Sunday 25 June 2023

Stocker and back..

Far too long since the last sail on Sparrow, but I blame the delay on getting, and fitting, my lovely new engine, a week in Greece, and then a succession of trips out with the Jolly Boys..  so lots of sailing but not enough on Sparrow!

A bit of a spur of the moment trip this one - it was a late tide (16:45) but having completed the chores, I was looking at forecasts for the the next day and rest of the week and it is beginning to get windy so I thought I'd take advantage of what turned out to be an absolutely quintessential F3 and sunny day in the harbour - glorious!

So on the boat about half two'ish, cleared everything away, fired up the new donkey (so quiet, and purrs like a sewing machine), dropped the mooring and headed for the channel - overtook a Leisure 17 as I was heading down the ditch looking very nice (I do like small sailing cruisers), raised the main and rolled out the genoa just off Northney marina and then started the now traditional beat against the tide towards Marker. Lot of fun as Sparrow was shifting very nice in the top end F3..  3.8/3.9's against the tide is very pleasing...  bit of fun tacking and racing the Leisure 17 before he headed off back to Emsworth and I continued beating down to Marker.

New genoa sheets are a success, tacks are much quicker, and the sheets are not too thin that they cause discomfort to the hands. Tacking on the 1mtr line each side of the channel helps as you get bigger tacks, and also the benefit of less current in the shallow bits - even with the Emsworth dinghy fleet out in force and racing across the main fairway, in 8 tacks I was past Marker, and once past Marker the channel widens further, so even longer tacks.

A beautiful evening and the wind was staying with us, so I finally turned for home and a glorious down-wind run just after Stocker (which despite having sailed in the harbour for years I didn't know was named after either Stocker's Lake, a deeper water pool only revealed when the tide is out, or the sands that sit between the lake and the main channel)

Spotted this beauty heading for home, as I got towards the bottom of the harbour..  this is Freya [clicky]

Lovely sail up harbour, goosewinged from just after Verner, until I dropped the sails in an increasingly lightening breeze just shy of the Beacon, and then motored home putting everything away as I motored back (got to love a tiller pilot πŸ˜€) 

Back on the mooring just shy of two hours after HT, and I wouldn't have wanted to leave it much longer..


Distance: 11.95 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Both ends of a F3; SWxS
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.3 / 2.8
Engine hours: 45 minutes

Sunday 18 June 2023

New engine..

Time for an update on the cryptic comment re. the "engine front" a few posts ago.. bit of a giveaway in the following...  


The elderly Suzuki developed an oil leak last year which I had addressed over the winter (a new sump gasket and sealant) but there is still a slight leak, and given the venerable age of the engine (think it's a 2007?), it's overall condition (not brilliant as it lived in an outboard well for  number of years), and also the general issues I have also had with revs and idling this year, I decided to give myself a retirement sailing present ==>

Tohatsu long shaft four stroke ('natch) 6HP Sail Pro version.. that model chosen as it was the one I had before the Suzuki, you may remember it as the one that was stolen [clicky] - always loved it, and the Sail Pro thrust was noticeably better than the Suzuki (less revs same speed)

Price was, I thought, very reasonable (just shy of £1400) and included a new external tank and fuel lead..  I shopped around, but in the end bought it from a local dealer as it means I can maintain warranty more easily - they'll do servicing..  first service is due after 20 hours, which may just be long enough to get me to the end of the season (I don't use her that much).

Picked it up a couple of days later, and what a thing of beauty.. 😍

Looks black, but in direct sunlight it's a very dark purple colour (the lady in the shop said it was 'aubergine'.. πŸ˜€πŸ†)..

Time to make it less shiny before I put it one the boat though.. I'm going for an "under achiever" look so a coat of paint on the leg would make her look not quite so new, and not quite so shiny or attractive....  

Started masked her up..

Taped all bolts and openings

Then two coats of grey epoxy primer..

If it works as camouflage for the Royal Navy's ships, it's a good enough colour for me..  πŸ˜€

Done..  on the boat it will have a full strength, barrel type, outboard lock (it's a Fulton), and I will be bringing the engine cowl home with me each time I'm away from the boat - I use a Ducks Back soft cover..  

I work on the assumption that the lock, and the fact that they would also have to source a new cowl will make them go away and look for easier pickings..  but we shall see...  🀞

Took the old engine off a few days before I picked this one up, so that is now home and in the garage - that will be going on eBay. The fuel in the tank was put in the car, the new engine and fuel tank had 5 ltrs of fresh "Super"

I moved the new one to the boat yesterday and lifted it to and from the boat the same way I took the old one off, using the boom as a crane, and the main sheet as the lifting tackle - very easy, and very pleasing.

Having secured it I, of course, had to fire it up and check she was OK, all started very smoothly -adjusted the leg angle a notch (Sparrows transom is curved inwards).. and SO quiet!

