Saturday, 29 October 2011

Looks like I've run out of time....

....to get to that 200 mile target I set myself for this season... only 7 miles off it but "Papillon" comes out of the water this weekend (Sunday) for the winter lay up, so no time for sailing...

...I'll be going down today to take sails off,  stow the boom, and fit the mast crutch, then tomorrow Rod's coming down and we'll drop the mast so she can get under the Hayling bridge ready for coming out late tomorrow afternoon...

Going to be a busy weekend..  but here's a memory from earlier this summer to leave you with...

Monday, 17 October 2011

Prinstead perambulate..

...sometimes you can take alliteration far to far..  

...to be totally honest I wasn't expecting much when I set out; if I'm totally honest, if it wasn't for the fact that this was the penultimate opportunity for a sail this year, I'd probably have stayed at home and got on with some other stuff (of which there was a mountain) as although the weather was warm and sunny, there wasn't a breath of wind when I left the house...

..either way, hadn't been on the boat for two weeks, WindGuru was forecasting a force 1 or 2, and anyway, I had a flask of coffee and the stereo so if the promised wind doesn't blow I'd motor up to the end of the Northney channel, anchor, and watch the world go by while I flicked the fishing rod over the back... decision made...

..and what a good decision - sunny most of the afternoon (although it's getting chillier in the breeze now though) and a soldiers wind all the way down the channel until I bore away down towards Bosham, and then into the Prinstead Channel.

Going down the harbour, with the wind light, gave me the perfect opportunity to play around with some bungee self steering for the tiller - to be honest I've always found this hit and miss as Papillon is so light I can basically steer her by leaning from one side to the other. It worked OK - the wind was light so it's easiest in those conditions, but the bottom line is that you can change her entire trim by leaning from one side to the other so it's never going to work well. What I did find was that if you lash the tiller, then the moment she starts to head up as a result of a gust, leaning out further will cause her to fall away again without having to touch the tiller, I can do the same when she's under engine power. I have couple of thoughts, fit a proper tiller pilot (one day! ), fit a tiller extension (planned for winter refit) so I can shift around the cockpit more and still steer, or three - this looked an interesting idea from the Alacrity - Gladius blog - he clearly has the same problem with trim, but has solved it by putting a strong rubber/bungee on one side (presumably holding the tiller over) with a line from the other side as a counter force, fed through a block, which allows him to steer from anywhere on the boat, just by pulling, maintaining pressure, or releasing the line...  genius! Must try it....


 With the tide flowing I took the opportunity to cut the corner over Pilsey Sands - I have no depth sounder on Papillon so it's a little hit and miss (I navigate using my relative position to various buoys and cross checking on the the chart, to figure out if I'm OK) but as the tide was flowing I figured if i came to a halt I had time for some more water... On the way back, with an ebb, I took the long way round as there was no room for getting it wrong....

Track for the day is as follows - look at that - all the way into the Prinstead Channel:


The plotter tells me that this comes out as 12.89 miles, maximum speed was 4.5 knots (over the ground) and I think this could have been under either engine or sail as I had a blinding run back up the harbour; the average shows 2.6 knots, which considering this was speed over the ground (so tide effected) and also considering the slow speeds I had at the beginning of the afternoon (I sat watching the Marker post for at least 5 minutes on the way down!), would bear out my thought about the trip back... 

Distance: 12.89 miles (cumulative total in the tab at the top of the page)
Wind: SW to SWW - Force 1, building up to 2 quickly (gusting 3 towards the end...)...
Speed: Max speed was 4.5 knots, average speed was 2.6 knots....

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Round the Island ... Redux!

So yesterday the guys and I got together for another attempt at the Round the Island trip that we had all so looked forward to on the race day earlier this summer..

Brilliant day had by all, but a long one, and only four of us as one of the Dave's had to duck out due to work commitments, still the other Dave, Chris, Rod the owner/skipper and I had a fantastic trip...

Dropped the mooring in Port Solent at 7'ish, and at just after 8 we started down the Inner Swashway heading towards Cowes on the first leg.. 

