Thursday, 30 September 2010

It's not all plain sailing.. a matter if fact, there's been no sailing at all since the trip when I saw the seals..!

My plan as the season draws to a close (and I know there are some that sail throughout the year - but it's just too damn cold for me!) was to get as much sailing in as possible, but it seems that a windy summer is turning into an even windier autumn... When I got to the boat last Sunday it was blowing a solid 6 gusting 7, and that just isn't fun... so once I got to the boat I put the kettle on and got down to doing something that I had originally planned for the winter lay up - replacing some running rigging..

Happily my mast is nowhere near as complicated as that one pictured - with no spinnaker I have just mainsail and jib halyards, and a topping lift running through the mast, seemples... Mainsail was the worst, so I started with that..

~ using the longer of the two hanks of rope I picked up at the Southampton Boatshow I first of all sewed (normal needle and thread) the new rope to the end of the old rope so that the ends were butted together - all you do is a simple blanket type stitch from one rope into the other... at the end you have what looks like a single length of rope, ends butted together so there's nothing to catch..

~ at the head of the mainsail I undid the shackle holding the other end of the mainsail halyard, slipped the eye of the halyard off, and reattached the shackle to the sail (not for any nautical reason other than so I didn't lose it!)

~ you can then start pulling the new rope through from the 'mainsail end' - keep pulling and the new rope will follow the old rope, up through the mast slot, up the mast, until it eventually gets to the pulley at the top of the mast - mine came through trouble free - at which point I then had both ends of the new rope in my hand, threaded through the mast... you can heave a huge sigh at this point as if it comes undone before now your faced with the possibilities of having to get mast down to try and get rope out etcetcetc

~ I then retreated to the cabin, pulling it all in after me, for another slurp of tea while I cut the plastic eye out of the end of the old halyard, and whipped it into the end of the new rope - I then reattached it to the shackle and the top of the sail - took on the tension to tighten everything up, and tied it off...

Job done... took about an hour but I wasn't rushing... I'll keep an eye on the whipping for the time being to make sure it doesn't come undone, but I'm happy it'll last.

Jib halyard will definitely wait - I have roller furling so it involves unfurling the jib to get it down so I can get to the halyard at the head of the sail - and as it's up and not giving me problems it can wait for a week or two...

The topping lift is OK, but given I have a length of new rope I may well do that at the same time...

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Three seals...

The season seems to be coming to an end quickly here in the UK; the evenings are getting darker earlier, and we have dew in the mornings. Last night was the coldest so far this autumn, which isn't saying a lot when compared to the sub-freezing we had last winter, but it was definitely on the "cool" side... so what better time is there to make a rash decision to spend the night on the boat so that I can take advantage of the (very) early tide???

Unlike last time I had enough blankets this time - lovely and toasty, just couldn't get comfortable! Still two pints of Summer Lightning and some grill steaks - I was living high off the fat of the land... I also moved the boat over to one of the other club moorings in deeper water so I could get away quicker..

The sail itself was very quiet - forgot the camera so no pics - wind was very very light right up to about a couple of hours into the sail when it then came up quite quickly as a northerly force 3 (high end)..

Highlight was watching three seals on a mud bank doing what looked like callisthenics! Made me laugh - wish I'd got the camera... this isn't them but they're a damn close fit!

So - a brisk/short sail - just shy of 10 miles, wind NNW/NW'ly, force 3'ish...

Monday, 13 September 2010


No sailing this weekend - beginning to miss it badly! - reason being that I was in Newbury for the day on Saturday, and at the Southampton Boat Show on Sunday

..usually we get to the show on the second weekend when it has tended to calm down a little, this year we were there on the first weekend and it was absolutely packed... me, my brother in law (thanks for the tickets, sis!) and the two spuds had a great day... we must have walked miles as my feet ached like crazy by the end of it, but it was an absolute cracker of a day - the sun shone with a bit of a breeze to take the edge off..

Having parked in West Quay as usual (though I think I picked the wrong bit as it was very expensive!), we headed into the show..

Highlights... of the boats we went on, this was my favourite boat... also the most expensive... free smileys

..and yours [click here] for a mere £3,234,295... worth every penny.. ashamed smileys

...slightly more achievable was my second favourite of the day - this was only half a mil (sterling, natch..) - Beneteau Oceanis 58 World of difference between this one and the next size down in the range - build quality was good - excellent looking boat...

Who am I kidding - it would take a lottery win to own a bot like this, and two lottery wins to own the previous one - oh and another lottery win to pay for ongoing maintenance!

Brilliant day out - pint of Guinness at lunchtime, good company, loads of boats, a trip round this one (click on the picture to be taken to the details):

..and on top of that I got new running rigging for Papillon for only £15, and a bargain new kettle (current one too small)... ace! free smileys

So - back in the land of the living - I have some sailing on the cards this weekend, and two major events to plan for before the end of the season - hopefully a meet-up with Phil & Jelly Bean at Cowes at the end of the month, and a delivery trip to take Papillon round Hayling in time for my clubs lift out weekend on the 9th/10th October....

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Priory Potter....

So with the British weather centres forecasting what appears to be an Indian summer in the UK and with my memory of that aborted trip to the Isle of Wight still fresh in my mind (damn outboard engine!) I decided to take a day off from work to have another go... tide times were optimal as there was an early morning and evening tide on Friday - but neaps - I've never seen so small a tide height....

Outboard behaved itself impeccably so we cast off and headed for the open sea, forecast was force 3 gusting 4, easterly (weird wind again), and one metre waves (lumpy)

Proceeding down the harbour, just opposite Northney marina I saw this little fella - yup, a seal - as it turned out the first of two I saw today - most I've ever seen. Apologies for the picture quality which was taken one handed, while trying to steer, and drop the engine revs to slow down, and all the while the seal kept diving and disappearing! Next time I'll try and get a better one...

Trip down the harbour was a gentle run - there was more northerly in it than later - out of the harbour and time to meet up with those lumps - which were lumpy... waves and wind in the same direction so one was exacerbating the other but we persevered, if you look at the track I'm all over the place, but I can only blame making breakfast as the cause... jumping smileys

Couple of hours of running later I arrived at my destination for the day - this is Seaview on the Isle of Wight - lovely place, there's a sailing club here where you can moor up on their visitors moorings, use their bar, etc.

Next time I will - this time was a voyage of discovery, and as I had no idea how long the beat back to the harbour entrance would take I decided to turn for home straight away... weather was good, very sunny, but the breeze was easily a force more than the forecast...

This is St Helen's Fort off of Bembridge - most people focus on the bigger forts in the Solent, No Man's Land, Horse Sand, etc. but this is one of the smaller one's built to defend the (then) strategically important harbour of Bembridge. What's more it's yours for £200,000 if you want it... Sale Notice

Having managed to make my way through a Laser fleet off the entrance to the harbour competing in the Laser Worlds I finally managed to make it home.

So without further ado - ships log stuff... here's the track

A distance of 30.99 miles at an average speed of 3.5 knots which in average terms is pretty fast, clearly a windy day... maximum speed was 5.2 knots - did that on the entrance to Chichester Harbour and under sail. Seriously out of control - had to keep dumping the power in the main, as I was getting such strong windward helm that I had the rudder at 90' and she was still trying to round up! Scary...

Enjoy the video.. this is coming back into Chichester Harbour..

I ended up getting back to the mooring early but managed to find another club one with enough water - tied up, had some lunch, tidied up the boat, had a beer and a cigar with a good book.... and waited for tide to come back in so I could get to my own, which (after a gentle grounding!) I managed to do a little later...

..what a great day, a summer goal achieved..