Wednesday 8 May 2024

Shakedown sail...

Bit of a big one, but a fairly trouble free shakedown it was..  before we get to that though, a few other bits and pieces happening...

First off, sniping a suitable hole in the abysmal weather we've been having recently, the sails finally went back on three or four days ago. I also took the opportunity to tighten up the rig, and to refresh the fuel in the outboard tank..  I get worried when it's over four weeks old, and it's no problem just to drain the tank of the old, shove that in the car, and then fill up again with fresh the next time I'm on the boat..  so 5 ltrs of Super added..

While putting the tender in however, one of the wheels fell off the launch trolley - so that was a slightly bigger job - took it home and found they had been held on with captive/locking washers..

Tidied up the hub, and rather than get new locking washers I decided to drill and pin it with a nice chunky washer between to protect the pin and wheel from rubbing...

Job done - the other one is OK, so I'll just do the same when it (inevitably) fails - let's go sailing..

Quite possibly one of the loveliest days of the Spring so far this year, with a F3 promised (albeit expected to drop later in the day) and wall to wall warm sunshine was chosen for the first sail..  what a blinder, and so good to be back on the water..

HT was 11:46, and I was on the boat and getting ready by 09:45, funnily enough, and unlike normally happens on the first sail of the year, I actually remembered what to do, and even in the right order (😏) including remembering how to reef - the wind in the moorings was a little feisty, and given it was the first sail of the year, I decided a light reef was in order despite the forecast saying it would drop. That done by half past we dropped the mooring and for the first time this year were motoring down 'the ditch' (it's actually called 'The New Cut' as it was dredged back in the day for the barges that ran between Chichester and Portsmouth) towards Northney...  sails up off the entrance to the marina and the (most unusual) NE'ly was swinging around enough for us to get down Sweare Deep to the Emsworth Channel on a single tack before bearing away against a Spring tide flow to have a glorious beam reach to the bottom of the harbour - making 3's and 3.5 knots against a a 1 or 2 knot tide..  most pleasing - clean bottoms are a help.. 😀

Short cut cross Pilsea Sands, then Stockers Lake (interesting to see the depth jump as we went through, or rather over, it) and over Stockers Sands before tightening up for Snowhill Creek...   remarkably un-busy at East Head for such a lovely day but I guess most people were at work, so a bit of pootling round admiring the boats, and it was round Snowhill buoy and aiming back at the top of the harbour..

Close hauled, and close reach, to the top of the harbour with the wind dying all the time, hove to to take the reefs out just shy of Marker, and then persevered for another half an hour before admitting defeat, dropping the sails and heading back to the mooring on motor.

So "shakedown" issues?
  • Standing rigging is good - all taught and little or no slack on opposite sides when beating
  • Main halyard run was a bit skewwhiff - it was running behind/around the genoa halyard so friction when raising and dropping the sail - dropped the genoa, restored a clean run for both halyards, and re-raised and tied off the genoa..  job done.
  • Dropped the boat hook when I was picking up the mooring - no idea how - but happily I managed to get back to the cockpit, leant over the side, and collected it as it floated past..  another vote for wooden boat hooks..  they float.. but easier not to drop it in the first place! 😏

** Old fuel drained - 5 litres added to the fuel tank **

Distance: 10.18 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind (Speed; Direction):   Both ends of a F3; NE going SxW (sea breeze)
Sail Plan: Reefed/full main; reefed/full genoa
Speed (Max/average in knots):  5.4 / 2.8

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