Monday, 29 June 2015

Swanage fishing trip

Wow, what a great week end.. I went to Goodwood Festival of Speed on Saturday and managed to get a pass out for sailing on Sunday :)
With no real plan I decided to nip out of the harbour and see where from there.  I got away just after noon, a couple of hours before low water and tacked under full sail out through the harbour.  Into the swash channel and I was able to make good speed close hauled towards Old Harry so Swanage became my destination.   The autohelm went on so that I could set up my fishing rod,  we where moving far too quickly for fishing so I took a chunk out of the genoa and depowered the main.

Just of the headland I saw a dorsal  fin, always exciting to see something new.  Checking online later it looked like it was a local bottle nose dolphin with a distinctive damaged fin.  Anyway, he was obviously terrifying the Mackerel as instantly three jumped on my fishing line and were soon in my bucket.

The tide was now starting to turn so I tacked onto the bay and towards the town.  Although overcast the weather was great for sailing but surprisingly when I got Swanage there was hardly anyone on the moorings?    I could have picked up a buoy but following a lost anchor incident recently, I wanted to anchor and set a tripping line.  Interestingly I realised that by setting the length of the line to the fender you could also make a visual depth alarm.  
The Mackerel made a lovely lunch,  simply fried in olive oil with Garlic, pepper and chilli flakes tossed in with Pasta.  I didn't go ashore as there wasn't really time.  I pulled up the hook and turned for home a little after 5pm.  The trip back was a blast, able to goosewing across Swanage bay and along the headland then a broad reach back to Poole.  
Once again I  picked to mooring up under sail, with out drama, and even managed to unclip the tender from the buoy and clip it to the boat in one maneuver.  
I had a little motor around Ciao Bella to check the anti foul, It's looking ok still but is starting to get slimy around the water line and a bit of weed is just starting above the antifoul at the bow.  I might try to give her a quick clean and use up the last of this years tin before trotting off across the channel on the 11th.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Studland Saturday social

How's that for an alliteration.   I managed to drag Number One Son , kicking and Screaming, down to the boat on Saturday.   Well maybe not kicking and screaming but he definitely wasn't begging me to take him out on the boat :)  The propect of going to the pub helped to swing the deal.
We left the club at the crack of (Student) dawn... 12 noon.    The weather was a little overcast but it was warm and the breeze was spot on, F3 at a guess and coming from the SW.
I put a reef in the main and unfurled about half of the Genoa as James needed to feel safe if I was going to persuade him out on the boat again.  With the weather being ideal and it being, nearly, the longest day I knew there'd be other club boats about, so I sent out an email on the club forum to see who else was around.

We made great time going over to Studland,  going out nearly to Old Harry then tacking our way back to the moorings.  As we prepared to paddle ashore in the coracle I made the shocking discovery that we only had one paddle.  Time to made a make shift paddle out of the boat hook and a day shape :)   Fortunately it didn't need to get used in anger as Mark came by in his inflatable and offered a tow.
Looking back towards Bournemouth the weather was looking very ominous but for the mean time.. Studland was glorious.
The Banks Arms provided food and beverages for the afternoon and after a pleasant few hours we went back to the boats.   The makeshift paddle worked well for about a hundred yards then fell apart, so we thumbed a tow back from Mark again :)
Midshipman Mark and his lads went back to their boat as they were heading back to Poole. Lapwing Paul, popped over for a coffee, Whisper John, Michele and Minky the Jack Russel hung onto the side for a while and Mithia Rob also paddled across.  Ciao Bella has mugs enough for three onboard... Clearly wasn't enough :)  We packed away ready to return around 7:15,  With James' increased confidence the reefs were shaken out and the Genoa fully unfurled allowing us make cracking time across the bay.  

