31 August 2010

Short sail on a lovely Bank Holiday Monday 8nm (395nm total)

First a picture from the English Raid photo collections. This was taken by Henry Trevelyan and shows Daisy G on the left and the wonderful Swedish pilot boat, Haegar,  from Vienna. We are just setting off from Newtown Bay on the Isle of Wight for Lymington. We put in a reef very quickly just after this was taken as the wind blew up.

This Bank Holiday I took my wife and sister down for a sail. A lovely day but surprisingly quiet. Plenty of racers out, but not many otherwise. I finally saw two of those extraordinary International Moth dinghies, which rise up on two hydrofoils fitted to rudder and dagger board. Most wonderful, daft sight. Couldn't get my camera out in time.

We sailed down to Shipstal point for a picnic and then back to the marina. We were firmly aground with the low tide when we came back from a walk. For the first time I tried the trick of pumping out the ballast to lighten and float the boat. It worked, but I can't help feeling that the rise of tide in the time I spent pumping probably had as much to do with it as anything else.

Very pleasant, relaxing sail. There is a lot of weed growth on the paintwork, where it splashes above the antifouling. I shall repaint the boot top with a white antifoul over the winter, and probably take it a bit higher up the sides. The Coppercoat still stays clean.

The shed is coming on well, with the first courses of the base blockwork coming out of the ground. The blocks are made from local limestone by a family just across the road from us. They are just like natural stone, so it should look good. All being well it will be ready in time for the winter.

27 August 2010

Quick checkup visit 5nm (387nm total)

The weather has been miserable. I popped down to Poole just for a day to check up on Daisy G. No problems, but she is growing quite a bit of weed on the waterline where the water splashes up above the antifouling. The CopperCoat is absolutely clean, but where the ordinary paint touches the water there is a layer of green weed. I'll have to see if I can add an antifoul boot-top over the winter.

Made a few adjustments to the cleats for securing the fenders, so that they can be hung and removed a bit more quickly. Went for a short sail just under mizzen and jib, but the wind died. Had a little thrill. I noticed two yachts touching each other on some moorings, which didn't look right. When I went to have a look, one moved away and I realised it had broken its mooring. For the very first time I pressed the broadcast button on my handheld VHF and called the harbourmaster. To my surprise they heard me, even though I was well over a mile from the harbour. I told them there was a drifting yacht and a while later one of their ribs came and towed it away. I have no idea where it came from, so the owner is in for a bit of a shock, but at least it isn't damaged.

Our builders have just started laying the base for a boat shed for storing Daisy G over the winter. Should allow me to waste even more time over her.

I want to build a little tender and a shed makes that more possible too. I fancy building a "Peanut Pram" which will tax my woodworking skills. Plans are only $55 and it takes two sheets of plywood, plus bits of timber for the fittings.

20 August 2010

Daisy Grace in Practical Boat Owner

I haven't been down to the boat recently, but she has been included in the review of the BayCruiser in the September edition of Practical Boat Owner. Nick Savage's no. 3 was used for the interior shots and Daisy G for the action photos (one of David Harding's Pictures to the left.) At one point in the review he says that he doesn't think a BayCruiser could beat a Hawk 20 up wind. The cheek! I beat the pants off one once. Mind you, I think they were fishing and weren't aware that I was going for glory. Hoping the weather picks up for the Bank Holiday weekend when I am hoping to take my sister out for a sail.

8 August 2010

Down to Swanage 21nm (382 nm total)

Down to Poole after work. Quite a grey, drizzly evening. I off-loaded a mountain of superfluous stuff. I seemed very slow at the Raid last week and it may be due to the tons of junk on board. Then went out and anchored in the lee of Brownsea Island for the night. Set off early towards Swanage, trailing the ferry Contentin out of the harbour. It is the biggest ship coming in here now.

Down to Swanage for the first time this year. I had meant to go further, but the swell was high and the wind blustery so I just pulled in to Swanage and anchored off the beach. A couple on a Wharram cat called out "What a pretty boat." Their's was too, although I don't really fancy catamarans. Then the most almighty noise burst out as a beach side festival kicked into gear, with massive amplification. It must have been apalling on shore. I upped anchor and headed back towards Poole.

On the way I got a wonderfual display from the Red Arrows, who were clearly doing Swanage. They flew and spiralled for over half an hour. Really an impressive show. Then they moved on to Bournemouth. I carried on round Old Harry and sailed down to Studland. I dropped anchor just below the cliffs (and into half a ton of weed I discovered when I pulled it up).

