2 May 2011

Short, windy sail, one night at anchor (14nm 68nm total)

Down to Poole latish one day and a short, fast sail, down into Rockley Channel, to see how it has changed since I moored there, and then right down the  Wareham Channel to the mouth of the Frome. Then I beat back to the shelter of Arne where I anchored for the night.
Not a restful experience. The wind got up and it was very noisy, howling in the rigging and everything creaking and groaning. It sounds terrible in the cabin, but when you stick your head out, it is just a bit breezy. I thought I would get a bit of peace in the middle of the night when the tide went out and I sat on the mud. On the mud was quiet. Bouncing and rocking onto the mud as the tide left wasn't. Neither was rocking and bouncing off the mud when it came back. You need to dry out for the whole night or none of it. Just an hour or so is not good.
In the morning I set out under double reefed sail. Discovered there was a gale warning. Far too windy for my pleasure. The mizzen gybed at one point with a great bang and I caught sight of a screw arcing through the air. "Where did that come from?!" After a while I saw that is was one screw of two holding the cheek block onto the mizzen mast for the sprit snotter. The block base was bent. I tore back into the wind shadow of Arne, doused all sail and motored back to Parkstone through a rising gale. No problem but no fun either. I replaced the cheek block with a rope loop wrapped round the mast, as Swallowboats originally fitted. Maybe they really do know what they are doing.
I have got a new fancy phone which recorded the whole journey as a track in Google maps, which I then uploaded to my 2011 cruise map. It shows every tack up and down each channel. Quite an impressive bit of kit. It even makes phone calls. My battery has not recharged fully from the previous week, which was a bit of a disappointment. I may need to rethink the solar panel arrangement. I could only use the depth sounder and even that ran out of power after three hours. But I ove the sounder for tacking in narrow channels.

Someone rang me over the weekend to ask about my boarding ladder arrangement, so these photos show it in all three positions.

Stowed, it lies flat on the stern deck. This is where I keep it if I am sailing with anyone else. I made a new support deck for it from 18mm marine ply over the winter. The old cheap ply one was opening out around the edges.

If I am on my own, I leave it hanging over the stern, but with the rungs held up by Velcro. This can easily be reached from the water to release it. Flipping it over from the fully stowed position is barely possible, and not at all if you are in wet clothes. This can be reached easily and a tug on the Velcro drops the rungs into the water. The hinges are designed to keep the ladder extended and not to swing under the boat. I was sceptical at first but they really work. Nearly every powerboat at my marina has this type of telescopic ladder.

Fully extended the bottom two rungs are in the water. It is really easy to use and seems very robust. I was worried that it might corrode and seize up, but no sign of that after a full season last year. I think it is an easy arrangement. I need the plywood platform to get it over the stern coaming. It could be built in to lie flat on the stern deck, but that is quite a big job on a finished boat.

I have also made a cockpit tent from a clear tarpaulin, but I have never used it. I am not sure it would be worth the hassle. The sprayhood covers half the cockpit already and that is probably enough. What this picture does show is some of my endless attempts at a quiet boat at anchor. Anything that moves makes a racket below deck. The boom scissors keeps the boom absolutely still. By fitting a bungy around the mizzen mast and the taut mainsheet, it holds that mast still in its socket. Otherwise it rocks ever so slightly in the wind, which sounds like an orchestral tympani section down below. With the board and rudder lifted right up and the halyards just the right tension, the whole thing is just about silent, until you start bouncing on the sea floor.


  1. we love your choice of boat name - partly because our daughter's name is Daisy Grace too :-) We've seen you in the harbour and will give you a wave as & when we see you again.
    best wishes,
    Phil, Karina, Daisy & Hannah
    Triohe - Farrier Trimaran (the red one with the bent mast :-)

  2. It's my mother's name and has a nice boaty ring to it. A young girl ran up to me at Parkstone Bay Marina to say it was her sister's name. Were those your girls?

  3. :-) yes - that'd be Hannah. We used to keep our Boston Whaler (since sold) at Parkstone Bay - now we're out on Rum Row with PYClub. Happy sailing. P

  4. I saw yout trimaran yesterday. Looks very fast!