Wednesday 23 December 2015

Big tides... Emsworth today...   4.8m ...   😲

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Merry Christmas, and fair winds for 2016

Just in case I don't get time..  I'd like to wish all my reader a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, with best wishes for fair winds in 2016... 🎄

I liked this... it's on the quay at Emsworth, my local fishing village ..  nice one!

Friday 27 November 2015

That was the year that was.. 2015

Time for the now traditional review of the year past; at this time of the year, when it's wet cold and windy this is a reminder of the good times, warm weather and fair weather sailing in shorts and t-shirts... bliss.... I really enjoy putting this together, it's a good excuse to read all the old posts, and look at the video and pictures from this years logs....

Not a lot done so far on this winters job list - I'll get going eventually (I always do) 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, and besides I have a shed load of other stuff to do!

I would say that once again it's been a "Good" year, probably slightly better than last year, but again only "almost" a classic.... my perception was that one, this was a windy summer, I spent a lot of time under various states of reef and two that it wasn't a stand out summer weather'wise - we had some warm periods but we also had plenty of grey (and cold) dampness....

This was my third year as owner of Sparrow and as ever the learning curve continues but I've been quietly pleased with what I can do with her - she'll go the direction I want, stop when I want, and I can seemingly manage her - lots still to learn, and no one round here is getting over confidant, but I don't think I'm a danger to anyone.... 😏

A poor year for Solent trips (on Sparrow), I was out there on a few occasions but for the first time this year didn't have any Solent destinations marked off...  no Bembridge/Seaview/Nab. All my major Solent outings this year were either on "Ocean Waves" or "Ami Ly" where in addition to the stand out "Jolly Boys Outing" we also had an absolutely blinding couple of days on Ami Ly - one watching the America's Cup, and a few weeks later a blast under the big blue meany back from a bucolic lunch in Cowes....

Of last winters jobs [clicky] the big ones were the cockpit lids [clicky], and the new genoa cam cleats [clicky]). Of the two the standout was the cam cleats - they've worked faultlessly all summer and are a huge step forward. Over the winter I'm going to change the genoa sheets back to a non-matt finish so they feed quicker through the blocks, but they are a delight to use after the old ones. The cockpit locker lids however, were not such a success; poor preparation on my part has lead to them splitting on one edge - this winter I'll glue and re-paint...  mea culpa...

Last summer I replaced two forms of motive power; the outboard, which after those initial teething problems [clicky], has done sterling service this year, I'm absolutely delighted with it and long may it continue to do so. The other replacement was the foresail, or genoa ("big bastard") [clicky] which I'm still learning to manage. There is no doubt that this is a big sail - she's a handful when close tacking is required, and 8 times out of 10 I usually have a few rolls in to make managing it easier. I'm not quite ready to admit she needs to be re-cut (the few occasions I had the use of the whole sail were very useful) but we'll see what difference the non-matte sheets will make..  and either way, regretfully, Arun Sails went into liquidation this year...  a real shame as I was also considering asking them to make me a main this coming year.

So all in all that rates as a good year....  8 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 - looks like the east of the harbour was my chosen stomping ground this year:

...and the following in (the new) "Ocean Waves" this summer on the outrageously entertaining Jolly Boys Outing [clicky]

...which was a brilliant three days in the Solent - the highlights being my first visit to Newtown Creek, the midnight visit(I laughed so much my teeth ached), and once again Smithy's missus's carrot cake...  legendary....   We had some superb sailing - the new boat is heavy, but fast...

Number of visits down (ie. on) to the boat: 20 (one more than last year roughly) but once again if you count all the times I visited in the mornings/evenings while she was on shore (usually two to three times a week), and the days I worked on her pre-season - easily triple or quadruple that...

Total distance sailed: 141.29 miles, which compares with 137.98 miles last year. Third year in a row of mileage increases - granddad baby sitting duties chomped a bit of time, rather delightfully I'll admit.. has put me on call one week in four from this year and that stymied a couple of weekends..

Nights on board: None - no need really, I know she's comfortable enough, just never had the burning desire to swap nice warm wife & bed for down-market camping...!

