Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Race Training...

Myself and a few of my old windsurfing buddies are doing the Round the Island race this year. I've known these guys donkeys years, we started racing and sailing together in about 1987 I think (my first trophy is dated '89 but before you get too excited I very rarely came in better than third or fourth!) - this is us back in 1991 after we'd just windsurfed to the Isle of Wight from Southsea...

Anyway - we're all a bit older now and like myself Rod (front row - finger in the air - manic grin) has graduated to sitting down sailing, but owns a far bigger boat than mine, has a masters ticket, and a few months ago asked if we fancied doing the race... so after I'd (back row - middle - orange tshirt) bitten his arm off, some of the others also mentioned they fancied coming; that's Chris (back row second right - fetching lavender shorty) and the two Dave's (not pictured - one of them may have been taking the picture).

Either way - yesterday was first race practice - and what a brilliant day for it! This was the track..

Rod's boat is based at Port Solent which is at the top of Portsmouth Harbour, so having piled on, done a familiarisation, showed us the safety kit, we headed out for the sea - plan was to head for Cowes for lunch (a spot called the Folly Inn - which is the cause of the track up the river Medina!) and then after lunch, head for the mouth of the Beaulieu River before heading for home...

True to form the prevailing conditions had carried on - very similar to Sunday when I'd been out on Papillon - consistent force 4 (slightly more I think) with some truly horrible gusts... checking the archives it looks mostly force 4 gusting 5 with the occasional six in the morning, but a solid force 6 after we came back into the Solent after lunch. Suffice to say that with wind over tide we abandoned the visit to Beaulieu (though you can see we tried) and went on a long run to home...

Brilliant sailing - most enjoyable - can't wait for the actual race now, but we were all totally knackered after this, so heaven knows how we'll feel after that! smiley icons

Distance: A massive 40.8 miles (not adding this to the cumulative total as it wasn't done in Papillon.. free smileys)

Wind: Changeable started WNW went to WSW for the middle period and then back to WNW - Force 4 (gusting 5 & 6) in the morning, solid force 6 in the afternoon.. Maximum speed 7.6 knots (under sail), average speed between 4.5 & 4.8 knots... fast sailing, no wonder Rod can go further than I do on a days sailing - he travels everywhere 30 - 50% faster than me! smiley icons

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Double reefs...

Hugely enjoyable sail today... especially after the problems on the previous two trips...

Got to the boat early (10:30 hight tide, so was there about a quarter to eight) to be greeted by gentle breezes and sunshine... all the forecasts indicated that it was going to be a lot more than that however, and by the time I'd got to the boat the sunshine remained but the gentle breezes had disappeared to be replaced by a pretty solid force 4 with some nasty gusts....

Utilising the new/replacement reefing handle I shoved in about seven or eight turns on the main (drops the head by about a yard and a half), put in a few rolls on the jib, and dropped my mooring for what was a most enjoyable few hours of sailing...

Very little motoring done - wind was west of north..

..which meant that I could sail off the mooring, and I even managed to do one long tack back up the channel to the bridge on the way back!

The following shows how windy it was - I was out from about 8:30 until about 11...
...standard force four gusting seven!

Long run down the harbour and my intention was to motor back as I'd been seriously overpowered at times, even on the run, down the harbour.. very exciting though and I decided to head for the Verner buoy, just north of HISC. Very few boats out...

Having got to Verner I tacked, rather than gybed, to beat back up the harbour and as I'd guessed it was very windy, but surprisingly manageable... I cranked in another couple of rolls on the jib, and the steering immediately improved. Lovely beat up the harbour - tide assisted - doing 3 to 3.5 knots... I toyed with the idea of carrying on right up to Emsworth (as you can see from the track) but in the end the number of boats, and the gusts, put me off and I headed back to the Northney channel - it was at this point - as I was bearing away - that I clocked 5 knots at least twice! No tide, double reefed sails, going like a train she was!free smileys

Back to the mooring - no mishaps - brilliant days sailing..

Distance: 8.16 miles (cumulative total over there to the left)

Wind: NW to NNW - Force 4 (gusting 7).. Maximum speed 4.6 knots (no motor so that was under sail!), average speed 3 (!) knots... fast sailing...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Soldiers wind & shear pins...

Just a short jaunt today - first time on the water since the events described previously, still windy but I was going stir crazy so having put the jib back up I decided to go for a jib only drift down the channel...



Wind was just west of southerly, but some nasty gusts coming through made the decision worthwhile - she's a handful with the big one up as well! free smileys What was interesting was how well she handled under just jib... tacking was no problem though a trifle light on the helm...

Also a success was the new ships stereo... also known as battery powered speakers for my MP3 player. Nothing like it, drifting along in the sunshine, Johnnie Walkers Sounds of the Seventies on the radio, BLT in hand...

It all had to come to an end of course... as I was on my way back to the mooring the wind shifted slightly so I decided to put the engine on for the final approach... in my hurry I started it in gear, and with a fair few rev's I managed to shear the pin that holds the propeller fixed to the shaft (or rather as I subsequently found out - didn't have a clue at the time!)... if I knew what I know now, I could have fixed it there and then, but at the time, with no engine, I decided to sail back as the wind had moved back slightly...

Had to cut the corner on the way back, but I'm slightly proud to say that I did it first time (and thanks to a fellow club member in his tender who followed me in, in the event of any issues)! free smileys

Distance: 3.2 miles (cumulative total over there to the left - again, it hardly seems worthwhile adding this!)

Wind: SSW - Force 4 (and gusting).. Maximum speed 2.2 knots (no motor so that was under sail!), average speed 2 knots...

Postscript: Took the engine into Home Marine this morning and Bill identified the problem immediately - I'm a total mechanics dullard and wouldn't have had a clue where to start looking - I had an idea that maybe the gear rod inside the leg had slipped (which can happen) but the give away was the propeller turning easily even when the engine was in gear - took the nut and slit pin off, slipped off the propeller, tapped out the remains of the sheer pin, replaced it and put it all back together again - jobs a good'un... five minutes tops, and no charge... outstanding service!

Monday, 2 May 2011

No sailing today..

No sailing yesterday, nor today either..

Force 6 gusting 7 - it was wild down there - took the tender out to the boat for some lunch but Papillon was bouncing around so much I gave up after I lost my mug of tea down the side of the seat... got soaked with waves & spray bouncing off the side of the tender...

Was hoping to get the jib bent back on, but it was way too windy... here's to next weekend.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Wind Direction and Degrees...

So damned useful I decided to save it..!



Cardinal DirectionDegree Direction
N348.75 - 11.25
NNE11.25 - 33.75
NE33.75 - 56.25
ENE56.25 - 78.75
E78.75 - 101.25
ESE101.25 - 123.75
SE123.75 - 146.25
SSE146.25 - 168.75
S168.75 - 191.25
SSW191.25 - 213.75
SW213.75 - 236.25
WSW236.25 - 258.75
W258.75 - 281.25
WNW281.25 - 303.75
NW303.75 - 326.25
NNW326.25 - 348.75