Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Bosham bosanova...

...dreadful alliteration is a hallmark of this blog so you shouldn't be surprised by the depths plumbed for this title...

...summer has finally arrived in my particular part of the UK, so an afternoon off for some sailing was the order of the day, and Monday was perfect, as with a 15:10 high (spring) tide I reckoned I had over 6 hours to play with...

..left work just after 12, and by 1300 I had already dropped the mooring and was motoring for the end of the Thorney channel..  forecast was a sea breeze of about force 3, and I have to say it delivered in spades..

Beautiful day, but not the most helpful wind direction as it was almost exactly south, with the tide being a big spring the tide was flowing fast this early in the day, so rather than spend the next hour beating across the channel in the same spot(!) I decided to motor down; the wind direction was such that I could bear away for the Chichester channel and Itchenor just after I'd passed "Marker"... bit of motor sailing got me down there quite quickly, but it was still a relief to turn the donk off...

 Fantastic sail..  shorts and t-shirt weather, force 3, flat water - good speeds as the tide was now with me once I got into the Itchenor channel....  superb day, but so busy, every sailing club and activity centre down there seemed to have a small fleet of dinghy's loaded up with kids all having the time of their lives...

Itchenor - boats coming at you from all directions, and no channel I could see, just moorings and dinghy fleets all over the show...!
Wind was fluky as I approached Itchenor, there are tree's along the southern bank that break up the breeze..  I pushed on as far as I could but sheer numbers of boats meant that in the end I decided to take a detour and head up the Bosham channel past Cobnor Activity Centre

I was glad I did because I met up with this chap...


"Faith" is a Paradox Sailboat... lots more detail here and also here but by the strangest coincidence the owner of that blog is one of my followers (!) so...  if that was you Bill, it was nice to meet you and say hello... let me know if you found that nice quiet mooring for the night you were looking for..

Stunning boat that has done some serious journey'ing...


...and so with a quick check of Bosham itself, it was time to run for home...


Lovely sail back, but that tide was an absolute killer...  fine beat back to the main channel, but the run up the harbour was interminable whilst being brilliant all at the same time! In the end with time running out the donk went back on and I ran for home at...... just 2.5 knots at full whack - huge tide, I reckon at least 1.5 to 2 knots against... I didn't have much fuel with me(* so much for lessons learned!) so the concern was I wouldn't be able to use the rev's to get back in time, or I'd run out of fuel before I got there, but happily all ended OK....  phewww.... 

Track for the day...



So how does all that pan out??

Distance: 16.08 miles (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 3 dropping to a 2  later .. south, must have been a little westerly in it as well...
Sail Plan: Full main, full jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 5 knots which I think was under sail as I beat back to the main channel, average speed of 2.7 knots...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Saturday afternoon potter...


An unexpected treat.. a Saturday afternoon trip to the boat..

I only had an hour or so, but as an additional treat it was also quite bright, if not sunny, and it also wasn't raining... anyway.. just a pootle followed by a beer and a cigar, oh, and an opportunity to break in the new hat..

Distance: 4.28 miles (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Force 1 gusting Force 2 .. south easterly
Sail Plan: Full main, full jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 4.3 knots which was under motor on the way back, average speed of 2.4 knots

I have Monday afternoon off for a longer trip...

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Cowes Raid - "Lessons Learned"

Few lessons learned following the recent trip to Cowes..... both good and bad..... 
  1. The Netbook plotter was worth it's weight in gold following a few minor changes in set-up. Last time I used it, the major issue was the lack of battery time, for this trip I enabled "battery saver" mode - a slightly dimmer display, screen saver/sleep after 5 minutes, hibernate after 30 minutes...  a press of the button however brings the Netbook from either hibernate or sleep very quickly and using this mode for the trip, the Netbook was still at 40% power when I got back on Sunday afternoon (!) I used it pretty heavily on the Saturday b.t.w when I was approaching Cowes - particularly useful to show me how close I could go to the headland, and where the new Shrape Mud buoy is that marks the start of the small boat channel...  it was also helpful on Sunday to identify heading for the middle opening on the submarine barrier...
  2. You can never have too much fuel - on the Sunday I should have stopped at the fuel barge on the Medina as I had an empty fuel can available - an extra 5 litres would have gone a long way to easing some of the 'fears' on Sunday morning... (and I'd bought the 2 stroke oil with me as well)
  3. "Coastal" type wet weather gear doesn't keep you as warm as "Offshore" standard - I have Henry Lloyd coastal wet weather gear and I was dry throughout the trip, but was getting cold on Saturday - at one point I could see my breath steaming! I'll take more layers next time.... in the meantime, the flask of coffee was a God-send...