Crew on occasion: One... once...  youngest knocked me over with a feather and came out for the day and it was brilliant...

Youngest on the helm - me getting an entirely new view of Sparrow under way....
Cruising range: Mooring to the west, Emsworth to the north, Chaldock Beacon in the East and the just south of the West Pole to the south.. I squeezed a lot of sailing into a small area this year

Biggest Cruise: Prinstead [clicky] with the youngest.... it was just shy of 17 miles on a single tide, not bad! A sunny day that had some good breezy sailing in it, with plenty of laughs and chats....

Best Cruise: Choices, choices... Prinstead (already mentioned), the first sail of the year, the first anchoring session, that day drag racing up and down the harbour; I'm going to go with Prinstead again.. sunshine and breeze, lots of laughs, food, and an overwhelming remembrance of everyone smiling - a good day.....!

Worst cruise: This one [clicky] - bloody awful day (see next piccie).....

Oddest cruise: Probably a tie with the worst cruise, but this one [clicky] wasn't specifically odd, just frustrating... !

Best anchorages: Only one this year, my first ever, so a definite shoe-in for best anchorage as there was no other competition...  delightful hour or two watching the seals...  she didn't drag but then again the weather didn't really put up anything that might cause her too..

Best mooring: club mooring .. It continues to be a delight; water 3.5+ hours either side of high tide...

Worst mooring: None really...  they all provided function/service....  if I had to choose probably the one I used on the worst cruise day, but only because it was such a rubbish day!

Plans for next year: The America's Cup comes back to Portsmouth in July 2016, so that's a definite if I can persuade Rod to take "Ami Ly" out again. Next year it really would be good to get to some Solent cruising in but I've given up making plans and resolutions..  too much pressure.. 


Click on the date to go to the log entry post....


Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail Plan: Max Speed (knots): Average Speed (knots): Comments:
4th May 14.04 F3 gusting F4 SW going SE Full main and reefed/full genoa 5.7 3.3 First sail of the season, and my first seal sighting
17th May 4.76 F1 gusting F2 SW Full main and reefed/full genoa 5 2. Frustrating day trying to reach Marker while getting cold...
24th May 27.08* F1 up to F3 W Full main/full genoa/mostly motor 5.7 4.3 Jolly Boys Outing to Cowes on Ami-Ly - lunch at the Folly, long run downwind home
7th June 8.98 F3 gusting F4 SW Full main and reefed/full genoa 5.4 2.7 Warm sunny afternoon practising my beating and using the main track to improve pointing angle
14th June - Nothing - - - - Blechhhhh...
21st June 13.45 F5 WWN to WxS Reefed main (3 slides) and half the genoa 6.5 4.2 Very windy Sunday with westerly winds allowing reaching the length of the harbour
28th June 8.1 F3 SSW => WxS Full main and partially reefed genoa 4.9 2.9 Run down to Emsworth on a sunny Sunday morning
16th July 10.7* F4 gusting F5 NE Solent rig (genoa only) 5.6 3.2 Day out on "Solitaire", lunch in the sun, seal sighted, twin Spitfires, and playing around with reefing..
23rd July 19.16* F4 gusting F5 SSW 1st reef in main/full genoa 5.6 2.6 America's Cup preview day on Ami-Ly - superb!
25th July 6.43 F5 gusting F6 WxS Reefed main (3 slides) and genoa 5.5 4.1 Cheeky evening dash to Pilsey and back. Fast sailing, and a handful in the gusts.
31st July 11.18 F3 S => SW Full main and partially reefed genoa 5.2 3 A crafty day off and trip to Snowhill/East Head, finished off by painting the hatches..
2nd August 12.15 F4 gusting F5 ESE => SE Reefed main (2 slides) and full/reefed genoa 6.3 3.1 Blowy Sunday and an unusual wind direction to go to Camber - huge tide (5m) and lots of water slopping about! 
7th August 26.72* F1 up to low end F3 NW => W Full main and asymmetric 7.8 3.6 Sunny weather, low wind trip to Cowes the day before the racing starts - flew the blue meany - no one killed!
22nd August 11.06 F4 SE => ExS Reefed main (2 slides) and reefed genoa 4.7 3 Trip to the West Pole on a grey day....
18th - 21st September 92.4* Various SW'ly Various 8.5 4 Jolly boys outing - all points Solent
27th September 16.21 F4 gusting F5 NE => E Reefed main (2 slides) and reefed genoa 4.6 3.2 Trip up to Prinstead with daughter - gusty wind, big tide, seal spotted in the moorings
8th October 8.5 F1 gusting F2 NW => W => SW Full main and genoa 4.3 2.4 First anchoring (ever), and some seal watching on a beautiful, but light wind, day
11th October 13.24 F4 ENE Full/reefed main and full/reefed genoa 4 2.5 Bar Beacon trip, reefs in, reefs out all day.
18th October 13.19 F3 ENE/E Full main and full/reefed genoa. 4.9 2.7 Last sail of the season - Chaldock Beacon
. . . . . . . .

