Sunday, 2 August 2015

Some harbour bimbling

Since the channel crossing I've only been onboard a couple of times, both for bimbles around the harbour.
The Saturday after our return I needed to get out to Ciao Bella to sort some of the bits which inevitably  break, fall off or wear out.  I've already posted about the Autohelm but of utmost importance was to replace the coracle paddle which went for a swim of Shanklin beach.  Fortunately I had a spare paddle from a former inflatable.. its the wrong length but that was fixable with a hacksaw and some rivets.
The other items which were causing concern were the GPS, Solar panel and the coracle which was still clogged with sand from the Isle of Wight excursion.  All went well apart from the Solar panel.  The paddle cut down and worked nicely, the Coracle was paddled ashore on Brownsea to be washed out (Any excuse for a sail), the GPS came back to life after the connector pins were cleaned and the autohelm seems to work ok.
The solar panel on the other hand had succumbed to the marine environment.... very disappointing as I had specifically paid extra to get the best flexy panel that I could.  Three years service doesn't seem particularly good.  The tracks in the panel are turning black and furring up and when I checked the connection inside the cabin, the silver tinned conductors were also turning black and have gone brittle.
Anyway, the sail was lovely, I had no idea where I was going but ended up towards Hamworthy before turning back, I couldn't decide whether to go to Arne or Brownsea but the Island won in the end.  I had a little paddle ashore to clean the coracle then made my way back.

1st Aug - Wareham and back.

Having not been on Ciao Bella for what seemed a lifetime, Saturday seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  It's only been two weeks but what a couple of weeks. I have managed to persuade myself to hand my notice in without another job to go to.. it will be interesting to see how that develops :)
I wandered down to the club for about 8am, stopping for milk on the way... I couldn't contemplate sailing without a cuppa.  
Once again I wasn't sure where to go.. it looked like I'd be able to get to Wareham and stay for a while so I pointed the bow towards the RoRo terminal and motored away.  I had to moter as there was next no wind.  It's pretty dull motoring so I got the fishing line out, before I'd even let the line out fully I'd caught a Mackerel, this amazed me as I didn't think they came into the harbour, I don't know why I thought that; maybe they don't have the correct paperwork?
I caught the second just as I went past the RoRo terminal which was great timing as the wind was making a tentative appearance.   I put the rod away, stowed the catch and unfurled the Genoa.. The wind, as always, was coming from the exact direction that I wanted to go in.  The breeze was very light at first however there were occasional much heavier gusts which came from about 30 degrees off the steady breeze, causing Ciao Bella to race away in a better direction, but only briefly.
As I got up past Rockley park the breeze strengthened and was much more fun, although the direction meant it was still a bit of a tack fest, trying to pinch as much of the skinny water as possible to reduce the number of tacks.
In the confines of the river I furled the genoa and started the engine again.  Even though the speed limit is 4knots, which I was going, I had a constant stream of motor boats over taking in the river; one playing chicken with a boat coming towards us, then swerving infront of me, the wake causing Ciao Bella to lurch around, just glad I didn't end up with the keels in the mud.
Wareham Quay was packed, I rafted out five deep, much to the annoyance of the local motor boat tour guide.    I held on as I could see a space would be available soon on the next bit of the quay.
Next came one of my proudest maneuvering moments.   There was very little room between the bridge and the rafted out boats and I needed to get Ciao Bella in there.   I worked out that I could use the flow of the river and the breeze, which was blowing towards the quay, to help with the maneuver.

Just kicking the engine into forward and reverse occasionally let her drift gently onto the Rib which was along side the quay.  All done without fluster with a big crowd on hand to judge me if it all went wrong :)
I set about preparing my lunch, pan fried Mackerel in Olive Oil and Chilli flakes.. well it's all I had on board.  Jewels took a drive around and met me for lunch, She's not keen on fish so they were all mine,  supplemented by the lunch which Jewels had brought with her.

After a pleasant few hours it was time to head off again,  I had thought about staying overnight but didn't have my sleeping bag on-board and the forecast for night time temperature was in the single figures!
If getting into this space had been my proudest maneuvering moment, it was about to be usurped.  Leaving this space needed careful planning.  The rib which I had rafted up against had gone and I was now against the quay.  The river was flowing and the breeze was still pushing me against the quay.
  I let off the bow line and rigged the stern line from the starboard cleat, around the bollard on the quay to the port winch.  Now with the engine ticking over in forward gear, I let out some line from the starboard side to let me away from the boat behind, then shortened the port line which made the bow swing out towards the middle of the river.  As soon as I had clearance I released the spring line and motored away.. I felt almost profeshneal.
I ran back down the river under motor, raising the main as I went.  The tide was flowing quickly now and I didn't want to run aground up here.  The mudflats were clearly visible a the birds were gorging themselves on the rich picking now on offer.

I had a really good sail with the wind behind all the way back to the main harbour area, approaching the club I could see that even the Shrimpers near my mooring were heeled over on the sand,  rather than sit and wait for the tide, I went for a bit of a jolly.  At first down towards Sandbanks and then swung around back to the town quay before tacking off towards Brownsea. The wind had really picked up now,  I still had full sail up it was just a tad tippy.  With it being a spring tide the shallow areas were very shallow and I had to really keep to the channels.   This didn't help when I got between the islands, the water eventually ran out and I had to sit at the entrance to blood alley for 10 or 15mins.
Eventually I was afloat again and threading my way to the harbour entrance before turning towards the club.  In my daydream state I nearly didn't notice Dom and Sarah on a rib waving at me. Sorry guys :)
Back at the mooring and another perfect stop under sail to pick up the buoy. Long gone are the days of me desperately hanging onto the buoy as the boat swings back into wind, I'll have to find another exercise for upper body strength  :)

1 comment:

  1. "I have managed to persuade myself to hand my notice in without another job to go to." .. blimus...! :o)