I think it was a successful trip, Jmaes seemed to enjoy it and even ventured to the bow to investigate. It was great to have a bit of a meet up with other boats and Ciao Bella continued to impress me with her good manners.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Another glorious evening sail

It's just over 3 weeks to the Cross Channel trip and John hasn't been able to get aboard this year, save the day when the forestay was broken and we had to jump on Jelly Bean.  He really needed to shake off the rust before the big trip so we put a plan together to go for an evening sail.
The tides in Poole are pretty friendly,  there is only a short time, about 90 mins either side of the low low when I can get off the mooring.  Unfortunately last nights low was at 5pm so that ate into our limited sailing time.
We climbed aboard at 6:30pm and were underway in no time at all.    We could see some activity on Arjens Keel boat so sailed in that Direction to see what was going on... Nothing sinister, he was just have some help to move it to another mooring.

We had a great sail around the islands,  beating our way against the tide across the harbour entrance, then continued our tack fest around South Deep.  There was a good breeze, force four, gusting to Six from the West, with a little bit of north for the first hour or so.  Despite the occasional rounding up, we managed to keep full main and genoa up, there's plenty of rail ballast with John and me on board :)   

Coming out of South deep put the wind on our beam and gradually behind, giving us time to relax from the constant tacking.    The sun was starting to set and our speed was good, the wind had stopped gusting and had settled to a three or four; sometimes you feel life just can't get any better.
We picked up the mooring under sail on the first pass.  We'd had a marvelous evening and were even back home by 10pm.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Journey to the centre of the earth

Well maybe not the earth but the Isle of Wight... I couldn't resist the Rick Wakeman reference :) 

Rocket ride to the island

I had a little trip to the Isle of Wight this weekend.  Low tide in Poole was early afternoon so I planned to be away before 1pm.  For once I was on time,  I slipped the mooring at 12:30 and had a hard beat to the harbour entrance,  Wind was 20knots gusting 25Knots WSW and gave me an incredible ride to the island.
I'd set off with a reef in the main but decided to shake it out while on the run. There weren't many boat out but I did get within 'hello' distance of this Hurley 24/70.  They looked to be having a ball crashing through the waves. 

From Poole Entrance to Hurst had taken just about 3 hours... that pretty quick in a little bilge keeler. I had planned to do some fishing in the hope of catching a mackerel for my supper. I'd even brought salad and herbs from the garden to accompany it.  However even with the main down and just a small eye patch of Genoa showing I was travelling too fast and I was up on the Cowes breakwater before I knew it. 

Noisy neighbours and naff beer

I did glimpse corky reefed up at the Folly, the beige Cat below. As I'd failed to catch my supper, I slipped through and made for Newport. The tide was still a little low so I had to bump my way up to town. There were loads of boats anchored up Listening to the IoW festival.  Not sure why as with so many music stages it was hard to make out one band from another.

Even up at Newport I had to raft up.  but the big Westerly made an excellent floating pontoon.  The mooring was a bit of a chuckle as I was inching it ever closer as the rising tide would allow, eventually I could step across and pull Ciao Bella in the last foot or two.
After a quick tidy and a cuppa I took a walk into town to find some Mackerel substitute.  Lidl was hippy heaven, lots of people in hats wellies and glitter... it's all a bit strange.  Anyway, Bacon wine and bread rolls secured, I wandered back to the boat.  The festival was in full swing, it must have been good as there was a lot of cheering :)
I rustled up a wicked pasta and bacon dish washed down with and rather nice Chianti before wandering back into town to find a decent pint.   Although the festival was busy, Newport itself was quiet.  I'd been to the Festival a few years ago and knew of a pub with great beer and a fantastic juke box.  Sadly when I arrived the hand pump had been replaced with shiny gassy beer pumps.. I didn't stay to check out if the Clash had been replaced by Justin Bieber on the Juke box.   The Fishermans Inn, which is alway ok, was empty so I didn't fancy sitting in there so I went in search of a proper beer pub.  The Newport Ale House.. Should have been good and to be fair the welcome and banter was great but.. and it's a big but.  They had a local beer which wasn't for me as it had a very sweet after taste, I tleft most of that and moved on to a safe bet, Pedigree I think, which also had a similar after taste. Clearly not the beers fault but something else.
Back aboard, I brewed up a cuppa and rested up listening to the radio and surfing on the iphone.  The river side view looks great but when you wake at 4am clinging to the bunk because you world is at 30 degrees and the view has changed to a muddy ditch, it doesn't seem quite so nice.

