Sunday 23 July 2023

Completed job list '22/'23 lay up..

By way of record keeping, and to remind me in the future - here's the completed job list from the winter layover... the layover this year was a little longer than usual as I opted for a slightly later lift in due to poor weather shortening the original lift period. As a result I got more stuff done than I would usually..  have to say it was also nice to be doing maintenance in good weather for a change!
  1. I finally managed to get round to fixing the damage to the nose that had occurred under a previous owner. I'm guessing this was anchor chain damage, and that at some time the chain had jumped from the fairlead and then spent a while grinding away GRP. Either way it needed a rebuild and as is my want I was seriously overthinking what I needed to do which was putting me off from doing anything - always a mistake..  In the end I purchased some 2 part epoxy putty (Milliput) and it is now my official wonder product of 2022 - amazing stuff.. job done!

    Reminder of how it looked - note the small lump of Milliput as I had just started to fix it...


    I was using the White Superfine version..  it's a two part epoxy putty that when kneaded together for 7 minutes, can then be moulded, worked and shaped like putty or plasticine, but it dries rock hard within 3-4 hours... No preparation is required as it also has adhesive properties, though I gave the surface a quick wipe down with acetone.. better still this stuff can be worked and smoothed with water - so the following is mid stage...  rolled a tube of Milliput between my hands, then placed and shaped fairly roughly, before then wetting your fingers (I had a cup of water handy) and smoothing it out...

    It also has other applications... as I had a small ball of it left over after the nose repair, I tried it on some old screw holes; roll a thin tube of it, pushed that into the hole and smoothed off the outer edge with a wet finger. Similarly, small surface gel craters/gouges can also be treated same way, take a small piece, press it flat, and then place that in the crater, before pushing it in hard, and then smoothing off with a wet finger. All of these had dried rock hard when I checked, and all were well stuck. Brilliant stuff, and very much recommended..

  2. A smooth off of her bottom - no idea how many years of antifouling paint on top of antifouling  paint there is down there, but while it's not falling off it isn't smooth either, so a sanding pole with some mesh and a bucket of water is planned... I bought some 60 grit sanding mesh this year, as the stuff I used last year was too fine a grit (120) and was only doing a partial job, but either the stuff I bought was rubbish, or it was too coarse, but either way the experiment was an abject failure. I wondered if the antifoul had dried out too hard over the winter as the 60 grit was just skidding over the surface rather than biting, but when I went back to the old stuff it was working fine so I have a suspicion the stuff I bought is rubbish. No worries a couple of hours with the old stuff and she was a little smoother, still looks like the surface of the moon in places..  I'd really like get her soda blasted and taken back to surface, but we shall see. Either way I'm calling this one done for this year..

  3. The gel coat on Sparrow is original but is getting thin to non-existent in places - I will not paint her (that way lies madness), but I do need to stop further UV damage to places where it is thin - in fact, I've got about a half dozen spots where the gel coat is so thin that the underneath (GRP/matting) is beginning to show as a brown layer..  I masked off three or four of these, and with the paint I'd roughly colour matched for the  the nose repair (above), lightened it up a bit more, so the difference wasn't quite so marked, and put a couple of layers on...  so it's not perfect, but it is better than it was, and I am going to call it more of a success than Elon Musk's recent rocket event...  this has continued to work well with no pitting/cracking or flaking so I'll do the rest over time, but I would like to get a better colour match so I think I need a trip to the DIY store soon for a colour chart.

  4. Cabin curtains - the old one's were way beyond the pale (literally 😁)...  the mother in law ran these up for me in 2013 when I bought Sparrow, so what we're seeing is 10 years of UV plus a dry/damp salt atmosphere...    you can see the original pattern but mostly they are bleached white (or rather a 'grubby grey')

    I washed them a few years ago but it didn't do much good... 😁

    ...and here's the new one's..  material sourced on Amazon for about 8 quid..  chosen purely for cost, and that they are quite cheerful.. can see the wonky seems from the hand sewer machine* on this one following - abandoned that soon after and sewed them by hand the old fashioned way...  they aren't going to win any sewing prizes, but given the primary purpose is security (keeping prying eyes out), with a long second of keeping the sun out, then they'll do nicely..  

      Here's them on the boat..

      I have to say that despite the piss poor sewing I'm quite chuffed with them...  took the opportunity to replace the bungees they hang on at the same time. Security and shade in one fell swoop..

      * Quite a clever little machine but not even powerful enough to sew a hem in the very thin material I was using for the new curtains, so I hunkered down and hand sewed them...

