ... 

I blame COVID for said introspection by the way (well we've blamed it for everything else, so why not?). At various points in time over this winter I have contemplated either selling "Sparrow" (with a view to up-sizing rather than any permanent hanging up of the anchor!), and/or taking up windsurfing again, either by getting my old race board back (if my mate will sell her back to me! ), or by buying a new Windsurfer LT [clicky] (which I'm still kind of intrigued by as there is a growing fleet locally, and I could do some one design racing), and then the issue with the engine not quite fitting [clicky] had me contemplating a new Tohatsu ('cos I know that fits, and you can't get second hand one's for love nor money), and, and, and, and, and...basically all just excuses not to go on the water....

In the end, I kid you not, I saw the following on one of the Farcebook pages I follow and it just struck home - no idea why, as Farcebook is awash with this motivational stuff and it's mostly bolleaux, but basically this just summed up the issue I was wrestling with, and chimed...

..and I thought "f*ck it" ... I was getting overly concerned about security for "Sparrow", and too concerned about having the new engine nicked, before either event had actually happened...  so I've pulled my mental finger out and decided 'onwards and upwards', I'll secure her, and it, as best I can, and hopefully get some simple sailing in this summer, which is ultimately what it's all about.. but no more using those as excuses not to do it..    

So ..  roadmap... this about sums it up, and comes from the RYA (original here) - the key date being March 29th for two reasons - one we can travel, and two, even more importantly being mostly old men, the clubhouse toilets can re-open..  

Not sure when I'm going to launch, I may do it either just before, or just after this years Jolly Boys cruise (postponed since last year) now very definitely looking to be a go-er, based on this roadmap as we are due to be sailing May 21st, which rather handily is 3 days after step 3!). 

"Sparrow" is looking OK - a winter on the hard and she's looking a little green round the edges, but nothing a good clean won't fix. The job list has been updated and is at the top of the page..  in addition to what I had planned, I'm also going to do the following

  • a smooth off of her bottom - no idea how many years of antifouling paint on top of antifouling  paint there is down there, but while it's not falling off it isn't smooth either, so a sanding pole with some mesh and a bucket of water is planned...
  • the gel coat is original but is getting thin to non-existent in places - I will not paint her (that way lies madness) but I do need to stop further UV damage to places where it is thin - like it or not I think I'll probably colour match some off the shelf polyurethane paint as it's easier to prep, apply, and repair than 2 pack, and it will inevitably scratch and scuff..
  • last painted in the '14/'15 layover, the main cabin needs a refresh - the forecabin I did last spring
  • I think I also want to do something about the curtains, which have been UV'd to death..
  • I'm toying with the idea of a depth gauge - I've never had one, but it would be an interesting project..  I am thinking in hull, rather than through hull - no one in their right mind drills holes in a boat..
More anon...

Saturday, 2 January 2021

Bella.. wasn't...

..beautiful that is ...

As if the year hasn't been bad enough, "Bella" arrived last week with a sting in the tail...  gusts of F12 overnight caused heart ache to a couple of club members

This one just toppled sideways into the boat sat next to it..  owner says little or no damage, couple of bent stanchions, and no signs of damage on the red one either ..  lucky the one it was leaning against was so big..

Second one was far more serious..  fin keeler on a frame was knocked sideways off the frame and ended up resting partially in the hedge you can see with her mast over the main road running the other side of it...  our club members are nothing if not resourceful, and one of them had contacts with a crane company hence the following..  it looks high but it's a bit of an optical illusion...

Owner is gutted...  it looks like there is no serious damage but it's in the hands of the insurance now..

Good wishes going to both owners...

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

That was the year that wasn't.. 2020

...almost like a Stalin'esque sweep of the brush, it kind of feels like this year has been removed..  purged.. and all because of that little bastard to the left.. but in reality, there were some rare good moments on the water, so while this isn't going to be my usual review, there is still some stuff to review, in this the traditional look back at the sailing year.. it's (very) cold, dark, grey and wet outside, so this exercise usually provides a much needed mental fillip to get me motivated to start work on the job list.

This is my eighth year as owner of Sparrow and while opportunities to learn were non-existent this year I still have absolutely no interest in parting with her - she does everything I want in spades... so the following is some happy (and some not so happy) memories of good times, bad times, warm weather, not so warm weather, sunshine glinting on the water, and fair weather sailing in shorts and t-shirts... I always enjoy putting this together, it's a good excuse to read all the old posts, and look at the videos (none this year) and pictures from this years logs....

