Sunday, 17 November 2013

Lets make a start

Well I have finally made a start on the winter jobs.   I haven't put a lot of thought into what I want to achieve this winter, so I started on the basics.  I gave the hull a good scrub and washed it off with the pressure washer. This years anti foul had worked quite well but it hadn't adhered very well. I'm not sure why, possibly due to poor preparation last year or maybe something I'd used on the hull. What ever the reason, I shall have to take it back to a good base this year. While I had the pressure  washer out I set about cleaning the caked on seagull poo of the decks... Yerk!
I then set the engine up so that I could flush it out and run the carb dry.  While it was running I checked to output from the charging circuit.  I'd never used it before as it didn't seem to work.  The reason had been because one of the wires under the cover had become broken.  The output was up to 15v at full revs but at normal speeds it only puts out about 7 or 8 volts.  I will install a socket to allow it the assist with battery charging.
Somethings which occurred to me while cleaning were...
  • Set up the boom to allow easy reefing.  
  • Improve out-haul system.
  • Make new point for topping lift to attach to.
  • Strip the paint from the decks and coach-roof, repair any damage and repaint.
  • Remove all deck fittings and re-bed to stop leaks.
  • Rub down and re varnish all wood work.
  • Redesign main hatch sliders.
  • Move heads from current location.
  • Make cushion covers.
  • Make sail cover.
I'm sure this list will grow considerably over the next few weeks.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Haul out

Well the end of the season has arrived with a bang.... Ciao Bella is safely ashore as we wait for the worst storm since 1987 to hit.
I did it the easy way this year, Salterns had a special offer on hoist outs this year and I couldn't bring myself to go wading around upto my neck at Baiter park.   Paul and myself booked for the same morning, it's easier if we help each other.  The first lift was booked for 11am with the second at half past.  Fortunately they were flexible as we were a little late getting there.  Not much to say about the lift out, except it was a doddle. There is a wee vid clip below (It starts with Pauls Corribee then switches to Ciao Bella, just for continuity of the process).
Despite using the cheapest antifoul the wetted area seemed remarkably clean, it looks like I'll have to raise the boot top again, she's had a head start for Movember :)

Once out we had to concentrate on getting the masts down and strapping the boat down ready for trailering.   Both went remarkably easily considering the wind.  We didn't have A frames, just used the roller furler to steady the decent.
Paul had a posse ready and waiting at his house to help push the trailer up his drive, we then flew back to Salterns to pick up Ciao Bella.  By 4pm both boat were safely back at their respective winter homes. That's one heck of a relief with this lot coming...

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Out on a grown up boat

Omega in Dartmouth

Last weekend I had the chance to crew on Omega, a Harmony 34, sailing around Torbay.   I couldn't turn it down..  Roger picked me up early on Saturday and we made our way to Torquay.  We met Nick, the owner down at the marina and readied the boat for sail. There was absolutely no wind as we set off and I thought we'd have to motor everywhere.
Motoring in light airs
Eventually the wind filled in and we made our way around Berry head towards Dartmouth.  As we approached the entrance to the river Dart Nick Suggested that we stayed out in Start bay, what a good call. We had a magical hour or so just messing about on the water.

Nick taking a rare turn at the helm.

The Harmony has a wheel in place of a tiller, I have to say it took some getting used to. Initially I made some school boy errors; turning it the wrong way and struggling to find the central position.  Once I'd got the hang of it it was a dream to helm. We reluctantly made for the harbour, the Devon coastline and the entrance to Dartmouth are absolutely stunning.

Our very own Keith Floyd

Rog took command of the Galley, which was great as it meant we'd eat well.  It's fabulous being able to walk around stood bolt upright on a boat... not something that I am used to :)
Dartmouth is beautiful at anytime of the year but just out of season is my favourite time.  There are some wonderful places to eat and drink, I suggested the Anzac street Bistro as I had been there before and we weren't disappointed.  Great food, reasonably priced and a nice atmosphere with Simon and Aga as great hosts.  We then strolled of to the Seven Stars for Rog to check out his old stomping grounds :)
Back at the boat and we couldn't help but notice that there were pirates every where.. One was even taking a large open wooden motor boat out.. I couldn't help but think he'd already been on the Rum ration.