  4. Heading for home..  thanks to Ciao-Bella Phil for this one
  5. With a displacement of 710 Kg's and a waterline length of 16 feet, a Fantasie 19 is a very light boat and they don't like bashing into chop. A heavier boat would cut through the chop rather than bouncing on top of it, or being stopped by it..... Phil's "Ciao Bella" (a Hurley 20), has a theoretical displacement of 1031 Kg's for much the same waterline length - that's 30% more weight in the same length......
  6. Tide is king when your average speed is only 3 knots - last weekend was a neap weekend so the flows were not as great as I was expecting - now this may have been a benefit when I was trying to get into Cowes at the end of the day on Saturday (adverse flow much less), but if I'd had a better push during the day then I would have got their quicker and it wouldn't have been an issue...
  7. A Spring tide weekend is a necessity - Cowes is (give or take) 30 miles from my mooring, 26 Nautical miles - average speed is 3 Knots, so a minimum of almost 8.5 hours - you need the spring tide to give the necessary push to make it a more feasible trip....
  8. Tide time... originally I picked the weekend as it allowed an early start, but then I learnt more about tidal flows in the Solent, so rather than an 08:30 HT (Portsmouth) I could probably have done with one just slightly later - even an hour later would have given me a much better run at it....  downside of course is that it would have been an hour later getting back on to the mooring coming back...
  9. Wind direction - if tide is king, then wind must be queen - I'll never do Cowes again in a dead westerly (or easterly! ) - you need the "angles" to make the speed, so SW-NW, or SE-NE are critical for Cowes..
  10. With enough time to prepare I might be tempted to start from Langstone Harbour if I was to go again - Phil mentioned it some time ago but I didn't think it would save me much time given I'd have to drop the mast and find a temporary mooring on the other side of the bridge - I've now changed my mind... The slog across Hayling Bay, and the distance to get into Chi Harbour from the West Pole is not to be underestimated....
  11. Humans tire quicker than boats - Pap could have gone on for ever, but I was pretty pooped by the end of each day! Big achievement though, that was my goal for the year...  I'm sure there people who pop over to Cowes on a regular basis who are thinking "what on earth's he rabbiting on about"...  I'd say try it in a small 19 footer and see if you change your mind. As Burseldon Blogger said, it really was an adventure right on my door step...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Cowes Raid - Sunday 15th July...

Sunday 15th July

Beautiful still early morning after a good nights sleep - maybe the four pints of IPA the night before had helped.. Anyway, it's just the most beautiful spot first thing..  very still, very quiet... 

I see Steve's still sleeping...
We'd talked about what time to leave the night before, and decided on a fairly early start, so after tea and bacon butties (cooked on the pontoon - very sociable!), we headed for the harbour entrance at about 8:30'ish...




...me first, Mudlark next... looking fine!


..and then Phil..  also looking damn fine despite the weed moustache (which is new this year by the way..  apparently conditions in Poole have been pretty rubbish this year and Phil tells me constant swell has caused the growth).....

Mudlark with Steve getting the camera ready..
Beautiful morning..  you could almost imagine it was July..!

Just down from the pontoon we found this Fantasie... I just caught the name (started with T I think) but can't remember it! Unusual model...  twin fore stays, and double spreaders on the mast...

What does he think he's going to catch...??



..and so to Cowes itself...   first of my "after you" moments of the day...  thought it best to wait!


....at which point in time we had the second excitement of the day when Mudlarks engine cut out right in the middle of the main channel...  happily no ferries coming in but blimey, outboards do pick their moments...  happily I still had my mooring ropes handy so flung one over to Steve and took him in tow...  no idea what the problem was as Steve managed to get it going 5 minutes later...  either way, the two parties then separated at the small boat channel, where I headed east for home, and they headed west...

Thanks to Steve for this one...
Now I knew that it wasn't going to be easy, as the eastward tide wasn't due to cut in until about 1400'ish, but conditions were far from perfect for passage making...  little to no wind, adverse tide, and what wind there was was westerly. so coming from directly behind where the main was masking the jib...  ended up rolling the jib in as it was flapping in that irritating manner they have....

Not good...  not enough fuel to motor all the distance back (full tank and then 5 Litres in the can), but as no progress was being made I fired up the donk anyway...

An hour later and the breeze started to fill in so I returned to sail power...  and so it was for about the next 3 or 4 hours; running dead downwind with steadily increasing breeze, goose winged for much of the time - difficult in the swell, but enjoyable in the sun until the weather started closing in...

Just before Portsmouth, I had my second "after you" moment of the day...  I wasn't going to argue with 100,000 tonnes doing 17 knots fresh from refuelling at Fawley... ("NYK Orpheus"; she's currently in the English Channel, having left Le Havre, now heading for the Suez Canal/Port Said, by the way - t'interweb is a wonderful thing!) 


...I hurtled past Portsmouth at about 13:30 at which point I knew in my bones all was going to be well - no reason to think otherwise, but at this point I was on to known ground from a previous trip which always takes some of the trepidation out of the situation...

