There was a really nasty summer storm over the weekend. Even the ferries from Poole were cancelled for the day. I went down for a quick overnight visit to check Daisy Grace for damage, after the nasty bow rip she suffered last year in such a storm. She was basically fine, but the edge of her jib had come unstitched, where I hadn’t furled it fully. Took it to Quay Sails in Poole, who unrolled it all and we found the entire UV strip was perished and cracked. It’s done ten years as a sacrificial strip, so I can’t complain. It should be repaired by next week. I sailed a bit with just the mainsail, which is OK down wind, but not very steady. Had one night at Shipstal, which was quiet. Manage one lap round the boat in the morning, but it was getting cold, so it may be the last swim of the year. Morning sail by from BC20 no. 6 and the beautiful little Margerite. Both skippered by Jeremys.
Summer is passing and I just managed to grab a couple of nights on Daisy Grace in between thunder storms and things I need to do. Yesterday was sunny but very windy. Fine if you are sailing, but tiresome if you can’t find a sheltered anchorage. You just want the wind to stop. I sailed with a double reef and no mizzen and still hit 5kts. I only managed a quick dip late in the evening, when the wind finally abated, but it was a bit chilly, drying off in the gloaming.
But this morning was still and warm, with occasional blasts of warm sun. I tidied up, had breakfast and then a much warmer swim, but just one circuit of the boat. The current was building as the tide ebbed, and it really is very strong. Not a time to linger in the water. I went forward to get in all the rope quietening ties that I put on overnight (tapping halyards drive me insane) and take down the anchor ball. It was absolutely still and the was no other boat around, all having left during the night. I just stood in front of the mast for quarter of an hour, drying off in the sun and watching whatever passed in front of me as the boat turned round her anchor. Cormorants swimming and diving. Gulls settling and then flying off. A small cruise ship tying up at the quay across the harbour. I hoped to see a seal, but they tend to come around here at low tide, not high. I presume the fish are more crammed together and easier to catch when there is less water. Then I snapped out of it, got dressed and sailed for home.
It takes two and a half hours to get from home to my boat, but it’s worth it.
It wasn’t really down at Poole, as it was cloudy at mid day. But the weather has been fabulous.
Panorama anchored off Furzey Island
Just a couple of days drifting from anchorage to anchorage. The water is so warm that I am basically just trying out different swimming locations. Shipstal Point water is the warmest for some reason, but the currents can be very strong. Best to swim at the top of a tidal stand. Off Furzey island is a bit cooler, but the water is clear, the bottom is firm to walk on and the beach is sandy. My favourite spot this year. I’ve been back to it several times. You can tell it’s been a hot summer. More and more people are swimming from their boats and fewer and fewer are wearing swim suits. Skinny dippers of the world unite!
The sunsets are spectacular, but sadly getting earlier and earlier. Summers seem so much shorter these days.
Sunset at Shipstal Point
This morning was a bit grey, so I motored up to Wareham. Quite a tedious trip as you have to take it very slowly up the river. But it’s a pretty town.
Tied up at Wareham Quay.
I had lunch and ice cream, motored down the river and then sailed down wind all the way down the Wareham channel to anchor off Furzey for a final swim before heading for home.
I have been very remiss in keeping this blog up to date. I have been sailing, but I have also been away for much of this summer so far. I haven’t been right out of the Harbour this year at all, finding that cruising and anchoring between Studland and Shipstal gives me all the pleasure I want. The sailing is good, but I am also doing a lot of bird photography as a basis for drawings and much more swimming then before. The water is warm and I am becoming an aficionado of open water skinny dipping, both in the sea and in the Studland lakes.
Putting a few sea miles in at last, although a lot of them were aimed at finding a bit of shelter from what was quite a chilly wind. But it was sunny, and the second night I managed a flat calm off Shipstal Point, which was delightful. Not a movement in the air or water, and wonderful stars.
I’ve been trying to remember to bring my camera with me when sailing. The bird life is wonderful, and the 30x zoom on my little camera can really pull them in. The image stabilisation on modern cameras is a God send on a boat. I am turning this little egret into a coloured pencil drawing as I write. Hope to get some more subjects.
I launched Daisy Grace in mid April, but could do no more than that as the outboard wouldn’t start. Carburettor seized up, so I had to leave it with engineers. Everyday got afloat purposely during the short sunny spell in early May. But it was chilly when the rest wind blew straight off the sea. No skinny shipping yet, the water is freezing, but it was lovely to dial up the sun for a couple of days.
First damage of the season was my own fault. I sailed straight onto a mud bank with the engine locked down. When it tried to kick up it cracked the outboard bracket. No succulent damage to the hull, but I had to motor gently back to the mains for running repairs. Two steel brackets screwed to the corners make it quite firm. I think these will last for the season but a permanent fix will be needed eventually. These brackets will rust.
I spent most of the time around Brownsea Island as it offered the best shelter from the cold wind. Fascinating to see how much pottery waste there is all along the beaches and in the water. It’s a lovely Island.
Sails bent to their various spars. All look in good order, although the jib has had a twist in it for years, from being furled around the fore stay. These are all loaded on the boat and ready for launch. I just need to check the trailer and get the lighting board to work…