      Don't waste you're money..
    • Centre mast support needed trimming - was slightly too long for the current configuration. that's it, supporting the middle of the mast...

    • Mooring tackle updates:

      1. Swivel was new 2016
      2. I 'end for ended' the chain (bought 2016), swapped it round so the old end is new beginning and vice versa
      3. Replaced the pick up buoy itself  with a spare I had in the garage
      4. New shackle between buoy and chain
      5. New shackle between chain and swivel, and ..
      6. But despite best intentions the shackle for swivel to mooring buoy is original (I went out in the tender in a a "sprightly" F5 gusting F6 to attach the top chain and pickup buoy to the mooring - tide was running like a bastard, the wind was from the east - so on the nose - and I got well and truly soaked, but while doing it the pin from the new mooring shackle slipped out of my fingers (oh my God, how I cursed) - stupid, stupid schoolboy error, but I paid for it as I had to row back and get a spare shackle, and then battle out again - so serve me right..πŸ˜†) I'll upgrade it next year ...

    • Fresh coat of bilge paint applied throughout

    • Running rigging replaced - topping lift/jib halyard/main halyard 

    • Not on the list this year, but I thought I'd giver her an acid wash as the water line was looking a bit brown, stained and dingy Once again the Oxalic proved little short of miraculous ..  amazing stuff..  mixed it with some wallpaper paste to give it a little stiffness, in warm water, slapped it on all over, left it 10 minutes, and then lots of rinsing later, and the difference between before and after is astonishing..

      That's Oxalic run off on her bottom, so definitely a job to do before you antifoul rather than after..  πŸ˜€

    • Then last of all for this update - I have a new tender (😏). I'm even more chuffed with this, than I can say. I was, on the whole, fairly happy with "Fledgling" - the old tender - but she had a low freeboard, was surprisingly heavy, and was also small - any more than one adult and it all becomes a little trepidous (as we found out last autumn [clicky]) so I have had an idle eye open all winter for a possible replacement.

      One got washed up on the slip at the club over the winter, no owner has come forward, no identifying marks, so I was giving her an eye over as a possible replacement when one of the club guys mentioned that there was another one in the yard available for free as the owner had swallowed the anchor and given up sailing completely.. so meet new tender.. she's solid, lighter than the current one, strong, has a better freeboard, and I've already taken loose paint off (wire brush in a drill), washed out, put new rowlock sockets on and swapped over locking chain from old tender, drilled a new bung hole.. plenty more to do on her but she's been brilliant so far, and she rows well too!

    Regular/annual items:
    1. Rub down and coat of paint on cockpit locker lids / wash boards - locker lids sanded, filled, clamped, sanded, painted... just washboards were OK at the time but will need doing before end of season.
    2. Rub down and coat of wood preservative on rubbing strakes / cockpit board / outboard pad / hand rails (as needed) - all were done
    3. Antifouled (Hempel Cruising Performer this year)
    4. Serviced the outboard (also to fix oil leak) - service was done but the fix was not a good one, and the outboard has now been sold/replaced.
    5. Serviced Life Jackets (new bottle in one of them this year)
      1. Pressure washed her bottom

      Friday 21 July 2023

      Watch out for sunbathers..

      Camera on the phone is rubbish and mine didn't come out, so I "borrowed" this from the Conservancy page...  πŸ˜‰

      Another one of those glorious days in the harbour that have been a little infrequent of late due to a succession of weather fronts coming through that have delivered day after day of atomic winds, with rain on occasion, and I "don't do that" on my little boat.. πŸ˜€

      Anyway with a HT at 14:29 and a Neap'ish 4.32m tide, I figured if I could get on the boat by 11:00, I should be OK to get away shortly after... was on the boat at quarter past and the depth was showing 0 mtr's (which with keel offset I've set, means there was about 10 cm's under the keels) but within 15 minutes I had half a metre, so dropped the mooring and headed for the ditch..

      Interesting wind direction, almost, but almost, dead west (it was actually just south of it, but it veered 5 or 10' all of the trip between more southerly and more westerly) so turned into wind just after Northney to put the sails up (I would have dine it by the bridge but for the aforesaid lack of water) and then bore away on a very broad reach for the main harbour.

