Monday, 25 June 2012

Cowes "raid"... Part 2.. "Passage plan"

..passage plan he laughingly called it...

..being a sailor almost pathologically linked by some kind of marine strength, high tensile, stainless steel (316 'natch) umbilical to Chichester Harbour I don't own an almanac...  so rough order navigation only following...

...what do I have is a set of 'not for navigation' tidal flow charts from the inestimable "Visit My Harbour" website which are available here... [click here]

The Visit My Harbour charts are a little more readable than this one which is available from here [click here]
There are on-line almanac's of course - from this one [click here] the following is very useful..

Westbound: The tides start to stream west into the Eastern Solent from HW-2 Portsmouth (HW-2 Dover) and for the first two hours the tide will stream north round the Nab Tower and the Bembridge Ledge.

So... on the 14th July, HW Portsmouth (& Chichester) is 08:13 (08:55) and 20:43 (21:20). To get the maximum tidal benefit westward we would have from 06:00 to 12:00 (which is 4 hours after) so 6 hours in total; at 13:00 the tide starts to turn against us and it fairly moves round Cowes so we need to be in the close proximity by then... so we really don't want to be leaving much later than 0700 to get there in a Fantasie...


Coming back on Sunday - same rules apply for anybody going back to Poole (albeit add an hour). For me, I have a nice leisurely start, and get to Cowes to join the eastbound express elevator which starts at about 13:00 - I should be able to get back on the mooring by about 19:00 (22:15 HT Northney) so have 6 or 7 hours to get back...  the other week I did Portsmouth to Chichester on the tide in a couple of hours so this should be plenty...


Stay with me...  Part 3 deals with "which side"........

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Prinstead and Thorney...

yee gods it's been a windy summer.... 

...first time out since the run to Portsmouth Harbour over two weeks ago! Wind, rain, more wind, been hideous...   to be honest the wind wasn't exactly light today but I was getting fidgety so went anyway...

This beautiful Folkboat (??) went screaming past as I was doodling down the harbour...
 ..I was in two minds whether to go right up to the moment I put the reefs in, but in the end thought "sod it, I can always come back..." ...  anyway, I was very glad I did as I had one of those classic sails that only seem to happen when you're least expecting it!.. 

Easthead.. the buoy says it is... ..and look at those waves - not a place to muck about...
So - winds southerly - left the mooring just under two hours before hight tide, so a whole 5 hours to play with, where to go?

With that wind direction the obvious choices are east as the run up to Bosham would be exactly that so decision made...

Two and a bit reefs in the main, two rolls in the jib, as I assumed I could let them out of it was a bit too much - turned out to be exactly right.

Lovely beat down the harbour, just a couple of tacks with long, long beats. I cut the corner over Pilsey Sands as I had enough water not to worry, and for the first time poked my nose into the creek behind East Head - I would have spent longer but they were dinghy racing and there isn't a lot of room...

Next stop, Pilsey Island and the entrance to the Prinstead Channel...  I'd guessed the wind was about a 5 (good guess, in fact spot on) so decided not to head for Bosham as the beat back would have taken ages. What I managed to do though was get right to the top of the Prinstead Channel - not something I've ever managed to do on a single tide before - new mooring is definitely making for longer cruises...

Little'uns home economics output this week (they call it Food Tech these days) - lemon drizzle cake - with a cup of filter coffee - slurrrrp...
Superb beat back down the channel to get out - almost put the engine on at one point but persevered... look at those tacks - 90' tack to tack like a metronome...  luverly...

Lovely soldiers reach back up the harbour and I managed to sail almost back to the mooring - engine went on in the little channel just after Northney...


So - scores on the doors:

Distance: 16.82 miles (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 5 full stop - low end at times, gusting top end. Southerly according to Cambermet, but I reckon there was a little west in it at times..
Sail Plan: Two and a bit reefs in the main, two rolls in the jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was  5 knots which given the comparitive lack of motoring today would have been under sail, probably either on the way back up the harbour, or up the Prinstead Channel. Average speed of 3.3 knots (not bad...  that's my passage planning assumed speed for Pap)....