I took the middle entrance through the submarine barrier, and was off Langstone by 14:00 when the wind started to drop but the tide cut in...  it then took me an hour to drift across Hayling Bay before finally reaching the West Pole Beacon at 15:00'ish.... just as the wind kicked in with a vengeance!

From zero to F5 in almost moments, I took the decision there and then to drop the main and motor in - a mad 5 minutes followed in which I lost my hat getting the main down, then a charge into the harbour and a leisurely run up the harbour, and I was on a spare mooring just off  Northney by 1700...

With no water on the mooring until at least 18:30/19:00'ish I had some time to "waste" so used the time to tidy up, watch the world go by, read, eat, drink tea and then finally snuck up the channel and on to the mooring by 18:30 - real skin of the teeth depths, but three and a half hours before the high...  astounding...

Track for the second day...



Distance: 24.85 miles; 8 miles less than yesterday's tacking..! (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started Force 1, built to Force 4 gusting Force 5 .. westerly
Sail Plan: Full main, full jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 5 knots which was under sail on the way back somewhere between about Ryde and the submarine barrier I reckon. Average speed of 2.6 knots (not bad given the very light conditions at the start of the trip)

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Cowes Raid - Saturday 14th July...

...we made it...  


Two more different trips, though, it's difficult to imagine but starting with Saturday...

Saturday 14th:

Having tracked the weather all week to make sure the weekend was achievable, we finally agreed a "go" on the Friday, expected participation three boats - two Fantasie 19's ("Papillon" and "Mudlark", and an honorary one ("Ciao Bella", a Hurley 20 owned by ex-"Jelly Bean" skipper, Phil).. our target was the Folly pontoon on the Medina...

I was the only one coming from the eastern Solent, the other two were coming from the west, but this was by far the longest trip I would ever have done on Pap, so it was not without a little trepidation that I dropped the mooring at about 06:30 that morning, and headed for the Solent ...

Provisions loaded (blokes shopping - four pack of Hobgoblin, two pot noodles, some Pringles and a large packet of sausage rolls!), I'd also bought extra fuel with me so I had 10 litres in two cans, plus a full internal tank on the outboard - my thinking was that this should be enough if needed to get me out of trouble....

Weather was largely as I expected as we headed down the harbour...  grey, overcast, and about a force 2 or 3 but once outside the harbour though it was clear conditions were far from ideal...  a big rolly swell from the south west, but the wind was almost dead west. Where was that SW'ly when I needed it...??  I could see the Cowes headland in the far (far) distance but the wind was blowing direct from it towards me.. looked like it was going to be a long, long, long beat of a day...

...and so it was. In fact it was bloody miserable most of it - I conservatively estimate that I almost gave up four times - it was only the thought that I was expected at Cowes that made me go on - that and for the first three times I knew I had enough time to turn round make it back to the mooring if I really wanted to chicken out....  by the time the fourth time came up though, I was past the point of no return so thought "bugger it" and carried on.

The GPS track shows that the trip took just over 9 hours end to end - during that time I had everything from sunny spells, to drizzle, to rain, and the last two hours were in heavy (heavy) rain. Wind was up and down like the proverbial, so despite my passage plan I was an hour late to Cowes and the tide had turned - enough was enough so I powered up the donk and motored the last section, putting up a scrap of jib as I came round the headland to assist with the last part into Cowes proper... that last hour or so was the most miserable sailing experience I've ever had; wet, cold, tired, and only 1 to 1.5 knots against tide...  disgusting...  so cold that I could see my breath steaming - in July!! I was never in all my life so happy to see the start of the new small ships channel in Cowes roads...

Medina looking towards Cowes from the Folly pontoons

Thirty minutes later I was on the pontoon and tied up with the kettle on for a much needed cuppa... the first time I've ever tied up to a pontoon in the four years I've owned her by the way! Shortly after that Phil and Steve turned up, clearly they'd had a very different trip to mine, but even their journey had not  been perfect - the British summer was living up to expectation despite the forecast...

Papillon with Mudlark directly behind, and Ciao Bella behind her..




My GPS track showed I'd done 32 miles, in 9 hours and 11 minutes - a long day, I don't have automatic steering so it was all at the tiller. Difficult to believe but my average speed was 3 knots (max was 4.8) so my passage plan speed was spot on, what threw me was the wind direction - the long tacks meant I travelled further than the direct route - but hey, I'd spotted that might be a problem, and I couldn't do anything about it anyway - I left as early as I could.

After a beer, a chat, and a short kip to get the faculties together it was off to the Folly for some much needed beer and food - the band were good as well!

Folly just across the way...  £2 return per adult non the water taxi ...total overnight cost a tenner....... bargain!
Track for the day...


