Saturday 28 October 2023

Kings Ransom delivery and stuff..

What could possibly go wrong? πŸ˜€
Stuff has been happening..

The main course is coming, but by way of a hors d'oeuvre I can advise that the winter job list [clicky, and page link above] on Sparrow is underway - in addition to completing the quick fix on the jib halyard as a result of some wear from the halyard diverter eye strap, I have also ..

1/. Installed the temporary winter cockpit locker lids and brought the proper ones home to keep out of the winter weather - no point in trashing the good one's which are in surprisingly good condition after a long season of hot weather interspersed with torrential rain and wind..  no idea how old these one's are as I've made so many of the damned things I've lost count but except for a few minor cracks I need to seal, and a coat of paint, they're good to go..

I have also 2/. "pressure washed her bottom" - apologies no 'much anticipated' (😏) state of the fouling video this year as she was partially scraped while on the slip waiting for pick up, but the pressure wash has returned her to an almost pristine condition, and except for the usual extended crop of barnacles between the keels, and on the keel just in front of the bilge keels, it was just minor weed - I was fairly pleased with the antifoul performance this year..  6/10..

With my season over then it falls to the Jolly Boys to keep me 'water active' until the end of their seasons... first out, and first opportunity for boat time, was Dave and his boat "Kings Ransom". Dave is a fellow member of my sailing cub but unlike me his boat is a little big for A frames and mast drops, so the only option is a Hayling Island circumnavigation. 

The first attempt to do this was aborted due to weather (F6 gusting 7 and rain), but that gave an opportunity for the other Jolly Boys to make the trip as they couldn't make it anyway, which turned out to be yesterday/the 26th..

Forecasts were marginal/off putting, but as it turned out we were hugely lucky..  10:37 HT and as we have a Hunters Moon (full moon for October) the tides are absolutely humungous - it was 4.8m the day we went round, but this weekend it is topping out at over 5m - there was a LOT of water sloshing round, and as is the way with these things all of it in the wrong direction for a circumnavigation clockwise... 😏

Team rendezvoused at the club at 08:30, followed by a swift('ish) transit out to Ransom in Dave's electric powered rub a dub, and we dropped the mooring and started moving a little after 09:00.

Kettle on, and tea was being drunk by the time we reached the Beacon (swift work! ☕), sails up about the same time, to take advantage of the fairly solid F4 Westerly we had all morning - we needed to get round in 3 hours'ish to allow us to pick up a mooring and sort ourselves out at the other end with water to spare..

Frying pan was put on the heat shortly after Beacon, and a pack of Treagust's finest chipolata's* were soon sizzling pleasingly in the pan to be consumed as we went past the moorings at HISC just about on high water (it was about 15-20 minutes before as I remember..) - utterly delish..

As we passed Eastoke we could see the waves rolling in to the west of the Bar Beacon - most impressive, but with this height of tide Dave had already decided he'd cut the corner and transit west just past the Beacon rather than going the extra 30 minutes further out to the West Pole..  little bit lumpy, but there was plenty of water under the keel and it was a good call.

Rolled the genoa away and tightened up the main sheet for the slog into the wind across Hayling Bay, and we cut the corner of the Winner at Langstone as well transiting north at Langstone Fairway rather than Winner..  we cut the southern edge of the Winner bank, but with that amount of water about we never saw less than 2mtrs under the keel..

Genoa out again as we headed north through the harbour mouth to take advantage of that westerly, easing the main at the same time, and then a relaxing trip up the harbour watching the learner kite surfers from the local sailing school, and the dredger leaving harbour..  lots to see in Langstone despite it being a slightly more commercial harbour than Chichester. A long, long, time ago, the Jolly Boys first met each other in this harbour, when were all windsurfing from a beach at the top of the harbour - been sailing together for over 35 years now..

Finally dropped, and rolled, sails just past Stoke, and then a motor in between the gap in the blocks of the old railway bridge, before sneaking on to the club pontoon with inches to spare - I reckon by the time we'd sorted mooring lines she was already touching ground. At which point as the kettle went on and Smithy's missus's sponge cake was being sliced, the Heaven's opened - we'd had glorious warmish sun all the way round, the rain lashed down only after we'd got to the destination with tea and cake in hand - bonus!

Next trip is Sunday to deliver AmiLy from Whale Island to Port Solent, and then we're done for the year... roll on 2024..

* a word from our sponsor.. "other chipolata's are available but honestly, why would you bother?"


Distance: 15.31 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction): Solid bottom end F4 ; W
Sail Plan:  Full main and genoa but mostly motor sailing
Speed (Max/average in knots):  6.4 / 4.0

Tuesday 17 October 2023

Long day.. but she's out..

So not with a bang but a bit of a slow fizz, the season comes to an end.. not without some drama on the weather front, naturally - it is October after all - with one, possibly two (looks like this Wednesday is looking a little fruity) of the lifts cancelled due to strong winds, the lift out schedule was squeezing as boats looked to get lifted in the good weather.

My lift date was originally scheduled for the Saturday, but as I had also been rostered to work that day, I opted to move my lift out to another day, originally thinking Monday or Tuesday. With the winds forecast to build over the first half of the week though, I rocked up on the Sunday, knowing it would be stupid busy, but happy to take my chances on when I'd get out, and that I might have a long wait..

..and so it turned out. 

Either way was on the boat by 10:30, determined to recover my top tackle from the mooring before I left, as .. as..  well it's just easier doing it from Sparrow rather than a small tippy tender. 