Flying the Hurley flag
The Sunday morning was heralded with a cuppa and the smell bacon and eggs.   We had a very chilled start to the day and eventually got the boat ready to head back to Torquay.  We had a downwind run back around the head and made great time. All too soon we were back in the marina and packing up to come home.
A huge thanks to Nick and Rog for inviting me along.  I had a great time.. Proper boats are fantastic,Omega feels more stable (because it is) faster (because it is) points better (erm, because it's not a bilge keeler) and roomier... however I have no plans to sell Ciao Bella and move up to big boat ownership.  Aside from the costs Ciao Bella does everything I want a boat to do,  reasonable performance, tough & safe, easily manageable single handed, I can get into shallow creeks and rivers,  cheap to buy, run and keep and I don't have to travel to far to feel like I've had an adventure.

Thanks again Nick, and if you still want cross channel crew, let me know... I'll bring the Pastis instead of the Pasties :)

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Rock & Roll to Yarmouth

The trip to Yarmouth was an absolute bonus.. I'd committed to Family duties but on the Friday I was told that I'd been double booked.. What could I say, I tried to look offended and said well I try and find something else to do instead ;)
The forecast for Saturday was pretty rubbish for going to Yarmouth.  F5 upwards coming directly from the East.  I decided to give it a go, if it looked like I couldn't make it it wouldn't take long to get blown home.
The Tern defenses that I'd rigged before going home last week seemed to have worked.. Much less poop on the boat.

Tern defenses
I got away from the mooring just before low tide and made my way to the entrance.  The harbour is well protected from easterlies so I would get a feel for the conditions until I got out of the harbour.   The wind was much weaker than expected and I was able to made way with full sail, deciding to take short tacks along the beach as I was pushing the last of the west going tide.  
An hour in and the wind had strengthened conciderably, I put a reef in the main a used the furler on the genoa to regulate as required.  As the tide started to flow with me I took a longer tack out to take me past the Hengisbury ledge.  The sea state out here was pretty full on, the boat would drop off the top of a wave, crash and judder into the trough, the bow would then dig into the next wave and as it came up it would toss gallons of water over the cockpit...  My brand new foulies are now completely caked in salt :) As you can appreciate there are no photos from this part of the journey!
I tacked back and made a good course along the 'right' side of the headland. 

Beating past Mudeford beach huts.  
Even though the wind was blowing at the headland the sea state was much calmer in Christchurch bay.  The sailing conditions where much nicer here, however time was getting on so I planned to sail as close to the beach at Highcliffe as possible then tack back and motor head to wind towards hurst. 

Motor sailing towards Hurst, time to put my feet up.
I furled away the genoa, started the engine and motor sailed to Hurst.  It was nice to be able to relax for a bit, the last few hours had been hard work.   Although not sailing side by side I had come across in company with Lapwing.  Pauls engine at this point was not pulling very well and was only making 4 knots.  We stayed together because if we got to Hurst too late we might not be able to get through so would have to find another destination.
Before entering Hurst narrows Paul refilled his outboard with fresh petrol, it was like magic, back upto 5 knots.  We got to Hurst at slack water, perfect,  the chop was building as we approached Yarmouth but who cares.. we were nearly there. Including Paul and myself four boat had made the trip.  We were welcomed with a large glass of Ardbeg on Gazelle then nibbles on Whisper before heading into town for grub at Saltys and a few beers.

The return journey was much less eventful,  we left Yarmouth a little after 9am and had a pleasant run back, goosewinged most of the way. There were various forecasts but they'd all over egged it,  F3 max from the east, Perfect.  Apart form motoring out of the harbour the engine stay off and out of the water, I even managed to pick up my mooring under sail.

Lapwing passing Hengisbury.. Much calmer than Saturday.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


Tenacious leaving for the day.
Last weekend John and myself on Ciao Bella and Paul in lapwing made the trip to Weymouth.  After the usual shenanigans (Clearing seagull poop) we slipped the mooring around 11am and headed out of the harbour.

It was pretty much a spring tides so we needed to take the long route out around the tidal race off St Aldhelms head.  With the wind from the south west there was no way we could head to the mark in one beat.
A much faster yacht haring past us off Swanage.

Pauls Corribee can make a better heading to windward than Ciao Bella so managed to get far enough south to tack in one. Our course put me in the path of the ferrys and as it was poor visibility I decided to tack early then tack out again.  The rest off the passage was one long beat,  we had to skip through a small strip of overfalls but as it was so short it was quite fun.  With the nights drawing in and the wind dropping to a F1 we decided to motor the last 7 or 8 miles.
Ciao Bella and Lapwing safely tied up.
The moorings on the west bank of the river were all taken and I didn't feel like rafting up so spun round and tied up near the ferry terminal.  I'd avoided this side of the river before as its a bit chavvy at night, but this turned out to be perfect.  It's far enough away from the pubs to be undisturbed.

