Friday 31 December 2021

That was the year that was (almost).. 2021


Yee gods, it's the end of 2021 already..  that must mean it's time for my traditional look back at the sailing year..! 😁, the little (big?) bastard to the left continued to make itself felt this year despite the general lift in lockdown closures, and consequent greater freedom to sail but in reality, for me anyway, it was a fairly "meh" summer as far as sailing Sparrow went - on the other side of the coin however, there was far more sailing on other people's boats, including what was quite possibly one, if not the, best days sailing for the entire season.. so swings and roundabouts...

This is my ninth year as owner of Sparrow and apart from the amazement at where nine years have gone (it only seems like yesterday that I first drove into the car park in Bosham, saw her at the back, and just knew she was the one I was going to buy) 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...

So many expectations at the beginning of the season as she was lifted in..

 I always enjoy putting this together, it's a good excuse to read all the old posts, and look at the videos (one this year, and riveting it is!) and pictures from this years logs....
      ..on the mooring this year - love the way the sun slanted through the clouds..
    As of this moment work has not started on the winter jobs list, but as usual 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 perhaps one or two major jobs this winter which makes a nice change, neither of them are mission critical though, and other than the aforesaid antifoul she could go back in the water tomorrow if I wanted..
    • the washboards were showing signs of water ingress but the bodged repair has held up well and there is currently no need to replace them - but they will need a coat of paint..
    • the cabin got a freshen up coat of paint and looks all the better because of it..
    • the curtains, after eight years of UV are beyond pale, in fact they are beyond the pale (😀), and could still do with being replaced..  if I could get my hands on a sewing machine I'd do my own..
    • 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.
    • first major is to give the antifoul a good abrading - it's stuck well so the issue is not flaking, but despite being soft/ablative there is build up that has lead to a lumpy and cratered surface..  what I want to do is flatten it off..  thinking a sanding pole and some wet and dry coarse weave sanding mesh at the moment..
    • second project/major of the winter lift out - I have depth instruments, at last (I've never bothered for 13 years up to now!) For the kind of sailing I do they aren't really necessary, but as a project it's going to be fun, and it will allow me to see just how shallow it is when I transit Pilsey Sands! So courtesy of a very good Black Friday deal, I am now in possession of a NASA Target 2 depth sounder..  my intention is to fit the transducer behind the battery box..  it's an in hull, rather than through hull, so no holes needed..

    I would say that it was an "OK" year; not the worst season I've had either in 'Sparrow' (or 'Papillon' for that matter) but it definitely wasn't good... looking back there were three main reasons for that - one I didn't go in until June (four or five weeks later than usual) we can blame COVID jitters for that..  two, my perception was that the weather was not brilliant - it was a damn windy and wet summer at times*..  three, there was a run of weekends where the tide times really weren't optimal for day sailing... four, the outboard was at the repair shop for a couple of weeks which ruled them out... and I was just..  too out of practice to feel comfortable doing any long day's..  anyway there you are..  excuses made for the paltry 44 mile tally in 2021..

    *I don't think it was only me, a number of other guys in the club said the same... 

    Sparrow may have been poorly served, but Rod the Mod and t'other Dave saved my sanity on a number of occasions with sailing offers, and we had some brilliant trips this year, including an "interesting" Jolly Boys trip after a one year hiatus - so damn good to get away despite the "issues"..
    Ten trips this year of which four were in the Solent on 'AmiLy' (Rod's boat) and 'Kings Ransom' (t'other Dave's boat) so not included in my totals. The Jolly Boys cruise after last years hiatus was immensely and stupidly enjoyable, but it blew like a bastard most of the time we were away, and at times it also pissed down with rain and was cold - we'd go again tomorrow!

    Of last winters jobs the one that worked beyond compare well, was the tiller pilot clip - such a cheap and simple thing but it worked perfectly..

    The cockpit lid - which must be about the third - at the moment, touch wood, is behaving...  the epoxy primer undercoat spray is the dogs nuts..

    I can confirm that the new/upgraded "perching pad"™ (😄) I was so looking forward to using last year is bloody brilliant - I may have only done 44 miles but it's the perfect place to sit while the pilot does what it says on the tin!

    ...with a coat of paint to the cabin, a new outboard pad, leak proofing, oxalic/wash down, new varnish for tiller/cockpit hatch/grab rails and mast support.. not too shabby a maintenance winter...  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: 

    Finest cruising ground in the northern hemisphere - my opinion anyway

    ...but the following in "AmiLy" (blue) and "Kings Ransom" (red) this summer...

    ...and then there was the Jolly Boys trip..


