Thursday, 15 September 2016

Marlins mission

Well a big adventure has sprung upon Ciao Bella.   I was contacted a while ago to see if I would be  willing to assist Dave Selby from PBO with his 'Marlin's Mission' quest.    For those who don't know, Dave has sailed his Sailfish 18 from Maldon in Essex to Southampton to promote the pleasure of sailing small, cheap boats on a shoe string.  A task made more difficult by the Viral disorder that Dave suffers from called Guillain-Barre syndrome.  

I left Poole at about 11:40 on Monday on route to Warsash.  Quite excited as I've never sailed into Southampton water before.  The forcast was for very light winds but it was just about perfect.  Force 2 from the south gave me a good run across Poole bay and Christchurch bay in 4 hours.

I had to tack a couple of times before dropping through the Hurst channel.  There was a bit of a chop coming through but nothing to exciting. :)

Another two hours saw me approaching the entrance to Southampton water.  Unfortunately the wind was dropping and time was running out so it was time to start the motor.

The sunset was absolutely fantastic over Fawley.  Time to head for Warsash sailing club.

Dave was at Warsash to meet me, as was another Hurley owner, Dave Edwards and Justine with there absolutely stunning Hurley 18 called Womble.  I never seen such a beautifully restored GRP boat.   We spent the evening in the Rising Sun at Warsash.
The next morning we all set off together to sail to the town quay.  The wind was very poor and we spend most of the time drifting sideways so eventually had to start the motors again.


On the way up Dave did a radio interview with Radio Solent and a photographer from Practical boat owner came to the quay to meet up and get some press photos.

Womble, above, is just stunning and pictures do not do it justice.

Ciao Bella getting dragged out at the town quay slipway.

The boat show stand starting to come together.  On tuesday we were pretty much the only people here.

Dave working hard

By Thursday the site was much busier.. we are neearly ready to go.   Come along and say hello.  We are on stand A134.

Marlin's mission -

Monday, 5 September 2016

Seagull cam

Sorry Dom, I stole your facebook comment for the post title.
Not the most exciting bit of sailing footage but a huge thanks to Richard from Skitch pics for bringing your drone along. Would be nice if we could control the weather  :)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Fluky (motor) sail to Studland

Blimey, a week and a half late...I must try to keep this blog up to date :)  
Anyway, after returning from Summer holiday I was desperate to get out on Ciao Bella.  We'd been camping in Brittany which was lovely but also absolute torture as it is sailing heaven.
The view from my tent.
I persuaded James to come along for a saunter out to Studland, I new Lapwing Paul would be out there, so it would be good to catch up.   We spent a bit of tie in the harbour as a Friend of mine had brought his drone over to do some filming.  Unfortunately the wind around Brownsea castle was not very good so most of his footage was either just bobbing around or motoring :( 

We motored out of the harbour and left the engine on until the end of the training wall.  From then on the wind picked up abit and we could sail properly over to the moorings.   With the weather being quite nice there weren't many moorings.  I did get on to one not too far from Lapwing and started to pump up the dinghy.. only to see Paul jump in the water and start swimming towards us.  He's clearly mad but made it in quick time.  

We considered going ashore but that would have made us miss the tide and be very late back.  Instead you just had a bit of a chat then Paul swam back to Lapwing and we set off back to the club.

The sail back was also pretty slow and eventually had to stat the engine.. It became a bit of a push to get through the entrance and I hugged the shallower water to get back to my mooring.
All in all a bit of a rushed trip but better out than not. :)   James clearly enjoyed it, he took all the pics.

I've not been able to get out again since but hav been over to check on her... looks like the antifoul has given up and the Terns are starting to redecorate the whole boat Grrrrr.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

West country cruise

Saturday 16th July

Poole to Weymouth:  
We had a civilised start time from the club this time... no need to russh about bleary eyed.  Actually heading west is alway easier as there is always plenty of water in the harbour.  I had loaded most of my stuff onto Ciao Bella the evening before so it was just Johns kit to get out there.  We dropped the mooring around 0930 and circled a bit while Lapwing got his sails up.  This gave John a chance to re acquaint himself with Ciao Bella.

