Showing posts from 2022

Gearbox and crane-out

29 Oct 2022 On our trip out to sea with Morgan and Florence we noticed that the engine wasn't driving that well. A couple of weeks later we were due to go out racing when I noticed that I couldn't get her into forward gear. After spending a bit of time with helpful friends putting oil in and fiddling, I came to the conclusion that she couldn't go to sea like that. Since then my friend Spencer has had a look and there's something going on with the clutch or something and the gearbox is going to have to come out. So, no more sailing for us this year, never mind. Now it's the end of October and time to crane-out. Quite a lot of weed on the bottom but otherwise not too bad. As always, many hands make the work lighter at the club as everyone helps out. Safely set down ashore in the club car park alongside about thirty others, I just need to jetwash that weed off later this week then leave her till next year.

Brief sail with no wind

10 Sept 2022 Club events were cancelled this weekend due to the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. I had organised a team for today's planned race and we decided to just go for a sail anyway. My nephew Morgan, his friend Florence, and my friend Sue from the yacht club met mid-morning to find little wind but dry weather and mild conditions. High water was around 1200 and without needing to rush to meet a race start we were able to take our time and depart the berth with little drama around 1145 in plenty of depth.  Bay Leaf seemed to struggle a little getting out of the river even against a low incoming flood, I wondered if the clutch was slipping or something, she had plenty of engine revs but not much forward thrust. We got out to sea perfectly ok to find little wind and smooth water. Morgan was keen to set full sail so we stopped the engine and unrolled the genoa. Florence hadn't been before so it was good to have time to explain and enjoy the activities. There were only a few

Long one

28 August 2022 Remembering the hot engine after the last race, I tipped about two litres of coolant into the heat exchanger last week. I wonder where the fluid is going, it doesn't seem to be leaking into the bilge and the oil looks fine. I also took out and tested the thermostat using Bay Leaf's cooker and her best non-stick saucepan. The engine now runs fine and without overheating.  On Sunday I had Jonathan Webb and Sue Berry with me for the final race of the club's Bank Holiday Series. We struggled to get off the berth due to the mud and the race officer had already mentioned that he'd be starting on time at 1130, luckily the tide began to lift us and we got off just in time, motoring to the start area just as he called the 10 minute countdown.  Like last time, the wind was from the SE and the course was set into the wind and into the tide, but perhaps a bit more wind. We only just had time to set the sails properly before we had to make our reach towards the start

Retired hot

13 August 2022 Great to have George with me again for today's cruiser race. Five boats signed on and we got off the berth at 1120 for the 1200 start. Blistering heatwave here at the moment, almost 30 Celcius, we were looking forward to cooler air at sea. Wind from the SE F2-3, bright sky. Lots of boats around Littlehampton today - Zap Cat powerboat racing off East Beach, lots of leisure traffic, beaches crowded with people on this mid-August very hot weekend.  A very strong incoming tide meant we had to run the engine on full power to get out of the river into the open sea, we were glad to shut it off as the temperature needle had gone up to the red. Need to check that later but we were under sail now so plenty of time for it to cool down.  Avoiding those powerboats, the race officer Nick set us a start area to the west and we made a good practice start at the 10 minute signal so we could get an idea of how to attack the start. Coming from the south with the wind behind us, then gy

New tiller

3rd August 2022 Bay Leaf had a fairly tatty tiller, dark wood, with an elbow bend made of metal to which the tiller extension was attached. On our recent sail we noticed that this elbow joint was failing resulting in a wobbly tiller which felt like it might break. The previous owner had left a brand new tiller in the boat, apparently custom made, beautifully laminated, but raw (unvarnished) and it would need to be cut and fitted into the stainless steel / chrome piece that bolts on top of the rudder post. I have been putting this off for about two years now. My friend Charles Taylor at the club is very good with wood and he agreed to sort this out for me - cut and fit the new tiller into the metal fitting, make sure the angle was correct, buff up the metal piece, and apply some oil and varnish. We met at the boat on Wednesday evening and it looked great, much admired by other sailors as we carried it to the boat. Charles also found, loose inside Bay Leaf near the rudder post, a couple

