Sunday 18 November 2018

That was the year that was.. 2018

Time for the traditional review of the year past; it's cold (actually it's been surprisingly warm), dark, grey and wet outside, so this exercise provides a much needed mental fillip to get me motivated to start work on the job list.

This is my sixth year as owner of Sparrow and I still continue to learn and I still have absolutely no interest in parting with her - she does everything I want in spades... so the following is happy memories of good times, 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 video (not so much of that this year) and pictures from this years logs....

As of this moment work has already started on the winter jobs list, but plenty more to do - unlike last year I'm fully enthused to get on with it - what's holding me back is available time, or lack of it! 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 complete the wire up of the auto-helm and fit it, also a paint and prime of the keel reinforcement bars..  not so much to do this year.....

Looking back, the whole summer felt like this...
I would say that it was an "Excellent" year; one of the best I've had, to be honest, both in 'Sparrow' or 'Papillon'... looking back my perception was that it started fairly slowly with light winds, not many trips in June and July, but the second half of the season was a belter! Undoubtedly the weather helped..  it was the hottest summer in the UK in 20 or 30 years but wind'wise not as windy a summer as last year, looking at my logs I only reefed the main five times this year compared with seven last year (the logs show a lot of sub-3's and 4's), August and September were truly bliss'ful.. good winds and hot sun...  it was like boating in the Med.

It was also a good year for Solent trips on both 'Sparrow' and on 'Ocean Waves' when compared to last year - I had an absolute belter of a trip to Bembridge with cruise down to Seaview on 'Sparrow', and then I/we (the Jolly Boys) also had a superb Solent outing on 'Ocean Waves' this year - I don't think we could have had 4 better days - with perfect wind and decent weather - no repeat of Lymington's weather this year (which was a quite astonishingly awful weather window that kept us holed up in Lymington for an unheard of two nights!).

Solent at it's finest... Jolly Boys trip 2018
Of last winters jobs [clicky] the big one was the renewal of the outboard pad for which I used my new oscillating power tool and which I already love to bits - one of the best bits of kit I've bought... The repair has behaved impeccably, especially as I also took the decision mid season to start leaving the outboard on the back (albeit well locked and secured) - I don't think it's an overstatement to say that that decision really has transformed my sailing - it makes life a whole lot easier to get going and pack up, I must save 30 minutes a trip..

From this... this

The other big job last winter was fitting the boarding ladder [clicky] happily I can't confirm whether it was a success or not, as I didn't have to use it (though there were a couple of close calls), but I was pleased to have got it done, and I thought it was an unusually good job for me!

Currently unused...
...just one modification, I hinge it up and secure it with a line, as in the down position on port tack it drags in the water...

Of the previous years jobs - the hatch covers are still good (all hail, West Systems), the cabin lights are still good (£7 from China and still no issues!), the battery is good, and also the solar charger is good and despite being small is providing more than enough juice..  the second hand VHF has seen better days - it works, but is pretty poor, I have an eye on eBay for a replacement...

Of the other jobs I want to get done this winter, one not in my hands is the genoa, which has continued to be a handful, and which I've finally decided a 'enough is enough' on - it's going for a re-cut this winter...

So all in all, that rates as a brilliant year....  10 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 - not so much the east of the harbour this year, but we did have a higher than average run of easterly winds this year:

...this made me laugh..  an entire seasons series of tacks to get past Marker...  I missed some bits - I'll fill them in next year...  

....tack tack tack tack tack tack...errr, repeat... etc.
...and the following in "Ocean Waves" this summer on the outrageously entertaining  Jolly Boys Outing [clicky].

What a stupendous trip, some simply superb sailing, an all you can eat buffet in Gosport, Smithy falling off the pontoon in Lymington, lunch in Newtown Creek, t'other Dave pulling the red emergency chord in the toilet of the Royal Southern Yacht Club believing it was the toilet flush (honestly ) ..  good memories...

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

I have no idea what Rodders was doing...  but I have a suspicion...  

Number of visits down to the boat (ie. actually on it): 19 or 20 (couple down on 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:  151.21 miles, which compares with 141.91 last year - within what I've come to expect ie. about 130-150 miles a season unless there's something unusual on (like a big day out/weekend trip or whatever). I am constrained (mostly) to single tide sessions once a week and with a season largely fixed the number of days I get to sail is set by tide availability... having said that it's the most I've sailed in a year for 6 years now..  15 sailing sessions - one less than last year - start of the season was slowwwwww, mid season I got knocked for six by some health issues, but end of the season I took a greater than normal number of days off for much needed cheeky mid-weeker's....

