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...

4 comments:

  1. Hi great blog to follow, maybe next year I could join you guys if I ever get Seawitch ready for the water. Family problems have meant a complete halt as spend spare time at my parents who are not well. Great achievement in a small boat. Andy

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  2. Andy - the more the merrier, and it would be good to see you there next year, without or preferably with, Seawitch..

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  3. I'm feeling guilty that we didn't make the effort but the weather wasn't looking good and having a 3 year old aboard makes things more difficult.

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  4. Bursledon - Saturday was bloody awful... you made the right decision! :o)

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