I noticed one of the tourist boats, the  Solent Scene, was in behind Old Harry, which was unusual. It seemd to be hanging around there. Then over the VHF I heard them putting out a message to the Coastguards saying they had gone aground with 34 passengers on board. Three lifeboats were sent out and all of the passengers were moved to another trip boat by the Poole lifeboat. Then they put out a heavy kedge anchor and one of the lifeboats anchored alongside to wait for the tide to rise before they tried to heave it off. A huge crowd of small boats gathered around to watch.

After that I sailed back into the harbour and packed the boat away carefully as I may not be back down to her for a couple of weeks. One change I have made is to replace the the bottlescrew on the forestay with a lanyard. The screw kept coming loose and once the slack stay got caught up into jib when I furled it. I feel much happier with the lanyard. I can see if it is tight and it doesn't slacken off.

4 August 2010

The English Raid, five days sailing 100nm (361nm total)

My daughter and I tackled the Raid and had a most enjoyable few days. We spent the Tuesday night on board so we could leave Poole early on Wednesday to catch the tide round Hurst point into the Solent. We were lucky with the wind. F3-4 East of North, so reaching all the way. I only turned on the engine for about half an hour across Christchurch Bay when the wind died. Otherwise we sailed all the way into the Solent and then screamed round Hurst Point up to Keyhaven. It must have been the fastest we have sailed, but I had left my GPS at home, so had no measure. Keyhaven was a new experience. Tying up to a drying quay. I just about managed getting the ropes long enough to stop the boat dangling from them at low tide. I forgot that it is easy to step onto the boat at high tide, but that there would be a six foot wall to climb at low tide. We jumped off the bow onto the beach.

From Keyhaven the fleet sailed first to Newtown River, where I drownded my mobile phone. Then up to Cowes and up the Medina river for the second night moored at the Folly Inn. Big Barbecue in the evening and many interesting people. Crews and boats from Netherlands, France and even Vienna, and a big family form Moscow who came and borrowed a whale boat. Brave people. Many Swallowboats, so it was interesting to compare mine with them.

After the Medina we crossed the Solent and went up Southampton Water to Ashlett Creek. Total jamb going in on a too low tide. Everyone grounded on liquid mud. One crew made the mistake of jumping out and was in up to his thighs and lost a shoe. He was on Matt Newlands show boat which looked a little used by the time it reached the pontoon.
Then we all sailed out and up to the Beaulieu River, in what was claimed to be a race. I didn't know what the course was ("and then go round an orange buoy which is over there somewhere" was a little imprecise) and there was no finish line to claim honours at. We managed to sail all the way up to Bucklers Hard, which was satisfying. A beautiful location with a very good pub.
Next day a gentle sail back down the river and then beating up west and across to Newtown again. Some enormous yachts were practicing for Cowes week and looked very intimidating. One went aground, which raised our levels of schadenfreud a satisying amount. A couple of boats set out across the Solent in amongst the big boys. "Friedl's going for glory" was the radio message as his beautiful Swedish pilot boat ploughed through the bog black monsters. He made it. We waited for a gap before we went, but even then got borne down on by things twice our size and speed.
After lunch in Newtown we tore across the Solent on a F4-5 reach with a single reef. We could just about hold our own against Andrew Wolstenholme's Kite on that leg, but he left us behind as the wind slackened. It is all the junk I carry which slows me down. Up into Lymington for our last night at Royal Lymington Yacht Club.
Big dinner in the evening.Phil and I won a bottle of wine for beig one of the "two generational crews". The best sailor was Diego, a most wonderful little border terrier sailing on a Sailart 20. He had his own Swiss passport for foreign travel. A remarkable little boat dog. Phil wanted to kidnap him.
In the morning we set off back for Poole. We had the wind and tide against us the whole way, so we just motored, a five and a half hour pounding slog. It took us over an hour to get fully round Hurst Point against the current. Finally back in the relative peace of Poole Harbour after 100 miles and five nights on board. A good Raid.

2 August 2010

English Raid, July 2010

Just back from English Raid. Yet to deal with pictures etc. Just below should be a Youtube playlist of all the short videos I took.

Below is the route (in yellow) that my daughter and I followed (more or less, there was much more zigzagging against the current and wind), from leaving Poole on July 28 and getting back on August 1. We had 5 nights on board ( first night at Poole before we set off) and I think covered nearly 100 miles, but I have yet to work that out. More to come.
View 2010 cruises in a larger map