25 April 2011

Second Easter cruise (32 nm 54 nm total)

Taking advantage of the good weather and four day weekend I went down for a second cruise and a second night at anchor. Experimented with the rig on the first day. She sails quite well just with the main sail, but doesn't point too close to the wind. With just main and jib she points closest to the wind and this is the best setup if you are having a long beat to windward. She sails closer to the wind without the mizzen and tacks faster.
With all three sails you get the best balance, especially on a close to broad reach. With just the jib and mizzen, you can bob along slowly, which I did to get into the extreme shallows off Shipstal Point, but with centreboard and rudder almost completely up the leeway was terrible and she was difficult to tack. You had to work and back both mizzen and jib. If you get them muddled (which I did nearly every time) you can bring her to a complete standstill.
On day two I solved the problem of her floating high at the bow. The forward ballast tank didn't fill completely because the weight of the engine keeps the stern too low. I put an inflated dinghy buoyancy bag in the stern tank, which displaces about 40kg. She now floats level and both tanks are full. She looks better and seems to be faster. My maximum was 7.5kts.
The battery was very low by the end of the second day, so the solar panel was not keeping up with the use. I had recharged my mobile phone and handheld VHF radio from it, which may have been asking too much. I will be interested to see if it is recharged by next week.
Sailed out into the open sea to Studland to get my sea legs back. Half the world seemed to be doing the same. Hope the weather contnues, although my wife says the garden needs some rain. It should rain at night.

23 April 2011

Easter shake down sail (21.25nm 22nm total)

Easter weekend is glorious so far, so I went for a shake down cruise around the Harbour. Always worth doing as things show up that you might not want to find far from shore. This time I found that one of the shroud lanyards was wrapped round its shackle. Could have chafed through. But I found some calm water, slacked off the fore stay and jib and tidied it all up.
I am moored alongside Nick Savage's no 3, so here is a sight you won't see anywhere else for a while, two Baycruisers at the same marina.

Most of the additions seem to work well. The depth sounder really does the job. It makes tacking up the narrow channels here much more effective. I can use the full channel width and almost not go aground. The cabin is a bit more claustrophobic with the bulkhead, but I like the layout and it does give a separate bedroom.

The bungee sail stow really does work. Very quick to fit form either side. The bungee is cut short enough not to sag but that gives enough stretch to cover the sail. I suspect it will have to be replaced fairly frequently, but that is a small price for the convenience.

I sailed round the main islands in the harbour several times, and anchored overnight in a flat calm off Brownsea Island. I noticed a large dredging barge moored off Green Island. That was sold for several million pounds about five years ago. Nothing has happened to it since, but I expect they are now dredging out a deep water mooring. Can't blame them, it is a beautiful island, but surrounded by very shallow water. I would have bought it if I had the money.

17 April 2011

Back in the water, but nearly didn't make it ( 0.75nm total, not a long trip from the slipway to he mooring.)

Back from India on Thursday and took Daisy G down to Poole on Saturday. although I nealry didn't make it. All towing smoothly and I pulled into Sutton Scotney services for a coffee. Just looked round the trailer to see all was well, and it wasn't. The bearing cap was burned off the left wheel and a horrible looking castellated nut was sticking out and it was red hot. I had stoppped and checked the bearings after about 15 miles and they were fine. There had been no indication of any problem. I rang the AA, who were brilliant. A chap arrived within 20 minutes. He jacked up the wheel, and it simply fell off. My good fairy must have been watching over me. Only she would know what had kept the wheel on. The AA man then proceeded to phone round to see if anyone had a spare suspension unit and went to fetch one. They only sold them in pairs, so he got both and said he may as well fit both so I knew both sides were brand new. What could have been a real disaster ended up as just a three hour delay and two brand new suspension units fitted for free. I love the AA.

After that nasty shock, the rest of the journey was easy, but I had missed the tide and had to wait an hour for it to rise enough to launch (I don't need much water, but I need some.) Then I motored over to the marina, where they kept me on a pontoon and said they would tow Daisy out to her mooring on Monday. I loaded with fresh water and sorted out the sails. The ballast tanks have only partly filled. I need to move forward through the water fairly fast to force enough water in to fill both stern and fore tanks. If I just open the inlet on a mooring, the stern tank fills first, which tilts her down at the back so that the fore tank doesn't fill properly. Motoring forward seems to force the water into both tanks. The alternative strategy is to sit a gorrilla on the fore deck whilst ballasting, but I didn't have one handy.

The winter modifications have generally worked so far. The boom cradle carried the stowed mast fine, but it is a bit flimsy. There was also an unexpected design fault with it. Because it is set far enough forward to support the boom, when the mast is slid back on it to fit its heel in the  tabernacle, the cradle is forward of the mast's centre of gravity, so I nearly lost it over the back of the boat. I'll have to think about that. But it works very well as a boom support. That means the boom does not swing about on the mooring and it is much easier to stow the sail neatly. The sail stowing bungee system has worked really well, but I will have to see if all the hooks get in the way when sailing.

Nick Savage's Baycruiser Swallow of the Sea (written in Welsh which I can't remember) is now on her mooring and I hope that I will be moored nearby. She is a lovely boat. Fitted out far more lavishly than mine, with timber decks, fully battened sail, asymmetric spinnaker and all sorts of refinements. This is the biggest fleet of Baycruisers at any one location at the moment.
Hope to get out sailing properly over Easter.