    Number of visits down to the boat (ie. actually on it): Difficult to say,  6 sailing trips, but sometimes even sitting on your boat on the mooring (and I did that few times - usually flat calm), or even in the car park come to that, is preferable to not being on your boat at all...  sometimes you just miss "boat smell" 
    Total distance sailed:  44 and a half..  'nuff said..  onwards and upwards... but about 65 or 70 on Rod and Dave's boats... and then there was the Jolly Boys Cruise..  120 (!) miles in 4 days - furthest we've been since 2014, and twice the distance we did on the last outing..

    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 (who I love by the way) I know I've got a problem.. 

    Cruising range: HISC to the south, Snowhill to the east, let's move on.. on Rod and Dave's boats, Port Solent in the north, Cowes south and west, the club east..

    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 first day on the Jolly Boys cruise [clicky] was utterly awesome, I had grin on my face all evening after that sail, it was also long, 45+ miles in a day, and an average speed of over 5 knots...  it was windy, the chop was up, against tide, and Ocean Waves went at it like she was on rails..  brilliant..  beer tasted good that night

    Smithy "enjoying" himself on this years JB Cruise

    Best Cruise: A few to choose from this year, clearly day 1 of the Jolly Boys trip is a contender, but I have to say that the delivery trip on Kings Ransom [clicky] at the end of the season was probably equally as good.. KR is a surprisingly slippy boat when she gets going..  throw in a decent breeze, some warships, and 3 or 4 knots of tide under you and we had a brilliant sail..

    Worst cruise: The day the outboard broke [clicky] clearly wasn't the best of days.. but even that had it's upsides..  no drama's, no crisis, we did what we were supposed to, and we got a result..  lessons learned, one, the anchor works but I needed to make it easier to get to (that's done - anchor and rode now lives in a large rubber trug with handles so it's easier to get out and deploy), the boom crane worked well, and I now know a lot more about the throttle assembly on the outboard..  so all in all, not so bad..

    Such a small and insignificant part...  yet with all the ability to cr*p on your day... 😏

    Oddest cruise: The day I lost my hat [clicky]..  short and sweet!
    Best anchorages: In the moorings by Hayling bridge the day the outboard died! 😂
    Best mooring:  ...the waiting pontoon at the Island Sailing Club [clicky] - lovely lunch, and good banter with a bunch of mates...

    Worst mooring: Easy..  day 2 of the Jolly Boys cruise [clicky] when we t-boned the yacht next to us while turning with the tide into a finger berth on the Hamble.. 😟 Frightening at the time - the possibility of people injury was real, but no one was hurt, apart from pride, lessons were learned, and insurance excesses were paid..

    Plans for next year:  
    • The Jolly Boys cruise..   
    • Some decent sailing sessions...
    Riveting video award:


    Date Distance: Wind: Direction Sail
    Speed (knots):
    29th April 28'ish* F2 gusting
    NW'ly Full main
    and jib
    5 3'ish Early season trip on AmiLy to
    Cowes for massive burgers..  Baltic!
    11th July 5.82 Both ends F3 S/SSE Full main
    and jib
    5.4 2.6 Shake down sail with the Red Arrows
    17th July 8.05
    F2 gusting F3 S/SSW Full main
    and jib
    5.6 2.7 Hot late afternoon beat to Verner and a run back
    22nd July 13.63
    Both ends F3 ESE going SE Full main
    and jib
    4.8 3.0 Snowhill and my first seal sighting of the summer
    23rd to 26th July 119.42*
    F0 to F5 SE mostly Full/ reefed main and jib 8.9
    4.0 (avg) The 2021 Jolly Boys Cruise!
    14th Aug 5.31 (32.81) F3 gusting F4 SSW Full main and jib 5.5 3.1 Unexpected evening sail in the sun
    22nd Aug 9.19 (42) F3 gusting F4 NWxN Full main and jib 4.7 1.8 Engine dies after an idyllic day reaching down the harbour
    2.5 (44.5) F4 gusting F5 SxW Full main and reefed jib . 3.5 Very short trip - windier than I was prepared for - MOB on my hat!
    15th Oct 25.44*
    F0 to F3 NW going NE Full main and jib 6.8 2.7 Island Sailing Club for lunch on Ami-Ly
    22nd Oct 13.81*
    F4/5 gusting 6 W/WxN Full main and reefed/no jib 6.9 3.8 Delivery trip on "Kings Ransom"

    Year total (to date): 44.5 miles

    2021  total (in Sparrow): 44.5 miles 
    2020 total (in Sparrow): 0 miles (COVID)
    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