small world sailing

Additional Pictures

Getting the Spring On

Demonstrating my improvised ‘Sea Anchor’

Poppin the Cork!

Need a Shower and Bed (and a shave)

July 9, 2008 at 10:08 Comments (0)

Mars Bar, Champagne and Curry

N50.45.44 W001.31.94

It’s raining! welcome to the Uk.

Got tied up at 2100 BST last night, a little earlier than I had expected. Greeted on the dock by a Mars-Duo’ lovely.

Very nearly cocked up the berthing, let the back slip out on the wind, first time I’ve ever really made a mistake coming in, I think it’s cause I was tired, that’s what I’m saying anyway.

Good sail coming in, I was up very early and watched myself pass the Start-Point light in Devon at 0200. Very gusty, squally and wet. But I didn’t want to reduce the sail to cope better, I wanted to make good progress as I new it was going to be a little tight getting into Lymington before dark.

So I sat in the cockpit, cold, thinking, ‘why the hell was I bringing my boat back to the UK?’ then, a little after dawn, I saw the outline of Portland Bill. The weather had improved and things began to look very rosy indeed. I had a great days sail, dead down wind all the way from west of Portland to the North channel at the Isle of White. Touching over 8kts as I passed the Bill and Purbeck.

It’d just turned slack water as I got to the Needles, a rough place to be if the waters running fast and no place to be if the waters running against you. But it was just starting to run gently with me as I rounded Hurst castle, anyone would think I’d planed it that way ;o)

Once the Boat was safely alongside at Berthon we headed back to Ma’ & Pa’s for some Champagne and Curry, what bliss. I upset father on the way back as the heating in the car fetched up the stink from my feet, but apart from that it was a lovely home coming. Thanks to Rene for coming down too and for buying the Curry.

So all in all, I feel very excellent indeed, quite quite super. Whana go again! cana, cana, cana, pleeeeaaaasssseeeeeee!

Azores – UK Stats

Days/ Hrs 14days 10.5hrs
Miles Covered 1542nm
Miles Per Day 106.78nm

Bahamas – Azores Stats

Days/ Hrs 26days 22.5hrs
Miles Covered 2854nm
Miles Per Day 105.95nm

Total Stats

Days/ Hrs 41days 9hrs
Miles Covered 4396nm
Miles Per Day 106.23nm

Coming Up Hurst Spit at the Needles

Entering Lymington River

Coming into Berthon

Rene helping me tie off

July 9, 2008 at 09:59 Comments (0)

Day 41

N49.26.73 W004.58.42

Heading 060T Wind, westerly F4-5 (lovely)

Strange feelings again today, Looking forward to making my final destination but at the same time sad it’s nearly all over. After all the Highs and Lows and particularly over the past week you’d think I just wanted to get off this dam boat, and to a degree you’d be right, I stink and I’d really love a plate of Steak&Kidney Pie and Chips……..and a Mars Bar, but by an equally simular token, particularly today where the sailing has been good, I’d really like to keep going.

I’m not going to of course, I’m going to stop and wash this salt out of my hair and stop my feet stinking of wet dogs and diesel, I haven’t took them out of my boots since the last time, rank! But of course I would do it again, I’d do it again tomorrow, well, after a bit of sleep. Not always been enjoyable and certainly sometimes been a bit of a handful but taken as a whole, let me at it again! I wouldn’t do it the same, I’ve learnt a lot, but I would do it, course I would. Maybe next time, having now sattified my desire to do it solo, I’d let one of you lucky folks come too. Form an orderly Q wont you ;o)

I don’t believe this feeling is uncomon in Oceans sailors, I saw a documentory on the first round the world race, in which Knox Jonsen won, and two of the competitors of that carried on going instead of crossing the finishing line. One other wrote some wierd stuff about Aliens in his logbook and promtly vanished, Donald somebody, they found his boat, and his logbook, floating off the Carribean some months later.

Anywayz, on that happy note, with a bit of luck I’ll make Lymington before dark, might have to do a bit of motor sailing to get there in time. Stats to follow.


July 7, 2008 at 18:05 Comments (0)

Day 40

N48.18.25 W007.40.23

Wind F5-7 Heading 060T

Hard days sailing, wind has been consistantly F5-7 Very gusty and I’ve been sailing under 3reefs and some or none headsail depending on how it’s been going.

