Tuesday, 24 May 2016

A new tender for my Bella

I picked up a cracking new tender on a trailer for the enormous sum of £30. 
It looks gimpy but is fantastic... Stable to stand up on, motors lovely with my 2hp 2 stroke, rows pretty well and tracks really well. 

While down at the club I took the opportunity to go for a little potter in the Mirror dinghy... Life is good :)   Thanks to Lapwing Paul for the photos. 

Being a spur of the moment thing I only had jeans as sailing attire so getting along side and not capsizing were important considerations. :)


Sunday turned out to be a cracking day for a sail.  Forecast was F2/3 and it was perfect for taking my sailing averse son out for a day sail... I had to sweeten the deal with a promise of a pub visit :)
Aiming for a lunchtime departure, we wandered down to the club.  After a mercy mission to get a stranded boaters engine running we needed to get ourselves back on track.  Kirk on 'Hannah Snell' was circling us like a hawk, keen to get going.
Away under full rig we tacked out of the harbour, no need for engines today. We had a good sail out past the training wall and tacked our way into the moorings at Studland.  Picking up a Banks Arms buoy, we rafted up;  Kirks Seal 22 rafts up much easier than Paul's Corribee,  I think because we have similar freeboard and the fenders stay in place.
Time to inflated our tenders... Oh boy, I thought my coracle was funny, not a patch on Kirks.   He'd have looked insecure in a paddling pool :)

We spent a pleasant couple of hours at the Banks Arms, Mrs Ciao Bella and a friend dropped by for a drink while out on a walk around the headland.
Having paddled back aboard, the kettle went on as we settled down for a chat.  Only to see Kirks rubber duck drifting away, a bit more exercise for yours truely and it was recovered.

The sail back to Poole was great, tramping along at a good pace.  James took the tiller most of the way back while I trimmed the sails.
We sailed right onto the mooring first time, tidied Ciao Bella and headed home. I think James enjoyed it, what a successful day sail :)

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Christchurch cruise

We had a little cruise to Christchurch last weekend.   Christchurch is quite shallow so is restrictive to the fin keelers but for us bilge keelers and lifting keel boats it is an absolute dream of place to visit.
Three boats made the trip, Pete and Cathy on their Shrimper 'Coffee Bean', Kirk on his Seal 22 'Hannah Snell' and John and I on 'Ciao Bella'. We had a civilised start time, leaving the mooring just after lunch.   The forecast was for F2 or F3 Northerly on the way there and very light SW on the return.

Coffee Bean Goose winging towards the bar.
The Northerly turn out to be a southerly which made no odds, once out of the harbour we had a nice easy sail around Hengistbury head and goosewings our way to the bar.  The beach along the East side of Hengistbury head is lined with some lovely beach huts but beware if you are thinking you'd like to buy one... they are chuffing expensive.
Why spend 1/4 million on a shed when you can have a small sail boat instead. 

The run was against us slightly on the way in but not too bad, nothing could prepare me for the attack of the flying crabs being launched by a couple of kids on the sea wall,  strangly funny :).  Although we kept the sails up until well into the river the engine did the work as we avoided various small craft.

Christchurch Sailing club had reserved some spaces on their visitor pontoon for us and we were greeted by the Commodore. The club has a fantastic location with a balcony overlooking the river and great views to the Isle of Wight. We whiled away the afternoon and evening out here until the chill got to us.
Ciao Bella and Hannah Snell with the club house in the background

The welcome at the club was really nice, the members chatted freely and bar and food were good quality and value at £3 for a decent pint of Doom Bar and less than £7 for Fisherman's pie.
The return was necessarily early.  The latest we could leave would be 8am.. Coffee Bean left at 6:30 but Hannah Snell and us made the most of ever second to relax :) To be fair I wasn't feeling tiptop and had picked up some kind of bug which was making me very lethargic... some may connect this with the £3 a pint at the bar but I can guarantee that a hangover wouldn't last five days and I'm still suffering :(
A misty morning start.

We motored back down the river and out through the run before hoisting the sails.  Hannah Snell extended his trip East bound into the Solent and we turn back West for Poole.  The Wind was SW and our first long tack took us at good speed almost due south.  My ailment was taking hold now and I completely handed over control to John while I slept, waking occasionally.  I helped tack back towards Poole then woke sometime later as, due to the lack of wind, it was time to fire up the motor.
I recommend a night in Christchurch, it's a lovely location and you'll be well looked after.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

First stretch of the legs for the season.

The bank holiday weekend was the first EDSC cruise of the season.  The plan was to go to Lymington.. the racy type boats would race there and the bimblers would bimble.  Being in the later group I didn't wait for silly things like starting signals,  I knew that I'd have to leave earlier than the others to make the tidal gate at Hurst.

I'll keep out of the way then

I left the mooring about 0920 and made my way to the entrance.  The Condor was just leaving it's berth at Port of Poole and there was other shipping around as well as the usual harbour ferries, chain ferry and bank holiday leisure traffic.. all a bit busy.
Maris Otter pops by for a chat

I motor sailed out of the harbour and heard the foghorn voice of Mike on 'Maris Otter' hailing me.   They were doing a PYRA race to Bembridge. After a quick chat and turning down the offer of a cuppa, we went our seperate ways. 
 The sailing across Bournemouth bay was pretty good.  The winds felt light but I was maintaining 4.5 to 5.8 Knots most of the way... can't complain at that. :)

Racing fleet sliding by Hengisbury head

By 11am the sky was clouding over, plenty of bigger yachts were also starting to overhaul me.  Into Christchurch bay and the wind started to mess around a bit.  Dropping off completely at times and changing direction, I had been expecting northerlies all day. Seems bizarre watching the windex spinning!  The rate of progress really started to drop off.  As I only had a day pass  I decided to cut it short and go to Totland bay on the Isle of Wight.  It has a good pebbly bottom, I know how it feels :O,  which holds the anchor well and a cafe type thing on the beach.
Ciao Bella anchored at Totland

The cafe on the beach didn't really look my thing so I took a walk up to a country pub just outside the village. The High Down had a good selection of real beer and some pretty tasty food, although £14 for bangers and mash and a pint felt a little steep.  While sat inside the rain came poring down... not looking good for the return journey.  It was still drizzling as I walked back to the beach but soon cleared up.  Back onboard, I stowed the inflatable, made a cuppa then set of back to Poole.  With full sail I was only making 3.5 knots into the North Westerly... a few minutes later the wind really picked up.. I heavily reefed the Genoa and hurriedly put a reef in the main. Things were very uncomfortable for a while.. although the speed did pick up :)
Out near the needles the wind just turned off again and went fluky.  I un-reefed every thing, still no movement, so the engine went on.  Five minutes later and there was breeze to push us along at 5 knots again, great, off went the engine.  The engine went on and (mostly) off all the way back. When there was breeze it was great but when it stopped it wasn't gradual, it just stopped! About a mile from the entrance the engine went on again and stayed on as it was getting late and I had to be somewhere. I was back on the mooring around 8:30 so 12 hours give or take from climbing aboard to jumping off again.
The table below is the windspeed & Gusts in knots and the direction at the needles during the day.  As you can see, lots of changes :)
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Track of the day