Thursday 31 August 2023

Five go to Seaview

...with the obvious apologies to Enid for the post title, I am pleased to advise that boats have again been  inconvenienced, and the Jolly Boys have once again taken to the seas..  this time in t'other Dave's boat 'Kings Ransom' - fresh from her exploits on the mud of a few weeks back. On a slightly more serious note though, this trip was a cracker - not in terms of distance, or where we went, but more because of the ways we did it, and also the fact we were outside of our comfort zone for a little while - this wasn't unexpected, but thanks indeed to t'other Dave for actually still inviting us..

Anyway - I'm jumping ahead of the story - the team convened at the sailing club at 09:00 for what was hoped to be a 10:00 start, but by the time we had been ferried out to Ransom in the rubadub (powered by the quite fantastically awesome Torqueedo electric outboard..  bloody amazing piece of kit), had a chat, had a cup of tea, and got ready we were already a little late.. πŸ˜€

HT was 11:45'ish and decidedly Spring'ish (you'll see why later) at 4.7mtr, and the plan was to do a double tide'er, hopefully sneaking back on to the mooring sometime after 20:00/20:30'ish, as the next HT was almost exactly 12 hours later and slightly bigger. Target for the day was Seaview on the Isle of Wight where we were hoping to get a club mooring and some lunch at Seaview Sailing Club.

Arriving Seaview - sailing club slipway directly ahead

The Westerly's that had been forecast all day, pretty much turned up on cue, and the entire trip was on winds from either west or just north of west, but it was a grey old day at times and more than a touch of Autumn about it in a fairly solid force 4 - having said that, the sun did shine on occasion, and it was lovely to be out in the east Solent for a change.

Arriving Seaview we found out that the club was not open for food as it was end of season (the boatman who bought us in from the club moorings told us that most of the houses in Seaview were holiday homes, and as schools were going back next week, the owners had gone back to their primary residences!), but we got an absolutely excellent lunch in the Old Fort pub [clicky] next door to the sailing club - stunning fish and chips, good beer selection, and very much recommended.

Departing Seaview- glorious evening - one of the Southampton bound behemoths just entering the Solent behind us..

The plan had always been to come home to the mooring via the Nab tower [clicky] but the wind direction being what it was it had taken us until just after two just to get to Seaview, so over a slightly longer lunch than we had expected we decided to kick that into touch and go directly back to Chichester (after coffee and cake 'natch), leaving at about 4'ish. In this wind direction it would have been a long rolly downwind run to the Nab and we simply didn't fancy it..

Dropping the mooring off Seaview about 4'ish (we sailed off, no one can say the Jolly Boys aren't occasionally experimental 😏) we headed back to the West Pole, which after a rolly (wind and tide driven lumps) very broad reach/run under genoa, we reached a few hours later.. it was beginning to get dusk as we headed slowly into the harbour, threading our way through an evening dinghy race at HISC, but as we were in no hurry we just carried on under genoa, occasionally being headed, and just squeezing past Marker before we attempted to roll the genoa away (unsuccessfully - suspect halyard wrap) and turned the engine on (successfully). 

A couple of sail ties sorted the genoa, and just shy of half 7 we edged into the Northney channel thinking we might as well try and see how far we can get - it was a rising tide so no harm was going to be done..

Stunning skies at sunset..

Slightly seriously, there then ensued what I thought was a damn good team effort..  following the port lights to the entrance of the marina was fairly simple, but as we got to the last one, just about where Ransom had gone aground last time, t'other Dave fired up his 12v million candle light mega torch (sight exaggeration 😁) that we were going to use to see the unlit channel markers in the ditch. Unfortunately when he plugged it in, it blew a fuse and we lost all the electrics (😏) 

