Tuesday 30 August 2016

Northney drift...

...that'd be right then...

Early'ish tide on Monday which was a public holiday in England (and a few others of the home nations, but not Scotland) so I opted to get out to the boat for an early session before having to resume grandson sitting duties for eldest who was working..

F3 gusting F4 north westerly's was what was forecast - perfect - what we got was sub F1, very very occasional F2, but they did at least get the direction right....

So an enjoyable 3 hours going almost nowhere at about a half to three quarters of a knot...  but it was better than working, I had a flask of coffee, and the sun came out....

I did spot this boat which I thought was quite interesting - it's a Romilly [clicky]; free standing (carbon) masts - she looks almost Middle Eastern...

..the mizzen can be used as a main in the tender available from the same builder which I think is a clever idea....

After elegantly pirouetting through 360' as the tide washed me gently this way and that under no control whatsoever, I decided enough was enough, and returned to the mooring under motor for a cup of tea...!

Distance: 4.12 (year to date in the mileage page above)
Wind:  F1 and NW'ly (local weather station shows 0's for speed and direction for almost all the time I was out!)
Sail Plan: Full main, full genoa; engine for getting back to the mooring when I gave up
Speed: Maximum was 4.9 knots (under engine almost certainly) average speed 1.5 knots

Saturday 27 August 2016

Solent womble..

Been two weeks since that last (awe inspiring) sail on the windy Sunday, and with a national holiday weekend coming up and a particularly tiring period at work I decided to take the Friday as well and make it a four day weekend, and go sailing..  what swung it was that the tides were also ideal for a long day in the Solent - 0630 and 1900 - so I could leave up until 0930'ish (0900 really as they were pretty neap'ish) and be back on the mooring from about 1600'ish on the next tide..  perfect...

Lovely sunny weather and beautifully warm, but what I hadn't countered for was the wind, and it was a pretty light old day that saw me having a pleasant sail in the Solent getting nowhere in particular while being pushed around by the tides!

Anyway..  stopped off at the garage to fill the spare can (had an idea I might need the engine today!), and buy provisions, but either way I was off and running by just shy of half eight and a pleasant drifting reach down the harbour and out into the Solent ensued...  pleasant speeds but it was mostly tide (as it turned out to be for most of the day!)..

Just enough to get us moving when we got out of the harbour so I rounded the Bar Beacon and aimed in the general direction of the Isle of Wight..  wind was westerly so right on the nose of course, and while the starboard tack was making good progress the port tack was struggling with the tide...  by 1'ish I was here ==>

..that's Ventnor in the far distance, St. Catherine's Point is just a little further round the corner..  the cliffs are Culver Down.. you can also just see Bembridge lifeboat station far right (looks like a nissen hut at a distance!)

With the tide and the wind being what it was, it was fairly clear I wasn't going to get much closer without engine power so I turned back just after crossing the big ship channel...  cracked open a beer, lit up a cigar, and got artistic ==>

..it really was that sunny...
On the way back we had a treat...  this is the tall ship "Stad Amsterdam" [clicky], a cloggy that has just finished a cruise from Scheveningen to Portsmouth, and here on it's way to London, for it's next cruise to the Elbe and Hamburg across the North Sea...  she looked beautiful, but I was more than a little surprised to find out she was actually built in 2000, not 1900!

Love that picture.. the colour, and the fort (Horse Sand [clicky]) in the background..
If you look carefully (click to "embigen") you can actually see crew at the top of all three masts - rather them than me..
Trip back was uncomfortable... as the wind speed was no more than tide speed I was doing 2/2.5 knots in the right direction, but the sails were doing little or nothing, other than flap.. 

Decision made, the engine went on about 2 nautical miles from the Bar Beacon and I motor sailed her into the harbour, where I could then turn it off and enjoy the last broad reach up the harbour. Got a particularly fine view of the local seal colony enjoying the sun as the tide came in to cover their mud bank ==>

...back on the mooring by four thirty'ish, slightly sunburnt and slightly salty..  nothing like it! 


Distance: 26.1 (in 8 hours!)
Wind: No more than a F2 most of  the day, got up to a F3 as I was heading back to the mooring; WNW going SWxS
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa..
Speed: Top speed 4.8, average speed 2.8.. all under (tide assisted) sail

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Bosham blast!

Oh, man...  this was a serious enjoyable bit of windy weather sailing! I've had gusting F6 a few times, but this was fairly consistently mid to high F5 - looking at the old logs this was only the 3rd or 4th time I've had such windy conditions, but Sparrow handled it like a trooper even if her stupid skipper did let her down on the reefing.. 

