22 July 2011
Finally turned into Poole Harbour, which is always magical because it is like a world of its own, hidden away from the Channel outside. Tided up to the waiting pontoon and went into town for lunch. Packed all away as I won't be down for a few weeks and then made one of those obvious discoveries.
I usually motor away for the pontoon in reverse, back into the marina and then motor out forwards to the mooring buoy. Feeling lazy, I decided just to carry on in reverse all the way. It was a revelation. You come up to the mooring buoy backwards under complete control and no risk of the bow being blown off. You are by the engine and the buoy at the same time. You could just lean down and pick up the buoy without a boat hook if you wanted. Holding the buoy, just flick the engine into neutral and your drift carries the boat on as you walk to the bow and drop the loop over the samson post. It was all so easy. why do we insist on doing it going forwards, which can be a nightmare?
The current was eastwards for a few hours, so I set out to go towards Newtown River. Complete contrast to the previous day. Barely a breath of wind off the land and warm sun in a mainly blue sky. I drifted along the coast for about six miles, with most of the work done by the current. I devised a very comfortable cruising position, stretched out along a side bench, leaning back against the stern coaming. Not a great view forward, but very pleasant. Off Newtown I eventually had to start the engine or I would have been swept past. I motored in and down the arms of the inlet very slowly. I have heard eulogies of the beauty of Newtown, but I was not greatly impressed. It is mainly mudflats, and nothing that special. I like the entrance area, where the shingle and sand banks are steep too and easy to land on. I landed on the west side and went for a swim. Cold. It is a nice spot to swim as you are in deep water quickly, but you have to be very careful of the strong currents or you will get swept away.
Motoring out I found that although there was a very strong inward current running, there was a large backeddy on the East side which allowed you to keep out of most of it. Outside I set full sail and started towards Beaulieu River. A pretty gaff cutter was heading towards me and the crew seemed to be running around oddly. Then I realised they were putting a reef in. I looked up at the sky and thought I might just do the same. Good decision. Huge black clouds flew up, the wind got up and the rain poured down in under ten minutes. I completely lost sight of the land on both sides in the rain and had to genuinely follow my GPS for the first time. Without compass or GPS you could not have the slightest idea what direction you were sailing in, or if the wind was just blowing you round in circle. I set the course for Lymington and sailed that way for a couple of hours.
Eventually the rain stopped and I motored up the channel behind a ferry. Tied up near a Drascombe and a BayRaider and went for a walk around Lymington. Very pretty and more yacht chandlers than I have ever seen in one place. In the evening had a good meal with the Raiders in the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.
Once in the Solent the wind was quickly damped down by the land and I was off Yarmouth in about 20 minutes. I furled all sails and motored in with some relief, forking out the extra for a walk ashore pontoon. Most of the afternoon the rain just poured down, so hard it beat the water flat. I either sat under the spray hood and watched it fall, or sat in the Bugle and had a pint. I had read a lot of vitriol about the changes at Yarmouth, where they have removed all but six of the pile moorings and replaced them with floating pontoons. It was a "loss of beloved tradition", "people LIKE mooring between piles" etc. I have done it once nearly thirty years ago and never want to do it again. I noticed that no one used the remaining piles the whole time I was there.
The Bugle does a good dinner.
20 July 2011
18 July 2011
I'm sitting on Daisy G, in the rain in Yarmouth harbour. I am joining the English raid just for a day tomorrow, over in Lymington. Sailed 20nm in F5-6, downwind but motor sailing all the way, because I had to make the tidal gate at Hurst Point, and I was late. I made it with fifteen minutes to spare! Averaged 5.4kts and hit 9.2 surfing down a wave! Quite rewarding, but I still prefer warm sunshine and gentle breezes. I will go to newtown River before Lymington if the weather is at all good. Keeping my fingers crossed for fair winds home on Wednesday.
13 July 2011
The panel was delivered in under 24 hours, but they forgot to put in the regulator. That came 24 hours later. The regulator is cheap, rated up to 100W and from my point of view was perfect, as it had three wired in connectors so I didn't have to figure out which wire went where. It all just plugged together and matched the existing battery connector.
All the cables run through self adhesive mini-ducting, which seems to work very well and is hardly visible, but easy to change.. One change not on the photo. The ducting runs under the centre board up-haul, which chafes it. I have glued a stainless steel anti chafe strip over this to make sure neither the rope nor the cable rubs through. When I plugged in the panel, a little "charging" LED lit up, which was very rewarding. It glowed until remarkably late in the evening, even after the sun had just set, but how much power it generates then I have no idea. Now just to see if it does the job.
