1 July 2011

Four days sailing and meeting up with friends (56nm total 208nm)

I took a few days leave and spent them on the boat. My wife joined me for one night and we met up with friends sailing their Hawk 20 over from Christchurch. We even had some quite decent weather. The first night I anchored off Redhorn quay and watched four Chinese men in an minute inflatable dinghy putting out long floating fishing nets. They said they netted some mackerel, which I think unlikely in the Harbour. More likely bass, bream or mullet. How they didn't fall in I don't know, they were paddling round for hours.
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.

Good restaurant in Wareham and they aid I could take my Guinness outside, so I had it on my boat. Very civilised.

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
After my wife had gone I did a few jobs whilst in the marina. I have fitted purchase system to the jib sheets, with a single block with becket on the cabin roof track and single blocks on the jib clew. This has transformed handling the sail. You have to pull in twice as much rope, but it is so easy. getting the sheet out of the cam cleat under load is easy, whereas before it was well nigh impossible under a hard press. should have done it ages ago. I also replaced my ole Celeron Powertank with a new 20Ah sealed lead acid battery, which I will now see if it can keep its charge with the 1.5W solar panel.

I thought the Powertank was shot as it still had no charge after a week in the sun. But when I got it home, I found the torch was turned on, so it would never have had a chance. I will see if the little solar panel is up to keeping the new battery topped up enough before I buy a bigger one, which will require a charge controller.

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.


  1. ..nice post - Wareham looks lovely - I'd be worried that the lads jumping off the bridge landed in the boat though.. :o))

    PS. That's a lot of iron-mongery at the jib clew - possible cause for concern if it's flapping???

  2. I am thinking about the blocks flying around, although it hasn't been a problem so far. It was when I saw that the Hawk 20 uses blocks on the clew that I though I would give it a try. I think the weight of the doubled sheet and the friction in the blocks also tends to damp out the flapping. But I will let you know how it progresses.

  3. Hi Julian

    Great to see you both again, and much enjoyed our sail in company- definitely something to do again.

    I have some nice photos of Daisy Grace- mostly from in front- as you know I had trouble keeping to my proper station in line astern. Also one picture that is a little more incriminating.... Can I upload them to your site, or email them to you?

    Glad the doubled jib sheets work. You may find they run better if you don't use the becket but tie off under the block- that way you get the block lying backwards rather than forwards under load and it runs more smoothly. As an alternative, you could consider ratchet blocks- not cheap but they do take an awful lot of load.

    Best wishes for the rest of the season


    PS we had a great sail back to Christchurch, no motoring this time, and a pretty sucessful Hawk Nationals- plus the fact that we seemed to hit the week of "summer". So all in all a great trip to the South Coast. Can't tell you our mileage as we lack (any) technology