Year total (to date): 141.29 miles

2014 total (in Sparrow): 137.98 miles
2013 total (in Sparrow): 113.73 miles
2012 total (in Pap): 173.29
2011 total (in Pap): 193.41
2010 total (in Pap): 154.23
2009 total (in Pap): 125

Thursday 5 November 2015

New toilet...

Made me laugh so had to share..  😁

From the excellent Simple Sailing Low Cost Cruising [clicky] blog..

Monday 2 November 2015

...and he's out...

..and with not so much as a bang but a whimper out she came...

This year "Sparrow" was being lifted on the Sunday which was also the last day of the club lift out so by the time I got down to the mooring I was met with a whole load of not very much at all - just "Sparrow" and two other boats there, everyone else had been lifted already..

I was on the boat by 11 (I'm nervous the night before a lift out - no idea why...) which was three and a half hours before HT, so just a little time to get on with a little work...  I wanted to remove the mooring chain before I left the mooring as otherwise I'd have to come out again on the tender which is always a messy job...

As expected the galvanised shackle had rusted completely - tried to unscrew it but it wasn't going to go, so resorted to the hacksaw...  all removed, and shackle and swivel now in the bin - the swivel was an original from "Papillon" so is the better part of 5 or 6 years old, as was the chain, and I've decided that for next year I'd have new...  the swivel and chain have been through some heavy weather over the years - best to renew them before they fail...

So chain off and left in the tender, which I left on the mooring (standing instructions for lift out is to not tow your tender as it gets in the way) - engine on and warmed up, and roughly two and a half hours before HT I motored for the bridge... you see why the mast has to come down....

..picked up a mooring the other side and put the kettle on while I waited for enough water to get the tractor and hoist close enough... explosion in a coffee shop later (a long story, but the nub of it is don't try to make a frothy coffee in a sealed thermos mug with boiling water by shaking it up and down vigorously ) I'd opened the beer (!) and was taking layers off as the sun was out (it had been a foggy start) and the temperature was rising...

..two boats later I was taken in...  this is me in the hoist, chap at the front is one of the two lifting crew they put on each boat...

...and then plonked down on the gravel in roughly the same space I had two years ago...

First things first, I was interested to see how the antifoul had done this year - outstanding crop of barnacles, fair amount of weed, but not seemingly too much different to a lot of the other boats... the work begins - first bad news - the hatch covers haven't stood up well, there's some de-lamination already...

Sunday 25 October 2015

All over bar the shouting..

The mast is down, no broken limbs or equipment.. 😏

Rod the Mod and "old" Dave came over yesterday morning to take the mast down, not the best of conditions but it was one of the most trouble free drops I think we've had; all done and dusted within 30 or 45 minutes?? Something of a record I think, though I think we should have been able to hear the ghosts of Nelson's professionals chuckling at our amateur efforts if we'd paused for a moment...

So no major* surprises, same process/technique as previous occasions (see here [clicky] and here [clicky] for previous efforts) - I'd  gone down the night before and taken off the genoa and boom (with main still on it) so less to do on the day.

