Friday, 24 July 2015

End of term shake-down cruise, 21-23 July

It's always good to begin a school holiday with a quick cruise.  As soon as the kids had cleared the school gates, the coast beckoned. Three hours later, provisions purchased, I was casting off from the mooring.
Tuesday 21st July
Conditions were SW but rather gusty, and I wasn't brave enough to venture out to sea, content with a few legs up and down the Orwell. Eventually, I retired to the mooring for evening victuals and a reasonably early night.
A disorganised cockpit!
Wednesday 22nd July
Surfacing at dawn, I sailed with the ebb downstream to a choppy Harwich Harbour.  Cutting the corner round Landguard point, I sailed up the coast.
Morning sunshine off Felixstowe
 At Woodbridge Haven I negotiated the entrance without resorting to the engine - possibly a first for me, but then conditions were perfect!  This video was taken once safely past the various shoals.

I then spent the day sailing up to Woodbridge and then returning to an anchorage just south of Falkenham Creek.  As the day progressed, conditions became more gusty, my newly acquired wind speed instrument featuring several F6 blasts as the lugger Moondance graced its way downstream to its mooring at Felixstowe Ferry.  The skipper is braver than I; these sorts of winds don't agree with me - I'd rather watch!
Lugger Moondance on the Deben, under full sail, heeling over during F6 gusts.  Interestingly, nearly every other boat was well reefed.
Later that evening, post-supper, conditions abated slightly, and I set off downstream, bound for a late evening jaunt to the Walton Backwaters.  This leg was the only part of the trip where I made serious use of the engine.  As I approach the shipping channel off Harwich, three ships decided to depart and one container ship arrived.  It is quite incredible how quickly the container ship was travelling.  Adopting the cautious approach, I hove to whilst these ships passed before proceeding, arriving in Hamford Water by 10pm.
Dusk off Harwich, bound for the Walton Backwaters
Wednesday, July 23rd
I didn't trouble the engine on the return to Harwich.  Winds were very light SW at first, predictably becoming stronger as I cleared the breakwater into Harwich Harbour.  Several ships were in port but none were in motion and the sail into the Orwell passed by without incident and under full sail.
Huntingford helm impeder complete
Here's what the local birds managed in 24 hours of my absence...

21st July, 6.0nm
22nd July, 36.4nm
23rd July, 10nm

Total track: 52.4nm

Saturday, 18 July 2015

18th July on the Orwell

Today was just one of those free days for doing nothing other than messing about in boats.  Winds were on the fickle end of F4, at some points diminishing to nothing, then with F5 gusts coming over.  Fortunately, conditions were clear enough to see what was on the way.  Most boats were sailing with some sort of reef in although for the most part, full sail would have been absolutely fine.  

I sailed down the Orwell against the flood to anchor off Trimley Marshes for lunch, and then sailed back - against the ebb (!) - hugging the northerly shore at points while the mainly westerly wind fiddled around - there were some rather jagged tacks on the track!  Finally reaching the top Orwell Bridge, I turned and, for once, enjoyed the ebb back to the mooring.


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Huntingford helm impeder implemented

Back in January, I posted about the Huntingford helm impeder, indicating the intention to try the same on Daisy II.  Today, I put together nearly all pieces of the jigsaw.  The only piece which is missing is the final cleat on the side of the tiller handle, currently somewhere in the post.  Hence, I took a couple of turns in the rope around the tiller for today.  However, the good news is that it works, and works rather well!  I need to experiment with a few of the lengths but this looks like the shape of things for the remainder of the year at least!

Huntingford helm impeder
An alternative view
The other moment of excitement on today's trip was an unplanned encounter with a yacht which had trapped its spade anchor under one of its bilge keels.  I was called over and, after a bit of messing about, managed to help them slide the anchor free.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Sunday Seahopper action at Rutland Water

Seahopper action or inaction: there being little wind, oars were often necessary
 The news on the engine front is that there will probably be a new outboard by next weekend.  Yesterday, I purchased a brand new Quicksilver petrol tank with matching fuel line and spent a good hour or so running the engine on the back of Daisy II on her mooring.  The good news is that it works and can sound quite engine-like in so far as any single cylinder engine does.  However, the problems described in the previous post persist which suggests that there is something internal - I was wondering whether or not the fuel pump needed some attention.  So, I'm not messing about and will buy a new one which raises a question about what to do with the old one: perhaps they'll take it in part-X, or I may just keep it for a while and practise taking it apart.  One never knows, I may manage to mend it...

So, the continuation of those irritating issues and the promise of a band of daytime rain on the east coast kept me inland and prompted a much delayed maiden voyage in my yet to be named Nifty Fifty Seahopper.  A Sunday morning trip to Rutland Water was the outcome.
The slipway at the Watersports Centre, Whitwell Creek 
The wind did eventually feature and, at one point, even gave me cause to sit on the side bench as the hull began to heel. However, for the most part, the best place to sit was on the centre thwart as the vespers of wind allowed periodic momentum.  

Impressions?  She is a very pleasant little boat and it is great to indulge in some proper small dinghy sailing for a change.  When the wind allowed, she moved very gracefully and was pleasingly agile - as the brand name infers, 'nifty'!  When oars were called for, rowing was almost effortless, which makes me think that she could make a very handy tender on extended cruises with Daisy II.  Before that can happen, however, a few issues need sorting.  There is a leakage problem around the centre case - mostly corrected today by tightening a couple of wood screws.  Splintering ends of one or two plywood panels also need some attention.  Otherwise, this was thoroughly rewarding and augurs well for further planned activities.

I was too busy working on a routine during the sailing to catch any action shots, but did manage this small bit of video during one of the many becalmed moments.
At some point, of course, she needs a name.  I did have one thought but this would blow my secretive internet identity, so I'm going to have to work on alternatives.  Maybe she will end up being a he...