Friday, 29 April 2016

A proper shake down sail

I took Ciao Bella out for a proper trip around the harbour yesterday to sort out all those little bits and pieces which get forgotten over the winter..  The forecast was for dry but cold and getting windy later on.  I wrapped up warm and winged my way to the club.
ELF... my other passion, keeping an eye on the tide.

It was a bracing topless drive down only to find a distinct lack of water in the harbour,   no worries, it gave me time to tip toe out to the tender and tip out all the rain water :)  The little outboard for the tender fired up straight away but started to run a little off key as I approached Ciao Bella.  Maybe it needs a bit more TLC after its dunking.
Looking back at Brownsea castle.
It was great to be back aboard and in control of Ciao Bella.  The wind was so light, we barely moved and eventually had to motor away from the mooring.  Eventually the breeze soon started to fill in and with full main and a slightly reefed genoa we headed of towards the haven.
The Haven with the Isle of Wight on the Horizon.
I could have gone out to Studland but going around the islands makes me work a bit harder.  There will be plenty of time during the season to to get out of the harbour.  Having had a great sail across the harbour entrance the gusts really started to pick up, possibly upto F6, laying Ciao Bella right over at times..  I rolled in a big chunk of genoa and made my way from Bramble bush bay up to Goathorn point.
Peaceful scene at Goathorn point deviously hides the true strength of the wind.
The tide was still coming in so I cut the corner, keeping a careful eye on the depth. It was nice to see it increasing as I approached Furzey island.  The wind, although not as gusty was increasing.  I set about reefing but got caught out by the channel edge, the keels found some soft mud and spun Ciao Bella around.  No drama, I just dropped the sails and waited for the tide to rise enough to float me off.  After about 45mins I realised that 1; I had no teabags and 2; she wasn't going to free herself on her own.  So with 10mins of engine forward and reverse, vectoring it side to side, pushing from the bow with the boat hook, she slowly, slowly released herself from the mud.

Hmm 3.8knots with this rig :)
Hessitant to put the main back up I sailed around green island with just a handkerchief of genoa, even like this we made 3.8 knots.  In the clearer water of Ramshorn lake I pushed her nose into wind to raise the reefed Main again.  The wind was on my tail now and we made 5 to 6 knots back around Brownsea island.  The cloud cover was really coming over now, I took the opportunity to drop the anchor in the lee of Brownsea to tidy up the reefed sail before cracking on back to the mooring.

Looking cloudy over Poole.
Picking up the mooring under sail was a little difficult, partly because I'm ring rusty but mainly because of the strength of the wind. I grabbed it at the third attempt right at the bow, I still had trouble pulling the pick up buoy onto the boat over the bow roller. I thought my shoulder was going to pop out!
A great shake down sail, glad I didn't have a passenger, they'd probably never sail again :)  Next steps... provision the boat with tea, coffee, chocolate, crisps and bisciuts and more importantly, fix my GPS which, although is still sending NMEA data to the VHF and recording the track (above), it's not playing ball when you want to use the buttons.

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