Showing posts from 2018

Barts Bash with James

15 Sept 2018 James was over from South Africa and happily that coincided with the annual Barts Bash combined dinghy / cruiser race. After a light lunch at home we went to the club just after 1pm to get ready and so I could help a little with the organising team. Wind was a steady F3-4 from the West and the sun was shining. The race was at 3pm but with a strong incoming tide there was no point in leaving too early as my outboard would struggle to push us out. After a few minutes reminding James how a sailing boat works we backed out into the river around 2.20 and idled around in the harbour getting head to wind so we could get the main up and set properly, James at the mast doing all the work with me calling out confusing instructions. Then it was full blast on the engine and down the river against the tide till we were out to sea. Once we were past the harbour wall the main filled with the westerly wind and picked us up nicely so we were able to shut the engine up and sail over to

End of August already

27 Aug 2018 Out for a cruiser race today on August bank holiday with my friend Nick R as crew for the first time. He's an experienced sailor and club instructor so I was confident despite the conditions being a bit brisk. Force 4 from the West on a cool day with grey sky and a bit of swell running. Maybe gusting towards F5. We nearly set the reef in the main but in the end we went with full main and just unrolled 3/4 of the genoa. Seven boats were out for the race on a 1200 start time. We got a good clean start second over the line ahead of most of the fleet. Unusually instead of a hard beat to the first mark the race officer had set a course such that we were able to lay the first mark on one tack on a fine reach, and we remained ahead of the group for an enjoyable few minutes until they began to catch us up. We were clocking up to 7 knots. My friend Jonathan in his boat Reef Knot towards the back of the pack took this photo as we approached the first mark: From left to r

Sooper Trooper to Gosport

5th July 2018 Glorious summer weather the last few weeks though I have not been out in Elsa since end of May. It's the annual round the island race this weekend and although I'm not taking part this year I took the opportunity to help my friend Phil get his boat to Gosport a couple of days before the race. Sooper Trooper is a well known boat at the club though only owned by Phil for the last year or so. Often my rival in the club racing though usually a long way ahead, I've never sailed her before. She's a real sailor's boat, a Sea Wolf 26 with a fin keel and hardly any creature comforts, just loads of sailing gear. No roller genoa. Andy was with us, and after lunch we got busy loading up with stores for the weekend and hanking on the genoa ready to hoist. Sooper Trooper has very posh laminated sails almost golden in colour, a very distinctive look. Other boats from Arun were making the same passage though with their shallower draught they were able to get goi


28 May 2018 Bank holiday Monday and a cruiser race was due to start at 1030. After hanging around the clubhouse I found a couple of new members Viktor and Barbara keen to have a go, so off we went. It was a bright sunny day with a nice wind in the river from the North and we set out in good spirits expecting some decent sailing conditions. Race officer Nick had set a start line just outside the river entrance and there were about six yachts milling around waiting for the start. The wind was dropping away all the time. For the first time we saw an actual seal swimming along behind my Seal 22 which was quite exciting. We positioned ourselves up-tide of the start line with two minutes to go just as the wind dropped to zero, so the tide carried us through the line for what turned out to be quite a decent start as half the fleet were becalmed well out of position! Turning to port we aimed the boat at the South mark just as the wind switched to a SWly and we picked up a bit of spe

Third race and a bit windy

29 April 2018 Carlo was with me again on Sunday for the cruiser race. Weather was a bit cooler with a wind forecast F5 from the NE. Normally I would not go out into a F5 if I could help it, but a wind from that direction usually means a flat sea with little swell, and with two of us big blokes aboard I thought it was worth a go. Before we left we set the first reef in the main. Hoisting the sail in the river meant driving the boat head to wind up the river so by the time we had it up and set tight and turned round it was a long motor down to the sea. Five boats turned out and the race officer had set the start mark as one of our fixed cruiser marks so it took us all a while to get to the start line, and most of us weren't there for the 1100 start time. Fortunately he waited for us. We'd unrolled about 2/3 of the genoa and the wind was probably around 20 kts and quite gusty sometimes. Elsa was fine with both sails reefed in but did heel and round up when the stronger gusts h

Second race of 2018

15 April 2018 Carlo joined me as planned at 0930 on Sunday morning, the forecast was for southerly F4-5 and there were lots of crews getting ready for the race. Slightly misty and cool. Carlo's a fellow club member and he's thinking about getting a Seal 22 so he was keen to have a go in mine. I still had the reef in the mainsail but once we got to sea it was clear that the wind was less than forecast, it was about F3 and the sea was flat. So about 5 mins before the start sequence we suddenly decided to shake it out. Carlo had to go to the mast and fiddle with the downhaul, halyard, kicker etc., to get it hoisted fully. There's a bit of work for me to do before next time sorting all those bits of string out because I don't think I've got it rigged right since we launched the boat last month. But we got the main nice and tight and it seemed to be well set. There were eight cruisers sailing about downwind of the start mark and trying to get lined up for the gate

First race of 2018

31st March 2018 Having only just been craned in two days ago we were just about ready to sail. We'd rigged everything whilst in the berth but we hadn't yet hoisted the sail properly. Five cruisers turned out for the first race of the year. A grey day but a decent F3-4 westerly wind, maybe a bit cold. I was pleased to have Georgia with me probably for the only time this year as she's going back to work in Greece shortly. Leaving the berth about 1015 we decided to set one reef in the main and with some difficulty, it was a bit stiff to haul up, Georgia got it hoisted and set as I held Elsa into the wind mid river. The new engine drove us nicely out of the harbour, it's the same make and model as the old one but it starts properly and sounds a lot smoother! Race officer Nick had set up a line start off the committee boat. Some of the cruisers were racing with us for the first time and it was good to see them out. Many other regular racers were not coming out for va

Winter 2017-18

Barts Bash was the last race of 2017. 2017 summary - went out in Elsa about 10 times, total distance travelled about 90 nm. Plus several other adventures on other boats! Later in September I did a bit of varnishing and cleaning then began to dismantle everything ready for crane out. Took the sails off and brought them home. Took the rudder off and stored it inside the boat. Took the outboard off and traded it in for a brand new Mercury 4 stroke 5hp engine which I took home and kept in the shed. Removed the blue sprayhood, took it home, used the jetwasher to clean off the green dirty stuff and put it in the shed. In October I went for surgery on my ankle and was plastered up and in crutches etc., until January. Friends helped crane Elsa out and she ended up sat ashore with her keel up resting on some yacht club floats and my metal prop stands. Nearly fell off once in some strong wind but we got her upright again. She sat there untouched until we got a bit of warmer weather late Fe