      Wonder of wonders, the direction was so good I went hurtling past Marker (with a quick check of the seal colony sunbathing on the mud at the side of the channel) on a single tack and at that point I really did think the Solent was an option, well Eastoke anyway, but a fluctuating wind, and a lot of water flowing made progress down harbour slower than it might have been and after passing Fishery I knew that was it, as I'd need to be back on the mooring by 15:00 latest to meet some family commitments..

      Saw a 5.4 on the speed (tide assist 'natch 😏) as I turned but then had a quick very broad reach/run back to the top of the harbour before bearing up for Northney on to a beat...  dropped the sails just about where I raised them and was back on the mooring by half 2. 

      Fantastic day out..


      Distance: 9.28 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
      Wind (Speed; Direction): Both ends of a F3 / WSW (but veering W and S of this)
      Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
      Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.3 / 2.8

      Thursday 13 July 2023

      Hard work and perseverence...

      ...but I think all the Jolly Boys would agree that it wasn't the most pleasant leg we've had...  but damn, the beer tasted good at lunchtime..  🍺

      I'm jumping ahead of myself though, so assemblage of the entire team (all present for the first time in ages) at Rod's gaff just after 9, for an immediate start. The starter for ten plan was to head down to the moorings to see what conditions were like as the forecasts were almost universally showing F5 gusting 6. westerly'ish, but with a chance of rain as the day goes on...

      As it turned out the sun was out, but it felt more than F5 when we got to the pontoons, the only agreement being the direction - absolutely bang on the nose for anywhere west of Portsmouth (which is just about everywhere). Given the abortive blast of two weeks before though, and as we were all there, it seemed a shame not go out and see what it was actually like.

      Reefs were still in from a couple of weeks ago, so that was an easy decision, and as we headed for the harbour entrance it was pretty clear that the wind was a bit feisty. Pausing only to admire "Lutine" as she passed (looks like she was out on a charter as she was packed) we pressed on towards the forts, motor sailing to make some progress, the wind was gusty, and the sea was confused (wind against tide)

      "Lutine", which is the name given to all Lloyd's of London Yacht Club's (LLYC) yachts - this is the fourth of that name; an X-Yachts designed X-55, built in 2010 and purchased by the Lloyd's Yacht Club in 2014.

      Main up , genoa rolled in and engine still on we tacked for the first time just past Spithead fort and had a go at making it west..  hideous, every time we got going a wave would slam the nose and bring us to a halt, but we persevered (and persevered), and despite 3 separate votes as to whether to bail out,  we finally managed to get to Cowes after 4 hours of bashing to windward...  we turned the engine on (just by Peel Bank buoy in the map) in order to get to Cowes in time for lunch rather than afternoon tea, and finally tied up in East Cowes at 14:30 - four and half hours after leaving Portsmouth!

      Lunch and beers in the Ferryboat (very good) completed, it then came as a surprise to find it was 16:00 (too much chat 😁) but as we all say, for every uphill there's a downhill, and the trip back to Portsmouth was glorious..  the wind had continued to build over lunch time, to a solid F6, gusting F7, but the westerly meant a down wind drag race, with tide, and just the genoa, and hitting 6 and 7 knots SOG regularly. Four and half hours to get there, but just a couple to get back - steaming...

      Excellent day out, good lunch, good banter, good sail, and a real achievement in getting to our destination - loved it...


      Distance: 30.7 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
      Wind (Speed; Direction): F5 gusting F6 going F6 gusting F7 ; W
      Sail Plan: Double reefed main and genoa morning / full genoa (only) afternoon
      Speed (Max/average in knots):  7.5 / 3.3

      Saturday 8 July 2023


      Glorious only begins to describe it..  these are the kind of sailing days you dream abut in cold January and February..  sun glinting on the water, full sails, tshirts, shorts and bare feet sailing...

      A 16:00 HT but on the boat by 13:00, and away by 13:30 as they are big springs at the moment..  sails up in Sweare Deep and then proceeded to go backwards for half an hour! πŸ˜€  Winds very light, and the easterly's are back, and the aforesaid spring HT was pushing some serious amounts of water about (it was a 4.7mtr tide today) - check those tacks in the track below and you can see how little progress was being made, every time I tacked I was making about 3knts SOG but in the wrong direction..  still , who cares, the sun was shining..

      Wind started to build about the time I was finally getting to Beacon, it also started flicking round 10' or so every now and again which gave a welcome lift..  winds definitely stronger over towards the Thorney shoreline, and for one tack I got an enormous lift that almost took me past Marker before dying and flipping back more southerly..  all in all though, very encouraging, she was moving well, and pointing well - some unofficial competition against a couple of Shrimpers was encouraging...

