Saturday 30 September 2023

Boatshow and feistiness...

Over two weeks since the last sail, or should I say "drift", many reasons for this, tide times, but primarily weather - the Autumn equinox continues to deliver changeable weather in the UK - wind, rain, storm Agnes (which thankfully mostly passed us by) but also warmth - here we are at the end of September, and we are getting 20's and 21's in Celsius - love it..

Either way, I'm jumping ahead as one of the reasons for no boat time was also the now regular annual trip to the Southampton International Boatshow - can't quite explain the attraction the Boatshow has for me, but I couldn't miss it. I guess it's a combination of the boats, the buzz, the conspicuous display of money, the ability to have a nose over a whole load of boats you could never afford (or even afford to charter), the Guinness stand..  anyway it was brilliant as ever..  last years trend was SUP's/paddle boards, this year that continued, but the dominating trend was ribs in all shapes and sizes...

Excellent day out - just a few pictures though...  told the Jolly Boys my expectations were now raised having seen this monster...

She's from Jeannau, and is their 55 footer [clicky] at just shy of €975,000 (ex VAT!) sailaway, I don't expect my expectations are going to be met any time soon... probably a good thing; that boat would be a weapon in the hands of the Jolly Boys.. ๐Ÿ˜

This one (next) I took for Rodders, as it is the slightly bigger model of AmiLy (AmiLy is a 324), think the Legends are nice boats, maids of all work...

Anyway, with my lift out fast approaching (sometime between the 14th and 18th, but I am on the lift team on the 14th, and doing a delivery on the 18th, so probably not then), it was time to get some boat time in..  

I have the Jolly Boys lined up to drop the mast on the 12th (with the 13th as contingency) so I have a little over a week to enjoy my little boat before I have to start getting her ready, and before it all starts getting dark and cold and it was that I headed down to the boat yesterday

HT was 12:15 and a stupendous 5.17m (!), one of the biggest tides I remember this year, but the tide today was even higher. Winds were forecast to be F4 NW'ly going W'ly, but there was a decidedly brisk feel to it all when I arrived on the boat 10:15'ish, so I took the decision to wrap some reefs in on the main - not a huge amount, about 4 or 5 rolls, so about a foot - but it was to prove absolutely perfect.

Once the reefs were in, the engine was started, the ensign deployed, and I dropped the mooring and we headed off. With the direction what it was, and confirmed by wind direction on the other boats*, I turned into wind in the pool right by the bridge and hoisted main, before then bearing off to largely sail down the ditch (*I miss my windex!)

Goose winged from Northney, all the way past Sweare Deep and almost to Emsworth Beacon, before I then bore away and had a simply glorious broad reach in warm sunshine past Verner and almost to the sailing club, but with the wind building all the time (feisty!), and the direction it was coming from, it was then time to turn and see if I could do the up harbour trip in one beat or more..  happy to say long boards and a single tack saw me roaring past Marker, before turning at Emsworth Beacon for a another reach down harbour - it was just too damn pleasant.

Turned for home just north of Marker, engine on half way between Emsworth Beacon and Sweare Deep, and then I had quite possibly the most amazing mooring pick up I have had this year - and typically, not a single bugger to see it... ๐Ÿ˜

Final note: One of my fellow club members got this shot of me and Sparrow at one with the world on the last trip - lovely picture, thanks again, Martin!


Distance: 8.77 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Both ends of a F4 ; NW occasionally NWxW
Sail Plan: Reefed main and reefed genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.4 / 2.9

Friday 15 September 2023

Fishing and drifting..

Oh how I laughed...
not... ๐Ÿ˜
Gloriously sunny day (the dog days continue) and with a full diary, and weather fronts coming in over the next few days this was a "grab it while it's here" day on the water..

Lovely row out to the boat to be met with this sight (left) as I got on board... tail off my wind vane sat in the cockpit.. bast*rd birds have clearly tried to roost on it (as they also crapped all over the deck!), and broken the wind vane off - so first job added to the winter list..  thought I'd managed to break the run of bad luck with windex's as this one has lasted at least two years maybe three! ๐Ÿ˜€

12:22 HT and a 4.2 Mtr tide but although it was stupidly warm and sunny, the biggest issue was wind, or rather the lack of it..  the forecasts had been saying F2 gusting 3, but what we got was an entire Beaufort less with a F1 gusting 2... no matter, I had coffee, a fishing rod, some fuel, and an urge to try a passage out of the moorings that I'd been thinking about trying for ages..

This is it..  normally I come to and from the mooring via the passage at bottom (known as "the ditch".. to me anyway ๐Ÿ˜€), but there is another passage, north of the bank, that a number of club boats on that side of the moorings tend to use and I've never tried it..  well, until now anyway.