Cruiser race with George

3rd July 2022 Cruiser Sea Horse Series race 1 on a Sunday afternoon, bright sunshine but a fairly stiff wind maybe F4-5 from the southwest. George was with me today for the first time, which was great. As usual Bay Leaf was stuck in the mud till 1300 for a 1330 start but we just about made it out to sea in time! The start line was quite near the harbour entrance to the East, a string of yellow buoys. Alas I misjudged the start, making an excellent approach at full speed on starboard to the wrong place, we lost almost 3 minutes as we suddenly had to tack across and behind Little Auk and others before we turned back onto starboard and got across the line. Getting Bay Leaf properly set up for the conditions took us a moment, George offering to go to the mast and reduce the topping lift, then clambering around the side deck adjusting the genoa cars, but once we got her pointing properly she was really flying into the waves as we beat our way to the South mark. We got there in 25 minutes wh

Weekend in Cowes for RTIR

23 - 26 June 2022 After much anticipation and planning, this was my first long weekend away in Bay Leaf and my first trip across the Solent in my own boat. My friend Sue was with me for the passage and we were laden with stores and other clobber ready for the Round the Island Race, which we were both sailing in separate boats. Ten yachts from the club were entering the race and at least three others making the trip as spectators.  Thurs 23 June - Littlehampton to Gosport An early start to catch the tide flowing to the West, Bay Leaf's crew assembled around 0730 to load up and get ready. She started first time and we backed her out of the berth - goodbye Littlehampton, see you on Sunday! It was a bit dreary at first, light rain, no wind, mainsail up but not pulling at all, engine running. About half way through the journey, just after the Looe Channel, we felt a bit of breeze and stopped the engine for a while to see if she would make progress under sail. She managed it for a while

May Day weekend

1st May 2022 Sunday, the first of two days sailing at Arun. Billed as the Westerly Cup and advertised as an open meeting it was clear that only our own club boats were going to take part and only some of them, so it was decided to run it as a club handicap race open to all members but with the Westerlys having a separate score. In the end there were only two Centaurs - my Bay Leaf, and Nick's Free n Easy. My friend Jonathan is also a Centaur owner but his was unserviceable this weekend so he came with me. Forecast was F2-3 from the SW under a cloudy sky. Because it's tricky to get out of my berth until quite late into the high tide, I'd moved Bay Leaf out onto a pontoon hammerhead the day before. So she was in deep water ready to go, and we left about 1015 for the 1130 start. Seven club boats came out including the two Westerlys, all the others were faster boats such as the Limbos. A little light rain began to fall as we lined ourselves up for the start sequence. Really qui

Easter Sunday

17 April 2022 Easter weekend and it was warm and sunny in Littlehampton with a decent SE breeze and a sparkling sea. We had lots of family staying nearby for the weekend and my nephews Alex and Barney were keen to come sailing. My friend Stuart was also with us for a club race due to start at 1100. By 1015 we were all aboard ready to go, the engine started first time. But there's quite a lot of silt in the berth at the moment, with HW at 1230 we'd hoped to be afloat and able to leave but we couldn't get off until about 1040. Fortunately the race officer knew and waited for us. Four boats came out to race, and our family members were on the harbour wall watching us motor out. The lads were kept busy with the halyard and the fenders. Once outside the harbour with the engine off, all sails out, it was clear that we were going to have a good sail in a fresh SE wind around F3. Not much time to do many practice tacks and get the crew in shape as we were close to the (delayed) sta

April 2022 - racing weekend

2nd April 2022 Having not sailed much since 2019 I am more motivated and determined to have a go this year. Bay Leaf is in good shape. A new fuel tank, some new fuel pipes, new instruments - a fixed VHF with built in GPS, and, a depth display (which utilised the old transducer already fitted to the bottom of the hull).  Thanks to fellow members Spencer for working on the fuel lines, Karl for going up the mast with the aerial, and Roy for wiring it all together. Also fitted a replacement engine intake valve - plastic instead of bronze - and a new anode over the recent winter haul-out, thanks to John for help with that.  She seems to start reliably, though when cold she may need a puff of Easy Start in her intake. She also has a new main halyard and new genoa sheets. Saturday 2nd April was the first chance to go racing since crane-in; my friend Richard was able to come with me. A lot of the Arun cruiser fleet went off on their shakedown cruise to Gosport leaving just three boats competin