As of this moment work has not started on the winter jobs list, but 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. There is no major job this winter, other than a general clean up, and perhaps a coat of paint in the cabin..
  • one of the washboards was showing signs of water ingress last spring - I bodged a repair it may need looking at again or even replacing
  • the cabin could do with a freshening coat of paint
  • the curtains, after eight years of UV are beyond pale, in fact they are beyond the pale, and could do with being replaced 😁
  • I was looking at the cabin wiring the other day and while it all works, and is tucked away, neat it isn't - some ducting perhaps..
  • 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.
Lunch spot back in May...
I would say that it was an "OK" year; easily the worst season I've had either in 'Sparrow' (or 'Papillon' for that matter) for the simple reason she sat on the hard for the summer due to the pandemic.. having said that Rod the Mod and t'other Dave saved my sanity on a number of occasions with sailing offers, and we had some fantastic weather this year, it was unutterably lovely, warm/sunny... would have nice to have been on the water in Sparrow! 😒 No more complaints, the decision was mine, and I still feel it was a good call to keep her out of the water.
Only Solent trips this year (not often, if ever, I've said that!) on 'AmiLy' (Rod's boat) and 'Kings Ransome' (t'other Dave's boat). The Jolly Boys cruise fell by the roadside and never happened, though we did get a refund which was immediately invested in the 2021 cruise (we're hopefully going in May) 
Hugo Boss looking good as we followed her out on a warm sunny day back in May - little were we to know how it would end a mere 7 months later..  😕

Of last winters jobs [clicky] the one I am looking forward to trying the most is the new/upgraded "perching pad" ...  seems as good a name for it as any! 😁

The other good jobs last winter was finally sorting out those hideous hinges on the fore hatch

So before...

..and after...

With spiffy new catch inside to allow complete removal of the hatch if required..

...with a reasonable bodge to the cockpit locker, and a good bodge to the washboards..  not too shabby...  6 out of 10..  😐

Like a spider dipped in blue ink and left to wander all over Google Earth - here's where Sparrow went this year.. yeah, nuff said: 

...but the following in "Ocean Waves" and "Kings Ransome" this summer...

May bimbling..
September blasting...
October delivering...


Number of visits down to the boat (ie. actually on it): Difficult to say, 12 or 14? Sometimes even sitting on your boat in the car park is preferable to not being on your boat at all...  sometimes you just miss "boat smell" 

Total distance sailed:  None..  'nuff said..  onwards and upwards... but about 85 or 90 on Rod and Dave's boats...

Nights on board: 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 I know I've got a problem.. 

Cruising range: Let's move on shall we.. but on Rod and Dave's boats, Port Solent in the north, Seaview south, the club east, and the Hamble west..

Biggest Cruise: Ok - we need to open this up to those trips I did do even when it wasn't on Sparrow.   This one was easy - the September blast back from the Hamble in AmiLy [clicky] was awesome, utterly memorable, Rod and I had grins on our faces for weeks after that sail, it was also long, 45+ miles in a day...

Best Cruise: With few to choose from this year, although the Hamble trip was utterly brilliant, we also had an August bimble over to the Isle of White that wasn't what you'd call a slouch either..  on the way over we had dolphins (my first ever!), and on the way back we were buzzed by Sir Ben and the boys on Ineos..! Amazing day..  also jaw dropping.. 


Worst cruise: I can genuinely say there wasn't one this year..
Oddest cruise: Again, none really... they were all remarkable sane...
Best anchorages: T'other Dave is an anchoring nut..  drops his hook at the tip of a hat.. so I can happily say, with no word of a lie, that lazing around on the hook in Priory Bay while eating pork pies takes some beating..

Ransom is lifted..
Best mooring:  ...the waiting pontoon up the Hamble on a scorchio day in September while talking utter rubbish with Rod and drinking good beer...

Worst mooring: Not a one to be honest.. they've all been good..

Plans for next year:  
  • The America's Cup is picking up with the actual racing starting in March but before that we have the challenger series in late January/February, from what I've seen so far Sir Ben and the boys have an uphill struggle - our boat can be fast, but there appear to be issues with stability and the foils...
  • The Jolly Boys cruise is already booked for May  
  • I have a new (to me) engine that I still haven't used yet, it would be nice to have, one, a season, and two, with that on the back...


Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail
Speed (knots):
25th May 14.37* F1 or 2 SE through S Full main and jib 6 2.1 Seaview for lunch in Ami-Ly .. glorious...
7th August
28'ish* F2 going 3; gusts F3 going F4
SxW going ESE
Full main and jib U/K U/K A mid summer jaunt to the Medina for lunch on a pontoon - INEOS and Dolphins!
18th Sept 45* F4 /5 gusting F6/7 NE Two reefs main/reefed jib 7 4/5'ish Windy run/beats to/from Hamble
17th Oct
21* F4/5 gusting F5/6 WxN to WxS
Genoa only (Solent rig) 6+ 4'ish Delivery trip to bring Kings Ransom round to the club
. . . . . . . .

Year total (to date): 0.00 miles

2020 total (in Sparrow): 0 miles
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

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 Nelson'ian 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 hydraulic 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