Nothe Fort
After a splendid night out in Weymouth we had to be up early to catch the tide back to Poole. There was not a whisper of any wind nor a ripple on the sea. We had to motor all the way back to Poole
Following Lapwing out of the harbour.
I'd misjudged the amount of fuel that I had on board and the engine spluttered to a halt at Swanage, Fortunately Paul had a spare can of unmixed unleaded so after a quick refuel we were on our way again.

Back at the club and there was plenty going on.. One of the members had brought a whole dear and was spit roasting it in the car park.  There was also match racing with the two club picos.  The chap in the safety boat was getting bored so I took over for a while so he could grab some food.  A good sociable week end  rounded off with a pint at the bar :)

Pico match racing

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Mirror takes another slow step forward

Having not been on the boat for a while may not be good for me but it's certainly good for the Mirror dinghy.  What started off a a quick project boat which required a couple of weekends work to get it back on the water has dragged out to nearly a year and it's still not finished.. As the temperature was ok this evening, I broke out the West epoxy that I had bought at the boat show and set about repairing the centre board case to hull joint.  

The old joint had looked good until I started scraping off the old varnish the other month.  I'm not sure if the old joint had been made with epoxy or polyester resin, either way it hadn't bonded to the wood and pretty well just pulled away in one lump.  

I knocked it back until there was enough clean wood to bond to woven tape, I then cleaned the surface back with sandpaper and wiped the whole area over with acetone.  

The battens down each side have sharp edges, I took these edges off to help the tape adhere.  The West system mixes and spreads easily, soaking into the tape was remarkably easy as well. I made up 36ml in the first batch, this didn't look a lot when I was mixing it up but it was plenty to do the whole if the centre board case joint and I didn't need to mix any more.

I am genuinely getting close to finishing the Mirror, just in time for winter :)  All that is left to do now is prepare the wood for varnish and apply the varnish.  It will be great to get out and give it a go :0))

Monday, 16 September 2013

Old boats, new boats, glamour and glitz

On Saturday I was able to get over to the Southampton boat show to check out what I would spend my lottery winnings on. We arrived just after the gates opened and got stuck straight in.  There were a fantastic selection of boats from fold away tenders to enormous luxury motor yachts.  My interest lie in the middle ground from the trailerable yachts such as the Cape Cutter 19 and the offerings from Swallow boats through the exquisitely designed  weekend-sailers such as the Rustler 33 to the wonder of the Hi tech race boats and of course the classics in all shapes and sizes. Below is just a small selection... I was so enthralled that I kept  forgetting to get the camera out!

Bestwind 50 - This was fantastic,  so much room inside, you could have a barn dance.  Looked and felt like it would go around the globe without a hiccup. 
Rustler 33 - This was easily my favourite boat at the show. The classic lines mixed with modern materials gave it the feel of a week end sports car.

Clean lines - shame I couldn't get it all in one shot. 

Caterhams forray into racing yachts - Using F1 technology to break into the yacht racing arena.  I hope this handles better in the wet than a caterham 7 :) 

I know which one I'd rather spend time on.

A recreation of a Pheonician sailing boat from 600BC - This has circumnavigated Africa
 As well as all the wonderful boats, there is a huge selection of chandlery and services to hunt through.  I managed to pick up a Henry Lloyd coastal suit for £200... my old XM suit had served well for 6 or 7 years but is now ready for retirement.  The quality of the Henry Lloyd is instantly realised over the XM and I can't wait to try it out next weekend when I go to Weymouth... At this time of year I'm expecting rain :)
Sorry, couldn't find a professional model so here's me doing my best Grattons catalogue poses .

Friday, 30 August 2013

Three days in the solent

I had three days set aside to play in the boat.  Checking the tidal flows my best departure time for heading west is three hours after high water Portsmouth. This should let me get off the mooring before it dries and go out with the tide through the harbour entrance. The tide is still west going in the bay but staying close to the beach minimises the effect.
So, I planned to leave the mooring at 0630bst... Unfortunately like all good plans this one didn't happen, someone had 'borrowed' the starter cord from my Seagull outboard, by the time I'd found something suitable the tide was ripping out. I got to Ciao Bella just in time for her to settle on the bottom. 
In the three weeks since I'd last been on board the local seagull community had designated Ciao Bella as their preferred dumping ground.