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

...sneaky bugger...  didn't hear him coming the first time and scared the living daylights out of me..  this was second time..
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.. 

St Catherine's in the distance..  Solent at it's finest..
Cruising range: Mooring to the west, Emsworth Quay to the north, Snowhill in the East and Bembridge to the south.. bigger sailing area this year..

Emsworth Quay..
Biggest Cruise: The Solent Jolly to Bembridge [clicky].. just less than 29 miles on a double tide on a lovely warm sunny day in the Solent - I knew it was a cracker even before the day was out... By the by, that is the longest trip I've ever made on 'Sparrow' in all the years I've owned her, and all hand steered...  

St. Helen's - off Bembridge..
Best Cruise: It was a "choices choices?" this year... the Bembridge trip was good, but the trip to Snowhill [clicky] late season was also superb - a right royal drag race....  

Mouth of Chi Harbour looking towards the Isle of Wight
Worst cruise: The bird poo kind of a day [clicky] without a doubt

Oddest cruise: The end of season trip [clicky] probably...  no sailing but the bacon was good  

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... but the BEST mooring all summer was that lunch stop in Newtown Creek on the Jolly Boys cruise, and perhaps the one I used for the bacon sandwiches on the last trip of the year...

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 still be busy developing their new boats this coming year so no match racing to watch, but Sir Ben does have a prototype out already - wouldn't mind seeing it...  we haven't started planning yet, but I have no doubt there will be a Jolly Boys cruise (no idea where we'll end up, and we're 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" including more time in the Solent ..

Love this .. so atmospheric..  

Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail
Speed (knots):
7th May 7.04 F3 going F2 SWxS Full main and 75% genoa 3.4 2.2 Late afternoon bimble to Marker on a hot BH Monday
13th May 10.24 (17.28) Both ends F3 WNW going SWxS Full main and full/75% genoa 4.4 2.9 Harbour bimble.. HISC and seals in the sun; cold breeze...
20th May 6.33
F3 gusting F4, going F3 SE going SW Full main and full/75% genoa 5.0 2.7 Bird poo day...
3rd June 11.27
Both ends F3 S going SWxS Full main and full/75% genoa 4.9 3 Gloriously warm trip to Snowhill on a dying breeze
15th to 19th June 70.92*
F5 / F6 SW Full/reefed main and jib 6.7 4.0 The 2018 Jolly Boys Cruise!
15th July 9.42
F3 going F4 SW going SWxS Full main and 90% genoa 5.0 2.3 First time out in an age - caught a fish and saw HISC twice!
17th July 18*
F5 gusting F6 SW going SWxW Reefed main and jib 7.1 5.6 Delivery trip on AmiLy - Portsmouth to Northney
3rd August 8
F3 SWxS Full main and 90% genoa 4.0 2.3 Afternoon tacking against tide..
5th August 28.62
F3 ENE going S Full main and genoa 6.5 3.1 Double tider in the Solent - Bembridge and Seaview
17th August 10.13
F4 gusting F5 WxS Reefed main and 75% genoa 5.7 3.1 Blustery old day racing to HISC and back - close range seal sighting
24th August 10.79
F4 gusting F5 WNW Reefed main and 75% genoa 4.5 3.2 Another blustery old day racing to HISC and back..  Spitfire sighting and a lovely shot of Terror
31st August 9.77
F3 gusting F4 SE going SxE Full main and 80% genoa 4.9 2.6 Tacking to Verner on a sunny late season Friday afternoon..
F3 gusting F4 SE going S Full main and 80% genoa 5.3 2.6 Verner redux with a hull scrub..
F2 gusting F3 WxS through WxN Full main and 90% genoa 4.2 2.1 Up to Emsworth on a sunny Thursday off work
F4 gusting F5SWxW going WxS. Reefed main and 75% genoa 4.9 2.9 Reefed drag race to HISC in a soldiers wind..
28th September 11.21
F4 gusting F5 NExE Reefed main and 75% genoa 4.4 3.0 Snowhill or bust...NE'ly run down to East Head only for the wind to head me..  buzzed by a Moth.. 

Year total : 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