27 July 2009

First sailing impressions 10nm (10.5)

My daughter and I went sailing for the first time this last weekend. Not the best of conditions as it was very windy and very strong spring tidal currents. But some quick first impressions.

Sails are very quick and easy to raise. I have had gaff and lug mainsails before and I must finally confess it is a whole lot easier to raise a jib headed Bermudian.

She is fast. We had about F4-5 and she reached at over 6kts easily, without any frights. Very stable with the water ballast. Heavy weather helm in gusts, so I put in the first reef (very easy with the rigged lines, and again, the absence of a gaff makes it much less dramatic). Little loss of speed and helm much lighter.

The winds and current got even stronger, so we motor sailed back to our mooring against both with jib, mizzen and a 2.3HP Honda. She made 3kts over the ground against what must have been a 3-4kt current and F5 on the port bow, so that was very reassuring.

Overnight on board very comfortable, with lots of room for two, comfortable berths and even the PortaPotti worked well (but for lack of privacy, I was banished to the foredeck). Noisy on the mooring as the mooring chain clanked as we swung round in the current. Storage is excellent, probably too good as I tend to accumulate unnecessary junk. Berths long and comfortable. I used the quarter berth and at 6ft 3in found it very comfortable. The only disappointment was the weather. Really too windy on Saturday to try everything, and grey cold and wet on Sunday so we came home. But I'm looking forward to getting back on board.

23 July 2009

Daisy Grace now on her mooring 0.5nm (0.5)

I towed Daisy Grace down to Poole this morning and spent the day rigging her and getting her ready. Raising the mast was straight forward as I got someone to pull on the jib halyard whilst I pushed the mast up. Being carbon fibre it is quite light. It took a long time to get all the strings sorted out before that, as I had managed to twist the top section of the mast around as I inserted it, and the resulting cat's cradle took some sorting out. I also replaced the temporary topping lift with a set of lazy jacks, which I think work, but won't know until I go sailing. She launched very easily, just slid off the trailer. Quite a job getting out to the mooring as there was very strong wind and spring tide and it was hard getting steerage way. In the end I motored backwards, which worked surprisingly well. No time to sail so she is bobbing on her mooring. I hope to go sailing with my daughter on Saturday.

22 July 2009

She's mine!

I went for a three hour sail with Matt Newland yesterday, and at lunchtime today I signed the cheque, Matt signed the receipt, and I drove off with Daisy Grace in tow. I have parked her at my College overnight (more room) and will take her down to Poole Harbour tomorrow. She sailed beautifully, even though I barely knew which rope was which. When she seemed to have too much weather helm, just easing the mizzen lightened her up. It will take me an age to figure out how to put her together tomorrow, but we'll get there in the end.
Picture is by Nick Newland, which I scanned and copied here so I hope he doesn't mind. Me at the helm trying to look like I know what I'm doing. Matt is in the cabin playing with the hatch. The first full sail for me, and a motor boat circled round us asking "what boat is that, she's beautiful."

21 July 2009

Daisy Grace launched July 16, 2009

Now that Daisy Grace has been launched, I thought I would record early impressions of her here. A lot of people are interested in her, as a brand new design of radical concept (Light weight, high performance, water ballasted, high accommodation shallow water cruiser. Is it really possible to do all that?)

Matt Newland, her designer and builder, launched her for a test sail at Cardigan on July 16, 2009. I had my first sail on July 17, under mizzen and jib only. She is due for completion July 21 (today!) and I bring her home tomorrow.