It took a good half hour to scrub the worst of it off. In the meantime the cabin had acquired a festering smell and it was emanating from under my bunk.. I thought it might have been a old pair of pants but when I looked the back section of the keel void had filled with water which in turn had turned black and stank.  I used a sponge to get nearly all of it out, when I couldn't get any more out (5 or 10mm) I poured some toilet cleaner in and sprayed with disinfectant.  It will have to do for now.
I managed to get away by 0920 and was out of harbour by 0935 pushing tide I was making  2.6knts over ground at full throttle. 
Poole harbour entrance

The next three hours were  good sailing, making 4 to 5 Knt close hauled. Into Christchurch bay the wind starting to drop, in fact calm enough to brew up. 1310 gib away engine on. Immediately wind picks up :)
I motored through Hurst (7.5knts) then cut the engine again.  A Sadler 300 just in front of me lost its forestay and issued a pan pan.  I stayed close incase they needed help but they soon had it tied down and scuttled of to Lymington.
 I had plenty of time so I got the rod out and spent the next 2.5 hours drifting around in search of Mackerel, I eventually started the motor as Newtown didn't seem to be getting any nearer. Into Newtown creek and after procrastinating over a suitable anchorage I set to gutting the Mackerel and frying them up.

  A bit of a plain dinner as I had nothing to go With them but they were, as they say, 'ansome :)  After mackerel and a sleep I inflated the coracle and paddled off to the quay... Might have to rethink the length of the painter.. Stood on the quay the painter was at full stretch.  Just then the phone rang so I made myself as comfortable as possible with the phone in one hand and the painter in the other but that just made me an easy target for a ginger Labrador pub... No I'm not mistaken, that wanted to lick me and get muddy pawprints all over me.   After a short walk to the pub I was a little concerned that I'd be Billy no mates    As it happens a lady with a whippet and a saily couple where the best company that you could ask for.  Nigel and Jo even towed me back to Ciao Bella afterwards where it must be have been time for a rum and coke:)
Jo and Nigel towing me back

  There is a rough plan to meet up with Arran (fant 19 'Pamala') tomorrow and go for a sail.  Not sure where yet but we'll work it out.
Sunrise in Newtown creek

0530.. A beautiful sunrise, it's one of the great things about anchoring in the quiet places. Back to bed for another hour or so. At 7am I got out of bed for real, have to move before I dry out again. Motored out of the creek and anchored so I could brew up, have a wash and tidy Ciao Bella.
Entrance to Newtown Creek 

 Plenty of sun but no wind, I did a combination of motoring and drifting towards Cowes. Experimented with Genoa sheets, mine are a little short so I thought putting a strop on the clew would help... I obviously hadn't thought this out as all it did was reduce the amount I could sheet it in; I guess I'm going to have to buy new genoa sheets.1130 the breeze had started to fill in and I finally got to sail the last wee bit to Cowes.  I stopped at the fuel pontoon as I was running low and the forecast for tomorrow was for light winds again, then into Cowes yacht haven.
Arran at the helm of Ciao Bella

I'd arranged to meet Arran ( Fantasie19 'Pamela') who came out for a sail in the afternoon. A fabulous few hours, good but variable wind.  Reefed genoa and full main. We went out towards Portsmouth, back towards Wooton creek then back to Cowes.  Before returning to the yacht haven we had a motor down to Pamela.  As a special treat we went to the ale house in Cowes for pie and ale... Yum
Pamela looking good at East Cowes Sailing Club

Had an early night, as wasn't sure of the plan for Wednesday. 
Wednesday: Had a lazy start to the day, up at 8:30 and just relaxed, well that's what this sailing lark is all about ;)Spoke to a couple with a Gorgeous marine ply eventide, 1967, a good vintage, and still looked like new.  I left Cowes at about 10:30 and made my way to Stokes bay for a pint, I would have had some chips but the queue went on forever!

Stokes Bay with the iconic Spinnaker tower behind
I left stokes bay at 2.20 and goose winged in very light winds 2 to 2.6 knts back towards Cowes.  I needed to crack on so by the time I'd got to Osborne bay I'd started the engine and motored across the entrance to the Medina.  The wind picked up again from SW so I cut the engine and tacked my way across the East Solent.  By 7pm I was just past Yarmouth.. Going to be a long night. Finally out into Christchurch bay and the with the wind direction and the setting sun I decided it was time to roll away the genoa and start the motor.  I took a back bearing off Hurst lighthouse to give me good clearance off Hengisbury head... I didn't want to bump into that in the dark.. would have made an embarrassing blog entry :)
Approaching Hurst castle
Once past the head Bournemouth and Poole are lit up like a christmas tree so very easy to find my way home.. the only worry is the amount of pot markers.. there is no way to see them  in time to avoid them.  
I had a nice easy motor sail back home and was back on the mooring by 11.30pm

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

New Propellor and a cheeky blast around the harbour.