But that’s not been the big issue, the big issue has been the sea as I’ve approached the Banks. The Atlantic approaches our continental shelf and is greeted by a 3800m cliff face. The sea floor goes from 4000 to 200m in a matter of miles and the sea gets a bit choppy just then, specially it would seem if theres a near Gale blowing.

I had on one occasion, one wave break over the port bow and one over the starbord quarter simultaniously, quite mad. I’ve been thrown about the cabin all day, swinging around it like a monkey in a cage. At one point whilst sitting I was up’d and over the sallon table so quick I didn’t have time to think.

Not Nice.

Presently though I’m running downwind at about 6kts and the sea has settled. The sun has come out for the first time today just in time for it to set. Making very good progress and long may it continue.

I’m wondering if I might go to Poole town quay instead as currently it looks like I might make the needles channel just in time for dusk on Tuesday, typical! But I’ll keep this under revision and see what happens on the day.

Not long now, starting to feel a little excited ;o)


July 6, 2008 at 18:12 Comments (0)

Day 39

N47.09.10 W010.11.65
Heading 055T Wind, F5-7 Westerly.   
Well, so that’s what storm force winds feel like! that’s just crazy nuts!!
Hydrovane wasn’t even coming close to keeping up last night, I decided to try and deploy my home made sea anchor from the front which is the agreed method from what you read, but it just put the beam of the boat to the waves, not good. I got another extra long length of line and streamed it even further from the stern and it sort of worked keeping the starbord quarter to the waves. I drifted slowly SE all night as the wind howled around me.
Once or twice the boat has been launched, I have a little brass Lloyds plaque that states the boats registered weight is 10tons and 73/100ths plus all the bits on board I must top 11tons easy and yet just every now and then, off she pops from the top of these waves. A few have broke over the top too.
I had a really good nights sleep, slept like a baby, didn’t set any alarms, what can I do? I’ve done all I can. I woke to an odd smell, like diesel oil and rubber, I was a bit worried that maybe the tank had ruptured in the night but it turns out it was just my feet…….again. I am desperate for a shower.
At Noon I stuck my nose out of the hatch again, winds had moderated to 25kts gusts 30kts+ so I thought I’d have a little go at some sailing. Pulled in the sea anchor and got a little head sail out. Things have progressed from there really, it’s slowly moderated, that Low is working it’s way up the Irish Sea, and I have 3 reefs in the main and some head sail, the winds on the beam. It’s lumpy, cold, windy, rainy sqawls etcetcetc all the things you come to expect. But I’ve cleared the 400nm mark this afternoon so nearly there. Looking forward to a nice cup of tea and a ham sandwich.
If you sail, read on, if not you can skip this bit.
I shy’d away from sea anchors and hove too methods of heavy weather handling, I didn’t like the idea of being passive in a ‘what will be will be’ kind of way.
I was naive and foolish. No one should attempt an ocean crossing without a sea anchor and have practiced deploying it. There is nothing you can do in a F8-10 (12?) absolutly nothing atall. Best on the boat and the crew if you just sit tight and wait for it to pass.
Running works, but I covered nearly 140nm the other day running, fortunatly in the right direction, but you wouldn’t have to be to close to shore for this to suddenly become a very bad tactic.
Hoave-to I don’t like because of the unecessary strain put on the sails and rigging. The forces involved here must be enormous and getting through the storm safely is one thing but if you ruin your sail in the process, how would you continue sailing after?
A sea anchor is the answer, holds you in position supprisingly comfortably, puts nothing under strain but the kleets which are designed for it and once it’s all over the rigg and sail, with luck, will be as you left them. Google ‘jonsen series drogue’ I think it’s called, for a good one, it’ll certainly be my next purchase. 
It’s been pretty Joyless this last…….well, actually one way or the other, this entire leg and I don’t mind saying I’ll be glad to see the back of it! All charictor building stuff of course and an increadible experience but this is just endurance now.
July 5, 2008 at 18:48 Comments (0)

Day 38

N47.20.47 W011.32.40

Heading 100T Wind Gale

Tough day at the office dear?

Had a good sleep last night but was up at 0400, the wind had moderated enough to have a little sail up. Had the strangest feeling as I put my gear on, like I was getting ready for work! Sure enough it’s been a hard slog.

