Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Evening bliss..

Forgot to take my camera or phone with me so no pictures I'm afraid, but what a blissful evening sail on Monday...

Short sail after work - tide from 5 (HT 20:10) so slipped out from work, and had dropped the mooring by quarter past after first taking out the reefs from the main that feel like they've been there all summer...

Not much of a wind - sea breeze mostly - and a S/SSE'ly (Cambermet says pure S for most of it) but it was enough to remove the cares of the world as I had a nice beat up to the end of Sweare Deep, and a few tacks and gavottes at the end of the Emsworth channel before getting a good tidal push back to the mooring an hour and  a half later where beer was drunk while watching the world go by..

Must do that again...

No issues, but I am thinking that having lived with it for a good two to three years now, the genoa is going to have to be cut down - I rarely if ever use it fully rolled out, and for short tacking it's a nightmare..  will get it adjusted this winter...


Distance: 4.31 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Top end F2 gusting low end F3; almost dead S, going SE by end
Sail Plan: Full main and practically full genoa
Speed: Max 4.9; average 2.7..  (both of those under sail, but the 4.9 would be tidal assisted!

Monday, 12 June 2017


Just a short trip put on yet another windy afternoon... I can't remember the last time we had such an extended period of high winds..  undoubtedly it's something to do with the jet stream or rather it's position vis a vis the UK, but nonetheless while the sailing is exciting, it is also brutal, allows for few mistakes, and is hard on boats....

So as I say - just a short trip - it was already blowing old boots when I started, but it was building more by the time I got to the Pilsey buoys/markers and to be honest it was just sheer machismo to keep going, so rather than hold on for HISC I turned at NE Pilsey and had the most amazing drag race back to the head of the Northney channel - I was clocking 6's all the way and the occasional 7, and even a 7.1 (all SOG of course, and I had a bit of tide with me, but even so..)

NE Pilsey ahead - sun shining, breeze building, reefs (not enough) in..
At the top of the channel and just past Marker it was time for a bit of experimentation - headed up into the wind and dropped the main so I could see how she sailed on headsail alone...  remarkably well all things considered...  first thing I noticed was that the speeds were still good, less, but good considering the increase in stability/control...  she didn't point as high (clearly) but was still tracking well....  but the the third thing was that she was so stable she almost sailed herself up wind - the effect was a bit like heaving to - with the hand off the tiller she would gradually head up, hit tipping point, bear away again, and so the process would repeat...  very good!

Back to the mooring and tied up by 2'ish..  I think I'm going to have to add the outboard pad to the job list this winter - taken a bit of a hammering this season, and I noticed a small crack in the gel that I may address sooner...  elsewhere, the cockpit hatch covers are holding up a treat!


Distance: 8.49 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F4 going F5, gusting F6; SWxS for most of the time
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
Speed: 3.9 average / 6.7 maximum - and as per the post I saw a few 7's and a 7.1 while out...

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Jolly Boys Cruise - 2017

I am just back from the Jolly Boys Cruise which was unusual this year in comprising only 6 hours of actual sailing in four days and nights of time on the boat!   It was unfortunate indeed that the cruise coincided with a period of perhaps the strongest wind we've had in some time - and not a little rain - but banter, good food and beer, all in quantity, made up for it I think..

Friday 2nd

Late get away, but for the first time this year we got away on Friday evening in order to get us as far west in the Solent as possible before deciding any further plans on what we would do over the next four or five days...  given the time, and the look in t'other Dave's eye when we said it might be a while before we ate (and this was already 6:30 in the evening) the engine went on and two hours later we were in East Cowes Marina and picking up our first beers of the trip in The Lifeboat (excellent beer, excellent food, but the entertainment was a chap strangling his cat, sorry electric guitar - too loud!)

Reprobates one and all - first beers in the Lifeboat.. no inkling at this stage of how it was all going to pan out!

Saturday 3rd

After a disturbed night (not noise, just the sheer discomfort and strangeness of five blokes in a 34 foot boat!) the full English cooked by Dave set us up for the new day and talk turned to what we planned to do - the usual step at this stage of the trip is to head west, so talk was of Beaulieu or Lymington

Our ride for the four days - a Halberg Rassey 342 "Ocean Waves"
Decision was to push ahead with this but while we waited for an optimal tide we'd push off up Southampton Water for a little sailing, and perhaps even get above the Itchen Bridge..