I picked up a new propellor for my Tohatsu 6hp from Holes Bay Marine yesterday, unfortunately it was far too windy to get out to Ciao Bella so I took a trip over this evening  to fit it.  
It was a nice easy job, done and dusted in a few minutes.  I hung the outboard back on the transom. The engine had ended up sat on the wrong side for a minute or two at the weekend so I was mindful that it may have drained engine oil into the cylinder, so before staring it I removed the spark plug and gave it a few pulls to blow out any standing oil. I then checked the oil level and then started it up.  I don't think any oil have got in but better safe than sorry.
With the evening still in front of me I took the opportunity to take to old girl for a spin around the harbour.  The weather looked like it was going to turn wet it actually held out nicely.  I headed towards the RoRo before formulating my plan to whizz around the island.

It was a great sail, I practiced my tacking, made a complete B's up of one of them, didn't get the Genoa sheeted in quick enough and the nose dropped back through and backed the genoa.  Still all the others went well. It was lovely to get an impromptu sail in, for some reason I haven't been doing as much of this kind of sailing since selling Jelly Bean... I'm not sure why, it doesn't take any longer to set her up and she's quicker once she is set up so maybe I just need to force myself to get out in the evenings more often :)
Back at the club a few of the dinghy sailors were just packing up, it was nice to catch up with a few people before heading home.  

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Mirror Progress

It's been a long time coming but there has been some progress on the Mirror Dinghy.   The outside of the hull had been previously stripped of paint as best as I could get it without going through the outer ply or taped seams.  
The artful Roger had supplied me with some special epoxy which he'd used to seal voids in the hull of his Hurley 24/70.  I was able to use this to coat most of the outer hull of the dinghy.  This has really helped to soak into the wood and seal it prior to the undercoat.  I applied two coats of undercoat, flatting back and filling gauges and fairing in between the coats. Then finally a coat of Black Toplac was applied.. I wouldn't have chosen Black but it was available cheap from a family member who bought it for an abandoned project... thanks Adam, it's gone to good use.

All that's left to do is varnish the bare wood, varnish also came from Adam,  and source any parts which are missing... Then it needs a name.   In the mix at the moment are... 'The flying Coal Scuttle'  'Baby Bella'  'Nero Porco' and 'Black Pearl'... other suggestions welcome :o)

Monday, 22 July 2013

Noisy night in Wareham

Friday 19th July

More fantastic sunshine had me grasping for a days holiday on Friday.  It's great to be able to get out on a week day, especially before the summer holidays start in earnest.   I didn't have much of a plan, however, I had said to Jewels that I'd go to either Wareham or Poole yacht haven for the night if she wanted to come along for the evening.

After my success with the fishing rod last week, I thought it would be fun to head out of the harbour and try and catch some mackerel again.   No such luck this time, I meandered around for a while trawling for the little blighters but they were too cunning for me.   Resigned to the inevitable fact that I'd be having Tesco's sandwiches instead of fresh Mackerel I scooted over to Studland and dropped the hook.

  Now I know Studland has a naturist area so I aimed for a part of the beach with lots of people on it... Assuming there'd be more clothed people than naked... Wrong! After spending five minutes in my own world making sure the anchor had set and generally tidying up it dawned on me that there was rather too much wrinkly skin on display.  Tough, I wasn't moving until I'd had a cuppa and a sandwich.
Around 2pm I lifted the anchor and tacked my way back to the end of the training wall. Once around the marker I was on a run back to the harbour entrance with a handful of other boats.

A shipmate senior heading out of the harbour
With it being a weekday there were a few proper working vessels out and about.  The harbour entrance was being dredged and the Parenco ferry, Parenco run the Witch Farm Oil field now, was shifting trucks around.  Most other boats were smaller sailing yachts.. looks like the posh stuff comes out at the weekend :)
Dredging the harbour entrance

Parenco Ferry

  I took the straight route between Brownsea and Furzy Islands then followed the stakes up towards the Wareham Channel.  This was feel good sailing.  I was going with the wind and tide, on a rising tide, it felt great.
I arrived at Wareham Quay at about 5.30pm and rafted up along side Bob and Sally in a Shetland 570.   They turned out to be good company.  Jewels came down about an hour later and after having a drink or two we walked into town for a nice bit of nosh at the Red Lion on North Street.  Good food at the right price in nice surroundings, that's all I every ask for :)

Back at the quay and things were livening up.  Kids were jumping off the bridge into the river, the pubs were getting busier and the ferry had arrived with a load of brash women on board,.. time for a walk along the river.
Escaping the rabble
It doesn't take long to get away from the noise and regardless the ferry man had announced that he'd be leaving at 9.15pm so I knew we didn't have long to wait.

