Showing posts from November, 2013

Temporary mooring

24 Nov 2013 The club moorings are a desolate place at the moment. Most of the boat are lifted ashore and standing in the car park, and the pontoons are being dismantled ready for a dredging operation due in December to clear away the mud and sand and give us more depth. I decided to keep Elsa in the water over winter – I don’t have any work to do on her which would need her out, and I keep thinking I might even go sailing. The club arranged a temporary berth for her down the river at another club’s moorings. A couple of other guys have the same arrangement and moved theirs during the week and I managed to do mine today. I went down at low tide to survey the new spot and it was flat sand and clear of obstructions. My friend David, who has a pretty little red yacht Tigger, offered to help me. Haven’t used the boat for several weeks but the outboard started on the second pull and ran happily. We knew the other berth was much shallower so we’d waited until about 90 mins before high

Powerboat weekend

20 Oct 2013 Keen to gain experience of handling a boat under engine, and get more practice in the River Arun, and do my duty better during the Thursday evening committee boat work, I signed up for RYA Power Boat Level 2 which took place this weekend. Saturday morning found 6 of us plus 2 instructors in the training room at 0900 (another little hut next to the yacht clubhouse). I know both the instructors and some of the other students. The weather was breezy and showery with some sunny spells. We started off indoors being instructed, then got ourselves dressed in our sailing clobber and went to the boats. The club has a small but heavy diesel launch called Diamond, this is the committee boat, shaft driven tiller steered and very noisy and a bit smelly (air cooled diesel). Then there’s the three RIBs, rigid inflatable boats, with 50hp petrol outboards. After more instruction beside the boats we set off into the river and got to practice various manoeuvres. The strong breeze and fa

Pursuit race

5th Oct 2013 Today was the Cruiser Pursuit Race, a once a year event not part of the regular race series. Sarah mentioned she had a friend staying who had sailing experience so we all met up about 0930 today. Hardly any wind but fine weather and quite warm. The pursuit race is like the normal handicap race but upside down – the boats get allocated different start times depending on handicap, the slower boats getting away first, the fastest boat last. The finish time was deemed to be 1.30pm and the start times arranged so that, in theory, we’d all be together at that time for a close finish. Sarah’s friend Cheryl turned out to be an American lady, very fit and surefooted, ski instructor, who lives aboard her yacht in the summer. She turned up in full wetsuit and gear. So we left the berth at 1015, hoisted the main (new halyard) in the river and motored out into the flat calm of the English Channel. The forecast was F2 gusting F3 but I don’t think we got anywhere near F2. After a

Best ever race result

21st Sept 2013 Lots of the Arun cruisers were off today on a weekend trip round to Itchenor. I nearly went on that but for some reason I had cold feet about it (though I do want to sleep overnight on board somewhere one day). There was a cruiser race in the calendar for today so I turned up for that. None of my previous crew were around this weekend so I hung about the club hoping a likely person would show up but all were busy getting ready then departing for Itchenor. There were a couple of other skippers around for the race and we only need 3 boats to make the race valid so in the end I went singlehanded. Forecast winds were F3. The three of us decided on a fairly short course just to get the race into the book. Leaving the berth about 1130 I decided to tie myself to the hammerhead (the T shape bit of pontoon at the end sticking into the river) to hoist the main then let myself loose and headed out under engine with the main up. Doing the sails inside the harbour is so much cal

Sailing with James

14th Sept 2013 Sailing with James on a Friday evening, mainsail only

New rudder

7th Sept 2013 Keen to put the repaired rudder to the test in the cruiser race today, I met Sarah at the club at 11. Lots of kids were sailing in the river today with many of the Arun grown-ups teaching them. For this and other reasons, many regular cruiser race teams were not around. We need 3 boats as a minimum for a race and by 1115 it was decided that we did indeed have 3, so we set off for a race start at 1200. As an experiment, we hoisted the main in the shelter of the harbour and motor-sailed out through the turbulence of the entrance. I was worried about keeping control with the main up but it was fine. Once outside we shut off the motor, unrolled the genoa and assessed the conditions. As we emerged from the river it was a sunny day with about F3 winds, that'll be fine we thought. After 15 mins or so, and well outside the harbour into the sea, the swell was huge. Must have been 5 or 6 foot high, and the wind suddenly built up to F4 or even F5. Elsa was plunging up a

Race report - and damage

25th Aug 2013 New member Sarah crewed for me today, we had lunch in the clubhouse then put to sea about 1.15 for the 2pm start. Sunny day, wind more northerly than we usually get, F3 or so. The wind kept shifting between north and easterly, the race officer took his time deciding on the course but then informed us we’d be doing a running start. Normally you start on a beat closehauled on starboard out to sea but today we started on a dead run. I was pleased with the start, we were right in the thick of the fleet, 6 or so other boats, right amongst the action and pulling away from some of them. Round the first mark then hard on the wind for a long leg to windward, eastwards towards Worthing, and we fell well behind. Couldn’t seem to get the boat to point properly. The wind was getting stronger, F4 and maybe gusting towards F5, the tide was against us and we seemed to be taking ages as we tacked back and forth, Elsa on her beam ends again in strong gusts. Did I hit a lobster pot mar