When I got out on deck the Hydrovanes ‘vane’ looked a bit wobbly broke and sure enough it’d ripped the tubing around a rivet. With a couple of screws, a jubilee clip, some cunning and the teak trim from around the fridge I was able to patch it up. Hopfully it’ll hold, if not, theres plenty more trim left ;o)

I think, looking at yesturdays chart, I have passed through the eye of this depresion as have managed to sail from 0400 till 1400, albeit very windy F6 plus gusts. Made good progress though. Then after two, things picked up again to F6-7 plus gusts, It seemed silly to risk the Canvas, or indeed the Rig, so dropped the sail and am running again just south of east. Have improvised a ‘sea anchor’ out of one of my empty 5gallon water jugs (like you get in offices) and a length of chain, cutting the bottom out of the jug and passing the chain through it to create a bucket with a hole in it. Reduced my speed and the Hydrovane can now keep up holding the stern to the wind. It’s more windy than the last one. I’ve got sustained 35kts and higher gusts. IF I ever cross an ocean again a sea anchor will be top of the wish list.

Well, what can I say, I’m a vetran gale sailor in just less than a week. Wonder if this leg will have any good sailing in it at all? Look out for crap conditions in Blighty over the next few days, trust me, it aint gona be nice.

July 4, 2008 at 18:18 Comments (0)

Day 37 Additional

Currently sat facing NW with bare poles, dragging lines to slow me down in 30kts gusting gale force trying not to go anywhere.

Hey Ho, quite comfortable, going to have a glass of wine and wait this one out.


PS. Main Halyard is well off the mast ;o)

July 3, 2008 at 19:44 Comments (0)

Day 37

N46.53.89 W013.03.75
Wind F6 Heading 030T
What a difference a day makes,
(All together now)
24 little hours,
All the Sun and the Flowers,
Where there used to be rain.
Milage for yesturday was 106nm. Not bad but not great considering the wind was a good speed, just to gusty and to much swell to be usefull but last night was better and I kept a little headsail out till about 0330 when there was a really big squawl, I put it away again then and went down for another nap.
Then at 0530 I went up on deck for my check to discover that the wind had backed and died, I was heading almost north in less than 10kts.
So there’s my choice, calms or gales and nothing but a few hours good sailing inbetween. I had changed the fan belt by 0630 and was motor ‘sailing’, had a nice comfortable breakfast, emptied the bildges which had begun to start slopping dirty oily water over the cabin sole as the pumps to port and I was on the wrong tack and hadn’t tacked for three days! and boiled a kettle for a wash, I haven’t had one for 3 days either and my socks smelt like wet dogs. The batteries where getting a good charge too and by 0900 the wind had picked up to 10kts or so and, putting it on the beam as has become custom, I was able to sail at almost 4kts just east of north. There was still a good’ish swell from the last few days which knocked the wind out of the sails a few times but on the whole it was ok. 
Then at 1000 the wind died, swung through 180 deg and came back with a little more force than before, I was lovin it! right on the Beam 10-15kts making the best part of 6kts on a direct course, how marvelous. It’s been overcast and there a few squawlly showers so popped a reef in and furled a little headsail to cope with them but on the whole it’s been great, great sailing.
About 1200 I saw a herd? no, a Flock? no, no, no. A Gaggle then? yes, thats it, a Gaggle of Fishing boats, about a dozen all running this way and that, trawling their nets, I sailed right through them. It’s the only time a sail boat should give way to a powered vessal but it was no problem, was very funny to see so many all wandering about. Some got quite close and I could see the crews with fishing rods!?! over the back, clearly not content with what the nets could pick up.
Gotten a bit blowy this afternoon though, F6 now and I’ve moved off course a bit to make it easier on me and the boat, great sailing still but was all getting a bit leany over and I’m far to much of a gentleman to sail to windward, spills your G&T.
Had a ‘Dub’ day today, Jackie Mittoo, King Dubby and the like, I’m down wid de Rydim my brother, stop your foolishness!
July 3, 2008 at 18:14 Comments (0)

