Wednesday 31 August 2022

The one that came home..

These are beginning to sound like episodes of Friends so I'll have to stop that..  ๐Ÿ˜

I am retired..  retired...  I can go sailing anytime I like..  so where today would normally have been a "crafty day off", it is no more..  it was just a sail..  but my goodness, it was a cracking sail..

Top 4 gusting 5 when I arrived, but having topped up the outboard tank (I may have grandson as crew on the next trip) with 3 ltrs of Super, put together the replacement fishing rod^ for the one I lost last time, and then rolled a couple of clips of reef in the main, I dropped the mooring and headed for the ditch and the end of the Emsworth channel for what turned out to be a (better) repeat of Sunday's sail..

Solo sailor - everything to hand..   ๐Ÿ˜€

The wind was still fractious, occasional gusts that made me happy about having put the reefs in, but with less shift'age in the wind direction; looking at the stats it shifted through a total of about 50 degrees between E and NE, but the average was much smaller this time..

So a broad reach, occasionally a run, to the bottom of the harbour where once again the wind died with the high tide. Hardening up to get a bit of East'ing I then had a two tack beat to the top of the harbour.

Cracking day - returned to the moorings though, to find one of the club boats in trouble - both our club work boats were out giving assistance, and it looks like a mooring chain had wrapped round the keel - they cleared it before I returned to the shore; I hope everything is OK for the owner..

^ New fishing rod is a Frankenstein lash up from bits found in the garage, comprising the top half of a beachcaster, and a reel from the spares box, tie clipped and taped to the rod section. It worked by the way - deployed on the beat back home I had my first bite and catch of the summer - mid sized - OK, small - mackerel which was returned to the briny quickly, so no time for a photo opportunity..

  • oil topped up
  • 3 ltrs fuel added

Distance: 9.31 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 gusting top F4 ; ENE
Sail Plan: Reefed main, 80% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.2 / 2.8

Monday 29 August 2022

The one that got away..

Funny old sail, but none the less enjoyable..  the Easterly's continue, but by way of a demonstration of how "funny" the sail was, I present you with the following, which is the output from the local weather station for the period I was out.... 

...that wind swung through 80 degrees in  the little shy of 3 hours I was out, and look at the wind strength in the middle period - struggled out of F2..  to sum up the day, one moment you were broad reaching, then almost instantaneously onto a beat, and then reach again, and then a gust, and then nothing..  fascinating sailing! ๐Ÿ˜€

Either way, had planned to go out to the West Pole but the wind dropped to almost nothing as I got to HISC and I bailed out, should have stuck with it as it was building again by the time I'd completed my long run back up harbour to the Northney channel..

Dropped the main at the end of the channel, carried on under genoa, and then switched to motor at the start of the ditch running to the bridge and rolled away the genoa...   which was when one of the now flapping genoa sheets wrapped itself around the handle of the fishing rod I 'd been using all afternoon (without success, I might add) and promptly slingshot'ed it over the side...  buggeration.. ๐Ÿ˜Š  It didn't owe me anything and was going in the bin at the end of the season anyway..  sum total of two fish in the 10 odd years I owned it, all the rings were rusty, and the reel had seen better days..  so an excuse to buy a new one early, and a(nother) lesson learned..

Fellow club member Martin, out on his Anderson


Distance: 7.94 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 gusting 4, but occasionally 1 ; almost everything with an E in it!
Sail Plan: Full main/ 90% genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.9 / 2.7

Monday 22 August 2022

Make do and mend...

No sailing this weekend due to tide times - simply too early and too late to make a fist of a session..

Instead a bit of make do and mend...

Fuel was recycled as it was getting on a bit and the only fuel they'd had available last weekend was standard unleaded (E10) and I try to use "Super" (E5) these days as the ethanol content is lower and I consider that to be kinder to the engine innards...  so..  old fuel syphoned off, and 3.5 ltrs of new fuel poured in - the old fuel went into the car so nothing was wasted..

At the same time I took to opportunity to give the cockpit hatches a quick rub down, and a coat of paint - the ply is shocking, and even with two coats of epoxy spray primer small area's of cracks were showing - better to head them off at the pass than have to make yet another set of covers when water gets in!