By way of a digression though, back in the day..  1980?? earlier? I learned to windsurf, and the school I went to (run by Peter Williams) was based at the marina there..  we had the school boards roped to the shore (so we couldn't get in to trouble) at the slipway, bottom of picture. At the end of the week as the RYA Part 1/2  examination required us to be able to sail on all points of sail, the final test was to sail round that bank as the instructor told us if we did that then we would have completed the requirement... ๐Ÿ˜

Anyway, back to yesterday, no issues with this circumnavigation either. I was mildly surprised at how deep it was, certainly no shallower than the ditch..  most of the time (and this was an hour and a half before high) I was seeing a metre/metre and a half, below the keels (and I have a generous keel offset, set so it was more like 2). 

It was so wind'less, I hoisted main while coming down the channel past the moored boats, and then set off for a slow drift. In the occasional puff we made progress. but it was a tiller pilot and fishing rod kind of a day.

Lovely day out but I was never going to be able to make any progress against the tide in near calm conditions, so I turned and ran back for the mooring on the last legs of the tide..  beer in the cockpit completed a perfect day.


Distance: 3.98 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):  F1 gusting F2 ; Between WxS and SSW
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 4.2 / 1.6

Wednesday 6 September 2023

Camber clamber and a few odd jobs..

Glorious dog days of summer here at the moment (thanks to both former tropical cyclone Franklin, and the oft mentioned [here] jet stream buggering off to the north ๐Ÿ˜€), which not surprisingly resulted in the longest cruise of the year so far..

Bit of maintenance first, though - hot sun and rain don't do boats any favours, and I noticed previously that there were a couple of cracks on one of the cockpit hatches that needed treatment urgently. Mixed up some Gorilla epoxy and with some thin plastic forced that into the cracks, and the surface before clamping between two bits of HDPE (non-stick). Yesterday I slapped on some of my go to paint to cover/protect the damage - they'll need another coat at some point (it's been a long season) but they look OK.

I also needed to sort out my kicker, which was original to when I got the boat but not really man enough (in terms of size)..

.. and the line was beginning to show signs of wear..

...recently got lucky on eBay with the following, so fitted that - only 2:1 compared with the old ones 4:1, but significantly beefier and I may still add a couple of blocks to get it to 4:1..

That done it was time to go sailing... HT was 16:21 and it was a 4.58m tide, so still Springs. Given the lateness of the tide though I aimed to get to the boat for half 12'ish, banking on the size of the tide to result in water arriving quickly. As it happened it worked perfectly, and I was on the boat on plan, though I'd had to launch the tender from the very bottom of the slipway.. ๐Ÿ˜

Did the aforementioned painting, started the engine, and then dropped the mooring at 13:00'ish to motor into a gentle easterly before putting sails up, and bearing away at the Beacon. An easterly is a God-send as it means a straight reach to the end of the harbour where normally I'd be tacking the whole afternoon, in a light wind, against a strong Spring tide... 

The fishing was rod was deployed and almost immediately I got a bite - think the hook must have hit him on the head as it went down..  second one of these I've had this year, and a school (ie. juvenile) bass I think (?) either way - mug shot taken he was returned to the briny, and true to form I never had another bite all afternoon!

2.5's and 3's all the way down the harbour even against tide, until almost as if someone flicked a switch, and right by Verner - the wind shot up two entire Beauforts, and also swung round 70 degrees! From a nice gentle reach we were over on our ears, tiller under chin, and beating hard to maintain direction..

...there you go..  14:15 to 14:25.. 70 degree shift in 10 minutes.. then a 40 degree shift an hour later.. ๐Ÿ˜

Rolled a bit of genoa in to help with pointing, and then headed off over Pilsea Sands - I was thinking that on a rising tide if I got stuck it would only be for a while, and also, I was out of the tide - as it happened I never saw less than a metre under the keel all the way, and after a couple of long tacks I slid out into the main channel just by the Port marker for the Thorney channel... 

Bore away for Camber...

..rounded it and noticed that the wind had moderated, and also shifted again (gone more Easterly) - so 
tightened up, rolled the genoa out again, and made Snowhill ('hello old friend') in one board...

... before looping though the boats anchored of East Head, and then bearing away for the main channel, and a long, long, goosewing run up the harbour and home...

Superb day out, but 'changeable' doesn't even begin to describe it!


Distance: 12.44 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): F2 going F4 going F3! ; ExS going S going SE
Sail Plan: Full main and full/reefed genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots): 5.0 / 2.8