Wind was fitful indeed so the iron donkey was still on for the trip up river, and time was taken for lunch at Shamrock Quay which is about as far as a boat of our keel can get up the Itchen on a low tide. After lunch it was time to head to Beaulieu so lines dropped and we proceeded down river - there was a bit of a breeze so the rags were put up and we gently drifted down Southampton water towards Calshot, where surprisingly the wind started to build..  the view of the Solent in the distance should have given us the clue (boats at 45', white caps, etc etc) but about a mile short of Calshot all hell broke loose...

Under full main and large jib/genoa we suddenly got hit by a F5 gusting F6* - to be fair "Ocean Waves" handled it as best she could all things considered - a 2 ton keel helps - but clearly we were over canvassed so as soon as we could (way too long to wait) we headed into wind, put three reefs in, but even with engine we were all over the place while this was going on... we had a SOG record of 8.5 knots during this "interval"!

There then followed a long hard beat to Cowes (we abandoned the Beaulieu idea as the wind was still increasing and would have been on the nose) and another night in East Cowes and a much needed curry...

*SOTONMET shows the wind increasing from a F3 to a F5 in 10 minutes!

Sunday 4th June

Ground-hog day, or rather ground hog breakfast, and after a late(r) breakfast and a read of the papers it was time to gird our loins again...  we swapped the genoa for the smaller jib, ensured third reefing line was still in and secure, and headed for the mouth of the Medina and the Solent - target today was Lymington - fools that we were we were still talking about possibly getting to Poole..  

When we got in to the Solent it was clear it was still blowing old boots but we had our best sail of the four days to Lymington - it was still F5 gusting F6 though, and it was still on the edge, so a decision was taken to go straight in after the 3 or 4 hour sail rather than play around as the conditions really weren't up to messing about...  arrived Lymington mid-afternoon, tied up, tea and cake, and crashed prior to heading into Lymington for an Italian...  we slept well that night!

We were aware at this stage Poole was off the cards as the weather forecasts were showing F8 the next day...

Monday 5th June

Council of war over yet another of Smithy's excellent breakfasts and the decision was taken to stay put for the day - first time we've had to do this but a wise decision - it was grey and boisterous all day - later there was torrential rain, and gusts of up to F8 in the marina behind a bund/sea wall..  I'd had enough, the others went for dinner and I sloph'ed on the boat..

Tuesday 6th June

Another council of war over yet another of Smithy's excellent breakfasts (we kind of nominated him brekkie chef as he excelled - this one was sausage, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms and a seven egg scrambled egg! ) and the decision was taken to bail out early - we had a weather window of "only" F5 gusting F6, so the decision as taken to head for Portsmouth - downwind (SW'ly) and with tide - the plan was we could put up a scrap of either main or jib to help engine...

We got out there, and it was mad - breaking waves of a metre and more on the quarter (wind against tide, but even when the tide changed the waves remained) so a quick decision was taken to "sod the canvas" and push the motor.. headed over to the Island to run down the coast for what shelter it gave (not much) but happily three or four hours later, and after the worst cloud burst I've seen on the water (20 feet visibility!) we were back in Pompey for late lunch..

Cloud burst sneaking up on Smithy... 

...and almost on us...
Despite all that weather all I remember was lot of continued banter  ==> 

Cleared up, tidied up, and home by 6...  the end of a most unusual, but enjoyable, Jolly Boys cruise!


2nd June Green
3rd June (two shades of) Blue
4th June Red
6th June Yellow
Distance: 90 odd miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: Everything from F1 to mostly F6+
Sail Plan: 3rd reefed main and small jib to full main and genoa
Speed: Max. was 8.5 over the ground on Saturday, we had some 8.2's on the sail to Lymington

Monday, 29 May 2017

Damp squib..

Must be keen..  hot, muggy and practically windless, but I dropped the mooring anyway to see if there was anything going on in the harbour wind'wise..  not a sausage.. 

Drifted with what little wind and (mostly tide) there was from the end of the Emsworth channel back to Northney, turned with the intention of doing the same again and I felt the first spots of rain..  enough was enough, all sails down and motored back to the mooring which I got to just as the Heavens opened...  quick pick up (faultless..  phewww) and shot below out of the rain...

On other fronts, look what's just arrived in Chateau SteveThe Wargamer...  whoop whoop...!


Distance: 3.43 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F1gusting nothing; all points East..
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa...
Speed: 5.8 (motor)/3.1 average

Saturday, 27 May 2017

HISC haec hoc..