Day 36

N45.45.95 W015.01.76
Heading 060T
I can’t tell you what the wind speed has been today, it’s all over, veering, backing, up and down. I can do nothing right. I didn’t manage the headsail last night and just carried on with 3 reefs in the main.
This morning about 0600 I tried a little headsail but the seas were still big and every time I scewed down the back of a wave it knocked the wind out of it and the whole rig shuddered. Then there are the squawls, you can do nothing but sit them out with shardes of icey rain coming into the cockpit.
Later I tried again, things are moderating slowly, I got the 2nd reef in, then the first and I had a bit of headsail out again but still the seas all over the place and so is the wind. I’ve got the directional stability of a 2 wheeled tricycle. No mater what I’ve done, within minutes it’s wrong. I stood it from about 11 till 3 and made a good 6kts, fighting for it all the way, but it’s bloody cold out there and in the end I got fed up and pulled it away again. It’s been in and out so many times and I can’t seem to get it right enough that I can leave it alone for any time.
Now, presently, I’ve tried again and touch wood things are holding ok with just a tiny bit out. We’ll see, the seas moderated a little more too which has helped though the occasional rogue is still coming hard over the beam and getting everything very wet.
I did think earlier that this is when you really want a proper suite of sails instead of one big rolled up one. At least then I could set the storm or working jib and it would hopefully deal a little better than the Headsail which when you only have a little out, you can’t get any shape to or get it in tight.
I suppose under normal circumstances though you wouldn’t go sailing in this, so for 99% of the time a roller headsail is fine. In fact, this is the only day in 36 sailing days when I’ve had wind that was below gale force and still not been able to use it properly.
Couple of decent sailing weather days wouldn’t go a miss. Maybe tomorrow when this sea has settled a bit and with luck the wind has become more steady, though you know the way it goes, it’ll be just that only it’ll have veered to the NE.
July 2, 2008 at 19:02 Comments (0)

Day 35

N44.57.25 W017.40.87

Wind F4-7 Heading 40-80 deg.

Continued running with just the main with 3 reefs in all day. The sea was
massive, I can’t describe it, you get to the top of one of these watery
mountains and look back down the valley toward the horizon and it quite
takes your breath away.

It’s big in a huge swell kind of way, not steep and bosterous like it was
yesturday though you do get the odd breaker over the side, one of which
broke my dinner and threw me across the cabin. It’s been squawlly too and
very gusty. Still managing to make 5kts though but a little more easterly to
keep the sea on the port quarter.

In the earlier hours the sea was very mixed up and occasionally the boat
would flip round the the sail would be backed and then I had to rush out on
deck and pull the helm hard over to help the Hydrovane get it all back.

At 10am I checked the milage for the past 24hrs, 139nm, two miles off my
best so far, did make me chuckle cause 6hrs of that I had no sails up!

Things are moderating a little now, so I hope I can get some headsail out
and turn a bit more beam onto the wind and resume a direct course. I’m
tierd, was up at 0430 again having not got my first nap in till 0000. I
don’t know what I’m getting but it’s not a lot. The gusty conditions mean
I’m over or under canvased and making a heading anywhere between 40 and
90deg and the Hydrovane can’t cope with that so I can’t leave it alone to
long. But I got a couple of naps in today, so not feeling really all that
bad. I’ve had a ‘Funk’ day today too, so been groovin on out to the Jazz

It’s cold aswell and the squawly rain is like ice. But I have to say, I’m
happy enough, I know it’s about as far from ideal sailing as you can get but
at least I’m finally making progress, at least I’m sailing, not just
flopping along with the motor running scrapping 80miles a day. Thats not to
say I like gales, god knows if I never encountered one again I’d be pleased
as punch, but I am getting there and I’m about as far removed from Bored as
you could possibly imagine.

Just heard half a conversation on the VHF emergency channel, ‘Rescue 51’ was
calling ‘OmegaPrincess’ from what I could gather, rescue 51 was a helicopter
(thats why I could hear it) and omega princess was some kind of comercial
ship (I couldn’t hear that). They had come to the aid of a solo yachtsman
who was, for what ever reason, abandoning ship. Can’t say for certain but it
felt like they where north of here and the radio operator of rescue 51 was
slightly Scotish, thought I doubt it could be to far away even if they where
in a chopper. Hope they’ve skuttled his yacht, don’t want to come across
that in the next day or two. Seems Omega got there first so they took the
skipper on board and Rescue 51 stood 60nm off till all was well, then
‘returning to base’ very cool though I’d like to know what the problem was
as the ‘survivor’ was quite OK apparently.

Thats me, rockin and a rollin but ok.


July 1, 2008 at 18:47 Comments (0)

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