Time to go sailing at last..

Saturday 17 June 2023


On what was quite possibly the hottest day of the year thus far (30's plus) the intrepid crew (more correctly known as the Famous Five this time since t'other Dave was miraculously available) conjoined at Rod's gaff for an 09:15 reveille, before departing for the good ship AmiLy for yet another adventurous day on the water..

Very little breeze about after about 11:00'ish but having sorted her out, sorted sails, started engine, and fired up the kettle we were were away from the pontoon in time to enjoy the very last gasps of a decent breeze..

We took the inner swashway for a change, but the wind had all but died by the time we got to Gilkicker, and even the blue meany (the asymmetric) was doing little good..  as the temperatures climbed we drank tea, enjoyed the 3 knots of westbound tide, and then gave up and motored into Cowes, for a trip up the river for a change..  todays target The Folly Inn

The Folly is a bit of a landmark pub for the sailing fraternity the only downside being that unless you are very very very lucky (and manage to get the one or two places on the walk ashore), the only way to get to it is by water taxi unless you bring your own tender. Pausing only to admire the bikini'd crew of the next door boat we were soon sat at a table in the pub - where the service was lovely, but very very very slow...  all in all the Jolly Boys rated this one a solid 5 out of 10..  food was good, beer was pleasant but nothing outstanding, service was slow, portions were small, and the water taxi charged us 4 quid each to go from one pontoon to another, with I kid you not, a mere 20 foot gap between them...  ridiculous..  cheaper to go on a walk ashore in the marinas in East or West Cowes..

Lunch done with a few Zzzz's were expanded, before we dropped the pontoon moorings, and then by way of the fuel barge in Cowes where we topped up the tank and also bought kettle juice (ie. gas) - we made it half way home before the flapping of the sails finally caused us to put engine on and motor home..

|Lovely day out, slightly crisp round the edges, but the sun shone, the water glittered, and it was good to be out with the guys..  roll on the next one which may be in Dave's boat (Kings Ransom)


Distance: 28.28 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F1 maybe 2; All over the shop
Sail Plan: Full main/genoa and asymmetric
Speed (Max/average in knots):  3.7 / 2.8

Friday 2 June 2023

The Ageing Four go to Cowes (again)..

Not quite the 'Famous Five' (one of the Dave's was otherwise occupied 😏), but, with apologies to Enid Blyton , the 'Ageing Four' hit the waves again this week, for the next in our series of fortnightly sailing trips...

The easterly's continue - it became a feature of last summer and so far this year it is very definitely a feature of this one too..  it has been noticed, and there is much discussions on the various forums, but in essence we have a high pressure area north of the UK which is generating day after day of sunny weather here in the mid south coast, but the winds are easterly, and they can be a bit on the cool side..  the other decider is the jet stream which is currently split north of that high pressure, and way down south over north Africa...  so for the time being nothing changes until the high and/or that jet stream shifts, we get the sun, and the Med gets the rain.. 

As a result of all that though, it can "limit" the one day options in the Solent - in a NE'ly then Bembridge/Seaview/Priory Bay are still options but the anchorages are exposed, same for Osborne Bay, Lymington/Yarmouth is too far - we could easily get there but the return trip would be a long motor slog back to the east..  Southampton/Hamble/Beaulieu were all options, and we did talk about them, but we like Cowes, so there you go..   we did agree to go East Cowes this time though, otherwise Island Sailing Club might offer us loyalty cards.. 😁

So - the team conjoined at Rod's gaff at 08:30, on the boat by 09:00, slipped the pontoon 30 minutes later - you might almost think we knew what we were doing..   slipped down harbour under jib, slipped round the corner onto the inner swashway, and once we had sea room turned and put the main up - as we were running mostly broad or dead downwind we didn't bother with a reef.. 

Two hours pontoon to pontoon and we were there - fastest trip I think we've had, but the sailing was marvellous - sun glittering on the water, good breeze, tide under us, mid to high 6's all the way on the SOG

Lunch was in The Ferryboat and was very good, and very large... πŸ”

Not surprisingly there was an amount of snoozing once we managed to roll back to the boat, and besides, the sun was shining and we needed to wait for the tide to turn anyway..

Carbohydrate poisoning... πŸ˜… 

The trip back was also awesome - as per the track below - lonnnnnng boards, only tacking when the wind veered enough to head us away from our eventual goal..  five tacks and we were at the main channel and ready to bear away for the harbour entrance - just as the wind decided to start building...  shot through the harbour entrance, jib away by the ferry, main away at the turning and we were back on the pontoon drinking tea and eating Smithy's scones (with fresh cream foresooth!) before heading for home... what an awesome day and I'm already looking forward to the next one!


Distance: 29.39 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  F4 gusting F5 ; NExE
Sail Plan: Reefed main and full jib
Speed (Max/average in knots): 7.4 / 2.6