Monday, 29 September 2014

Late evening sail to Studland

As the weather was so nice on Sunday, I took a last minute run to the club to see if I could squeeze in a little sail....  Apologies to the peeps that I swerved in an attempt to get to the boat ASAP :).
The tide was running out and the was very little wind, it soon became apparent that I wouldn't be able to sail up the harbour and I didn't want to start the engine, so I literally went with the flow.   Low tide was around 19:30 so I thought it would be nice to potter out to Studland, have a brew then come back in with the flood. It was going to be a late dark finish.

What a beautiful sail, The wind was a bit flukey in the bay and it took a while to get to the Banks Arms buoys.  I got myself tied on and furl the Genoa but as there was so little wind, I left the main up while I got the kettle on.
Even though I know I can find my mooring in the dark, I thought it would be good practice to make a proper pilotage plan.   It was an interesting exercise as I realised I'd left out a lot of information.  I'd picked the marks that seemed obvious but at night theres a lot more flashing at you than you'd realise.  If I'd been in a strange harbour, I might have struggle with the plan I'd made :)

Ciao Bellas night time dashboard :)
My plan consisted of a rough drawing with marks shown and a description of their lights. Also the heading from one mark to the next.
The Channel 10 Can

Safely back on the mooring, I unloaded and made my way back to the pier where I was faced with the biggest danger of the trip.  Some kind soul had left the end of their outhaul on the pier... I got one foot well and truly tangled an nearly disappeared over the side, complete with Outboard... Arrgh!
My pilotage plan didn't allow for inconcideration like this.
The end of the season is rushing upon us... We are hopefully going West again next weekend but we'll have to see how the weather holds up.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Barts Bash

Neither Ciao Bella nor myself are really ones for racing, I think the phrase is built for comfort, not for speed :)  However I did succumb to pressure and agreed to take part in the 'Barts Bash' record attempt.
My track around the course... Don't laugh :)

The club had joined forces with Lilliput sailing club to put on a couple of races.. One for Cruisers and one for Dinghies. The course for cruisers was set in the bay and was one lap of a simple triangular course to keep it easy for those of us unaccustomed racing.
The weather was just enough to keep it interesting NE F4 occasionally more.  The race control was on channel 37A.. which was great except I use this channel so infrequently that I'd forgotten how to select it. I spent a good 10mins hove too trying to find it... ne'er mind.    This meant two things, One, I'd have to follow others across the line as I could hear the start sequence, and two, I'd have to finish as I could let them know if I wanted to retire.

A good turn out 
I made a reasonable start and soon settled down to see which boats I would actually be competing with.  The first mark turned out to be a bit of a farce as I kept misjudging it.    I had full sail for most of the course but had to furl about 1/3 of the Genoa as I got closer to the beach. The wind here was gusty and the direction was changeable, Ciao Bella was easily over powered and would round up on occasion.   I got overhauled by a shrimper and a Contessa 26 here and ended up some distance behind.
I'd loaded the marks into my hand held GPS which turned out to be a smart move.. The Shrimper and Contessa trotted off in just slightly the wrong direction forcing them to harden up to make the next mark.  The Contessa lost ground but made it round where as the Shrimper missed the mark and had to come back to round it.   I was back past the Shrimper and chasing the contessa.  Ciao Bella is pretty good down wind and I started to make ground on the Contessa.    The Contessa was heading in slightly the wrong direction again and we ended up round the last mark side by side.

Ciao Bella and Shahin crossing the finish line.
The day was about more than having a race and back at the club there was a good atmosphere, BBQ on the go, the bar was open and there were a few other activities to keep the kids and none sailors amused.  On reflection, I don't see myself competing weekly in the club races but it might be fun to do a few more..

Results for EDSC here:  Barts Bash results for EDSC   Ciao Bella and Shadowfax  (An Alacrity) were both listed as  Hurley 22's so results should be even better :)

Pictures where unashamedly stolen from the EDSC Facebook page

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A weekend in Yarmouth

I took a last minute decision to go to Yarmouth this weekend, when I say last minute, I mean I have a fantastic and understanding wife :)   I'd taken number one son back to University on Friday evening and didn't get home until 2am on Saturday,  on the long drive home I'd let my mind drift to the possibility of getting over to the Solent, I new that I'd have to go early so left it to fate.. ie I didn't set an alarm.
I magically woke at 6am and brokered the deal to disappear for the weekend.... some making up for this needs to be done!   Unfortunately 6am wasn't quite early enough as Ciao Bella was sitting high and dry when I arrived.  