All we had to do was:

  • loosen off uppers, back stay, and rear lowers, 
  • detach the forward lowers and attach A frame, 
  • jib halyard on the upper top of the frame, 
  • main sheet to stem fitting and lower top of the frame, 
  • cranked on pressure, 
  • detached forestay at stem fitting (*bit of a tight fit this year so in the end I moved the main sheet attachment from the stem fitting to a wire strop on the stem fitting just to lift the main sheet block above the roller drum  and allow a clean run of line), 
  • removed the lower bolt from the tabernacle, and ..
  • with Dave pulling the back stay to get it going, Rod on the cabin top guiding it, and me on the main sheet, the mast was soon in the crutch,  
  • then taken off the tabernacle, and moved forward to its final position resting on pulpit and crutch.. 

What a difference a day makes - this was next day, I'd popped out just to tidy up.. 
Job done.. too early for beers so we went for a cooked brekkie instead, thanks chaps!

Sunny, and as flat as a flat thing..
...and finally, the mystery of the disapearing Windex.. whole bracket gone just the bolt left..

Monday 19 October 2015

Chaldock.. last sail of the season

Last sail of the season - I think, possibly.. 😏

Sparrow comes out two weeks yesterday (1st November) and other than a fairly strong proposed date of the 24th (next Saturday) to drop the mast, I do theoretically have 13 days of potential sailing left, though I 'd have to use holiday if I don't drop the mast next weekend...

I think that's probably it for this year...

So what did we do?? Bit of a long range jaunt - 15:11 high tide, got to the boat about 12, gave her a bit of a waterline scrub, and was off the mooring and motoring to my usual main sail lifting spot just before 12:30...

Wind was easterly (again..  so much for prevailing south westerly's this year) but with 4.5 mtrs of water behind it it was never going to be a super fast trip to the bottom of the harbour so I decided to enjoy the sail and make my mind up when I got down there... broad reach to Marker (the pinch point to the upper part of the harbour), and I was still doing 2/2.5 knots on a broad reach against the the tide...

At Verner the wind picked up a little so I hardened up and decided to take my usual short cut across Pilsea Sands with a view to seeing how far I could get..  after a short and lively beat to the Chichester channel in surprisingly short time, I had the welcome opportunity to ride the incoming tide for a while - not something that happens often! Decided to go for Bosham - a beat, and a tight beat at that, but with a helping tide for at least another hour (must have been about 2'ish when I exited the short cut) it would at least be helping me in the right direction..

Bosham in the distance - the entrance to the creek is just to the left of that line of moored yachts  Chaldock Point to the right
Got to Chaldock (which I think is the limit of my westbound excursions this year) and with the wind dropping, and the clouds above the South Downs beginning to look threatening (see following) I decided to head for home, but not before I'd done a little man overboard practice (dropped my cushion..! )

Chaldock Beacon - red circle in the chartlet above - look at those clouds over the Downs..
Rode the now (slowly) turning tide down wind and back to the "corner" where I turned across Pilsea Sands, and then hardened up on what was the last of a slowly dying wind...  started motor sailing about half way across (sails added a half knot or so), but then dropped the flappy things and tidied up just past Marker as the harbour looked like glass - no wind at all...

Cold day, warm day, windy, then not, but fun, and a new part of the harbour to have a look at ...


Distance: 13.19 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Both ends of a F3 (very occasional gust into low F4) direction between NE and E
Sail Plan: Full main and full/reefed genoa - engine to manoeuvre and get back to the mooring after the wind dropped...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 4.9 knots (which would have been under motor - saw a few 4.5's/4.7's when we were sailing down the harbour) - average speed 2.7 knots

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Bar room crawl...

The dog days of summer are upon us here on the south coast of Britain, and my lift out date is fast approaching. There's a distinct chilly dampness in the air in the mornings and evenings, the nights are pulling in (and for the first time this winter the bike lights were deployed on the way home from work this week), and the mornings are darker as well... So it was that a sunny Sunday with good winds forecast was grabbed at with both hands, and not just by me - the entire day was slightly frenetic, it was if every boat owner realised they'd better make the most of it as there wouldn't be much more of these before next May/June...

