Short sunny sail.

Looked like we would have one good day for sailing, so went down to Poole to use it. Spent the morning in Poole itself, going to the museum, which is excellent, and having fresh mussels for lunch at the Poole Arms on the Quayside, which is also excellent. There are interesting ancient boat artifacts in the museum, along with some exquisite pottery.

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Sailed up into Bramblebush bay, which had the best of the sun, but it was very windy, so in the evening I motored straight into the wind to Shipstal Point, for a sheltered, quiet night. Surprisingly few boat’s there, only three, considering it is hot and the school holidays.

Flat calm in the morning, so I motored slowly back to Bramblebush, standing all the way for a better view. Spring Tides and very fast currents, so you do have to watch your way. I love spring Tides. The Harbour looks beautiful when it is full to the brim, and fascinating when it nearly empties at low tide. I deliberately grounded for the morning. I am learning where the hard ground is, for drying out. If you dry out on soft mud, you can’t get out of the boat…

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I hiked over the Heath to the beach and put in my best beach run to date, so feeling quite smug. Far more pleasant than running on a treadmill in the gym.

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Spent the afternoon working up at tan whilst I waited for the water to come back. It comes in at amazing speed. It was only about 15 minutes from the water reaching the boat until I was afloat. Strong winds set in, so I sailed off double reefed. I wasn’t sure how well she would tack like that, but she did perfectly. I battled half way up Blood Alley between Brownsea and Furzey island, but had to give in eventually as I had the tide against me. When I lost the wind between the islands, I didn’t have a hope, just going back and forth on the same line. Started the engine and motored back to the marina.

Building the boom gallows

Someone asked me recently how I built the boom gallows on Daisy Grace. All of the photos on my old blog had disappeared when Picasa went pear shaped. I have found them again on an obscure album stored I don’t know where. I have just inserted them below without captions as they are fairly self explanatory.

Hot weather and up to Wareham

Another couple of days down on Daisy G and still very hot, despite the forecast not being that great. Anchored at Shipstal both nights as it was quite windy, and that had the best shelter. I’m beginning to perfect my sailing off the anchor, managing not to prang the other boats around. All based on getting the mizzen set up to swinging the boat around, across the wind. So far, so good. Also doing much more single oared sculling in my dinghy. It is my preferred mode for short distances. No need for rowlocks and you can watch where you are going.¬†1020739

Sailed/motored up to Wareham for the first time for several years. Always interesting. Meet a stream powered side wheeled paddle steamer on the way up, which took up most of the river width.

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Sailing back down the Wareham Channel, I had a strong tail wind. Rather than risking turning up wind to raise the main, which results in inevitable grounding, I just unfurled the jib. Hit nearly five knots! The wind got very strong and I had to pull into the shelter of a bank of trees before I could finally raise the reefed main.

Next day went ashore at Brownsea Island again, sculling through the shallows. Then anchored for lunch up near Redhorn Quay. The wind back to the marina blew up again, touching F5. I put in a double reef, which I rarely do, and it was delightful. Plenty of speed and very comfortable. Thunder storms now predicted, but I hope the hot weather returns next week. I’m getting very brown…

 

Hot summer sailing continues

DSC_0449Back down to Poole for three nights on board for more glorious summer weather. I’ve never known so much sun and just pure heat. I love it, though others complain. First night anchored off Redhorn Quay. Spent ages trying to get everything quiet. The burgee flutters. The shrouds hum in the slightest wind. The halyards tap against the mast. It drives you mad in the middle of the night. I stopped everything except a mysterious clunking during the night. In the morning I discovered the dinghy’s painter was hooked under the boarding ladder, and it kept bouncing it up and down.

The next two nights I anchored off Shipstal Point, one night in company of a lovely Bayraider Expedition owned by Charles and Anne, I think. Hope I got the names right. They had two children on board who slept in the cabin. The adults slept under a cockpit tent. I meant to watch how easy it was to erect, but I was distracted for a moment by another boat arriving. When I looked back, it was up, so must have been easy.

Shipstal is sheltered and those two nights are blissfully silent. Nightjars churring all night and the black headed gulls waking everyone at sunrise with a most discordant dawn chorus.

Some good sailing, but a lot of no wind at all. I have been practicing sculling with a single oar over the stern of the dinghy, and I am getting reasonably competent at it. It is much slower than rowing, but good for manoeuvring between other boats, and you can look where you are going.

One useful discovery was an additional function for the boom gallows. I can haul the boom right up, so that I can stand up in the cockpit. However, the boom bangs about in the swell. I found that if I split the main sheet either side of the gallows and pull it tight it holds everything still.