The south route is the track out 

I walked out to Ciao Bella and chucked my bags on board,  To my disgust the Terns had made Ciao Bella their dumping ground, so I spent the next hour scrubbing conrete off just about every bit of the boat.  I was ready to leave the mooring on the rising tide, around 9am, and Goosewinged across the harbour to the entrance.  Although the tide was coming in, there was a nice back eddy close to Sandbanks which assisted me to the entrance.With the nose in the Swash  channel the engine had to go on and stayed on through the East Looe Channel.  

I'm sure the Isle of Wight should be there.

Once in the bay the engine was lifted and I beat into the North Easterly. Initially I thought I'd be able to make Hurst Channel in one hit but with subtle changes in wind direction my heading drifted out to about 110 degrees. I stuck with this direction as long as possible as I guess the tide in the solent approach would help drag me in when I had to make the inevitable tack.  The Visibility wasn't great, very hazy, The island is usually visible from Poole but stayed hidden until I was well passed Hengisbury head.

The wind picked up for a while and I felt the need to put a reef in the main, it was a good decision,  the speed was maintained but the comfort was increased. An hour later I shook it out again, I must look into an easier way to reef.
I needed to be through Hurst Channel by 2pm and it was getting a bit tight.  I was tacking along the Needles north channel, avoiding the Shingles Bank to Port and the large rolling Waves to Starboard.

I just had the two fort behind me when I felt I should tack out of the way of the Waverley, which seemed to be steaming straight at me.  I lost some ground with this maneuver and the tide had definitely started to flow against me so the engine went back on. 

Half an hour later and I was rafted up against Lapwing.   There was a good selection of East Dorset boats in Yarmouth, I guess the end of season 'get some sailing in bug' must have bitten :)
Ciao Bella and Lapwing
Silver Lady

Once safely secured and said Hi to everyone, refreshments were required.   We took a wonder to the Kings Arms, which had a fabulous array of decent real ales.. It's not often that you hear someone ask for two wild Geese and an Otter!  
Apparently there was a large Gin palace in the harbour which was either owned, Chartered, borrowed or stolen by a London car dealer which seemed to be crewed by less than delicate under-dressed girls who were causing great amusement. 

The 'Crew' of a particularly crass gin palace causing much amusement in Yarmouth.
Fortunately they'd left by the time we returned to get cleaned up for the evenings entertainment.  We'd invited to pre-dinner drinks on Silver Lady before taking a stroll into town for dinner.  We squeezed eight and a dog onto two small tables in the Bugle where we were serenaded by two chaps with an electric guitar and a steel guitar playing Blue grass stylie.. I think?

Serena and Lapwing leaving Yarmouth
The following morning was an easy affair, we just relaxed around the town and harbour waiting for a suitable time to leave. In Yarmouth there is a really nice deli where you can buy lunch and the old Post office is now a cafe with really nice coffee and tip top Pain au chocolate.. what better way to start the day.

We left the mooring around 1:30,  the tide was still running west to east which, as Paul and I where both broadside to the tide and the Easterly wind, helped us get away from the pontoon .
Silver Lady along Hurst spit
The tide was still against us by about a knot as we went through Hurst, I found staying close to the island helped but I still had to cross the faster flowing channel to continue to Poole.
Soon the tide was with us and the wind behind so with the Main pushed out and held with a preventer and the Genoa poled out Ciao Bella scooted across Christchurch bay.
Serena at Hurst
The wind direction altered by a good 40 degrees after Hengisbury head which allowed for a nice broad reach across Bournemouth Bay.  The waves were rolling in from the South East which kept life interesting, often picking Ciao Bella up for a little surf  :)
Lapwing leaving the Solent

I made it back to the mooring around 5:30pm, had been a great sail back and really nice to have had a weekend away again.  As I'd walked out to the boat I was fortunate that one of the other guys was passing in his tender and offered me a lift back... better than pumping up the Coracle :)