Showing posts from 2017

Barts Bash 2017

17th Sept 2017 Early start this Sunday morning for Barts Bash - an annual event which we run as a combined dinghy and cruiser race alongside our neighbouring clubs AYAC and ODC. With an early high tide the race was due to start at 0930. Gordon and Jenny were with me for the first time. They are Wayfarer sailors and have a cruiser as well though it's out of action at the moment. We assembled around 0800 to get ready. Wind was around NEly forecast at F3 so I planned to go with full sail. The race briefing at 0815 told us to expect a triangular port-hand course round some laid marks, the dinghies starting 10 minutes ahead of the cruisers. My outboard is increasingly difficult to get started but eventually we motored out just before 0900. With Jenny on the helm and Gordon and I setting the main and bringing in the fenders, we went to sea to find flat conditions and a cool wind from the NE. The race was delayed getting started as the race team had to wait for all the AYAC dinghi

To the Black Rabbit in the Mirror

20 Aug 2017 Despite only having sailed the Mirror once since I got it, I signed on for the annual club race up river. I've done this before as a RIB driver but not sailed it. It took only a few minutes to get the Mirror ready with the mast down and everything I needed inside the boat then I was joined onto a tow of 4 other dinghies and we set off up river to Arundel. Another RIB was towing another four boats, about 9 of us in total. It's about 45 minutes till we were under the bridges and landed on the bank above Arundel. Thick with reeds and sloping, with the tide coming in so fast I had to haul her further up the bank every few minutes, I stood ankle deep and got her rigged and ready to go alongside the others. The race officer Nick had to let us wait until the tide started to slow right down as there was not much wind to sail in. Once launched I tried to get the hang of things but it was very tricky with the incoming tide still sweeping us upwards, trying to turn into wi

A week afloat

13 Aug 2017 A long narrative of a week afloat, starting the week on Sunday 6th August: A cruiser race today with a steady F3 from the west. Nine cruisers were taking part. Single handed again and with very light winds in the lee of the clubhouse I decided to hoist and set the mainsail while sat in the berth then reverse out as usual and head straight out to sea. Leaving the genoa furled away until the last minute I got nicely lined up for the start, set the genoa and made good progress to the windward mark. Conditions just about ok for single handed sailing, I seemed to have got the sail set well and was able to leave a few of my rivals behind me. A long run to the second mark, short fine reach to the third, another run to the fourth, then a long fine reach almost closehauled back to the finish line. On corrected time I was 6th out of the 9, all boats finished, we were all pleased with the turnout and were back in time for Sunday roast lamb in the clubhouse. R9 - 06/08/17 at 103

Round the Island 2017

30 June - 2 July 2017 A longer than usual blog entry covering 3 days away sailing Round the Island (without Elsa). Friday 30th June I got an early train to Portsmouth Harbour, then the Gosport Ferry, and around 1000 I met my friends from Arun YC who'd positioned themselves at Haslar Marina the previous day. I was going with Chris and Jenny aboard Remiga, a Mirage 37 ketch with a yellow hull. Other club members had sailed their boats round just for fun but not intending to compete. I'd sent my heavy bag of sailing clobber ahead on one such boat to avoid carrying it all on the train. It was a fine day with light winds and we were in no hurry so once we'd all assembled, Remiga's crew took some time to practice flying the spinnaker whilst safely tied up in the marina. Chris and Jenny, Chris's sister Debbie, my friends Stuart and another Debbie from Arun YC, and extra passenger Terry, left Haslar around 1100 to cross to Cowes. Remiga needs a decent wind to get g

Too windy today

25 June 2017 The forecast for this weekend has been changing during the week, F4 up to F6, but as we arrived this morning it didn't look too bad. A westerly was blowing around F4-F5. New member Phil was with me today, nice chap, about the same age as me, with good experience and he was very handy around the boat hoisting the main etc. We rigged the first reef into the main before we backed out and once off the berth and into the river, we got the main up and set on its first reef and left the genoa rolled away while we motored out. Four boats went to sea and once we were past the harbour wall we found a very steady F5 from the west. F5 is higher than I usually venture out, but with two blokes aboard and a reefed sail it seemed worth a try. We left the genoa rolled up for a while as we got the hang of the conditions, a steady but strong wind and moderate swell, bright and clear and not cold. We took a few face-fulls as Elsa heeled and bashed through the sea. David set an unusu

Cruiser race 29th May

29 May 2017 Single handed again today but with light winds I decided to go for the cruiser race. Only the fourth time out this year, and the first time out since the Owers Race a month ago. Some light rain after heavy thunderstorms last night but today the wind was variable light F1-2 mostly from the South. Five boats went to sea and I was pleased with my start around the middle of the group. The beat out to Omar took nearly an hour but the boat was going fairly well and the two Sea Wolfs behind me didn't catch up. Turning east for a reach towards Outfall heading into the tide, the wind chose that moment to fall away even more so another hour went past before I reached it. One of those Sea Wolfs managed to overtake me which was annoying! Much faster boats than Elsa so I was hoping to beat them on handicap anyway. Around Outfall and back to Omar this time with the tide helping me, about 20 mins later I was going around and headed back to harbour. Wary of the tidal stream I poi

Winning the Owers Race

22 April 2017 Conditions seemed ideal today so without a crew lined up I decided to attempt the Owers Race single handed. We were expecting a nice N - NE light wind so the sea would be flat and it was a bright and dry day. As mentioned in previous blog posts, the idea is for skippers to decide their own departure times such that they go around the Owers Buoy just as the tidal stream changes direction thus getting a favourable tide both ways. I'd decided to aim to go around between 2 and 2.30pm. I moved Elsa out into the river onto a pontoon hammerhead and spent several minutes whilst tied up hoisting and adjusting the sail to get it just right. Dick had set a course across to Pagham, round a divers buoy there, out to East Boro Head, down to Owers then back. I set off in the middle of the group of 5 boats, starting my stopwatch at 1040. I had a nice reach across to Pagham, bubbling along nicely. One of the faster boats, Dancer, was behind me and it took him ages to overtake - t

Easter Monday with Charlie and Barney

17 April 2017 My niece Charlie and her husband Barney came to see us and to go sailing today. There was a cruiser race going on but we'd decided beforehand that we were just going to go out for a bit to potter around. The clubhouse was fairly quiet so we left Catherine with a cup of tea and got the boat ready. Charlie and Barney live aboard a narrowboat near Oxford so I knew they'd be OK with tiller steering. Leaving Barney on the helm I went forward to hoist the main, and got it good and tight this time, Very light winds in the river so plenty of time to get it right before we motored out to sea. Charlie particularly enjoyed waving at the people along the harbour wall. We could see the cruiser race fleet in the distance but there was hardly any wind. We got the genoa unrolled and had a quiet and pleasant sail up and down near the harbour entrance, Barney on the helm. We tacked around a couple of times looking for wind but in the end we just enjoyed the peace and quiet. W