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Peace at anchor, plus room to move around. Then I could concentrate on soaking up sunshine and building up my vitamin D levels.

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I spent some time on Brownsea Island, sampling National Trust sausage rolls and dodging the hordes of Brownies and Rainbows, who were there to learn about Baden-Powell. There were hundreds of them. Lining up to have their photos taken with B-p’s statue, although they seemed very vague as to who he was.

When anchored in shallow water, I got out to scrape the bottom of the boat with a cheap garden hoe, which works brilliantly. I think my anti foul is past its best, so weed and barnacles are growing on it. Hoping for more good weather for the rest of the summer.

Heat wave continues. more anchoring than sailing

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Ready to leave the mooring on another blistering hot few days. It has been hitting over 30C for several days, with wonderful strong sun. I set out for two nights, which gives me one full day without the long drive to and from Poole. Not a great amount of sailing as there hasn’t been much wind. I headed out into Studland Bay twice, but spent most of the time anchored in the shallows off Redhorn Quay. Generally had it to myself, but one deep keeled yacht mistook my channel for the main through route. He ended up stuck in the mud at the height of the tide. As it went out he heeled over by 30 degrees or more. Around 11:00 at night the Swanage Lifeboat came out to see if he was OK, but they couldn’t get close enough to do anything for him. I was on the bottom myself, but I had planned to be. He probably won’t be able to float off for two or three days. Even a big fishing boat tried to pull him off but couldn’t.

The days were so hot that the water became really pleasant for swimming.

On Monday morning it was so warm at 7:00am that I got out my old Lidl’s snorkel and fins and went snorkeling off the boat. Its not the Great Barrier Reef. Not much to see apart from mud and crabs, but it was fun to do.

For proper exercise, I went for a run along the seaward beach, which is pure sand for miles. Running through the edge of the water is just great fun.

Everyone seemed to be enjoying the sun and heat…

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We are away now for a few days, so I hope the weather either holds or returns for when I can get back

More summer sailing

My mast is fixed. Swallow Yachts made an excellent job of it in just a week, even though it meant two round trips to Cardigan to deliver and collect it. They have tidied up the whole base of the mast, including filleting in the house neck strip I bodged on some years ago.

Then I sailed round the Harbour and anchored off Jerry’s Point in a flat calm for the night. Listened to nightjars churring, which is a strange sound in the dark.

It was another pair of glorious days, and I spent much of them rowing, walking and even swimming. The main beaches facing the sea are beautiful and fairly busy. The small beaches facing into the Harbour are absolutely stunning, and you can usually have them to yourself. You also have a fascinating view up to all the shipping and boasts up at the Harbour entrance.

The best swimming place by far is the lake in the middle of Studland peninsula called the little sea. There must be over a thousand holiday makers within quarter of a mile of it, but I have never seen anyone else there. There are still places you can get to yourself.

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The towel in the tree is essential for finding your way back.

More hot weather forecast so I hope to get down again soon.

Hot weather sailing at last 

Events and weather have prevented any sailing so far, after launch in April, but this week has been perfect. Had three nights on board, with the third being a bit stressful, with thunder and lightning roaring outside. I feel remarkably exposed, sitting in a little, anchored boat, with a tall, carbon fibre mast, in the middle of a thunderstorm, but I survived. 

I didn’t sail far, anchoring each night off the Studland Peninsula and hiking over that extraordinary heathland landscape. I heard cuckoos and nightjars, which made it feel high summer. In some boggy spots there were clumps of carnivorous sundew plants, which I have never noticed before. 

It was hot enough to swim at last and I went in several times, from little beaches in the Harbour… 

And glorious beaches on the seaward side… 


And even in the lake in the middle of the peninsula, which is one of my favourite spots. 


Hottest day of the year and I had most places to myself. I suppose that’s because there are no car parks anywhere near. 

The major downside of the trip was suddenly noticing a foot long split in the base of my mast.


I must have noticed it almost as it happened, as it is right in my life of sight and very obvious. Clearly caused by the wooden mast plug getting wet and swelling. I lowered all sail as soon as I saw it and thinking about it added somewhat to the disturbed, thundery night. 

I phoned Swallow Yachts and they can fix it. Fortunately my mast is still in two sections, as I never got round to gluing them together, so I can get the base section to Swallow Yachts on my roof rack. Took an hour to get it all down and stowed, back in the marina. I have had to leave Nellie Grace, my dinghy, behind as I couldn’t get her and the mast on the roof rack. Hope she is OK. Daisy G looks a little sad without her mast up. Long round trip to Cardigan tomorrow.