Saturday, 11 June 2011

Nab Tower... almost....

Took the day off on Friday for the first "double tide" trip of the year.. leave on the ebb of the first tide in the morning,and return on the flow of the next - which gives me a lift with the tide either direction...

So, with the ubiquitous packet of "All Day Breakfast" sandwiches and other solid and liquid provisions, I slipped the mooring at 8:30 and prepared to leave for my destination of the day - the Nab Tower....

There is a song entitled "Four Seasons in One Day" (by the inestimable Crowded House) which perfectly sums up the sailing during the day!

Started off with no wind at all and grey overcast and rain (oh Lord, what have I done I though as I motored down the harbour with no possibility of getting back on the mooring for another 9 hours - at one time as I poured a tea, I could see it was so cold my breath was steaming! smiley icons), came out of the harbour, switched off the engine by the West Pole beacon and started my slow perambulation to the Tower in a fitful force 1 coming from directly behind the Tower!

Almost changed my mind but decided to stick with it - weather was brightening up, but every now and then a fistful of rain came through accompanied by wind - got to the point where I was hoping it might rain more so the wind would stay...

In the end the sun came out and with a sold force 2, working up to I would say a force 3 - "Papillon" was tramping along nicely...

(There's some big old ships out there doing quite astonishing speeds - this one had passed in the time it took me to reach for the camera - the yellow buoys mark the shipping channel that heads up the Solent to Southampton and Portsmouth, the Nab Tower marks the beginning of it).

As the Nab approached the wind kept picking up to what I eventually guess was a solid 4, so using the techniques of last week I hove to (ha.. listen to him!) and put in a reef before proceeding on....

What can I say - I almost made it, but the wind continued to increase and in the end I knew there was no chance I was going to get there - waves were increasing in size, and every time I got going she would slam into a wave and come to a halt - add in the tide, and I thought "ah, well", time for a tea and back to the harbour... the picture shows the wind quite nicely!

Tacked round and then went on the best run I've ever had, all that wind behind me, and swell for surfing, and she did 6.5 knots at one point....smiley icons

Wind then came up a bit more and while I was hove to to put another reef in, it then dropped to almost nothing. That was the pattern from then on - it seemed to be going from nothing to force 3 or 4 for the rest of the afternoon, and not only that was shifting through about 20 degrees between south west and north west... interesting..

The run up the harbour was the best I've ever had - almost flat water with a force 3 or 4 south-westerly, and full sail, makes for very fast broad reaching - add in the tie which was flowing by this point and I had my second set of 6.5's (knots) - brilliant - the whole boat was shuddering slightly..!

So here's the track - no self steering on "Papillon" so it drifts every now and again - usually when I was hove to for reefing, provisioning, or changing the radio station... also the wind shifts made for an interesting life when I was coming back - I need some tidal flow charts on the boat and I think I'll find the tide was flowing strongly west to east at the time I came back as I ended up having to sail "back" to the Beacon...

Distance: 27.99 miles (cumulative total over there to the left)

Wind: SW - anything between Force 0 and Force 4 (occasionally gusting 5).. talk about four seasons in one day.. Maximum speed 5.7 knots (under sail... on at least two occasions though, once on a run back to the harbour entrance, and once up the harbour I clocked 6.5 knots over the ground - astonishing, but this is speed over the ground so there would be tide assist helping in there), average speed 3 knots - quite a quick day...


  1. enjoyed that - well written mini-adventure in a great little boat

  2. Cheers Dylan - she is a good little boat but I think I'm beginning to understand her limitations, and how to plan round them - sometimes a cup of tea in the relative safety of the harbour is a better solution!

  3. Nice picture of the Nab.

    There are those who say (or more likely said) that a boat was fully provisioned with a Mars bar and a packet of Woodbines.

  4. ...and a pot noodle... curry flavour naturally... :o)