24 May 2011

The crack in my hull

Not a great photo, but taken on a phone through a waterproof cover from a dinghy, so not too bad under the circumstances. I squirted epoxy under a large loose flake and stuck map pins into it to hold it shut whilst the glue cured. I cut off loose plywood edges with the razor sharp Leatherman knife I got for my birthday and then coveted all the edges and scratches with more epoxy. It all felt rock hard when I pulled the pins out an hour later. Always pays to have some Rapid araldite on board!

21 May 2011

Trip to Christchurch aborted (27nm, 119nm total)

I set out to sail to Christchurch as the wind and currents were about perfect. I reckoned I could make 3-4kts. I was storming along at 5-6 and was due at Hengistbury Head ahead of estimate. Then I noticed the Isle of Wight had disappeared. Then Hengistbury disappeared and it was only a mile away. Thick fog was rolling in from the Channel. I turned tail back to Poole. The fog lifted but I was glad I had gone back. Close hauled I was still making 4kts. Daisy G sailed herself for half an hour without a hand on the tiller. I even made a sandwich and just watched the view. I only had to steer to get into the entrance channel. Then a sunny afternoon storming around the harbour. I beat a Shrimper in a straight windward beat, which was very satisfying as I was towing a dinghy and went aground at least once. A good weekend's sailing apart from the crack (which I have filled with Araldite)
The little video below was recorded on my mobile phone thorugh a waterproof cover. On my way back to Poole and just about to get my lunch ready whilst Daisy G deals with the helming.

20 May 2011

Playing with blogging afloat

Couldn't tesist seeing how well photos come out. Inside I an very domestic with my rice and stew. Outside the view is wonderful and the birds are settlimg down to roost. Quite noisily in truth.I may tell them to shut up shortly and appreciate the peace of natute.

I"ve cracked my boat!

Not seriously but it hurts nevertheless. Motored out from my mooring in a strong wind. While I  was getting the mizzen out I was blown onto a moored boat and bagged my topsides. Nasty long crack which will need grinding, filling and fairing. I will have a go at patching it tomorrow. I will dry out near low tide and try to get some filler into it to keep the water out. But right now I am anchored in the evening sun off Shipstal Point. (Blogging afloat, there's a first!)

15 May 2011

Another windy sail (seems to be this year's theme) (24nm 92nm total)

Went out for one night after two weeks of no sailing. Pleased to find that the solar panel has recharged the battery to "ready to use" status. It was still reading that after two days of sailing and recharging my phone, so maybe it is sufficient. Sailed to Shipstal Point for a sheltered night as there was a north wind F4-5 and more. I sailed at 6kts with just jib and mizzen. But it is poor at tacking like that, so I motored the last leg into the shelter. anchored over night with very few other boats around.
(The photos are directly uploaded from my phone to see how well it works. OK I think is the answer. Not as good quality as my normal camera, but better than nothing. The first is of Shipstal Point deep in Poole Harbour and the second is the cliffs at Stuland.)
Glorious dawn, but cold. I slipped anchor and sailed the whole way to Studland Cliffs with full rig under double reefed main. Kept in the double reef all day and was glad I did. I saw a lot of broaching in powerful gusts. I was hit by a few F6+ gusts on the beam and although Daisy G did lean, she just went as far as the lee rail just touching the water and then stuck at that angle before coming up. Very reassuring.
Sailed out around the Hook Sands outside Poole Harbour entrance just to try her in open water in strong winds. Life jacket and safety harness all the way. I have been trying out Navionics charts on my smart phone. It is impressive that they can get them on it, but to be honest I can't see the point. It isn't a chart plotter and doesn't tell you where to point. I found the ordinary Garmin GPS much more useful. The free GPS tracker on the phone also made a better job of tracking my course than the charts did.But it is fun to play with. I had to tie up to a floating pontoon for an hour before I could get back on my mooring as the tide was so low. There was enough water to float in, but not enough to get my engine down. The wind was so strong I really needed full control to pick up the mooring.
Lovely and sunny, but I wish it would warm up.

2 May 2011

Short, windy sail, one night at anchor (14nm 68nm total)

Down to Poole latish one day and a short, fast sail, down into Rockley Channel, to see how it has changed since I moored there, and then right down the  Wareham Channel to the mouth of the Frome. Then I beat back to the shelter of Arne where I anchored for the night.
Not a restful experience. The wind got up and it was very noisy, howling in the rigging and everything creaking and groaning. It sounds terrible in the cabin, but when you stick your head out, it is just a bit breezy. I thought I would get a bit of peace in the middle of the night when the tide went out and I sat on the mud. On the mud was quiet. Bouncing and rocking onto the mud as the tide left wasn't. Neither was rocking and bouncing off the mud when it came back. You need to dry out for the whole night or none of it. Just an hour or so is not good.
In the morning I set out under double reefed sail. Discovered there was a gale warning. Far too windy for my pleasure. The mizzen gybed at one point with a great bang and I caught sight of a screw arcing through the air. "Where did that come from?!" After a while I saw that is was one screw of two holding the cheek block onto the mizzen mast for the sprit snotter. The block base was bent. I tore back into the wind shadow of Arne, doused all sail and motored back to Parkstone through a rising gale. No problem but no fun either. I replaced the cheek block with a rope loop wrapped round the mast, as Swallowboats originally fitted. Maybe they really do know what they are doing.
I have got a new fancy phone which recorded the whole journey as a track in Google maps, which I then uploaded to my 2011 cruise map. It shows every tack up and down each channel. Quite an impressive bit of kit. It even makes phone calls. My battery has not recharged fully from the previous week, which was a bit of a disappointment. I may need to rethink the solar panel arrangement. I could only use the depth sounder and even that ran out of power after three hours. But I ove the sounder for tacking in narrow channels.

Someone rang me over the weekend to ask about my boarding ladder arrangement, so these photos show it in all three positions.

Stowed, it lies flat on the stern deck. This is where I keep it if I am sailing with anyone else. I made a new support deck for it from 18mm marine ply over the winter. The old cheap ply one was opening out around the edges.

If I am on my own, I leave it hanging over the stern, but with the rungs held up by Velcro. This can easily be reached from the water to release it. Flipping it over from the fully stowed position is barely possible, and not at all if you are in wet clothes. This can be reached easily and a tug on the Velcro drops the rungs into the water. The hinges are designed to keep the ladder extended and not to swing under the boat. I was sceptical at first but they really work. Nearly every powerboat at my marina has this type of telescopic ladder.

Fully extended the bottom two rungs are in the water. It is really easy to use and seems very robust. I was worried that it might corrode and seize up, but no sign of that after a full season last year. I think it is an easy arrangement. I need the plywood platform to get it over the stern coaming. It could be built in to lie flat on the stern deck, but that is quite a big job on a finished boat.

I have also made a cockpit tent from a clear tarpaulin, but I have never used it. I am not sure it would be worth the hassle. The sprayhood covers half the cockpit already and that is probably enough. What this picture does show is some of my endless attempts at a quiet boat at anchor. Anything that moves makes a racket below deck. The boom scissors keeps the boom absolutely still. By fitting a bungy around the mizzen mast and the taut mainsheet, it holds that mast still in its socket. Otherwise it rocks ever so slightly in the wind, which sounds like an orchestral tympani section down below. With the board and rudder lifted right up and the halyards just the right tension, the whole thing is just about silent, until you start bouncing on the sea floor.