      Started playing around with the genoa tracks and moving the fairleads back seemed to help with getting the genoa in a few extra notches..  really need to read up on how to use them better.

      Turned for home just past Mill Rythe port marker buoy and then had a fantastic broad reach up the harbour (the 5.1 in the log, and a whole load of others, was on this reach back) with the wind building solidly all the time until by the time I turned the corner at Beacon going into Sweare Deep she was getting heavy on the tiller. 

      One last goose wing run, and then engine on at Northney, sails down, and a lovely run under motor back to the mooring - more please!


      Distance: 10.53 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
      Wind (Speed; Direction):  F2 and building ; SExS going SExE
      Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
      Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.1 / 2.6

      Monday 3 July 2023

      There and back... soldiers wind...

      Mid day HT (11:23 BST) so an ideal opportunity, given just the taste of a sail I had on Friday, to at least (or last!) get out on Sparrow..

      On to the boat at about 10'ish then and started prepping things for departure..  quick check on Cambermet confirmed my earlier suspicions that it was a little blowy - the weather beacon was reporting consistent F4's at the bottom of the harbour, so I decided based on local conditions that some reefs were the first order of the day, and rolled in four turns - just less than the first batten. 

      Winds were also just north of westerly, which is a damned unusual direction for round here, but still very welcome in light of the sheer quantities of easterly's we had at the beginning of the season - the westerly's are back..

      Given that direction though I decided to try something new'ish, and having dropped the mooring at about 20 past, with the new engine purring away on minimum revs, I rolled out all the genoa just by the bridge cardinal and then ran down the ditch under just genoa - no main - even against tide we we were seeing 3.8's SOG.

      It was blowy, but a downwind run allows more sail, so I stuck with it all the way to the end of the Sweare Deep channel, where, gybing the genoa, I then turned and got all the way down the harbour to NE Pilsey on one tack, and with just the genoa..  all remarkably stress free, with the tiller pilot gently whirring away...

      Terror - one of the last of the old local oyster boats..  very fast and seaworthy, unusual to see her with reefs

      Just after NE Pilsey, with the wind building, decisions were required...  a turn to the top of the harbour would require main as it was going to be a beat, I would also almost certainly have to roll in some genoa, and would I need the engine to help keeping her head to wind? 

      As it turned out, all went very well, first rolled in some genoa, then gybe round on to other tack, and while she was head to wind I shot the main up and tied off, and then bore away..  amazing when a plan comes together - one tack to get me some deeper water and off Pilsey Sands, another tack in Sweare Deep, and I eventually put the engine on just off the entrance to Northney - not often I get that close to home under sail!

      Good sail, but definitely on the cool side, and we're now heading into a period of unsettled weather..  windy and showery..


      Distance: 7.81(cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
      Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 gusting F5 ; NWxW
      Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
      Speed (Max/average in knots):  4.4 / 3.3

      Saturday 1 July 2023

      Poked our nose out...

      ...and decided the pub looked a better option...  

      ...can you blame us? 😁

      A cut to the bone Jolly Boys team convened at Rod's gaff for an 0915 depart, with only three of us present for todays trip (Smiffy was in the Big Apple, and t'other Dave was otherwise engaged) - forecasts were not brilliant but needs must and we were expecting grey skies, a slight chance of rain, F4 in the morning building in the afternoon, SW'ly and a slight chance of rain.. 

      What we got once we'd left the harbour (and we'd already out double reefs in as we could see it was more than expected) was F5 gusting 6, WSW, with drifting rain, and occasional F7 blasts.. the target for the day was Marchwood, which is at the top of Southampton Water, but given that it was already half 10 as we exited the harbour, and with that wind direction, our destination was a loooooong beat away, we bailed...

      Sometimes you just have to accept that you aren't Transatlantic sailors, you are out there to enjoy yourselves, and if the weather doesn't play ball, you go to the pub...

      Rodders has just heard that there's Haddock and chips on the 'specials' board at the pub..

      PS. By the by, it was stupidly busy out there for such a hideous day- every man and his dog seemed to be out, but then we realised that it was the Round the Island (as in Isle of Wight) race the next day and most of these boats would have been heading for marinas in Cowes so as to be ready for the start the next day... true enough - this was the start line this morning!


      Distance: 8.0 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
      Wind (Speed; Direction): F5 gusting F6 (occasional F7) ; WSW
      Sail Plan: Double reefed main / reefed jib
      Speed (Max/average in knots): 6.8 / 3.9