Distance: 32.20 miles (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started Force 2 built to Force 4 gusting Force 5 .. westerly...
Sail Plan: One reef in the main, various configurations on jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 4.8 knots which was under motor on the way out of the harbour. Average speed of 3 knots (not bad given the very low speeds for the final approach to Cowes!)

======================================
...log for Sunday in the next post....

Monday, 9 July 2012

Wet, sun, squall, wet, sun, squall... sun...

I think it safe to say that if it hadn't been for the fact that I hadn't been out on the boat in three weeks I would probably have sat at home and watched Wimbledon and the Formula 1 at Silverstone on Sunday..  as it was I was getting very frustrated with the British summer and decided to go out anyway for the first time in 3 weeks... (!)

All the forecasts were deeply unhelpful, every one of them seemed to be saying something different, and in the end what I experienced didn't seem to match any of them anyway! KIND of glad I did go out but I think it safe to say it wasn't a classic afternoon...

My plan was to head for the Itchenor channel and see how far I could get towards Chichester before having to run for home, in the end the wind direction (almost dead west) and strength (light at the beginning of the afternoon) sank that idea - a run down the channel to Itchenor while pleasant would have been an unpleasantly long beat back to the main channel..

Google Earth view of the afternoon activities....  down to HISC first and then a trip up to Emsworth Quay...
The afternoon didn't start well with a cloudburst just as I got on board, happily 5 minutes later it had cleared and I had the engine on, the main cleared for action, and the mooring off.... the new mooring is superb by the way, I looked over at my old mooring as I motored away and the boat on it this year was still sitting on the mud...

Wind was very light down the Northney channel and I had to resort to the motor twice to get me going - light wind and an adverse tide meant I was only doing half a knot over the ground at one point. Got hit by some sudden (and savage) rain squalls as I made my way down, a close view of the track shows me doing at least two 360's while I wrestled control...  nasty....  I knew the SPF 50 was a mistake...

OPENCPN view of the same....
After that it was all pretty much "plain sailing" westerly is a good direction when you have a nice north-south journey planned! A nice reach down to HISC in gradually strengthening wind saw me keeping much more to the west side of the channel than I normally do - interesting views over towards Mengham (where Pap came from originally). At the end of the reach I spotted these two lovelies....


In fact at one point I toyed with the idea of heading over to Mengham, but again, a narrow channel and head wind is a difficult combination, and anyway I was enjoying the sailing.... closer view of the larger of the two...


Fast reaching on the way back (5 knots+ with a little bit of tidal assist) and this was a dream wind for a reach to Emsworth and back...  so I did exactly that to round the day out, before finally motoring back to the mooring....

Scores on the doors:

Distance: 12.23 miles (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started Force 2  built to Force 4 gusting Force 5 .. very westerly, though it was veering all afternoon...
Sail Plan: Full main, full jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 5 knots which was under sail on the way back up the harbour. Average speed of 2.8 knots (not bad given the very light conditions at the beginning of the afternoon)

Thoughts now turning to the "Cowes Raid" - it's all weather dependant but I'm looking forward to it, if not with a little trepidation!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Cowes "raid"... Part 3.. "Route"

Been playing again....  

Following is the result of a lunchtime fumbling my way through OpenCPN and the tidal flow charts in the last post.....   by my estimate I'll get the best tidal flow if I aim directly for the new small boat channel in Cowes [click here] (marked Shrape Mud Buoy on the chart) from the middle entrance of the submarine barrier (that I introduced you to a few weeks ago...)

Tidal stream is strong westbound on the Portsmouth side, especially round Gilkicker Point (the lump just west of Portsmouth Harbour entrance), and in the centre towards the IoW side, so over the tail end of Ryde Middle {edit: not Bramble! Thanks David... good to see you saw my deliberate mistake } bank (should still be plenty of water for a little'un) on the Cowes side it'll also be good....


...all of the following is by the by, if the wind direction is rubbish...  I've used 3 knots as my passage speed... but the fact is I'll use the motor to get out of the harbour so it's not going to take me 2 hours to get to the West Pole Beacon - half that...   which I can then use beating up the Solent - even with tide!


To put this in context, a half a knot extra average speed will take an hour off the journey, so this is not an exact science...   but unless this weather sorts itself out, we'll not be going anyway..  fingers crossed...

========================================


No sailing now for almost two weeks, last time out was the Prinstead trip. 

The main problem has been wind..  I had visitors last weekend so a sail was not an option anyway, but even if it had been, like this weekend it was just too damn windy...  Cambermet today has been showing force 5 & 6, gusting  force 6, practically all day.. Pap can handle it (with enough reefs), but it's not fun....  add in the fact that the wind is also cold and it was a recipe today for a cup of coffee and a read of my book whilst listening to the radio, and watching the sky through the fore hatch as the the boat danced round the mooring like a whirling dervish...  it's got to calm down soon!!