Friday 24 November 2017

That was the year that was.. 2017

Time for the traditional review of the year past; it's cold, dark, grey and wet outside, so this exercise a much needed mental fillip to get me motivated to start work on the job list. This is my fifth year as owner of Sparrow and although I still continue to learn I have absolutely no interest in parting with her - she does everything I want in spades......happy memories of good times, warm weather and fair weather sailing in shorts and t-shirts...  and besides, I always 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....

As of this moment nothing 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! The major job this winter is to fit a boarding ladder, wire up/fit the auto-helm, repair the outboard lip, and re-bed the grab rails... not much to do then.....

Junk rig Corribee - took this on the harbour womble trip..  very happy with it
I would say that it was another "Good" year; slightly better even than last year (which was itself the third improvement in a row!)... looking back my perception was that this was another fairly windy summer, I spent a lot of time under various states of reef (the logs show a lot of 4's and 5's and more), and up until the end of July/beginning September it was a classic - after that for various reasons it all went to rat shit for 4 or 5 weeks before picking up nicely..  just in time for the end of the season...!

It was a terrible year for Solent trips (on Sparrow) when compared to last year though, not one trip, I did try on one occasion but the bar at the mouth of Chichester Harbour was not playing ball so I turned back and went and did something else instead... I/we did have a superb Solent outing on "Ocean Waves" though - the now traditional "Jolly Boys Outing" combined this year with the finals of the America's Cup (on TV) and some quite astonishingly awful weather that kept us holed up in Lymington for an (unheard of!) two nights but also delivered some big wind sailing...

Of last winters jobs [clicky] the big one was the renewal of the cockpit lockers after the quite unbelievably rubbish job I did on the first lot (they fell apart when I took them off this spring - so one year they lasted...)..  if I was to give any advice to anyone coming along and thinking of doing the same job it would be "epoxy the damn things first", it may take longer, and add a level of complexity, but you save time in spades when you don't have to do the work again each year... B.t.w - they have behaved faultlessly ever since and are still rock solid...

The other big job last winter was fitting the cabin lights [clicky] which was also a big success..  I couldn't believe how cheap these were and they are still going strong...  four of these strips for less than £7 including postage..  from China! Unbelievable..

I went and checked Sparrow on the way home from work the other night, so it was the first time I'd actually  used them in anger, and was chuffed to nuts with the effectiveness..

The topping lift that I moved the access for back to the cockpit over last winter also continues to be a major improvement- I use it a lot...  the main sail (new to me last year) sets so well - it fits perfectly with about an inch to play with so I may get it adjusted this winter but it's not high priority...  similarly the genoa continues to be a handful but the adjustment for that would be major so I just accept that if I'm close tacking then rolling some of it in is a pre-requisite even if it doesn't give an optimal sail shape...

So all in all that rates as a good year....  8 and three quarters 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 (and windy!) Jolly Boys Outing [clicky].

On that trip I have good memories of coming out of the entrance of Southampton water and being hit a veritable tsunami of wind which we were TOTALLY over canvassed for, and yet despite that, the trusty Halberg Rassy just put her shoulder in and went for it.. also the windy night in Lymington - couldn't believe how wet and windy it was...

...a brilliant three days in the Solent - once again Smithy's missus's carrot cake was legendary....  


Number of visits down to the boat (ie. actually on it): 22 (exactly the same as last year) 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...  I've been to see her two times this week alone.. 

Total distance sailed: 141.91 miles, which compares with 138.29 miles last year. It seems to me that that is now what I should expect ie. about 130-150 miles as I usually turn that in unless there's something unusual on (like a big day out/weekend trip or whatever), having said that it's the most I've sailed in a year for 5 years now..  16 sailing sessions - three more than last year... and as I say every year, I'd like to do more, but time is simply not available I am constrained (mostly) to single tide sessions once a week...

Nights on board: None - nada - nuff'ing.. I've done it before and it's usually cold and uncomfortable..

...thanks Pete.. 

Crew on occasion: None...the whole year was solo...  I don't mind, I'm good company.. 

I remember it distinctly...  boiling hot, not a breath, painting the cockpit hatch covers...

Cruising range: Mooring to the west, bottom of the Emsworth to the north, Chichester in the East and Eastoke to the south.. I squeezed a lot of sailing into a small area this year..

Biggest Cruise: The harbour womble [clicky].. just over 22 miles on a double tide and not even out of the harbour - it really is an unparalleled cruising ground. Lovely warm sunny day though windy...