There was just enough breeze in the harbour to get us under way but the strength and direction beyond the chain ferry meant it was better to motor sail.  Out towards Old Harry the breeze picked up but still in the wrong direction :)  The trip to Weymouth was quite lengthy and we eventually had to start the engine.   Getting into Weymouth around 8pm we rafted up with two Hurley 22's who were on there way to the BYHH event in Plymouth.  Shortly after we arrived a Seawych turned up with a family of four onboard.. how cool is that :)

Sunday 17th July

We had a civilised start to the day with all the small boats setting off roughly at the same time. We had a bit of a faff before even getting to Portland, Pauls engine was playing up a bit.  I jumped across to have a look. I thought we'd got it sorted but it didn't last long. It had some kind of a fuelling problem.  Would run ok on the internal tank but not on the large remote tank.  

Spindrift and Intrim on route to Plymouth
Underway again and a little behind schedule, we made it around the Bill.  Not long after Lapwings internal tank ran out.. could be a looong day :)  I jumped across again to see if we could improve things.  No joy but I did spot the problem.  The remote tank had the wrong connector on it. It seemed to fit but leaked.  Not much we could do for now so I gave Paul my spare can of fuel and we got under way again.

The only way we'd get across the bay in reasonable time was to motorsail, it didn't need many revs, just enough to give us an extra nudge.
As you cans see it was very relaxing :)  Thank the lord for the auto helm. It was a long old day but we were entertain by a pod of dolphins which came to have a closer look at Lapwing.
We had hoped to get as far as Dartmouth but had to give up on that as the daylight and tide were start to run out.  Time for Plan B so we altered course for Brixham.   Brixham was a good move, A walk ashore mooring right in the town. Fabulous.

Monday 18th July

First job today was to take a good walk up the hill to the chandlers.. why on earth the handlers is at the top of the hill when the boats are down at the water is beyond me :)  However the chap was spot on and we soon found the correct fuel connector for Pauls engine.

After a good breakfast in town and swapping over the fuel connector, we got under way again.  As we'd had to sort other things out in the morning, we didn't have time to get to Salcombe.  So instead we went out past Dartmouth to Blackpool sands and dropped the anchor.  
Nice to get out for a swim ashore.. the sands are not sand at all, more like pea shingle but lets not split hairs.  We had our lunch here before pulling up the anchors and sailing back to Dartmouth.
Dartmouth was pretty busy so we ended up on the Kingswear side.  Nice to try some where different. Kingswear is a nice place to be, it has a couple of pubs and a steam rail station and great views across to Dartmouth.

Tuesday 19th July

We left kingswear quite early to make our way around to Salcombe.  It was much rougher out in Start bay than we had at first anticipated.  We made our way along the coast towards Start point.  The plan was to drop anchor somewhere to have breakfast but it was just too lumpy.

Approaching Start point is the scene of a man made tragedy,  Hallsands was a busy fishing village which, due to dredging further out to sea, got washed away.

I had seen Hallsands from above the cliffs before but it's easier to see from the sea. Click here to read more about Hallsands.

We rounded Start point very close in. It was very rough but only for a very short while so worth staying in close.  The overfalls were only about 20 or 30 yards wide here.

The run into Saclombe was lovely.  One of the prettiest places I've sailed into.

After a bit of a search we found a mid river buoy that we could both get onto.  It worked out really well as town pontoon was a very short paddle away by coracle.. John took the posh option by usng the water taxi.

Wednesday 20th July

After a good night in Salcombe we started to make our way back East again.  We wanted to try to get to different ports on the way back to give us some variety.

Our main target was Teignmouth with Torquay as a back up plan.  We made really good progress, flying round Start point and across Start bay.

The Skerries bank mark with the Dartmouth day mark in the back ground.
All along this stretch were hundreds of Jelly fish,  Dartmouth flew by and we were soon upon Torquay.  There was plenty of time left to get to Teignmouth so we carried on.
Big Jelly fish

Wow, getting into Teignmouth was a rocket ride, the entrance seemed really narrow and fast flowing.  There are no walk ashore moorings here but there are two pontoons just off the beach.  

Although there was room for us both to be along side the harbour master has asked us to raft up in case a mooring holder came in over night. Teignmouth was an interesting town,  pretty busy with all kinds of water activity going on.. Swimming, paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis, motor boats, rowing boats dinghys and sailing boats.

