12 July 2010

Hot summer weekend sailing (and rowing) 28nm (237nm total)

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.

During the row I came across this extraordinary trimaram, moored right in the middle of the salt marshes. It can't draw more than 150mm. It seems to have only the one square sail and no indication of any form of motor. The "China Bird". I know nothing about her.
I bought a very cheap 1W solar panel from Maplins. Cost about £7. I have attached it to my slowly dying Celestron Powertank, and it seems to work. The Powertank only lasts about three outings now before it needs to be recharged. It used to last a whole season. It was reading "needs recharging" when I connected the panel. After an hour of sunshine it was "ready to use". I have left it on on the mooring, so we shall see how it goes. I need very little power, but it saves changing the batteries on the GPS, which don't last long, and I have a handheld VHF which needs to be recharged from a cigarette lighter socket. So hopefully this will keep them all going for weekend sailing.

Sunday morning I had a wonderful sail through the length of the harbour and out to Studland. Again a popular and beautiful anchorage. The trees come down over the cliffs to hang right into the water. It seems more like a river than the open sea. I got my trusty dinghy out and rowed along the cliffs. Grafitti everywhere. Some of it I suspect very old and some quite clearly from the night before. Claire is gay apparently. Good luck to her if she is.

Off Studland Beach I got my flippers and snorkel out and tried out my camera underwater. It is designed to do this and it worked, but you have little idea what is actually in the viewfinder. The water was very turbid with sand. This purports to show the rudder fully deployed. The forward angle reduces the weather helm dramatically. People are concerned that it will catch lobster pot lines, but they will be wrapped around the centre board before they get here. It kicks right up if needed.

After that a fast sail back in the evening. Hope the summer carries on like this.


  1. Wow, can't believe how much the rudder is raked forward. Does it continue the same line as the transom, or is it even more raked than that?

  2. I have two of those little panels - they're worth their weight in gold. I just leave them up in the side windows permanently trickling power into my (single car) battery... like you though I have minimal power needs - just the VHF - I even run the GPS on AA battery's... nice post though, isn't that just what sailing is all about?? :o)

  3. I think the angle of the shot exagerates the slope of the rudder. It basically follows the line of the transom. The only problem I have with it is that to swing the rudder up, it has to be swung down through the vertical, i.e. deeper first. Not a problem unless you (make that "I") have allowed the tip of the blade to hit the bottom whilst the tide is dropping. That could be serious as you then can't swing the blade up. I have done it a couple of times but fortunately on a soft muddy bottom. Motoring forward has done the trick, but it would be more serious if you left the blade down on a drying mooring. My routine on mooring is "raise the rudder, raise the centre board" then sort out everything else. But it is no worse than any drop rudder design for that. The balance of the helm when the rudder is fully down is just about perfect.

  4. Thanks Julian,

    Interesting that Swallow boats didn't try and add more area forward of the axis of rotation (the typical way to balance the rudder) rather than tilt the whole rudder itself.

  5. Just to say how much I enjoy reading your posts. I am off to Cardigan next month to talk to Matt about a BC 20 for myself. Your story has helped to confirm my ideas.
    Hope the summer continues


  6. Hi Sean
    You will love a BayCruiser. The design is still evolving. The latest ones have a fully battened sail. I think Matt wants to keep the foils as efficient as possible, which means narro and deep. I suspect he just tried a straight, narrow rudder following the transom angle to see how it worked and was bowled over by the lightness. It might steer a bot quicker with a vertical blade, but everything is a compromise. I am very happy with it.

  7. Simple trick to cut your power bill by 75%:

    Want to know how to easily produce all of the renewable energy you could ever want right at home?

    And you will be able to make your home totally immune from power outages, blackouts, and energy grid outages
    so even if everyone else in your area (or even the whole country) loses power…you won’t.