An  old friend
I spotted Lady of Ower, a Fantasie 19, moored on a trot close to the Quay, I'm guessing shes been sold now as she was at North Haven.  I know her previous owner had bought a Falmouth Gypsy. Glad to see she still being cared for.

Tranquil away from the Quay
Back at the Quay and Jewels headed off home, I haven't managed to persuade her stay onboard yet.. probably best as this night was going to be noisy all night.
There was a band playing covers in the Quay, they were pretty good and managed to avoid some of the Top Gear sound track old faves. Bob and Sally had some friends over and were having a full on 1980's disco... Gary Newman, Joy Division, OMD... they kept coming.  After all the music had stopped, the local teenagers were still swimming in the river and shouting at each other until after 3am.  I eventually got to sleep, only to be woken by the guys setting up the market at 6am.  Oh boy, I was a shell.

Saturday 20th July.

I eventually came to terms with the fact that I'd have to get up.after all the necessaries I sat in the morning sun reading a book.  Eventually the kids reappeared and started jumping off the bridge again.. I couldn't cope so packed up and set off.
The wind in the morning was coming from the NE and was a good F4. Unfortunately it was on the nose so I had to motor the first 4 miles to Rockley Park, As the channel widened I was able to unfurl the Genoa and get going.  It was a bit too much  in the gusts for full main but as it was up I continued with a good reef in the Genny.My first stop was at Brownsea. I'd planned to stay here a while but Jewels called and said she could meet me at the yacht haven for lunch.. 

Tudor Rose - Another Hurley 20
Off I set, this time with a reef in the main and a good chunk out of the Genny.  As I passed pottery pier another Hurley 20 'Tudor Rose' was heading in the opposite direction with just the Genny up and towing a tender.  Out of the lee of the Island and the wind picked up.. so much so that it blew my new hat clean off my head... Time for an impromptu MOB drill ( around 9 on the track above).

The casualty retrieved
 Safely recovered , I headed full steam ahead for the marina. The wind was getting quite exhilarating now and I felt like we were flying. I had to drop the sails before entering the marina which was a bit bouncy to say the least.  Within the marina it was instant calm and I found a free pontoon berth.   After finding Jewels we went to pay at the office, we had to move to another berth as the one I was on was taken.  We motored to a hammerhead pontoon as ask before tucking into our lunch.
Walk ashore in Poole - A bit of  luxury
After lunch Jewels headed off while I attempt to catch up on some sleep.  That was not easy and in the end I gave up.  I did make use of the showers while here as the facilities at Wareham extend to a public toilet.
Since repairing the tiller and rudder pintle the tiller alignment had been a little bit off.  Being on a pontoon gave me the opportunity to play with it.  I wanted to take up the slack in the vertical movement so dropped a line over the stern, under the rudder blade and tightened up on the cleats. You should be able to see in the picture below.  This by chance also sorted my second objective. The rope had also pulled the rudder blade into a central position.  Nice and easy, all I had to do was tighten it all up again.

Lifting and centralising the rudder
I could see the burgees on surrounding boat were still flapping furiously so I had some idea that it wouldn't be pleasant in the harbour.  I motored out and considered motoring back to the mooring, that was until I found I couldn't make any headway using the engine.  Everytime I opened the throttle it was like the prop was losing grip in the water.  I raised the main, still with the reef in and unfurled a small amount of genoa.  with all the faffing of getting the sail up I'd drifted onto a bank and the keel swing me round.  I was stuck for a moment but decided to let out the main which powered me off the bank and back into the channel.  Once I'd regained composure I began the long slog back to the mooring.  As you can see by the track, every gain was hard to make.
I was worried about being able to pick up the mooring but as the afternoon went on the wind dropped to a more friendly level and I managed to pick up the mooring first attempt just using the sails.
The tiller had felt easier to use with it now being centralised.  I'd better get someone to have a look at my engine / prop to find out why it's not driving me forward.  Once again another great day or two on the boat.  More experiences and learnings... Tip top :)