I grabbed the tiller and aimed us back at the last red marker, while Rod and t'other Dave returned power (successfully) which gave us instruments, most importantly, depth and also found a couple of torches. Rod fired up his tablet which has Navionics on it as a back up (which would help but we weren't sure how much, and how accurate it would be given the location and recent navigation changes) and Smithy and Dave started peering into the gloom. Turned back into the ditch, managed to find the first marker, we then followed the rest by profiling them against the lights of the bridge in the distance. Turned the final cardinal, headed towards the mooring and the rubadub, and Ransom glided to a halt in the mud just by the mooring buoy - result!
Smithy's awesome video of our slow approach in the dark.. 😁

We were well pleased with that - three and a half hours before HT on a Spring (you can see the Blue Super Moon in the video at one point) - probably would have had a little more water that early on a neap but hey ho. Beer, more cake, a trip to shore in the tender and we were away home by 22:30'ish...  brilliant day out.


Distance: 26.8* (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 ; W going NWxW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 5.0 / 3.5*

* estimates - GPS track unavailable

Thursday 17 August 2023

Grandson's first trip...

When you're 10 the snacks are critical.. 😁
Sailing two days in a row?! Unbelievable... second trip this week though was a special one, as it was grandson's first trip out on Sparrow..  

We're happily stuck in a warm spell at the moment and as I was baby sitting (school holidays) while his mum was at work, I got permission to take him out..  

He's been wanting to go for ages and I almost got permission last year, but in my own mind I wasn't happy with the size of the old tender so decided not to risk it..  it was one of the drivers for getting the new tender ie. something with a bit more carrying capacity, and happily, it worked a treat..

So..  13:00 HT and a 4.3m height so definitely a bit of water sloshing about - got to the boat about half ten after the obligatory provisions stop for lunch selection.. tender out, first/primary lesson imparted ("one hand for you, one hand for the boat at ALL times" 😁)  and we pushed off..  got to the boat and second lesson imparted ("keep your weight low and central when moving around a small dinghy") and safely on board I let him go explore while I started the iron donkey and got the sails ready..  wishful thinking really, as there was little or no wind unlike the trip before..

Third and final* lesson imparted ("don't got forward on any boat without asking permission from the skipper first") and we pushed off down the ditch with the fishing rod deployed (never caught a thing all day)..  sails up, but as you can see from the track I wouldn't have bothered but for the fact Grandon was on board..  he laughed when he saw we were going backwards...  

Admitting defeat, and with signs of boredom beginning to show, engine back on, sails down, and grandson steered us home..  water was like a mirror..

He and his mum both tell me he had a lovely time, and can't wait to go again, so 🀞we may have another sailor in the family...  brilliant day out..

* Those three rules are all you need...  the rest is common sense..   πŸ˜


...that made me laugh... between his steering, little or no wind, and a full tide..  we went backwards more than forwards..

Distance: 4.0 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F1 ; SW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.2 / 2.3

Wednesday 16 August 2023

Solent at last.. just.. πŸ˜„

"Weather sniping" we're beginning to call it.. 

After a simply stupendous June of day after day of glorious weather we were lulled into a sense of false security - little were we to know that that was probably our 'summer'..  July and August have been mixed, and mostly bad, day after day of F5+ winds, usually with grey skies and rain - the windsurfers are loving it.. we're reduced to combing the forecasts and looking for our weather window - usually at very short notice as the fronts move fast - and so it was yesterday/Tuesday, for what turned out to be one of the nicest days sailing I've had this year, and that immediately after a day where the rain howled and the wind blew.. unbelievable.. πŸ˜’

First though an update on t'other Daves grounding..  boat went aground at about high tide on Thursday (10th) and Dave spent the night on board with every expectation he would be off next morning in time to get to Rod's gaff for the Jolly Boys trip on Friday..  regrettably though it wasn't to be, as the heights of the high tides were in a period of dropping - he was neaped.. he finally managed to get himself off the boat Friday evening with the assistance of one of the club boats (but not without losing a Croc first though πŸ˜€) but despite trying Saturday to shift her there was no way she was going to move - happily the tide heights were increasing, and he finally got her off on Monday (14th)....