Monday, 4 June 2012

Lifejacket servicing..

Not mine, picture from here...
other lifejackets are available
A couple of weeks ago I took my life in my hands and serviced my elderly and venerable life jackets...

I'd originally been given four of them  by my sister (who at the time was working for a marine brokerage company) when I first got "Papillon", and very thankful I was; basically they were surplus to the brokerage's requirements being too old for them to continue using them, but they were damn useful to me...

I decided to start with two of them - the one's I use most..

They are Remploy Commodore II manual inflatable life jackets...  no longer made (hence non-picture!)

Label in the sleeve of the vest says they were made in March 1997 - I suspect that this is the first time they've been serviced...

Funnily enough one of the main things that had stopped me from doing the servicing before was a concern that I wouldn't be able to fold them up again once I had completed (!) the service..  foolish...  but in the end the nagging in the back of my head that they just wouldn't work in an actual emergency overcame all and I did them..

For anyone coming along after me, the following provides a view of what I found/did etc., oh, and it was of course much easier than I thought!

So...

1/. On mine, like most jackets, the inner bladders are retained in place, and protected, by an outer cover - blue - with a zip fastening...  the idea being that the zip comes undone if you pull the toggle (that's the "manual" bit as other life jackets can be automatic). Undo the zip, unroll/unfold the inner bladder (making a rough mental note of how they are folded)

2/. Two things should be apparent - first a gas cannister (looks like a mini gas bottle) on one side which will be attached to some kind of trigger mechanism.

In mine the the activation system for the gas cannister is one of these:
Halkey Roberts - model 840
The string on the left is attached to a metal arm that is set into the side of the unit - there is a spike set into the bottom of the arm - the other end of the string goes to the yellow ball that sits outside the jacket, and which you pull to activate the inflation. As you pull it, the top of the arm comes out of the top of the unit, and the entire arm swivels on a central fixing, pushing the bottom of the arm - and the pin - into the end of the bottle setting it off...

The red semi circle indicates the safety pin is out - the safety pin is a green plastic "drawing pin" with a head that sits inside the semi circle - the pin stops you accidentally pulling down the trigger, but doesn't stop you doing it in earnest!

Top view of the Halkey Roberts
Trigger on the right - gas bottle screws into that hole - in the centre of the hole is the spike on the bottom of the trigger arm - recessed here as the trigger is in the up position..
Unscrew the gas bottles and have a look at them..

On mine they looked like this - not good - the white stuff is salt calcification, you can also see rust..  not bad for 15 years though...


There is some writing on the bottles - I couldn't make mine out, but a visit to the chandlery was enough to show me that these were 38gm bottles (they come in various sizes depending on size of jacket, and make of jacket/trigger mechanism)

I did some searching on the web, but in the end I bought two new one's for at just over a tenner each from the Marine Superstore at Port Solent - they were competitive and I prefer to support an actual shop where I can..

Weigh them before you put them in the life jacket, make a note of the weight as when you service them next time you'll need to weigh the bottle to make sure it's the same (and therefore not losing gas)

3/. The other thing you should see (on the other side of the bladder) is a tube used for manual blowing up...  blow the jacket up, and then leave it fully inflated for 24 hours. If it's still inflated after 24 hours the bladders good.

4/. 24 hours later - de-inflate the life jacket (a PITA as you have to get all the air out!) and screw in your new gas cylinder - re-insert the safety/drawing pin. Re-fold, and re-zip - jobs a good 'un, once you've made a note of the servicing date and the cylinder weight on each jacket..

Job well done..  one nag removed from the back of the brain when little'un comes sailing with me..

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Just for fun by the way, for the second jacket, rather than blow it up by mouth I decided to trigger the gas bottle - I wanted little'un to see it as much as me as I had no idea how it would look/feel...  despite being as corroded the bottle worked fine, the jacket inflated to full, nothing earth shattering, no bangs etc. Just a clear "pop" as the bottle is pierced and then the air going into the jacket..I was surprised how constricting the jacket was when it was on and fully inflated though...