Top of Itchenor reach looking back down the channel to the main harbour on the harbour womble..

Best Cruise: It was a "choices choices?" this year... the harbour womble was good but the early trip to Snowhill [clicky] was superb - a right royal drag race....  

Worst cruise: The wet and windless trip [clicky] without a doubt

Oddest cruise: Pontoon bashing in the Emsworth channel [clicky] probably...  but what an interesting day and at least I can tick it off the list 

Best anchorages: None this year, no need..

Best mooring: club mooring continues to be a delight; water 3.5+ hours either side of high tide... oh and that pontoon in the Emsworth channel was pretty pleasant.. but the BEST mooring all summer was that lunch stop on the Harbour womble...

Sun, breeze, an All Day Breakfast sandwich and the South Downs in the distance - does it really get any better??
Worst mooring: Not a one to be honest.. they've all been good..

Plans for next year: The America's Cup is on a hiatus and I expect most of the teams will be busy developing their new boats this coming year so no match racing to watch...  we haven't started planning yet but I think there will be a Jolly Boys cruise (no idea where we'll end up, and Rod was wondering about chartering something a bit bigger) ..but as for Sparrow?? I've given up making plans and resolutions..  too much pressure.. so I'll settle for "more of the same, please" but it really is time I got out in the Solent again..


Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail Plan: Max Speed (knots): Average Speed (knots): Comments:
17th April 7.36 F2 gusting F3 mainly NExE going SWx Full main and 90% genoa 5.8 2.9 Shake down cruise in the cold to Marker
28th April 4.32
F0/F1 360' mostly NW/W Full main and genoa 5.4 2.5 Emsworth visiting pontoon on  windless cloudy day
11th April 25.93* F4 going F3 . Full main and genoa 6.5 AM and 5.7 PM 4.7 AM and 3.8 PM Cowes for lunch on AmiLy..
14th May 10.41
Top end F4 gusting F5 SW Reefed main and reefed genoa 5.4 4.2 Sunny windy trip to Snowhill and back - fast sailing
26th May 10.27
F4/5 gusting F5/6 ESE Reefed main and reefed genoa 5.5 3.8 Crafty afternoon off..  fast run to HISC, cocked up mooring, first Spitfire viewing of the summer
28th May 3.43
F0 gust F1 SE/ESE Full main and genoa 5.8 3.1 Wet and windless drift..
2nd to 6th June Approx. 90* F1 to F8 W/SW mostly All combinations 8.5 - Jolly Boys Cruise of 2017
11th June 8.49
F4 going F5, gusting F6 SWxS Reefed main and reefed genoa 6.7 3.9 Short trip out in gusty conditions - saw a 7.1 (SOG)!
19th June 4.3
Top end  F2 S going SxE Full main and genoa 4.9 2.7 Blissful evening sail after work - hot and warm..
9th July 5.93
Low end  F2 SSW going WSW Full main and genoa 3.8 1.8 Sunday afternoon drift in the sun
16th July 13.01
F3 gusting bottom F4 WSW going SWxS Full main and genoa 5.5 2.8 Sunny Sunday afternoon to Thorney Channel and first sight of the ice cream boat.
30th July 7.81
F5 gusting F6 SWxS
going WSW
Reefed/no main and reefed genoa 5.4 3.5 Twin Merlins of a Spitfire and Hurricane overhead..  very windy..
1st Aug 22.61
F4 gusting F5 SWxS through SWxW Full/reefed/no main and reefed/no genoa 5.1 3.3 Day out in the harbour - Itchenor Reach and Dell Quay
13th August 10.23
F4 going F3 SWxS Full main few rolls in the genoa 5.5 2.6 Hurricane spotted (plane not weather event) - sail in company with "Red Stripe"
19th September 4.83
Both ends F2 SW going W Full main (no genoa) 4.7 2.2 Enjoyable drift after a five week hiatus - mackerel caught!
28th September 10.47
F3 gusting F4 SW going SSW Full main few rolls in the genoa 5.1 3.1 Sneaky afternoon off watching the seals
8th October 8.32 (131.78) F2 gusting F3 SW going NW and back Full main few rolls in the genoa 4 2.8 Motor sailing against the wind and the tide!
12th October 10.13
F4 gusting F5 SWxW Reefed main and reefed genoa 5.7 3.1 Last sail of the season down to HISC and Eastoke in the sun
. . . . . . . .

Year total (to date): 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 Pap): 173.29
2011 total (in Pap): 193.41
2010 total (in Pap): 154.23
2009 total (in Pap): 125