Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Drascombe Association: Chichester Rally, 27-30 May, 2016

Sunset over Chichester Marina
This was my first visit to Chichester Harbour and its environs; a Drascombe Association rally seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  It really is a splendid Drascombing location and it's not difficult to see why south coast Drascombers enjoy this location as much as they do.  We were based in Chichester Marina which provides lock-based access to the harbour.  
The marina is extremely well-appointed and, perhaps unsurprisingly, wasn't cheap, although we apparently had a special weekend deal - three days for £60, berthing, slipway use and car/trailer parking.

Winds for the three days were northerly, the weather being truly exceptional for the first two days of sailing.

The following video gives a flavour of the event.

Most boats arrived either by land or by sea on Friday 27th May.  Work commitments and bank holiday traffic delayed my arrival until very late that same evening, so I slept aboard with the boat on the trailer and launched at 7am the following morning.
Slipway at Chichester Marina

The rally involved two days of sailing around the harbour with visits to East Head on Saturday and the Thorney Channel on Sunday; at this point, the rally ended with some leaving, others planning an extended cruise as a postlude.  Despite a forecast of increasing winds, I tagged on a solo trip taking in the Emsworth Channel on the Monday morning before recovering the boat and trailing home.

Overall track 46.9nm: yellow (Saturday) 15.7nm; red (Sunday) 14.5nm; green (Monday) 16.7nm.
This was a first opportunity to try out my new chart plotter, the Garmin Echomap 45dv.  It also has the potential for attaching a transducer and this may well interest me in due course since my current echo sounder has broken down.  However, as can be seen from the tracks, the chart plotter is working well and has lots of interesting functions with which I should spend time gaining familiarity.

Saturday 28th May - trip to East Head
Unusually, I had the pleasure of company in the guise of the Chair of the Association, over from Ireland without boat.  We sailed downstream for a planned lunchtime anchorage off East Head before my crew jumped ship to join the ex-Chair in his boat.

I beat a passage upstream as far as Del Quay before retiring to the marina.
Dabber action!

Saturday track: 15.7nm
Sunday 29th May - trip up the Thorney Channel
Today's trip involved a trip up the Thorney Channel aiming, amongst other things, to catch a glimpse of seals.  In the event, we saw one, although of these wonderful creatures are such a common sight in my usual sailing areas, I wasn't disappointed.  Again, I had company for the trip to Thorney and back.  
Lunchtime anchorage off the Thorney Channel
Having parted company with crew mid-afternoon, I anchored off Copperas Point for a while, watching boats on their way up to Dell Quay before setting off myself under full (albeit not particularly well-set) main for another beat past Dell Quay, retiring once again to the marina for supper.
Coasters Blue Peter and Nonsuch rafting up off Copperas Point
Amongst other entertainment in the evening, I admired nesting birds using the boom ends of the two neighbouring boats to my own - footage of this can be seen in the video above.  I wonder how often those boats are used...

Sunday track: 14.5nm
Monday 30th May - solo trip up the Emsworth Channel
Freshening winds were forecast today so, with the rally now officially ended, I departed early aiming to take in the western wing of the harbour - the Emsworth Channel.
I sailed with the ebb along to East Head before rounding the corner just off Hayling Island.  Now pointing into the wind and against the ebbing tide, I resorted to motor for the long northerly trip up to Emsworth.  Once there, I thought about stopping at the visitor jetty but decided the strengthening breeze merited an early return to base - there would be plenty to do, hauling out the boat ahead of a three and a half hour road trip back home.
Waiting for 'lock-in' at Chichester Marina
Monday track: 16.7nm

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Mizzen mast repairs

Five years ago I lengthened the mizzen mast in order to accommodate a mizzen boom.  The account was in this blog entry. The increased height is necessary for the boom to achieve clearance over the outboard motor in its raised position.  The solution at the time was to place a hollow stainless steel tube over the top of the mast and insert a short length of wood (taken from the wooden spindle of a disused window blind).  This, six screws and a lick of exterior brown paint has served the purpose since then.  It was only ever intended as a stop-gap until I had both the time and, probably more pertinently, plucked up the courage to do something more permanent.
It's quite remarkable that it lasted as long as it did but recently it had become noticeably loose and, in removing the screws, the rotting wood explained why.

So, it has become necessary to achieve a more permanent solution, namely to attempt to scarf a piece of timber on the top end of the mast.  I've heard this explained many times but never before attempted it.  It so happens that an off-cut of the piece of spruce from which I originally whittled the most recent mizzen boom was a reasonably good length.  It wasn't quite long enough for the recommended 1:7 scarf joint, more like 1:6, but I've decided I can live with that - if it subsequently needs redoing, that's fine!  I can think of at least one further reason for inserting a through bolt other than for strengthening the joint - more of all of that in due course.

First steps were to mark out and saw the timber.

I then used epoxy to glue the two pieces together.

The epoxy glue dried overnight.  The following evening, using an electric plane and some sand paper, it rather neatly reduced to this:

Next job is to apply some varnish.  I'm not one for achieving superior finishes, but hope that whatever I apply will do a reasonable job.  I've used Ronseal exterior varnish, on and off, for a while and found a small tin just for the job.  It's clear varnish so it should make an interesting feature of the woodwork.  This is after one coat; several more to go during evenings this week.