"Groovy, baby"... get it? There's a Croc down there somewhere 😁

Got the above as I went past on my way down the ditch, but I am jumping ahead of myself... keel grooves clear to see..

A 12:24 HT and a 4.2m height, and I was on the boat by 10:00, and dropped the mooring at 10:30 after a quick chat with one of the fellow club members who has a boat next to mine..  glorious warm sunshine, and what was clearly a westerly - single tack to the bottom of the harbour!

With a direction like that you don't waste 'sail time', so the main went up in the pool in front of the bridge before bearing away for a run down the ditch as I rolled out the genoa. Engine on idle was switched off, and swivelled up, as I went past Northney.

Stupidly lovely day, a single not so close, beat to the harbour entrance in both ends of a F3, sometimes dropping to nothing, but the weather was stunning, and when I got to the the bottom of the harbour unlike usual it stayed in the direction it was, and also didn't die off, and so it was that we made our most south'ing this summer so far... 

I'd have carried on to the Bar Beacon but unfortunately there wasn't quite enough wind, and therefore not quite enough time, and it was already 15 to 30 minutes after HT so as I reached Eastoke and passed it, I turned and aimed back up the harbour after a long look at the Solent in all its splendour.

Click to embigen - "Dinghys! Fars'ands of them..." (said in your best Michael Caine voice)..

Federation Cup week in the Harbour this week so the horizon to the East was absolutely covered in dinghy's - every club in the area will send boats to compete in the various classes - never seen so many, and glad I wasn't heading back to Marina's near Chichester.

The fishing rod was deployed - unsuccessfully - the harbour was enjoyed - back on the mooring at 14:00'ish to chat, tidy up, and contemplate the missing sun tan lotion I should have put on.. 😎

More, please..


Distance: 10.37 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Both ends of a F3 ; W
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.2 / 2.3

Friday 11 August 2023

It must be Cowes again..

Low key sailing session for the Jolly Boys this one..  the forecast offered much but the reality delivered little.. πŸ˜€

Both the carriers were in... first time I've seen the lifts down...

What we were expecting was F3's, SE'ly going SW'ly, and wall to wall sunshine  what we got was a force less and mostly wall to wall cloud with the occasional welcome sunny interval..  jackets were on and off all day, most strange.

Either way, most* of the usual suspects conjoined at Rod's gaff at 0900, on AmiLy by half past, pushed off and exited the harbour 10:00'ish.

Prince of Wales (left) and Queen Elizabeth

Winds SE'ly but light so riding the tide as much as we can we still spent a quite inordinate amount of time looking at Ryde church before, at 12, deciding to burn some fossil fuel so as not to miss lunch. West Cowes all full, so the stop today was East Cowes (fantastic berth b.t.w. - looked like it belonged to a permanent moor'er who was away for the day..) and lunch in the Lifeboat (the Greek burger is worth travelling considerable distances for, and in fact, I did.. πŸ˜‹)

The sun shone, the banter flowed, the carbohydrates slowed down four old blokes, and the coffee (with Smithy's cake) was needed to get the body moving in order to make the return trip. Wind had not gone round as forecast, and was still light, and it took us an hour and a half to get nowhere near Gilkicker, and as the time was slipping away some more fossil fuel was burnt to get us back on the mooring at 19:00'ish slightly burnt and utterly knackered..  good day.

* thereby hangs a tale..   suffice to say t'other Dave was missing from the party having run his boat in to the mud the previous evening and having had to spend the night on board. He then found the high tide the next morning was lower so had ended up having to stay on all day as well... lest anyone was worried he advised us he had a full selection of tinned shepherd's pie and soup. An attempt to refloat the evening we got back was also unsuccessful, and resulted  only in t'other Dave losing his Crocs and getting muddy..  but I am pleased to advise t'other Dave did get home, even if his boat didn't. Another attempt to refloat her will be made this evening, but he is not confidant as the tide is lower still..  we shall see..


