Friday, 25 September 2015

Southampton boat show

I was lucky enough to get some tickets for the boat show last week. I'd arranged to meet roger and Nick there as I. Had James with me.  We got there good and early and at 9:30 we were among the first to get in.
The main site doesn't open until 10, poor planning you may say... Fortunate says I. I've never been able to get out on the water at the show before but as we were early we had the pick of the trips. I plonked for a Jeanneau 30 as it is the size of boat that I could possibly aspire to and I wanted to see if James would enjoy it. Corr, not arf,  with just james,me and the two sailing school skips onboard we spent over an hour sailing around the harbour.  James was on the helm nearly the whole time and clearly enjoyed it... What a result.
Back at the show it was time to find a cash point.. wow, the thieving gits wanted to charge £2.50 per transaction, we decided to head outside and find a free machine. Poor planning paid dividends again as we took the opportunity to visit the Titanic.. not the ship but the free house, wherever had a pint. Of Titanic.. you could say it went down well.
We made our way back to the show and met up with Roger & Nick. It has the be said, the show seemed to feel as if it was down in both visitors and exhibitors.  A shames as it is so much better than the Docklands show.
Highlights for me, besides the sailing, were the Spirit boats, they are just beautiful and the Halberg Rassey.. top quality ocean going boats. 
The PBO project boat, Hantu Biru was also great to see,  lots of inspiration there.
Any way, back to the real world.. I'm trying to get some sleep before a 2am sail from Poole to Cowes.. should be great as the moon is really bright.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Fun in the harbour

I had a couple of impromptu trips out in the harbour recently.. The first was a solo sail around the islands.. always good for the soul.  I'd popped to the club to fill the safety boat fuel tanks and as the weather was sooo good and there were other people there just willing me to go out.. well how could I refuse.

I stopped at Pottery pier to have a brew and a nap before making my way back to the club.   What a way to spend a few hours.
Then a friend of mine wanted to come over and have a go on the boat.. well I couldn't say no could I?
We did a similar route, it's the best route to see the best of the harbour.  Richard brought along his new toy.. a GoPro digital camera.  It's pretty cool and the results are fabulous.  Thanks for letting me use the video Rich.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Long week end part two.

So... I managed to grab 45 minutes sleep in the club house before it was time to get out to Ciao Bella for the cruise to Weymouth. It was a glorious day, blue skies beautiful sunshine but barely a breath of wind. Corky the Catamaran was ready and waiting and Lapwing Paul had arrived at the club as I awoke from my slumber. Sails raised and the mooring dropped I sail past Escapade to say tatty bye and continued out towards the entrance. Despite the calm conditions Ciao Bella was making good progress.

Motorboats..  I started the engine, as is normal, to get through the entance and past the  chain ferry.  Unfortunately the breeze was dying again and the engine had to stay on.  Lapwing follow out and we pushed on to catch up with Corky.   With it being a bank holiday there was an excess of power boats heading out of Poole and coming across from the east.  Most were giving us room but some showed absolutely no regard and cut close at speed on both sides.  The wash from one of these eventually dunked Lapwings outboard causing it to fail off handfast point.  With no wind and a poorly motor lapwing had to limp into Swanage and pick up a mooring.
Corky continued onto Weymouth while I made the excuse of sticking with Lapwing.. in all honesty I was welcoming the chance for a nap and secretly hoped we'd be heading back to Poole :)

Refreshed.. I woke up and looked at my watch, 1 O'clock; I wondered if Paul had gone on without me.  No he was still there but I could see he was just putting his cowling back on.  I felt much better for having a couple of hours sleep.  After a bit more tinkering we were ready to go again.  With the delay we would have to motor but as there was little wind that was no bad thing.
We crashed through the Peveril race and took the inside passage past St Aldelms head into the calm waters beyond.

Weymouth was busy, We rafted up along side some bigger yachts outside the harbour masters office and readied ourselves for an evening out.  Unfortunately the harbour master didn't like where we were and push us out across the river to the Cove.  Having motored nearly all day our first job was to walk to the nearest petrol station and fill up some cans.  The nearest petrol station isn't that near when you are walking :)
Chores sorted, we made our way to the local Spoons for a no thrills dinner and some liquid refreshment.  Got to be said, it's a lively pub on a Saturday night.  By 10pm I was jiggered so made every excuse I could to return to Ciao Bella and get some sleep.

Homeward bound.  We left Weymouth around 9am, we knew that we wouldn't have enough easterly tide to get us home so we planned on stopping somewhere on the way.  Chapmans Pool was first choice but that would be a stretch.  In the end we decided on Warbarrow bay, we'd been there before and it's a lovely anchorage.

