27 August 2013

Unusual Bank Holiday weather

It has been hot and sunny. Very unexpected. Sunday morning was overcast, so I didn't mind spending time tied up in the marina, doing jobs. I had chosen my location carefully on the waiting pontoon, where it goes through a dog leg bend. By choosing the right spot, I can lower the mast, and it sticks over the pontoon, allowing easy access to the mast top. I have fitted a proper topping lift at last, plus a new Lewmar no 6 winch to control the main and jib halyards. All works beautifully. I have rearranged all of the lines coming back to the cockpit, with halyards and winch all to starboard now. The winch now allows me to get the sails and rig really taut. The topping lift allows the lazy jacks to be slackened off, which aids both raising and lowering the sails.

Two chaps came along whilst I was working and said they had come to admire my boat. Always welcome,. Then one confessed that he had a Baycruiser 23 on order, which was due to be delivered  "in August" I shall be interested to see if he gets it before the end of the week.

Sailed out for the afternoon. I thought of anchoring south of Brownsea Island, but there must have been 40 yachts anchored there. I sailed on to Shipstal Point, which is even prettier and there were only four boats there.

Next morning sailed slowly ( but faster than a Cornish Shrimper) through the harbour and out into Studland Bay, where I anchored for lunch and a snooze. BayCruiser 20 no 3 (now called Sigma Six) anchored nearby, just showing what pretty boats these are.

Sailed back in to Bramblebush Bay where I anchored again and went swimming (yes, it was that warm) and finally back in to the marina. Hard to believe that I will only be down a couple more times at most before then end of the season.

21 August 2013

Two days sailing round the harbour

Moonrise from Shipstal Point. A huge red lateral mark has been erected there this year. I don't know why, it is at the top end of a shallow channel. It looks big enough to mount a radome on.
Two more good summer's days that I managed to enjoy out on the water. First day had some strong winds and I stayed in the Harbour. Sailing across the harbour entrance got very lively, and with all of the traffic as well as the wind, tide and overfalls, I turned back and anchored by Brownsea whilst things settled down. Then finally round the island and eventually an anchorage off Shipstal Point. The winds are curious. At night, it falls to an absolute flat calm, but if the breeze has any strength by about 8:00 am in the morning, you know it is going to gust pretty hard, even under a clear sunny sky. Where does it go at night?
I have increased the purchase on my kicking strap. Introduced an extra block, which I had kicking around, which has doubled the theoretical purchase from 3:1 to 6:1. It does let me give an extra tug to the boom, which I think improves sail shape. I am seriously planning to install a halyard winch and topping lift to let me set the sails really firmly. I have seen this done on Jim Levang's glorious BayCruiser 20 on Lake Superior and I think he knows what he is doing
Second day I sailed directly off the anchorage, out through the harbour and out to Old Harry. Speeds generally over 5 knots, often nearly 7, so a good sail all round. Had to motor back in as it was head to wind and tide all the way. Sunny lunch stop off Redhorn Quay and then beating round green Island. All going well, bu tit was a very low tide, and I just drifted to the edge of the channel and suddenly wasn't moving. Centreboard and rudder blade sliced firmly into mud. I don't like being stuck on the fully extended board, as the leverage must be huge. I downed all sail, released the board and rudder down hauls, and by motoring hard ahead, managed to kick both foils up. Not always a successful manoeuvre as you are driving straight into the bank you stuck on, but if you can steer round as soon as you are free, you can get away with it, which I did this time. I toyed with sailing onto my mooring, but the tide was low and the moored boats are very close together. As it was, I motored in and still scraped the bottom in places, so glad I didn't try it under sail.
Hoping that I might get another decent day over the Bank Holiday, because with holidays and other plans, there aren't many weekends now until the end of the season.