Warmest day of the year so far here on the south coast on Friday, so after a long week at work I opted for one of those crafty (half) days off and slipped out at lunchtime to take as much advantage of the tide as I could..

The winds that characterised the last trip out continued, albeit they'd shifted round easterly for this trip..  12:45 HT, but having left work at lunch time I finally managed to drop the mooring at 12:20 - happily I took the decision at the end of the last sail to leave the reefs in, so no need to put them back in..

Motored for the end of the channel, with the aim of getting as far easterly as possible in order to clear Marker and get to HISC on the one tack..  almost did it, but had to slip in one tack before hurtling off down harbour, it was a top end F4, mid F5, all afternoon, and gusting easily a whole force higher...

Speeds all afternoon were high, not sure I ever saw them drop below 4, saw a few 5.7's, and even a few 5.9's, on what was yet another champagne sailing day of warm sun, glittering water, Spitfires (yes!), and strong breezes...

"Terror" - the last surviving Emsworth oyster boat
Easterly is a good direction for a run down to the mooring, so on the way back and just for fun, I thought I'd try to sail on to the mooring..  probably not the best of idea's in a F5 but there you go..  nothing ventured nothing gained, and there's no guarantee it would be any less windy if I needed to do it in a real emergency..  good to practice...

Just to make it really difficult for myself I also did it on main only (I'd rolled away the genoa, as it was a dead run down the channel so the main was blanketing it)..  with engine on in neutral (backup in case it went tits up) I approached the mooring beam on..  rounded up.. grabbed the mooring buoy.. and proceeded to sail right over it as the main was still drawing 

Ah well..  in a real emergency with no motor that would have been good enough..  but yeah, sat there is a force 5 with the mooring chain stretched out, and the boat just held at the stern by the tender, and fishing round with a boat hook to untangle the line from the bottom of the engine leg I could have hoped for better.. 

Untangled myself, dropped the main, kicked in the engine, circled round and picked up the mooring..  and then did exactly the same..  untangled, and gave up this time!

Lessons learnt..  strong easterly and a strong easterly tide, should probably have approached the pickup buoy from the other side (it was streaming dead down wind, and I was picking up from the south side), oh, and genoa only, not main...  good to learn!

Only two or three hours but it sets your whole equilibrium back in order...  the glass of Tanglefoot and a snooze in the cockpit also helped! 


Distance: 10.27 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F4/F5 gusting F5/F6; ESE
Sail Plan: Reefed main and reefed genoa.
Speed: Max 5.5 (under sail - saw a bunch of 5.7's and 5.8's as well) average 3.8..

Wednesday, 17 May 2017


Almost three weeks since that first sail of the season down to Marker - the crafty day off a few weeks ago came to nothing as the wind also decided to take a crafty day off, coupled with lack of tides, cold, wet, and as you can imagine I was surely gagging for a little sailing action on my own boat ...

So it was that sunny weather, a stiff breeze (F4 gusting F5 forecast) and a 1500 HT  had all the portents of being a superb day out - and oh Lord, did it deliver in spades...

Got to the boat about 1'ish, got everything loaded and set up - I put in two and a half reefs (by sail slides as I have roller reefing) and have to admit was wondering if that would be enough - and dropped the mooring about 1:30'ish....

You could tell it was going to be an interesting day almost immediately - the brisk SW'ly I was getting full force on the reefed main, was a very broad reach, and down the "ditch" I was doing 3.5 knots against tide without engine... Rolled some genoa out as we got to the entrance of Northney and then we began to shift...  4.5 knots up wind as easy as you like..

Knowing it usually 'honks up' as you come round the headland into the main channel I hove to and put another half reef in the main, and pulled in a couple of rolls on the genoa, and away we went...

Single beat to the bottom of the harbour, 4.5 to 5 knots against the tide, sunny, lovely... Bore away at Verner for the shortcut over Pilsea sands and literally aimed the boat (like an RPG! ) at Hill Head and she went off like a grey hound....  5 to 5.5 knots straight as an arrow...  exhilarating sailing, one of those champagne days, the spray was flying and glittering in the sun (Lord he's gone all poetic on us...) and I was going so fast I couldn't get my waterproofs so ended up a mite ..  errr... damp.. 

