Sunday, March 25, 2012

First sail of the season

Having baked in the sunshine in SW6, watching Chelsea's tepid derby against Spurs yesterday, I figured a more rewarding way of exploiting this unusual warm spell would be to take the kids for their first sail on board Arabella.

Happy to helm - as long as Cuddlie Bear can join in
(As always, click on the thumbs for larger images)

On the off-chance that this year, like the last two, would see a beautiful spring followed by a so-so summer, I'd had Arabella lowered in early.  It turned out to be a good move - we had a wonderful three hours out, taking advantage of the three hour HW stand on springs in Southampton Water.

Don't you just love springs :o)

I was a bit nervous at first, taking two small (and occasionally random) kids out - they'd previously only camped on Arabella, tied safely up in the marina.  But I soon relaxed into it, although I sent them below for the gybes on the return trip downwind.

Happier posing than helming

My seven-year-old daughter was very keen on helming - although as the chart below shows,  we were a little bit wobbly as she is, after all, a novice.  She even helmed through the tacks!  My six-year-old son, in contrast, preferred playing with the electronics!

There was very little breeze, and we spent some time becalmed, searching for wind, any wind at all.  Eventually a sea breeze filled in and Arabella ghosted along quite happily on a series of beam reaches - ideal for the letting the kids gain confidence.  They're already asking when they can do it again!

Smile says it all...

Conditions:  F1, increasing to F3, ESE
Sea state: None!
Distance covered (GPS over ground): 9.2 NM
Total distance covered to date (2012): 9.2 NM
Engine hours: 1.0 (total for 2011: 1.0 hours)

Friday, March 09, 2012

Delivery Trip

I got my first sail in early this year - helping a friend deliver his new (to him) Beneteau 21 from Birdham Pool, Chichester to her new home in Lymington.

The day before - Birdham Pool

The day before had been unseasonably warm and sunny, but on the day of the trip the weather reverted to type and we spent 30 of the 35 miles beating to windward in wind-over-tide conditions.

It was a wet and cold crew (age of youngest: 50) that staggered arthritically off the yacht at her destination and thawed out in front of a welcome log fire at the Mayflower in Lymington.  Nice little boat, though, and very fast :-)

Conditions:   Overcast, occasional rain, WSW F4-5
Sea state: Moderate
Distance covered (GPS over ground): 35.5 NM

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Cowes Week: second this year

With many of last year's crew returning, and ever-patient Brian Thompson agreeing once again to suffer fools gladly, hopes were high that we might repeat our 2010 win in the Farr 65 class.

It was not to be.  In blustery, rainy conditions, we took an early second place and then just watched as the leading yacht pulled inexorably away.

That b***** boat in first place just wouldn't slow down for us.....
Following a slight miscommunication between Mr Thompson and our tactician (me), we then allowed ourselves to slip back into the clutches of the following boat, but we clung on to cross the line still in second.

Thompson and the fraud
For me, the result notwithstanding, the experience was interesting as it was my first time acting as nav/tac at Cowes Week.  Very different to the RTI, with everything happening much more quickly...and you really need to know your Winning Tides.

iPad screen cap showing the marks and our track today

Friday, August 05, 2011


Just checking the forecasts for next Wednesday and Thursday, when I'm at Cowes Week.   Metcheck forecasts wind speeds of over 400 knots...better put a reef in.

 On the plus side,  I can pack the sun tan lotion for Wednesday.

Friday, July 29, 2011

No wind!

Southampton Water became a huge, smooth lake...


Not surprising, really:

These guys didn't care though...they were having great fun hurling their hovercraft around and along the low water mark on the Itchen (click on images to view large).

The SS Shieldhall - the largest steamship still working in Europe  - is kept going by a dedicated preservation society, but it's a constant struggle to maintain her.

Conditions:  Dead calm, overcast
Sea state: None!
Distance covered (GPS over ground): 12.3 NM before we gave up!
Total distance covered to date (2011): 12.3 NM
Engine hours: 4.1 (total for 2011: 4.1 hours)