Misty morning

I got up with my alarm at 7am, hoping to get away by 8am on the rising tide.  I fried up the remaining bacon and wolfed that down, assuming that I wouldn't eat again until I got home in the evening.  The keels lifted just as I was washing up.. time to go.
The weather was very calm with poor visibility.  As I motored down the river there was enough breeze for me to unfurl the Genoa to assist.  Back past the Folly and Pete and Pat were on the deck of Corky, two boat behind was another club boat 'Maris Otter'... Always makes me think of potatos :)

Into the Solent and I raised the main, the tide was flowing with me and the wind blowing just enough to beat towards Hurst.  With the visibility quite poor it gave me the opportunity practice sailing to a bearing.  Not a difficult task but takes a bit of concentration.. It's very easy to drift off course.

Something Fishy

Out of the solent the wind gradually dropped until I was just drifting.   I'd taken the South route as I wanted to go and have a closer look at the Needles, they are Iconic.

 I wish I'd been this close on the way over yesterday as I'd seen a Spitfire flying around them, very cool.  As the wind had died and I had plenty of time to drift with the tide, I decided to getting the fishing rod out again.  

 I soon pulled a Mackerel out,  With all the flailing about trying to get off the hook the pesky thing made the cockpit of Ciao Bella look like a scene from a Tarrantino Movie.  I put it out of it's misery as soon as possible and not wanting to be greedy, put the rod away.  Still with no wind I eventually started the engine and motored towards Poole.  The fish was gutted, filleted and pan fried with some Garlic and Bay within ten minutes.. now that's fresh.

The breeze picked up again enough to stop the motor and unfurl the genoa for the last 12nm to the Haven.  I had one last windless spell just before the the entrance so the motor came on again to push me into the harbour.

The last bit

Inside the harbour the wind was quite fresh.. I don't know how this happens but it's often the case that there seems to be more wind in the harbour than in the bay.  Approaching my mooring the keel just touched,  I was on a rising tide so instead of sitting it out on a sand bank edging towards the mooring, I went for last  blast around the harbour.
Back to the mooring on the third attempt I picked up the bouy under sail.  I watched one of my frinds picking up a mooring the other week and picked up  nice tip.  I normally release the mainsheet just as I arrive but this requires looking away and take a second or two the do...usually resulting in missing the target.
I noticed Paul already has his main sheet released and stands holding the boom.  Like this you can keep your eyes on the bouy, release the main instantly and if necessary pull it in and release easily.
Another great sail,  This year is shaping up to be a classic for me.   Not long now until our planned cross channel trip, I can't wait.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Wednesday whizz around

Blimey, what a different day to Sunday.  Still blue skies and glorious sunshine but with some power in the wind.  I am determined to continue with my mid week sailing ambitions, so with my sailing kit now permanently stowed in the boat of the car I can go straight to the club and jump on the boat.
Paul was at the club when I arrived, patching up his tender.  With such good conditions, we both jumped in my (Borrowed) tender and went out to the boats.  I jumped off first as Lapwing is moored further out than me.
Ciao Bella is easy to get underway, particularly when I don't have to faff with the tender.  I was quickly underway with the full main up and no genoa.  I whistled past Lapwing on her mooring at over 5 knots... time to put a reef in I think :)  Even with a reef in it was overpowered at times and the sudden wind shifts of up to 90 degrees didn't help.  It made using the tiller pilot a bit of a no no.
I had to sail back and forth for a while until Paul was ready to caste off, once underway properly it felt ok to unfurl a bit of Genoa, just to maintain that 5 knot mark.
It was lovely to be out in some proper wind, I later had it confirmed that it was towards the top of a force 6, but without big waves making it uncomfortable it felt good.  I'm really getting to feel confident with Ciao Bella.  Sailing single handed, I don't seem to be getting the problems with tacking that I used to get.  I don't know if that's down to practice or maintenance or a mix of the two but it certainly feels more natural as time goes on.
Paul and I both had an appointment at 7pm so the pressure was on to get back to the club.   We were a little late but I think sailing is always a good excuse or lateness.
I also tried out the sailing log app which  Daisy Grace Julian has been trying.  It seems to work well.  The only downsides that I can see immediately are; 1) It is punishing on the battery of the iPhone.  I had to stop it working as it seemed to halve the battery life. and 2) I don't seem to be able to delete tracks.. it comes with a example track already loaded which doesn't relate to me and also when  caught the ferry to the Isle of Wight the other day, it automatically recorded that :)
I will have to remember to take the USB connector if I intend to use this app.