Winds were North Easterly but appeared to be fine, so I tookout the reefs that seem to have been in all summer and headed off,  main up just off Northney, shook the genoa out and with the NE'ly I was sailing almost as soon as I turned for the corner...  the wind on the corner of Sweare Deep/Emsworth Channel however, was gusting hard, and as the sail plan was a handle I hove to and put some rolls in the main before heading for the bottom of the harbour and the Solent - target for the day was the West Pole...

Spotted this beauty heading into the harbour..
4,5 mtr tide on the day so there was a lot of water sloshing around, even so progress was good..  2.5 or 3 knots (occasional 4) against what I conservatively estimate to be a 1/1.5 knot tide but it was clear the wind was dropping and by the time I got to the Bar Beacon I was running out of time and wind...  hove to again and took the reefs out (must have been a bottom end F4 by now) but finally admitted defeat as the (huge) west going tide kept pushing me west, and not enough wind to easily get back against it .. turned and ran back to the harbour before having a lovely beat all the way back to Sweare Deep, dropped the main there and then motor sailed back on to the mooring...  perfect day but I seemed to spend the whole of it sailing "against the grain" 

Take your partner by the hand, dosy-do, etc etc  :o)
I have my lift out confirmed for the 1st November, the weekend before I'm on call, but have arranged for 5 or 6 hours off to drop the mast (thanks chaps!) either on the Saturday or Sunday depending when Rod the Mod and t'other Dave are available...



Distance: 13.24 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Both ends of a F4 direction ENE
Sail Plan: Full/reefed main and full/reefed genoa - engine to manoeuvre and get back to the mooring...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 4 knots (which would have been under sail) - average speed 2.5 knots

Friday 9 October 2015

First anchor...

 ...and about bleeding time..

I've had boats for about 6 or 7 years now but have never really anchored.. I had a small grapnel kedge anchor (in fact I ended up owning two ) on Pap that I used to occasionally chuck over the back in the hope that I would have a few moments of peace, but which invariably dragged.

Despite proper anchors on both boats I've never got around to lowering them to the sea bed, so a sunny day and little wind and I thought I could either go home, or enjoy the time on the water - 20' in October and wall to wall blue sky, so it seemed a waste to go home, and then I thought, "I know what"..

Motored down to just north of Mengham Rythe, scrambled through the cabin and rootled out the anchor (a cheap and cheerful Danforth - pretty much like the graphic top left) - it had about 5 or 6 mtrs of good quality chain, but I had to further rootle around in cockpit locker to find an additional length of rope to extend it..

Steve contemplates anchoring ...
I had in mind to anchor off the seal colony and as I motored past noticed that there were at least 10 or a dozen there..  motored in between two of the channel markers and dropped anchor just outside the channel (not that I would have been in the way if I'd dropped it in the channel - I didn't see more than 3 boats all morning!) - couldn't see bottom but I guess there was about 3 or 4 mtrs, let out enough scope to make 3 times that (didn't need any more) took a couple of transits and settled down with a coffee to watch the (seal) entertainment..  which was brilliant, as I seemed to have arrived at dinner time and the fish were jumping...

Excuse the crappy rope..!

Half an hour later (still in the same spot) a vague whisper of a breeze had come up so anchor and main hoisted and I went for a slow drift.. wind died again, and with an hour of tide left I headed for home...

..not often you get a day on the water in a yacht, where there is no wind,but you have as good a time as that... there I was stowing the anchor, and assorted other gubbins that seems to accumulate on the cabin floor when you go sailing, and I keep hearing this knocking on the hull, soft, but knocking nonetheless...  put my head up through the companion way to see what it was and look over the side, and see this..  no wonder the seals are so numerous...clearly there's a bit of growth on Sparrow's bottom... 


Distance: 8.5 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: F1 gusting F2, direction NW, going W almost immediately, and ending up SW!
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa - engine to manoeuvre and get back to the mooring...
Speed: GPS track says the max speed was 4.3 knots (which would have been under motor) - average speed 2.4 knots