There was even a proper ship in the harbour which amazed me as the entrance didn't seem big enough.  I cooked onboard while John and Paul went into town.  I met them later and went to some decidedly iffy pubs.   John got propositioned by a lovely lady who wanted to take him back to her flat to show him the tide tables.. he turned it down in favour of a night on Ciao Bella :)

Thursday 21st July

Getting out of Teignmouth was even more interesting than coming in.  A lot of engine was required to push us through the race.  Our next target was West Bay (Bridport).  Not too far but we'd not been in here before.

West bay was easy enough to get into but room within was limited.  After a bit of waiting and manoeuvring we got ourselves tied along side a pontoon.  Time to relax and wander into Bridport.

Friday 22nd July
I woke very early and went for a walk to enjoy the view.  The mist came rolling in over the iconic cliff and just hung there until the sun finally burnt it off.  We couldn't go anywhere until we'd got fresh petrol.  The harbour master had offered to drive into town with our tanks to get them filled up for us.
We had plenty of time for a leisurely sail from West bay to Portland Bill.   There were no dramas going around the Bill and made it into Weymouth for early evening.. the is the first return port of the trip.

Saturday 23rd July
Well what can I say.. Our departure time from Weymouth was early morning.  Visibility within the harbour was not too good but once out of the harbour it was pea soup. Almost immediately I got disorientated, not a nice feeling.  Back on track and we followed the compass on a 100 degree course, straining our eyes and ears.  We hoped the fog would burn off with the sun but it stuck with us all the way past St Aldhelms head.  

As the fog lifted the madness of the first summer holiday weekend was upon us.  Streams of motor boats churning up the water and paying absolutely no regard to us small sailing boats.  I'm just glad that we didn't meet any of them in the fog.

It's been another fantastic summer cruise.  Salcombe was brilliant, I thought it would be a busy pompous place but on the contrary, it was calm, chilled and gorgeous.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Moving home

Last week I helped a friend move his boat from Torquay to Poole. The trip started with a pre purchase survey on a Southerly 100 at Trouts boat yard in Topsham which Nick had organised.   Interesting to see the Southerly dangling over the hard while the keel was operated.

With work out of the way we made our way to Torquay,  I loaded the boat with our provisions while Nick stashed the car somewhere out of way.   We settled in for the evening with a tinny or two and Nick rustled up a Chilli and rice.  The third Amigo 'Roger' arrived by train at 9pm.. stepped out of the station straight onto a bus, perfect timing.

Nicks boat is a rather splendid Poncin Harmony 34.. Slightly roomier and a tad quicker than Ciao Bella... BUT I WON'T BE TURNED :)  Torquay Marina is quite nice but it has to be said, the showers and loos leave a bit to be desired.  Smelt like I was showering in a urinal. 
Up at about 6:30 I was sat in the Cockpit with a cuppa when I noticed a Hurley 22 across the marina.

Trying to squint through the sleep in my eyes to make out the name on the transom I could see it was Strider on route to Plymouth for the Bring your Hurley Home event.   As it hadn't been there when we turned in, I guessed he wouldn't appreciate being woken at 7am just for a chat :) We set off towards Portland under sail, the forcast was for a WSW 19 knots.. direction was about right but there was little strength in the wind. We had to run the engine if we were going to make it around the Bill.

We had cut it fine and arrived at the Bill just a little late.  The race was starting to set against us so we moved further south and cut across a calmer section.  We then took a turn north to head fo Portland harbour.  In hindsight we should have motored from here as under sail alone we soon good dragged into the race.   It's not a pleasant place to be and took a long time to motor out of it but the boat never felt like it was in danger, kept it's course and didn't slam.  The worst part was when a wave broke over the transom and soaked me, filling the cockpit with sea water.

It was good to eventually get moored up in Portland, time to dry out and grab some food.  Saturday was a more civilised start to the day, setting off about 9am.   Out off the hrbour and heading east the wind started to build so we put a reef in the main.  Within ten minute the wind had dropped again and and we shook out the reef.  An hour later and the engine was back on again.
Quite an uneventful trip back to Durleston but then the wind picked up again and we were able to see what the Poncin could do.  We had an exhilarating ride back to Poole. Before entering the Harbour we rolled away the jib and entered under main alone.   The boat still felt well balanced with just the main up.

With Omega swinging on her new mooring we had a sandwich and a cuppa before packing up for the weekend..  An enjoyable couple of days with a couple of great mates.  Cheers.