2018 season summary

22 nights on board. Not bad considering I was away for the whole of July. First skinny dip in May and last in September, just. More swimming in between than I have managed in any other year. Managed to get my all over tan deep enough that I didn’t need any sunscreen for the last half of summer. My kind of sailing season.

273nm sailed. Not a huge distance, but I don’t really like long distance sailing. It is either frightening or boring. There was at least one day where I stayed on the anchorage for two nights without sailing anywhere. I rowed, swam, ran on the beach and just lazed in the glorious sun and heat we had this year.

Damage to boat? Until the last day, just a crack in the rear cockpit deck. On the last night before I hauled her out, storm Bronagh managed to rip the bow roller off on her mooring. So that is a repair I wasn’t planning.

She is back in her shed now and I am already into repairs and general titivating.

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Working on Nellie Grace

I hope to bring Daisy G back home the end of this week. Until then, I’m using the available space to do some essential repairs to Nellie Grace. The prime one is a new name board. Every boat needs a decent name board. I need a new one as I have reduced the height of the transom and cut the sculling notches into the transom itself. I originally added the riser to the transom because I had forgotten to cut the notches and didn’t think I would actually do much sculling anyway. This year I sculled all the time, so proper notches seemed to be in order. Cutting off the riser also cut off most of her name, but it allows the dinghy to fit more securely on the roof rack.

Packing up for the winter

Down to poole for the day to pack up Daisy G ready for lift out, probably late next week. She looks a bit bereft without her masts, sails and sprayhood. I’ve emptied out as much as possible, to make her light for talking. I’ve pumped out the ballast tank, so she floats high, but I suspect it will refill over the next week, as the self baler used to fill it is not a watertight fit. Engine left in for a service.

She looks a bit forlorn on her mooring.

Winter work starting already

Daisy G won’t come home for a week or two, but I have started winter work on her tender, Nellie Grace. I’ve replaced the aluminum tube axle in the stern wheel, which was unsurprisingly fairly bent. Her bottom has been well scuffed from being dragged over many a beach. The false keel had taken a hammering, but that’s what is there for. I am going to add an additional metal strap over the aft end of it. I have glued two sacrificial panels over the most scuffed areas. These need to be sanded and fared in a bit more. I will reinforce the back corners, which grind on the ground when I load her onto the roof rack. I have a few more modifications to make before I repaint her. And my new workshop Woodburning stove works a treat.

Back down to Poole for two grabbed nights

I thought I had finished sailing for this year,  with  a washed out Bank Holiday, but it brightened up and I grabbed a quick couple of extra nights. Some good weather and some excellent weather to finish. Sunshine and a good, but not too strong breeze, so I sailed all the time. There was a long high tide stand, so I took the opportunity to motor very carefully around Round Island, and then to sail very carefully between between Furzey and Green Islands, two routes I have not done with Daisy G. Just touched the bottom each time, but got through OK.

I’ve been navigating, using Navionics on my mobile phone, which works surprisingly well. I don’t really need it in the harbour, but good to know I have it.

Lots oF wildlife. I watched a cormorant struggling to swallow a large eel. The cormorant won, but the eel didn’t give up, even long after it was swallowed… Swan’s begging for food each morning.

It’s getting chillier, although warm in the sun. I skinny dipped around the boat on two days, but the third day the water was just too cold for my likes. I don’t think I’ll be back in the sea until next summer. Evening meals in the cabin  now.

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I took a bag of stuff back from the boat, spare cooker fuel, books, lamp oil and what not. Must have weighed 10kg. I plan to strip the boat right out before I tow her home. I’m sure I usually overload the trailer. But that will be in a couple of weeks.

Three nights on board, running up to a poor bank holiday

The nights are drawing in and they are certainly getting chillier. Just had three nights on board running up to the Bank Holiday weekend, and I definitely needed my sleeping bag pulled round my ears, mummy style. For the last few months I have not even zipped it up. Anchored each night off Shipstal point to get some shelter from the fairly strong winds, although they largely die down at night.

One morning I had a feathered friend, who stayed around me, hoping for food, for over an hour. It took me quite a while to clean the dinghy out afterwards… I took the opportunity of a willing model to do some drawings.

There are many birds around Shipstal, as well as at least four seals. This brings in the birders boat, which I might go on one day myself.

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I managed my pre-breakfast skinny dip each morning, but it’s getting colder. I like to swim right round both boats, but on the third day I only got a couple of strokes out and decided it was REALLY cold, and climbed rapidly back out..

Spent a long time one day on Brownsea Island. First around the site of the old pottery, where the beach is just made up of ceramic waste (one point is actually called shard point for good reason) and where the Scout centre is. Baden Powell held the very first Scout camp on Brownsea Island in 1907 I think.

I went round the nature reserve, which is well managed, and saw quite a few interesting birds, godwits, avocets, spoonbills and many others. Practiced my drawing via my binoculars.

The evenings are darker, so I have retreated indoors, which is comfortable and feels cosy with the oil lamp lit for the first time this year. Good indian food is easy to cook on a single burner stove.

I had thought this might be my last cruise before packing up, but the forecast looks good, so I am going back to Daisy G tomorrow.

Two days afloat, middling weather

Seems to be getting on in the season. Two reasonable days afloat, but not that warm. No temptation for skinny dipping if the sun doesn’t cooperate. But the new milk cooler seems to work. Certainly after 36 hours, the milk was still partially frozen and the beer was nicely chilled

Wear and tear starting to show. There was a thin spray of petrol when I squeezed the primer bulb. Not good. A wrapping of self amalgamating tape and electrical tape kept it together whilst I sailed into the marina to go and buy a new fuel line.

Then I noticed there was a crack in the rear deck, right at the stern. This is the third time the deck has cracked in this area. 6mm plywood is just not strong enough here.

I’ve bodged it with a bit of epoxy repair putty, to keep the rain out, but I will have to cut it out and patch it over the winter.