Distance: 30.15 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F3 going F2 ; SExE
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 6.7 / 2.9

Tuesday 8 August 2023


Blimey..  that blew the cobwebs out for sure..

Changeable and inclement weather continues here in the south of the UK with the jet stream [clicky for a forecast/view from the met office] now an almost constant topic of conversation at the sailing club as dinghy race after dinghy race is cancelled due to high wind. They had the first one yesterday in what seems like two weeks..

Having enjoyed that lovely trip the other day though, I was keen to get out on Sparrow again. The weather yesterday was monsoon like, and the tides were getting later and later, so my only option this week (due to other commitments) was today/Monday with a 16:53 HT, but a Spring'ish 4.6mtr tide would mean I should be able to get off the mooring just over 3 hours before.

First though a stop off at the garage for some fuel for the outboard - 3 lts of Super later (gave up on regular when they upped the ethanol content a few years back) I headed back to the club, got the oars and headed out to Sparrow. CAMBERMET, my local weather beacon, was down (I suspect a casualty of Storm Antoni last weekend) so there was no view of what was happening at the bottom of the harbour, the one outside the harbour was showing F4, local conditions looked ok, and the forecast was F4, so I decided to go without reefs...  😏

Repeat of last trip then..  rolled out the genoa at the start of the ditch as wind was going round more west every minute (so a run), turned into wind off Northney and got the main up, then bore off for the Beacon..

Should have known it wasn't a good decision not to put reefs in, the wind was building every minute and by the time I came up into the wind as I passed Beacon I was struggling - Sparrow bless her was luffing up almost constantly in the gusts, the tiller was under my chin, and neither she or I was happy so I rolled some genoa in, then turned/tacked to go down wind, shoved the auto pilot on, and rolled some reefs (eventually) into the main, before continuing our journey to the south.

As the wind hit what was a constant F5, the temperatures cool, I came to the conclusion enough was enough and turned for home at Verner..  a learning experience for sure, but I'd prefer some sun.

Out with the Jolly Boys on AmiLy on Thursday, and fingers crossed for good weather as I hope to have grandson as crew on Sparrow for the first time on Friday.
  • 3ltrs fuel added to tank

Distance: 8.27 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F5 ; SW going WxS
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 6.1 (saw 7.1!) / 3.1

Friday 4 August 2023

Both ends..

After what seemed like weeks of cr*p weather (and in fact it was - as the last trip out had been a fortnight before 😁) the weather gods finally played ball and had a day off from the almost constant wind (F7 and 8 is pretty much the norm for July) and rain and gave us an "OK" day..   nothing outstanding, and not as good as the forecasts promised, but not far off..

Mid afternoon HT and we're currently experiencing one of the two "super moons" this month will feature so the water levels were high..  a 4.8mtr tide, which is about as high as it gets in this part of the harbour, meant that it was always going to be hard work getting anywhere against it, but an early start and a promised NW'ly meant that a quick transit to the bottom of the harbour was possible, and that direction would also allow some fast sailing on the last legs of the incoming tide..  hopefully... 🀞

...and so it largely was, brisk wind had me thinking reefs might not be a bad idea, but in the end I decided not to and play it by ear..  motored to Northney - turned on myself to put the main up, then engine off and bore away, rolled out the genoa and goose winged down to the Beacon before bearing away for a long very broad reach to the bottom of the harbour - unfortunately with the wind dying as we progressed..

Got to Fishery on the last breaths, and turned with the tide for the top of the harbour - target in this wind direction was Emsworth (the local fishing village) for the first time in a while. Long beats as the wind gusted and didn't, and swivelled between 10 and 15 degrees but the reward was a single squeezed tack to Fisherman's, before a fluky and heading wind caused me to bail out, gybe and run for home..

So good to get out, but we have another named storm rolling through this weekend, and another Met Office yellow weather warning.. πŸ˜’

  1. Fuel top up required...  
  2. We've reached 4 hrs of run time on the engine.

Distance: 11.23 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F4 going F2 ; NNW going N
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.3 / 2.6