Hill Head ahead..
Got to the other side of the sands and after dodging a couple of boats on Itchenor reach heading towards Chichester, I rounded Snowhill, and headed up harbour doing similar and better speeds back across the sands, before joining the main channel for home...  pheww...!

"Hello, my friend
So happy to see you again.."
Lyrics courtesy of Jimi .. naturally..

Some lovely, lovely, sites out today...  this is "Mikado" [clicky], and note, no reefs, unlike me!

What a brilliant day - ended up dropping sails at the entrance to Northney and then a wet motor back to the mooring saw me tidied up with time for a beer and a cigar in the sun before the tide went....parfait

Oh, and finally, do you want the good news or the bad news??

OK - lets be positive - the good news is that the arms on the windex are now pointing back in the right direction! Hurrah....!

Ah, bad news? The pointer/arrow went flying on that long beat down the harbour and has gone for a Burton...    Better start shopping for a fourth, and add it to the winter layup list


Distance: 10.41 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: .  SW top end F4 gusting 5
Sail Plan: Reefed main and genoa
Speed: Max 5.4 and that would have been under sail / average 4.2 knots - not a bad average for a two and a half hour sail!

Monday, 15 May 2017

"Cowes for lunch?"

..quoth Rodders, and who was I to say "no"..  I almost bit his arm off because what with weather and tides I haven't been sailing since that first trip out two or three weeks ago..

So it was that on last Thursday morning, having taken a crafty day off, we dropped the mooring lines at HMS Excellent/Whale Island at 10:30 and then enjoyed three marvellous hours of sailing to Cowes, a trip up the Medina, and a nice lunch at the Island Sailing Club (where I was gently chastised for not having taken off my hat...  mea culpa, mea maxima culpa ... but isn't it wonderful that there are still places in the world where such things are noted.. they are the very last notes of Empire and good behaviour...)

An interesting day for wind though it seemed to swing around a lot but when I check the Bramblemet readings it was fairly clearly stuck in the SE'ly quadrant.... so a soldiers wind all the way to Cowes watching some truly huge container ships coming at of Southampton (we didn't see it, funnily enough, but apparently the "worlds largest" transited our area during the day), and a couple of fleets of Sunsail boats racing (and being muppets in some cases..  you know who you are)

Heading down the Medina towards Cowes ..
After parking at Cowes Yacht Haven some lunch was the order of the day (following) and hat incident notwithstanding I do like visiting this place..  amazing views...  oh, and nice beer - Goddard's "Yachtsman" - a fine, old fashioned, dark amber traditional bitter....

Trip back in the afternoon was a humongous beat - just one tack to clear Gilkicker and shot into the harbour via the outer swashway...  looking over our shoulders we could see we were being chased by rain, and sure enough it hit just as we turned the corner for Whale Island, and the Heavens opened and we even had a crash of thunder...  damn good day out with the guys..


Distance: 12.4 miles morning/13.53 in the afternoon (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: ESE in the morning going SE in the afternoon; F4 in the morning going F3 in the afternoon
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed: 4.7/6.5 AM and 3.8/5.7 PM

Monday, 1 May 2017

Completed job list - winter layover 2016/17

Purely for reference (mind like a sieve ), I completed the following this winter just gone:
  1. Mastfoot/tabernacle - drilled out the lower bolt holes slightly, and gave it a coat of Hammerite
  2. Electrics - fitted cabin lights [clicky]
  3. Tidied up the tender seat repair from last year
  4. Repaired the strut on tender launching trolley and freed up the wheels - and a bigger bit of bodge'ry than the repair to the strut is harder to imagine..
  5. Painted the inside of tender [clicky]
  6. Replaced the cockpit hatches (again); poor preparation on my part meant the ones I made a couple of years ago split and de-laminated. Cut, test fitted, epoxied.. rubbed down, washed and one coat of paint..this was the major item in this winters refit, and was not without it's ups and downs! Started here [clicky] and finished here [clicky]
  7. Binoculars holder (they kept falling off the shelf! ) made and fitted

  8. Tender rubbing strake needs repair/patched
  9. Rub down and coat of paint on  the wash boards
  10. Rub down and coat of wood preservative on rubbing strakes / cockpit board / outboard pad / hand rails (as needed
  11. Anti-fouled
  12. Serviced Life Jackets
  13. New Windex fitted - time will tell on this one!
All in all I'm surprised how much I got done...

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Just visiting...