Monday 15 August 2022

Out with the Jolly Boys...

The Jolly Boys convened for a day sail last week - due to various wrinkles not all of us had managed to make the last few sailing opportunities, so things were looking good for this one as we could all make it ..  that is until t'other Dave threw himself off his mountain bike over the preceding weekend, exploding his elbow, and then getting admitted to hospital for the next 4 days while they pumped him full of anti-b's and then rebuilt said appendage..  being the good fellows we are of course, we decided to go sailing anyway..   ๐Ÿ˜

Lot of easterly's at the moment, not sure why, but we are experiencing record breaking temperatures at the moment, there are monumental barometric highs, there's clearly an element of heat driven sea breeze, but the prevailing wind is usually SW'ly

Anyway 10'ish found us all on board, temperature already climbing, breeze disappointing and NE'ly - downwind run to Cowes - decision taken...  run out of the harbour, plenty of water to take the inner swashway (close to the sea wall) before finding open water, and the first major event of the day - a chance to hoist AmiLy's big asymmetric, also known as the "Blue Meany".. 

"Go Canada" - huge - IMOCA class.. if you look carefully  there's a bloke about 75% way up the mast..

We don't get to use this much - it's a big old sail, and we're not used to it, and the scope for disaster is huge, but it went OK..  sail with snuffer was raised, snuffer dropped, sail filled, and even with jib doused we had another knot and a half, which given speeds due to low wind was in the region of 5 or 6, is a considerable lift..  our problems came when we went to gybe to head over to the island..  decision to leave the sail up and allow it to swivel round and pull in on new sheet was unsuccessful..  we played for 15 or 20 minutes getting used to it to see if we could make it, but it wasn't going to swivel or go cleanly to the other tack, so we decided to drop it and head for Osbourne Bay to anchor up while Smithy had  a swim..

Never pales..  Cowes in the summer... 

Hour later we pulled the hook and headed into Cowes for lunch, which was at our favourite venue in Cowes, the Island sailing Club..  lovely food, good beer, nice people, fantastic venue..

Alongside Cowes...

The wind could be seen to be coming up throughout lunch and the wind was also going round more southerly - a good long stretchy beat until about 3/4 of the way home when the wind dropped and we had to put the engine on..  about this time we had the second major event of the day when this bugger (following) came powering down the Solent on full chat, causing us to take multiple avoiding actions as we wouldn't figure out for the life of us, which of the two usual channels for heavy shipping he was going to take.. he could see we were worried I reckon - 'cos he gave us 3 hoots... at least it wasn't 5.. ๐Ÿ˜€

"I am operating astern propulsion"..  didn't look like it!

No harm done, and a leisurely and gentle sail back into the harbour saw us tied up about 7'ish, and home by 8, slightly frazzled by the sun round the edges, and ever so vaguely salt encrusted..  glorious day...

You can take your Sydney's and New York's, I reckon this is one of the loveliest harbour entrances in the known world...


Distance: 26.65 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3-4 going F2 later; NE going round SSE by end of day
Sail Plan: Full main and jib, plus asymmetric
Speed (Max/average in knots):  8.1 / 2.5

Sunday 14 August 2022


We're in the middle of a heat wave at the moment and highs don't always guarantee wind.. so it was that with a decent mid day tide I was hoping to get out on a long one, but the wind didn't kick in until just after HT so as I sweltered under an umbrella in the garden looking at the tops of the tree's not moving, the first signs of a breeze saw me heading for the boat..

Huge tides at the moment, 4.8 mtrs on the moorings, and arriving at the time I did there was only two feet between the gate of the tender pen and the water!

Filled up the outboard remote tank with 2 litres, covers off, engine on, and then just an hour and half sailing, but what an afternoon..  glorious force 4's tacking in the sunshine, chatting with a guy on a 420 dinghy as we swapped tacks, until I got the long board just off the entrance to the Emsworth channel and headed south..

