29 July 2013

Short day's sail and the sunny spell has ended fairly convincingly

I popped down to Poole (if a two hour drive constitutes popping) with the hopes that the weather would prove better than forecast. It did and didn't. The morning was good and sailing fun, but very strange looking clouds blew up from the west. If I had been in the American plains, I would have been worried about tornadoes. I was near the marina, so I motored in and hung on my mooring and watched what was happening. The heavens opened and looked to stay that way, so I packed up and came home.

I have been trying out navigation with an Android tablet computer I have bought. Generally good. I have been using a cheap set of Admiralty charts, which in unsophisticated compared to the full blown chart plotter maps, but actually all the easier to use because of that. Keeping the tablet in the cabin protects it and makes it easier to read as it is out of the sun. The only concern was that the battery seemed to discharge even when plugged in, so I don't know quite how long it would run for in practise. But I shall persevere  with it.

Before sailing, I had fitted a length of Tee track to the end of the boom, which will allow me to adjust sail tension more effectively. I still need the slider, which is remarkably expensive. I also added another span to my lazy jacks, to hold up the end of the stack pack more. Seems to work OK, but not all the lengths of string match, which offends me. Hope the summer comes back for August.

18 July 2013

Unplanned day's sailing.

I hadn't planned to come down for a mid-week sail, but I forgot my wallet on board over the weekend and thought I had better retrieve it. Delightful evening sail through the harbour to anchor just off Arne Peninsula in the Wareham channel. Beautiful spot and not many water skiers mid week. At night I could hear nightjars churring on the heath. There must be loads of them, but quite invisible.

In the morning sailed and motored up to Wareham for breakfast, and walked to the petrol station to top up my tank. On the way back down I managed to put myself firmly in the mud, exactly where I stuck two years ago. Then we were stuck for 2 1/2 hours. This time I tried every trick. Pumped out the ballast water, blew up and launched the dinghy and rowed out the anchor and chain as a kedge. Getting the anchor, chain and dinghy out lightened us by about 50kg and pumping out the water probably got rid of another 300kg. Half an hour after the tide turned I managed to pull us off quite smoothly, so I probably got afloat half an hour quicker by all the off loading. Anchored off Arne again, facing Hamworthy, as the wind had died.

Extended my lazy jack system, which holds up the stack pack, and it is now really quite effective. Apart from catching the sail as it drops, which it does well, pulling up firmly on the lazy jacks lifts the whole weight of the boom. This means raising the mainsail to full height is quite easy and no hint of a winch being necessary.

A steady wind blew up after 3:00pm which seems the pattern in the current heat, and I had a beautiful sail back to Parkstone. Mad a hash of picking up the mooring, wrapping it round the centreboard. Ended up moored by the stern whilst I sorted it out. But it's hot, so who cares.

15 July 2013

Another baking hot weekend

Mediterranean weather continues and we can't really believe it. Down for just one night and really didn't sail far as there was little or no wind for much of the time. Sailed out to the beaches for a swim and then anchored behind Studland Peninsula for the night. Fabulous sunset, but then I realised that where I was would be fully dried out in the morning, so I moved anchorage slightly, with navigation lights on! The single LED lights are really remarkably bright. I rowed around the boat to see what they looked like from a distance. I would like the stern light to be higher, but not much I can do about that.

Next day I just drifted with the tide, there was no wind all morning. I anchored in the shallows off Furzey Island and went over board to scrape barnacles off. There were a lot, despite the Coppercoat anti-fouling. Maybe it is loosing it potency. Much swimming and snorkeling In the afternoon a good breeze finally arose, so I had a lovely sail back to the marina. I spent most of the first day with the ballast tanks pumped out, but as before, I really don't notice much difference in performance, so I refilled them. The stern tank does not pump dry at all, I had to finish it off through the hatch. I also added to the web of the lazy jacks, which now lift the boom up properly, which lightens the load when raising the main sail.

8 July 2013

Summer sailing at last (27.2nm, annual total 148.4nm)

Spent two days just sailing around in the hot sunshine. First time for years. First day around the Harbour and Poole Bay, where it was like the Mediterranean, then Sunday I sailed the length of the Harbour, from the Wareham Channel to Bramblebush Bay, taking over 4 hours. Never exceeded 1.1kts, but it was a delight. Passed the swimmers. who were having their annual race around Brownsea Island. They were going faster than I was. Had to use my paddle a few times just to avoid bumping into anchored yachts. Finished off swimming and snorkeling around Daisy G. where I noticed she has a lot of barnacles growing on her coppercoat. I suspect it is because I have done so little sailing this year. I shall give her a good scrape next time I am down if it is warm enough to get back in the water.
Interesting encounters whilst out. A little Paradox yulohed past me, and the skipper called across to me by name, which is always surprising. He said he read this blog, so hello back, if you read it some more. He was down to Poole to join the other two UK Paradoxes for a get together. I saw one of the others, but not the third. Very distinctive little boats. Then a seal surfaced near me and gave me a good looking at before he submerged and swam off. The water was only about 3 feet deep, so he must have been bellying along the bottom. Then I saw (although this is not in any temporal sequence) that there was a Drascombe owners rally under way. There were 11 or twelve moored up under Brownsea, with smoke of barbecues wafting around. Everyone was enjoying the summer.

3 July 2013

Moulds finished and first strip fitted

I have completed all the moulds and fixed them square to the strong back. I managed to fit nearly half of them to the wrong side of the section lines, even though I was being very careful to get it right. It is fascinating what you can do wrong whilst being very careful. Edges taped to stop sticking. They just didn't look right, with some seeming to go in and some out.

I then fitted the first strip, and it fairs in beautifully. The designer obviously has a better eye than I do. The strip is actually a length of pine parting bead, which is the perfect shape for the shear strip, flat rather than coved on one side and beaded on the other. It is slightly thick, but that makes it strong and I can plane it down eventually.
I had to scarf two bits on parting bead to get it long enough and it worked really well. First scarf joint I have ever made. Planed the two edges, smeared polyurethane glue on the joining faces, and then just clamped them together with two plastic spring clamps. I left it on its edge on the floor and that kept it straight.

Now I am tacking on some lengths of strip at the bow to get an idea of the inner stem bevel. That is going to need some work doing on it, but I think it will be OK.

Some of the strips are going to have to have quite a twist on them. They will be nearly vertical at the bow, and approaching horizontal amidships.  I am beginning to speculate on the difficulties of getting Daisy Grace back in her shed at the end of the season...

Weekend forecast is good, so hope to get afloat at last.