Two days unexpected sailing due to various changes. Weather glorious, depsite very iffy forecasts. Started out just sitting on the boat as the tide was so low I couldn't do anything else. I had grounded the dinghy twice just getting to the mooring. I was admiring the sea bottom and noticed that some unfortunate had lost his bow roller, which was just lying there on the bottom. Then I noticed that it was just the same as my bow roller. Identical in fact. Fortunately the tide was so low that I could just stick my arm in the water to retrieve it and then figure out how I was going to fit it back on.
I had used embarassingly small screws to hold it in place. I couldn't stick it back on the port where it came from as the screw holes where it had ripped out were now too large to grip. So I had to go ashore, get my bike out and cycle to a chandlers for new bigger screws and a drill bit to fit them. Got back, rowed out and after the usual fiddles managed to secure the roller much more firmly on the starboard side of the stemhead. Now the anchor chain would chafe the jib furling line, so that, with all of its fairleads and cleat, would have to be transferred to the port side. Fine except the space between the cabin and the inside of the bulwark, where the fairleads were secured, was so tight I couldn't get a screwdriver in. So back ashor, onto the bike again to go and get a stubby screwdriver. Finally got the whole lot set up and set off.
After that I set off back into the Harbour. I started my engine for the entrance, as they ask you to do. The rope recoiled, caught on the tiller, hopped up and there was a horrible grating sound. Engine stopped and the starter rope just hung out loosely at full length. Decided the best place to be with no engine would be back on my mooring, so I sailed all the way back and then picked it up under sail. Very messy as I was going dead downwind into the moorings, which is not ideal. I turned up into the wind and got it wrong, but managed to drift backwards down wind and by the skin of my teeth managed to hook the mooring with the boat hook held out by my finger tips. Good thing I have long arms.
20 July 2010
12 July 2010
Poole harbour can be quite exotic. I sailed all round the harbour, properly exploring the various channels, and ened up anchored for the night off Shipstal Point. This is a very popular anchorage (rated the best in the Harbour in Yachting Monthly this month). The countryside around it is wonderfully wild, even though it is so close to the town. These herds of deer are roaming the salt marshes all the time, and the water's edge is covered in tousands of waders, geese and ducks. Really a glorious spot. It was croweded, about 20 boats all concentrated off the beach. I rowed up and down the shore line and found there was plenty of depth, at high tide, well away from the crowds, so I upped and moved for a quiet night.
2 July 2010
The weather was set to be fair, so I took three days leave and went sailing on my own, mid-week. It is always a nice time to sail in Poole as the harbour is uncrowded. On summer weekends you are never alone. Even in the narrowest, shallowest creek you are likely to find a couple of kayakers suddenly popping up beside you, or a flotilla of those odd, stand-up-and-paddle surf boards barging into you.
On the first day I tried to get into the beautifully named River Piddle. This is the second river that runs from the Harbour up to Wareham, but it is not much used by boats. I found out why. I could not find the channel, and kept sticking on glutinous soft mud flats. Far too soft to push off from or to stand on. I had to resort to running the engine in reverse through the liquid mud, which is not a good policy, but it got me off and the motor still seems to run OK. On a windless day I may try to row up in my dinghy to see if I can find the channel, if there is one.
Then I stormed back down the harbour. There was a F3-4 southish wind blowing all three days. I generally had a single reef in as the boat just handles better. I was also experimenting with sail balance to see what worked and what didn't. The wind carried on into the night, so I anchored close in to the north shore of Brownsea Island for shelter. Not that quiet as it is directly opposite the Town Quay and there is a roaring from the docks all night, but it is interesting to sit there and watch all the navigation lights coming on on the buoys.
"Where have you been?"
"Nowhere in particular."
"That's where I am going too!"
Hope he didn't get fog bound.
I anchored for lunch in the Harbour off Redhorn Quay, on the inland side of the Studland peninsula. I rowed ashore and walked over to the beach and went for a very short swim. Still cold water so didn't stay in for long. The heathland is lovely, a very unusual landscape. I kept an eye open for Dartford warblers, which are usually easy to see here, but there is concern they will have been killed right back in the cold winter. I didn't see any.
I tried sailing off the anchor just with the mainsail, but with the board up I couldn't steer and ended up on the beach. Unfurling the jib swung my bow round and then pulled me off. Then set out around Green Island, which involved lots and lots of tacking against the current in a very narrow channel. Takes a long time, but very rewarding. I was shadowed by a large French yacht which was motoring slowly behind me, leaving me plenty of room. He eventually dropped his anchor off Cleaval Point. I stormed on to Shipstal Point, which is a lovely anchorage, but again, it is exposed to the strong south wind, so I turned tail and sailed back to almost the same spot north of Brownsea Island as the previous night. Brownsea is the only island which is big enough to give you certain deep water shelter from a southerly wind.
On the second morning I took advantage of my new marina location. It is directly opposite Brownsea Island, so I motored across and tied up to the waiting pontoon to refill my water tank. Then I got my folding bike out of the car and cycled into town to do some shopping and have a coffee at the Lifeboat College.
Back at the boat the wind was strongish F4 so I thought I would try sailing just jib and mizzen and experiment with that arrangement. It is slower, but still acceptable. Tacking is tricky and requires working both sails, otherwise the mizzen tends to stall the tack. But reaching under this rig is a delight. The boat runs like it is on rails. Even going into the cabin doesn't upset the balance enough to knock her off the wind.. This gave me an excellent grandstand seat to a whole series of lifeboat high jinks.
I carried on sailing round the harbour channels. Had the rather embarassing experience of clobbering a starboard marking pole and breaking it off. Not very seamanlike.
Heading back to the mooring I caught up and overhauled a Cornish Shrimper on a close reach. It had about a half mile lead and it took me about 15 minutes to catch up. The wind was dying so I shook out each reef. I can shake out a reef in under a minute and under full speed. It takes about three minutes to put a reef in, largely because you have to turn up into the wind or heave to first. But it can all be done from the cockpit, which I don't think can be the case with a gunter rig.
Finally motored onto the mooring and I spent half an hour just watching the sun going down before the long drive home. Hope for more days like this during the summer.