  • 2 litres of fuel added
  • Oil checked (good)

Distance: 5.69 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  F4 (both ends) / SExE going SSE
Sail Plan: Full main and full/reefed jib
Speed (Max/average in knots):  3.7 / 3.1

Sunday 7 August 2022

Evening sail...

Just a short trip out as this is one of those "off" weekends where the morning and evening tides don't quite cut the mustard..  in this case 07:00 and 19:00, tomorrow 08:00 and 20:00.

Early morning breezes always seem to be fickle so I went with my best option for an afternoon sail which was yesterday/Saturday..  neap'ish tides and I was on the boat shortly after 16:00, but first order of the day was to give the bottom a quick scrub..  keels and rudder were growing stuff (full light of the sun on them), but the rest was better

Once that was done I replaced the tiller pilot mounting base which had had two coats of epoxy primer, followed by two coats of my usual exterior silk white during the week, and then it was time for a sail. Sea breeze was kicking in, and augmented by the usual prevailing SW'ly we had a reasonable breeze, gusty at times.

Hour and a half of tacking and reaching - no surprises, no upsets, fancy trying some thinner jib sheets to see if they'll run better..  just a short trip due to the time but good to be out..

  • Will need more fuel for the next trip
  • Little drip of oil in the floor pan of the outboard, so we do have a current issue - nothing serious but it will need checking on the next service ..

Distance: 5.21 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Bottom end F4 ; SW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.2 / 3.1

Monday 1 August 2022


Fettling?! Chaos...๐Ÿ˜

Been a fortnight since the last sail and I was hoping to get lucky this weekend, but I was busy on Saturday, my day of choice, and as suspected when I got to the boat yesterday (Sunday) it was blowing a high end 4 gusting 5 from the West, along with grey and slightly (very slightly) showery intervals...

It really didn't fill me with a sense of joy so I decided to lounge about the boat on the mooring, fettle, fish, read, drink beer, and snooze instead...๐Ÿ˜€

Along the way however, some necessary work was done, that would have needed doing anyway so the time was very much not wasted..

First on the list was the hinge fitting for the tiller pilot which was showing signs of stress after a couple of years of use...

Here =>

The hinge is stainless steel but not particularly thick - and whereas I was right that it doesn't matter when the pilot ram is extending (as the base presses into the cockpit coaming and supports the hinge), when the pilot ram withdraws it causes a compression at the points marked by the arrows and the hinge has bent slightly..

Wanting to nip this in the bud, I wanted to put some extra support to the bolt hole closest to the hinge - the answer was to put a substantial penny washer on the outside of the hinge in addition to the one already in place on the inside...  to do that though required me first to remove the pilot base (that block of wood), and then remove the cockpit hatch cover, as you need to get your arm up inside the cockpit coaming to get to the nut end of the bolt holding the hinge to the side of the cockpit.. 

Either way - job done - already looks better - it may need a more substantial hinge at some time in the future but for now the job is done.  I've bought the base/block home for a sand down, and another coat of paint..

Next job was a check of the oil level in the outboard, which I had lowered when I first got on board to allow time for the oil to settle.. 

You may remember from the last blog post that I had noticed an oil film in the pan of the engine the last time I had sailed and was concerned it might be leaking..  

Either way, it was a warm day (despite the clouds) so I didn't think it was necessary to run the engine up to warm the oil further, pulled the dip stick and checked the oil (mine looks like that one right - the oil level is read from the very bottom part of the dipper - the straight bit just after the cone)...  

Happily the oil was mid way between the two marks, so no further action required, and a weight off my mind..  looks like the leftover oil was from a previous issue (I have a suspicion the dip stick wasn't fully tightened up during last years use and there was some leakage)

Last job was to check tension of the side stays upper and lowers, and all was good apart from the rear lowers which were very slightly less tensioned, so I gave them a few turns to taughten them up..

Jobs done - fishing rod deployed for the first time this year (nothing, nada, not a sniff), then a beer, a snooze, and a read, before the showers finally drove me home..

Good day but I need to bring the broom out next time - she's hairier than Jimi Hendrix under the water line..๐Ÿ’ฉ