Berthing Masterclass

11th Aug 2013 With help from Mum’s photos taken with her IPad as Dad and I returned from our race on Saturday. Ignore the scruffy mainsail, it was windy out there and I just had to bundle it up with a bit of string to sort out later... The river Arun can be a bit turbulent, the fresh water flows to the sea that way >– and the incoming tide flows that way <- but here it is going out that way >. The trick is to realise that once in the shallow water between the pontoons the water is almost still and it’s just the wind you need to worry about. So you come into the pontoons with the outboard engine on tickover in forward gear slow as you can: My berth is on my starboard side and as I turn towards it, rather than turn my head and body round to the stern to knock the outboard into neutral or reverse, I just pull out the killcord to stop it completely: Fenders on the port side as that’s the only place she’ll touch the woodwork and I can squash her into the wood if I need to

Cruiser race - sailing with Dad

10th Aug 2013 Well, what a day that was. Mixed ability crew today – a senior experienced sailor and former GP14 class captain from Crawley, Mr M Tyrrell, and a guy who’s only bought a boat this year Mr A Tyrrell. Two Mrs Tyrrells waited patiently in the clubhouse eating lunch and drinking tea while the menfolk put to sea at 1220 for the 1300 start. Forecast was for Force 2- 3 and it was at least F3 as the junior man clambered around the mast hoisting sail. We discussed tactics and were able to form up on the start line just as the radio instruction came through for the start, and we were away. Long beat on starboard out to sea and it was more like a F4, well heeled, and the swell was building up. Several facefuls of seawater, this crew didn’t quite get the best from the sails and despite the great start we were soon a little way behind. Tacked a couple of times until we reached the first mark and we found ourselves close to a couple of other yachts but rounded the mark ok and bor

Second cruiser race

28th July 2013 My second race today in the sea off Littlehampton. Lots of new members around at the moment and some of them made themselves known as available to crew so I had Joe, young guy mid-20s but with lots of sailing qualifications and very keen and agile. The race was at 3pm so we put to sea about 2.20. Strong southerly wind and incoming tide up the river made for a lumpy sea as we motored on the way out past the harbour walls and once outside we found the wind force 4 gusting 5. Elsa can stand her full sail even in that weather though she does heel over and slam about in the chop. Any loose items or bags downstairs end up on the floor pretty quickly! Only 6 boats were keen / brave enough to venture out and at 2.45pm the course instructions come over the radio (the race officer having determined the course and timing once he’s out there himself in his own boat). Just before the start it clouded over and rained a bit but soon the clouds were gone and we had nothing b

First cruiser race

27th May 2013 There’s a cruiser race series here at Arun YC, normally on Saturday but this weekend it was today, bank holiday Monday. Having met Stuart the other evening, he’s a Laser sailor from the evening dinghy series, and had a couple of other guys encourage me – I decided to give it a go! With Stuart as crew we reversed safely out of the berth around 1200 and headed out to sea. Very choppy at the river entrance with a strong spring tide racing Westerly across the river mouth but out we went and hoisted sail. The start was at 1pm so we had a bit of time to practice. Very sunny day with wind around force 3 and almost gusting 5 at one point, great weather. Cruiser races here use a ‘gate start’. Having relayed the course instructions over the radio 15 mins prior (while the race fleet generally mills about jockeying for position), and then counted down to the start time, the ‘pathfinder’ sails away from the start mark on port tack drawing an imaginary line behind him and t

Catherine sat on the boat today

30 May 2013 We didn’t go anywhere but she’s pleased to have finally seen it!

Elsa sails to Littlehampton

18 May 2013 Perfect day today, finally, wind and tide and weather all ok and good for my voyage. None of the blokes from Arun ever seem to be available so I did it on my own! Left Portsmouth about 1000 this morning, past the abandoned old destroyers that litter the place awaiting scrapping Exiting through the Small Boat Channel and then once clear of the ferries and hovercraft turning to the East. Once clear of all traffic I hoisted sail and shut the engine up. Self portrait from my phone: Obviously I’d made a passage plan, notified the coastguard, used GPS waypoints and kept a log going: After a long but uneventful sail via the Looe Channel around Selsey Bill I arrived outside Littlehampton entrance. This was the trickiest bit – it’s actually quite hard to find from the sea, even with my GPS waypoint, so I ended up trolling along the coast from Bognor for ages until I found it. Then outside in the open (but quite calm) sea I dropped and tied up the sails, started the motor,