I think we were at Cowes by about 10:30'ish - big beats in a strong force 5, using the entire width of the Solent, but the boat was going like a train and never felt out of control - Rod had picked up some hints and tips on sail trim and they definitely suited "Ami-Ly" - two reefs in the main though and a few rolls in the genoa...


From Cowes down the Needles we got a lucky wind shift and managed to make it almost in one beat - think we got there by about 14:30'ish...  pushed on  through Hurst Narrows (above - I never realised how narrow it was! Click on any of the pictures in this post for a bigger view by the way) and out into the Channel (as in English) proper, so as to leave the Needles (below) well to port. I can't tell you how brilliant it is to do that in a sailing boat for the first time..


We then bore away, down wind, towards St Catherine's Point for what was the most uncomfortable leg of the trip...   ...there was a big roll'y swell coming on the aft port quarter while sailing down wind - good speed but not comfortable and we were all happy to bear round St Catherine's (below) and head towards Ventnor/Bonchurch..  guess this must have been about 1600'ish...


Personally, this was my favourite leg - the sun was out, the sea had smoothed, the Island was looking beautiful, wind was steady five, the reefs were out and we were steaming.... over on the mainland (below) we could see huge sheets of rain, but the rainbows were superb...


Past Bembridge at about 1800'ish, lovely view of the new lifeboat station, (below) and dusk was coming on as we headed into the Solent...


Past Ryde as the sun was setting (below -  you can just see the church spire...)



It was dark as we entered the harbour through the small boat channel and the Spinnaker Tower was lit up like a large lit-up-thing - stunning (my picture was rubbish, an altogether better effort at the top of the post)....

We finally picked up mooring at 20:30'ish so about 13 hours after we left...  a long day but hugely satisfying and certainly worthy of the bubbles that Rod cracked open after we'd tidied up - and yes, I slept well last night!!



Partial track only I'm afraid as the log was so big that it blew the memory on my little hand held so I only have from Newtown to the end - you're missing the first part for the track from Port Solent, past Cowes to the track start... typical really as that was the bit I helmed on most...   On the map above I've used GoogleEarth to add in the missing path in red..

Distance: The track shows 56.28 miles, the missing track I added manually (in red) comes to about 19 miles so call it 75 miles in all - the vast majority of it under sail(I've not included it in my sailing miles as it wasn't on my boat...)

Wind: WNW or NW - didn't drop below a four all day, and most of the time was a 5 or 6..

Speed: Get this, and this was under sail - max speed was 8.9 knots (!) and the average for the track period was 5.7! Lots of tidal assist but we were absolutely flying from St. Catherine's round past Bembridge..

Monday, 3 October 2011

Emsworth Beacon amble..

"Amble" indeed in the winds we had on Sunday... couple that with the hottest October weekend since records began, a huge spring tide, and it was "fairly busy" in Chichester Harbour with not a lot of people except the dinghy's going anywhere fast!

Lovely to get out but but it really was only for the pleasure of being on the boat... I spent about two hours trying to get out of the entrance to Northney Channel, every inch I made forward I lost when I tacked back across the channel and was swept back towards the bridge... never mind... we'll dream of days like that all through the winter....

So here's the track - laugh if you will at the tacks...


It was quite good fun near Emsworth Beacon as there were some big dinghy fleets racing - not surprisingly one of the Lasers got into a conversation with me about the fact "he was racing" - he got short shrift (I was on starboard) but we ended up laughing about it - he was doing well in a light and fitful breeze and told me he was second...  hope he managed to keep the place!

Distance: 6.16 miles (cumulative total in the tab at the top of the page)
Wind: S - Force 2 (gusting 1...)!
Speed: Max speed was 4.7 knots which was definitely under engine, average speed was 2.1 knots....  ambling in spades I'd say....

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In separate news, my club is running the RYA Yacht-master Theory course this winter and after having a quiet word with the instructor he tells me that in his opinion I shouldn't have any problems with it - he taught me on the day Skipper Theory class last winter so he should know...

Anyway, I'm now signed up for it, the course lasts 18 weeks (one evening a week), but it's good to have something sailing orientated to occupy myself through the coming winter..... I'm looking forward to it..