Lapwing heading East along the Jurassic coast
 Today was so much nicer than yesterday, breeze was good and the sea state calm, perfect conditions for a pair of small bilge keelers.  There was a bit of North in the wind which made us drift away from the shore, as the tide started to turn we had to start the motors and motor into Warbarrow.
Looking back along the Jurassic coast, Lulworth in the foreground
Warbarrow is a beautiful place to stop.  The beach is large pebbles and shelves steeply which means you can get in quite close to the shore... within swimming distance if you want, as we did last year.  Not this time though, we paddled ashore and took a stroll upto the Wartime ghost village of Tynham.
Lapwing and Ciao Bella anchored in Warbarrow Bay
Returning to the beach a chap came over to say hello, I'm terrible at recognising people but Steve (or should I say Sheila) eventually gave me the clues to who he was. We'd met up on a trip to Cowes a few years ago, Steve has a Fantasie 19 called Mudlark.  It's always nice to catch up with people, even if the recolection does take a while for it to sink in to my soggy grey matter.
Fast and Fun.. The return from Warbarrow was fast and fun.  The wind and swell built through the afternoon and we were rewarded with some great sailing.  We got back to our moorings as the sun went down.  A full weekend sailing, not without it's problems but always enjoyable.

Monday, 7 September 2015

The start of a looooooong weekend :)

Friday 28th August 2015 was the first day that I have been unemployed for approximately 25 years... and the first time ever that I have been voluntarily unemployed.  So how should I celebrate this occasion... by going for a sail of course. :)
A friend of mine has a Westerley Pageant which needed moving from Fareham to Poole.  Quite a long trip for a single day but with a strong inboard engine we should be ok.
Agent Orange (Name changed to protect the innocent) collected me early on friday and we made our way to the boat.   We loaded our stuff aboard and set about getting her ready. The keyswitch for the engine was not working and the replacement hadn't arrived in time so I stripped the old one down to see if we could fix it.  After some WD40 and a bit of luck it became operable again.The engine fired into life but wasn't pumping water.
Another 40 minutes and we'd sorted the air leaks on the raw water strainer and primed it.  The engine was now running well and pumping water nicely.  Time and tide wait for no man so we cast off and made our way towards the Spinnaker Tower.

The Pageant seems like nice boat,  plenty of room for a 24 footer and feels pretty solid. Out of the harbour and we decided to raise the sails.  Not a great start, the main didn't have the battens fitted and there was no kicking strap.  Also the Jib, which I'd unfurled earlier, was starting to pull out of the furler foil.  I rigged a temporary kicker and put a roll on the jib to stop it pulling out completely.  The solent was quite lumpy, a good force 4 with gusts and we were beating into it.  Still we where making good headway so we stopped the engine and enjoyed the sailing.
At the entrance to Southampton a Car Transporter was making its way out,  we were over by Calshot so decided to start the motor and get clear.  The engine started nicely but once again wasn't pumping. We stopped it and continued with the sail.. it was still too lively to be fiddling down in the bilges.
As the day moved on it was apparent that we would need the engine to get us through the tidal gate at Hurst.  I went down to address the raw water strainer again.  Even if it had a small air leak, was primed and running it would continue to pump so worth doing.  So strainer topped up and key in ignition, only to hear that soul destroying sound of a starter struggling with a flat battery.
I looked at the battery selector switch a realised it was a single switch.. ie One battery which we'd squandered on the chart plotter, depth guage, and other pointless instruments.  The parable of the midnight oil was edging it's way into my conscience. The engine looked like it had the facility for a cranking handle.. I wistfully asked Agent Orange where this fabled piece of equipment might be but he'd never seen it.  Many words entered my head.

We were past Beaulieu entrance but not as far as Newtown Creek doing tack after tack on almost exactly the same course over and over again.   The smart thing to do would have been to drop back into Cowes but I had commitments for the weekend so we took it in turns to sleep and sail back to Poole.
Gradually the tide came back our way and we made it through Hurst.  Over night the wind dropped to just a whisper making our progress painfully slow.  The sun was back up as we drifted in to Poole and the wind so light that we could not make headway towards the mooring.   Agent Orange suggested using the inflatable and 2hp motor to get us the last half mile.  Surprisingly it worked and a 7am... a mere 21 hours after leaving Fareham we were home.   Now all I needed to do was freshen up in time for a 9am departure to Weymouth on Ciao Bella!