So Saturday had been warm, sunny and windy but I'd been busy, Sunday however started grey but the weather gonks on the BBC were promising me sun by the afternoon so I took a fly'er. A 15:30 (big) HT, so I was on the boat by 12:30..

Took the decision to put some reefs in the main there and then, then dropped the mooring and was off down the channel against a spring HT still doing 3+ knots on main alone...  got to Fisherman's at the end of the main channel and came up on to the wind and rolled out 75% of the genoa and she was beginning to shift - wind direction was good enough to easily lay the Marker mark on one tack...

As we went past Marker the wind was building all the time (Cambermet shows it going from solid F4 to solid F5 about now), so I took the opportunity to heave to and roll a few more rolls into the main..  having bore up on to the wind, I also let the genoa fly and took a few more rolls in (guessing I was on about 50% now)...  reached the Verner mark and was in two minds - my plans had been to visit Bosham - always a long trip but should have been good with this wind, and I had 6 hours, but the wind showed all the signs of continuing to build (so against what was forecast, 'natch.. 😀) In the traditional way therefore I dodged the question and bore away to see what speed the tide was - 7 knots SOG to Marker gave me a rough indication we had about  2 or 3 knots against...

Bugger it I thought - it's sunny...  so headed up into wind, pounded down to the Verner mark and bore away across Pilsea Sands (the 'short cut') for the Itchenor channel ..

Super fast reach across the sands and then turned for a fast run down to the Bosham inlet - running in strong wind is deceptive, so when I bore off to head northerly into the Bosham channel there were indications that it was going to be ... errr...   "lively"

Pausing only for a quick photo..

Bosham, ho!..  or should that be Bosham Hoe??  😁

...I tacked, and started heading back to the main channel through a myriad of moored boats and ongoing dinghy races (I was sure I'd got a siren for a place at one point but a dinghy was going past at the time so it might have been for him )

Bosham channel is narrow - and the yachts are moored in line in the middle of it... ==>

"Target rich environment"...

..so we have what the military would call a 'target rich environment' for a small day sailor beating into a blow, and just under control..  Two quick tacks to get into the middle of the Bosham channel gave me an idea that this wasn't going to be a doddle - the problem in the main Itchenor channel was then traffic; boats heading up and down under motor, I had to keep tacking to clear them, and more of the aforesaid moored boats, but eventually I cleared most of the traffic and there then ensued 45 minutes to an hour, of some of the heaviest weather beating I can remember - using the full width of the channel to gain the greatest benefit, I almost threw in the towel and turned on the donk a few times, but thought I'd give it a go, and anyway the boat was handling it, and it was sunny, and I had hours to spare..  glad I did, as we got to Copyhold mark and I knew that was my turning point for home, job done and very satisfied...

Another super fast reach over the sands and I stopped to drop the main at the Northney channel, and motored back through the spray being thrown up to the mooring for 1730'ish...  18 miles in 4-5 hours, good going!

Postcript - the cabin looked like a tumble dryer afterwards - everything that could have moved to the floor did... not surprising, the leeward gunwales weren't quite under but they weren't far off at times...  hindsight is a wonderful thing, but when I hove to that first time, I should have put in more rolls than I did - funnily enough when I rolled in some genoa as I came out of Bosham (so down to 30% - 40%) I noticed how unbalanced she felt, and rolled it back out - it was the mainsail I needed the reefs in...

A memorable days sailing..  straight into my top three of all time - stoked!


Distance: 17.9 miles
Wind: SWxW; F4 going F5, gusting F6
Sail Plan: Reefed main and reefed genoa
Speed: 5.8 knots maximum and 3.5 average - that maximum would have been under sail (and I saw a slew of 6.5+'s and a 7 on that little drag race I did)...

Monday 1 August 2016

Lazy Sunday afternoon.. err.. morning

And I can't sail my yacht,
He's taken everything I've got,
All I've got's this sunny afternoon.
The Kinks - Sunny Afternoon

..not been out on Sparrow for a couple of weeks so when the morning dawned bright and sunny a decision was quickly made to get going..  can't even say I had a very close look at the forecast, just wanted some "me and boat" time...

As it turned out it was fabulous morning, I enjoyed the sailing, but it wasn't exactly what you'd call windy... very definitely a Kinks moment in time though, just me, the boat, a flask of coffee, and the radio, the sun shone and it was warm as beans - doesn't get much better.. 


Distance: 6.9 (in 3 hours! ) down to Verner and back
Wind: F1 occasional F2; N went round SWxS; for most of the trip it was just north of west....
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa - once I started for home I took a few rolls in just to help with the tacks
Speed: Max was 4.8 knots which would have been under motor; average 2.0 knots..