Monday, 8 June 2015

A sunny harbour potter

Sundays forecast was for very light winds in Poole, so it looked like it would be an ideal day for a drift around the harbour with Mrs Ciao Bella and a picnic.  We made our way to the boat and were onboard and ready to sail by mid day.
It really was a drift for the first half hour but as we got closer to Brownsea the breeze filled in and we reached the dizzy speeds of 3 knots :).   Our first stop was to be at Arne, as we approached I could see Jelly Bean at anchor. The Lewis clan were having a BBQ on the beach. We stayed on board and had a Mediterranean inspired lunch to go with the weather.  Half way through lunch I felt the tell tale bump of the keels touching.  A quick engine start and re-position before getting back to lunch.   I had let out a lot of chain so by the time the boat had settled she had dropped back into shallower water.  Glad it didn't beach.. We'd have been there a long time :)

Jelly Bean at Arne.

Tim re-positioning

As we were preparing to leave I received a call from John and Michelle on Whipser who were wondering where we were.  They had been out in a race in the bay and were just coming back in.  We made plans to meet up off Brownsea Island and set about drifting back down the harbour.
Whipser is a Southerly 30 something with every conceivable extra to help make sailing easier.  The previous owner had had a progressive disability so he had added as much as possible to extend his ability to stay afloat.  She has a bow thruster, electric winches, in mast reefing and the list goes on.
We spent a pleasant hour chewing the cud and drinking their wine before making our way back to the mooring.  
It had been a successful day not least because Julie had actually enjoyed it.  I'll make a sailor of her yet.. well maybe not but if I can get her to be a happy passenger then that would be a start. :)

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Twilight sail

Since buying Ciao Bella I haven't really taken advantage of being able to sail in the evening.  I used to do it a lot with Jelly Bean but for some reason I've stopped.  So this evening I legged it down to the club after work.. the timing was a bit off as the water was just disappearing as I arrived.   Two hours and several teas later and I was aboard and ready to cast off.

As I just wanted a gentle sail I furled a good chunk of the genoa and struck off across the harbour.  The tide was flooding back in to the harbour which made it interesting around the entrance.   I had tacked towards the castle but the tide over here was ripping along and it soon became apparent that I was actually sailing backwards!
I fought my way back towards the entrance and cut across the moorings at Shell bay.
The area around the back of Furzey and Green Islands is designated a s a quiet area.    How surprised was I that the Purbeck Princess was ploughing her way around this peaceful enclave with a party in full swing and some dippy prat on the PA telling the whole area that it was Melanie from the Purbecks twentieth birthday.
Back to the piece and quiet, I watched the sun go down while coasting along at a very sedate 2.5knots.  It was so calm that I was even able get the kettle on. Perfect.
Lots of wild foul out in the quiet zone,  plenty of geese about, this one wanted to catch up with his mates.
The old chain ferry, now used as a store by the fishermen, moored by Brownsea.  John Lennon was a regular on this ferry when his Aunt Mimi live here.  
The sun had definitely gone, leaving great colours in the sky and silhouetting boats.. lovely.

I eventually had to start the motor as I was barely making any headway.   The tiller pilot comes into it's own now as it allows me to get on with readying the boat for mooring, it takes all the stress out of it.

A right pleasant potter around the islands.  My sailing backwards antics can be clearly seen just before the 2 mile mark.