Happily that grease I applied liberally in the spring worked it's magic, and with a bit of grunt the shackle freed, and I had the lift chain and pickup buoy with all additional iron monger'y on board..  started the engine, slipped the temporary rope mooring I had attached, and headed off, for the last time this season, under the bridge.. to be greeted with a scene of what I can only describe as 'lift out madness'.. πŸ˜€ 

Boats everywhere, and more lining up as they came up the harbour channel - it was a bit like watching the jets land at Gatwick. Clearly the bigger boats (and we do have a couple of fin keelers) need the deeper water to be lifted, so as a small one, I picked a spot on the pontoon and waited my turn.

Lovely day, the sun shone, it was warm, there was lots of chats on the pontoon as we watched boat after boat being lifted and taking advantage of the height of the high tide, tea was drunk, more chat exchanged, I even got the fishing rod out for an hour or two before, with two hours gone after HT, I was told that that was it for wet lift outs, the last boats would need to ground themselves on the slipway and be collected at leisure by the tractor hoist later in the day..

Always a slightly traumatic thing to purposefully ground yourself, but the key is slowly slowly slowly - and once you touch bottom, just leave the engine to idle in forward maintaining your position as the water disappears.

Sparrow was picked up later that afternoon and finally dropped in her spot in the yard about 6'ish.. a long day for me, but hugely enjoyable compared to the guys on the lift out crew who busted their buns for getting on for 11 hours..  kudos guys.. πŸ‘πŸ‘

Now the fun can start..  pressure wash tomorrow!

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Preparation for lift...

Had no idea that that elongated tacking session the other day was actually going to be my last sail of the season, but so it has panned out.. 😏

A succession of low/light wind days, and insufficient tide, has caused all to come to an abrupt end, as I had commitments to make with the Jolly Boys to lower the mast. With signs that the weather is also about to break (and I've seen more than one forecast showing F8's this weekend) then the best place for Sparrow is ashore, safe and sound in the car park..


Monday, then, I went out in the tender to Sparrow in quite possibly the flattest calm I've seen in the moorings, and took the genoa off, and also the boom with main attached..

During...  genoa gone..

Like a mill pond - and perfect for the operation in question..

After..  all gone.. 

Sails/boom off and there was just time to install the mast crutch, this is the Mk2 version with the folding extendable arms, as trialled last year during the mast raising... 

I foresee a Mk3 version as the folding arms are excellent, but do not fold away as easily as I would like, and it has also been pointed out that the crutch doesn't need to be so high as the mast would still clear the  cabin top even if the cross piece was a foot lower..

Once all the sails were off and crutch on a quick check of all halyards and I noticed this on the jib halyard..

Nothing too serious but clearly where the halyard has been rubbing on the eye strap I use as a halyard diverter for the furler... new line is softer than the old one..

Cut a foot off and re-whipped the hard eye - jobs a good'un and that is officially the first job completed on the Winter '23/'24 list.. πŸ˜€

That was Monday, Tuesday I took the A frame, mast support, and mast rest out ready for the drop which was today, Wednesday.

The Jolly Boys convened this morning at the club (Rodders and t'other Dave) and having checked her availability, transferred to Sparrow via Mylor, the club workboat (makes life so much easier).

The mast drop was completed successfully, and very smoothly, no issues, no problems, all limbs and external body parts still in place and intact - other than using the main halyard as the restraint rope rather than the jib halyard to all intents and purposes it all went exactly as previously documented [clicky] ad nauseum.. excellent result. πŸ˜€

Job done, the team convened in the cockpit for beer, pork pies, and a new delicacy we've recently acquired a taste for πŸ˜‹, before returning ashore triumphant.. good result. Thoughts now turn to lift out which may well be tomorrow..

Monday 2 October 2023

Tack, tack, tack, dodge, tack...

An opportunistic trip out so soon after the last trip, but with a decent ('ish) forecast and nothing quite as good forecast for the next few days, it was too good an opportunity to miss.... 

High tide was 13:40 and a quite astonishing 5.23m height (there's a full moon at the moment, and called a "Corn" or "Harvest" moon depending on your inclination) - I can attest to the fact that there was an astonishing amount of water sloshing round - and most of it going in the wrong direction! 😏

So, on the boat 11:30'ish, filled the outboard tank with what I reckon will be the final 3 ltrs of  'Super' for this season, checked Cambermet for a real time forecast of conditions at the bottom of the harbour and could see it was low to mid F4, and pretty much southerly, so decided to leave the reef in the main from last time -  it was a 50:50 but the forecast was predicting it might build later (it didn't..)

With that direction, and the amount of tide flowing, it was always going to be one of those classic Chichester Harbour tacking days, and so it transpired. Under engine to the end of the ditch (I would have sailed, but it looked like there was a rowing gig event on and I needed the manoeuvrability), sails up/out, and then a close reach to Sweare Deep, before tightening up for the Beacon. Rolled out the rest of the genoa as I could see that she was happy to take the extra sail, and then hard on the wind and tack, tack, tack..

It got fairly exciting when about 20 to 30 performance dinghy's from one of the Emsworth clubs suddenly turned up in the fairway, and I had the great 'good fortune' to be on port when most of them had tacked onto starboard..  should have tacked myself, but I was in no rush and it was kind of interesting to check the boats out...  considerate and polite lot, got a number of "thank you's" for dipping round the sterns..πŸ‘

Flat, flat, tacks though as the tide was monstrous - eventually turned about 200 yards short of Marker and ran for home.

Curiously satisfying trip.. 😊


Distance: 7.22 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):   F4 ; SSW
Sail Plan: Reefed main and full/reefed genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  4.1 / 2.5