12 July 2011
One the third day we finally had some sun and i sailed out to Studland Bay, but the clouds threatened and it was cool, so I headed back for home quite early.
3 July 2011
2 July 2011
1 July 2011
The next day I met up with Hester, a Hawk 20 which friends had sailed over from Christchurch. It had blown up to F6 in the morning and I had abandoned sailing in Poole Bay, but the time they came over it was almost flat calm and they had to motor much of the distance. We hailed each other on VHF which was a first for both of us. amazing that it actually works. I kept forgetting to press the button when I was talking, which led to disjointed understanding. We sailed up the Wareham Channel and then motored slowly up the Frome to Wareham where we tied up overnight.
Wareham is a lovely old town and the quayside is almost unique in allowing free mooring on the quay for up to 48 hours at no charge. I think it just adds to the atmosphere of the place. I was moored under a street light and I had to fix a dark blue tea towel over the main hatch to keep it off me whilst I slept. The only disturbance was a group of lads diving in of the bridge at midnight. But nobody drownded. (I had been for my first swim in the harbour earlier in the day. Cold...)
|Panorama of the Wareham water front with Daisy G near the bridge and Hester tied up to a large catamaran.|
In the morning I was up before all the others, so had my breakfast on the riverbank, watching a painter set up his easel by the bridge. I went over to see what he was doing and saw a beautiful picture emerging with Daisy G in the fore front. I asked, just out of interest of course, how much he would charge for eth painting when finished. he grinned and said "Around four to five thousand pounds" !!! I Checked his web site. That IS what he charges (http://www.peterbrownneac.com/) I'm not sure I want a picture of my boat that much. He said it will be on his website by the end of the year. That might be as close as I get.
After breakfast I pumped up the dinghy and rowed upriver under the bridge, where I have never been before. Absolutely delightful. The epitome of an English river in the summer, with trees brushing the water, kingfishers zipping over the water, and lazy cows looking over the bank side vegetation. I only had time to go half a mile or so before turning back
View 2011-06-28 09:18 in a larger map
When the rest finally emerged from their B&B I took AH as crew down the Frome and then sailing round to shipstal Point. AH nearly wrecked a port hand marker, tangling a reefing line around it. I had just said to him (You don't want to get yours lines tangled round that, like I did a couple of years ago". It took him only five seconds to do just that. We managed to unhook ourselves, but left the stake at 45 degrees. To make it more embarrassing, the pilot boat was by Shipstal, checking and resetting all the channel markers. Were they going to give us stick? No fortunately, but three days later the marker is still canted.
A curious incident as we anchored. We thought of running up the beach, but the beach slope only let us get near. I hopped out and picked up the anchor and stood there for a moment, clutching it muddily to my breast, up to my shins in liquid gloop. At that point, a bird watcher on the beach grinned and greeted me by name! Am I that well known? As I was near tripping and being dragged under by the anchor I said "I'm a bit preoccupied at the moment, I'll get back to you." Turns out he is a Winkle Brig owner and knows me from the winkle Brig web site I still manage (http://www.jegsweb.co.uk/boats/winklebrig/winklebrig1.htm) He has been sailing in Poole Harbour for a holiday and had been keeping an eye open for me.
AH sailed back to Wareham on the Hawk and I sailed over to Parkstone where my wife arrived for the night. We drove over to Wareham for dinner and then back to Parkstone for a night on the marina pontoon (in the boat...). Then we sailed with the Hawk around Brownsea and had a rafted up picnic, before the Hawk headed back to Wareham and I sailed my wife back to the marina so she could get back home.
|Rafted up for a picnic off Brownsea Island|
The only other jobs were to move the main sheet fixing forward on the boom, which seems to have worked for keeping the sheet away from the mizzen sprit heel, and moving the Handy Billy from the vertical part of the jib halyard by the mast, to the horizontal bit under the spray hood, where it is out of sight but also easy to reach.
Then a lovely slow sail back to Shipstal where I spent the last night, before back to work the next morning.
One note on impressive sailing. I spotted a smallish sloop anchored out west of Brownsea Island. About 30ft or so, noting very special. Except it was flying the Stars and Stripes and its home port was Portland, Oregon. On the US Pacific Coast. I think I have gone a long way when I get to Christchurch, two hours away.