Well that was a bit interesting...  so with a bank holiday weekend looming here in the UK, some long long hours at work, and not being on call, I went for the extra days holiday on Friday with a view to turning it into a four day'er and go sailing on the Friday..

Forecast the weekend was looking 'iffy, but Saturday was not really an option, Sunday looks atrocious, so Friday and Monday are sailing days - if it comes off..  except when I got on the water on Friday there wasn't a breath..  motored down to Marker to give it a chance, went backwards at 1.5 knots...   gave up and was motoring for home when a sudden thought made me whip out the binoculars (which up until then I had been using to have a look at the seal colony on Hayling) and I could see that the visiting pontoon was empty.. 

Never having landed there before it was too good an opportunity to miss..  dug out the fenders, dug out a mooring line (all of this while steering with a foot ) came round the end of the pontoon and then did a ferry glide light as a feather onto the pontoon - good job...  hopped on to the pontoon tied up, and then proceeded to clear the boat of bird cr*p..  before sitting in what passed for sunshine with beer, cigar, and watched the world go by...  cracking!

Going to have another go on Monday..  that's twice now with very little breeze, chance has got to go my way soon..


Distance: 4.32 (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind:  F0 to fitful F1; every direction under the compass
Sail Plan: Full main and genoa
Speed:  5.4 / 2.5 all under motor

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Marker and back...

First sail of the year and according to my old records this is the earliest I've sailed in the year since that Baltic delivery trip [clicky] back in 2013... not quite as cold today, and certainly not as windy, but as a shake-down cruise it certainly hit every single one of the right buttons... 

Just a short outing then - wind wasn't up to much and it was also a late tide (16:30'ish) and neap'ish (only 4 mtr) but a much needed opportunity to slope off the the sloathful'ness and mild anxiety (that always presages the first sail of the year!) and actually get out and do what the boat is meant for....

So a trip down the cut (how many times have I done that) with much of the same but plenty of new to be seen, and then sails up (main) and out (genoa), outside Northney marina, and bear away for the end of the Emsworth channel....   did that two or three times and decided to head for Marker - wind dropping all the time, but rather than having to beat back, the wind, which was changeable all afternoon, went round almost 180' so I had a run down to Marker, and a run back - most unusual....

Cold though - northerly's most of the afternoon - layers going on all afternoon... but oh my, a boat, a breeze, and the Classic FM Hall of Fame [clicky] countdown (my top three came in at #'s 39, 135, and 224 by the way)..  does it get any better?????

Playing with the new selfy stick...


Distance: 7.36 miles  (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: All over the place in speed and direction...  F2 mainly (climbing F3 for last hour), gusting F3 mainly (F4 for last hour) . NExE going SWxS for last hour..  at about 1600'ish Cambermet shows the wind going through 140'!
Sail Plan: Full main and 90% genoa..
Speed: Max 5.8 (under motor) / average 2.9

Sunday, 16 April 2017

A cautionary tale...

.. first off Happy Easter to everyone...

...second off, an advisory tale... I was out on Sparrow on the mooring yesterday afternoon (lovely and sunny but a chuffing freezing wind direction!) finishing off some last minute paint jobs as I'm hoping to get out for the first sail of the season on Monday (stay tuned as they say), when I was disturbed in my endeavours, by a muffled shout... looking up, I could see that the chap on the boat next to my mooring had fallen in while trying to get from his (new to him) boat to his (new to him) tender... thankfully he had a life jacket on, and also thankfully he had a boarding ladder as there was a strong'ish current through the moorings, and I was 50 yards away, and it's April...

...he was fine, cold, very wet, but OK.. lost his handheld GPS, and now has a long session getting the outboard going (which was attached to the flipped tender), but I suspect he considers that to be a fair exchange... I'm not the RNLI (so it ain't my job to lecture or advise ), but clearly the lifejacket he was wearing helped, he was also lucky one of the club rescue boats was also around, as he didn't have oars for the now righted tender (and he was cursing himself roundly for it)...

... there but for the grace of God go I, but for me the lessons I took away were
  1. I'm going to put a change of clothes in a bag somewhere on the boat, and
  2. get that boarding ladder fitted soon as I can
I read somewhere that most sailors drown transitioning from big boat to little and vice versa, so the LJ is already worn every time I go...

...oh, and if you're relying on a donk on the tender don't forget your oars... 

Had to laugh - windex is still up there..  but spot the problem...  and no it's not the leaning tower of Pisa effect..  LOL...  I'm really not safe with a set of tools...