Reports for 2013
Chapter 2 (this book is being written back to front)
(Rugby Alert (if it helps)
NB: At this point it must be pointed out that if it is required LE will be in port in time for any England rugby match. I cannot remember any time in the last 6 years when the crew has missed a 6 Nations or World Cup match. (This announcement is for information purposes only.)
The rest of January passed without much incident. The storm clouds were gathering however and not just the weather kind. LE has been injured. If she was a footballer you might say that she has sustained a metatarsal fracture. In the opinion of the boat doctor she will be able to limp through the coming season with little or no impairment of performance. So in light of that prognosis we have carried on with repairs and replacements to get ready for the fray.
Jeremy spent a happy hour going up and down the mast to replace the wind vane. Chris and I weren’t as happy as we were the ones who winched him up and down, twice! Anyway the new wind vane appeared to be saying the same thing as the one next door and all the others on the pontoon when we left the boat yard. We managed to pump the bilges nearly dry and we think the work which was done on the stern gland was worth doing. The floor has been repaired by the table so no falling into the now dry bilges.
We did cancel our trip out in February due to the forecast of snow. I will not say I am sorry, I don’t mind being cold and I don’t mind being wet and I love a snow fall as much as the next colonial – but (and it is a big ‘but’) I have absolutely no desire to be cold and wet and building snowmen on a boat with no heating. I got to watch the rugby in the warmth of my sitting room, no snow in sight, oh and there wasn’t any on the outside either. The food will keep until the next trip.
We are having the compass swung, and the life raft serviced.
OMG it is only ‘January the tiny’ and we have been out on the boat! For a whole day!! New bloke - Paul - joined us. Anyone who is mad enough to sail in January without qualifying his acceptance in terms of temperature and precipitation is good enough for me. MEANS - I might not have to make up numbers in the cold. It wasn’t cold, just grey. LE found her way to the ISC,
(No matter what out of season work is done no one has yet found the magnet in the bow that is programmed to find the magnet on the ISC pontoon and remove it).
Over the last 2 months LE has been out of the water, had her bottom wiped and painted, had the main switch panel refurbished – new switches, new dehumidifier, new stern gland and the main sail fixed. As Jeremy has taken on the job of chief cook and mooring manager we thought that it would be good practice to make sure that she still floated before the season began in earnest. That would be late April at the earliest. Can’t be too careful. The engine wouldn’t start on the engine battery but did on the domestic ones.
The day started out with drizzle. Drizzle before we got to the end of the drive. The dogs were in their sheds. The horses were in the stables. Why was I in the car going to the seaside at 07:30? This is when we have the conversation about the great British sailing nation. Why do they put the boats in plastic for the winter, where has the intrepid nature gone, how did the English manage to enslave the world, did you remember to bring milk for the tea, etc etc.
We motored to Cowes, had a drink, sailed back. Not a lot more to say. The alternator obviously wasn’t working. So the trip did have a purpose after all. Dave the Gas said he would look at it before anyone else went out. (He did in fact find a loose wire in the week and put it right.) Had we taken the diesel engine maintenance course which we had booked to go on back in the year the England won the Rugby World cup we might have found that loose wire without asking Dave. The chap who was running it would not put back the start time by a few hours so that we could watch the game nor would he allow us to bring a portable TV into his classroom so we crabbed out and we have never rebooked with anyone.
April 2013 we went to Poole and Tom Cunliffe came to visit!
First trip out after our return to Haslar. If anyone out there remembers years ago before the consortium was even a gleam in Richard’s eye we -Lados- ran Lady Emma from Haslar in Portsmouth. It was easy out and easy in and super facilities and just to remind you how long ago it was Safeway was the supermarket of choice. Now it’s Morrisons.
We all really liked Haslar but Richard thought it was too far to walk from the car park and Hughie thought it was too far to drive from Somerset . So when a few blokes met in a pub and one said it would be better and cheaper at Ocean Quay off the boat went. It was not better, the bloke went broke, closer to the car park and Somerset I agree, but no facilities and not really much cheaper, and no shops within walking distance to get the things that have been forgotten and from which to buy the Sunday papers.
Going back felt like coming home. There is no wasted time going up and down Southampton Water and if you are on a weekend and you fancy day trips rather than overnighters you have the option of staying on your own mooring without the added expense of paying for another marina, and marinas are considerably more expensive than they were 12 years ago. Haslar saves at least 3 hours of unproductive slog up and down a fairly boring stretch of water which means you can stay out longer with the flappy bits up.
Enough of that. As the title says we went to Poole. It was uneventful in so far as the wind was right and the tide was right and it wasn’t too cold. Funny having to say that, this time of year could be too cold and on Sunday coming back it was too cold. We stopped in Cowes on the way passed. Having had to motor all the way back it was nice that the wind arrived about the same time we did and we had a nice sail back to Haslar after lunch.
We had three new people on board, Colin Jim and Steve. They may come again, well Steve is coming again this month, and Colin only lives across the water in Portsmouth. He doesn’t even need a car.
On Monday we lost the three above and gained three others. Tom Cunliffe joined us for a day of not so much instruction as information sharing. He was very fulsome in his praise of Lady Emma and the way she sailed even with 3 reefs in the main and a reef in the headsail. Last time he came out, from what I was told, there was not a lot of sailing going on. We went out towards the Nab Tower and Tom explained about sail setting and using the traveller and the vang, and the top most batten being level with the boom and the clew outhaul not being all the way out and Jeremy actually tighten up the leach line so the sail edge didn’t flap ( I see from a You Tube video that other sailors should learn to do all the above because where it flaps is where all the damage is and where the patch was put on and when set properly it didn’t flap anywhere), and seeing the wind on the water and what the difference is between true and apparent wind, something I am sure everyone but me already understood. Now I do! We played with the boys’ toys. The cruising chute went up with the genoa still up. I know that is how the racers do it but heretofore we have always taken the headsail down and bagged it before putting the chute up. That is most likely why it only took 10 or so minutes to get it up instead of the usual 40 minutes. We learned yet another way to retrieve the drowning man. And we learned how to be patient! Not a lot of people know how to do that. We redid that thing he does with the sail. Instead of laying it neatly slabbed on top of the boom you roll it up, bag it really. Looks great and once you get the hang of it it is probably faster.
Everyone enjoyed the day. We all learned stuff which was what it was all in aid of and I would recommend a day out with Mr C if you get the chance. Money very well spent. Good value for!! He was so interesting we didn’t even stop for lunch.
There is another Tom day with us in October. Booking can be done now.
This was a perfect example of staying on your own pontoon rather than paying for another one somewhere else. We sailed around in the Solent for the day and then returned to our pontoon for the evening. The Haslar Owners Club had organised a BBQ for berth holders. Bit of a cheat for me as I didn’t have to provide on board dinner. It was all very well done.
For the first time ever Lados did the Round The Island Race. 8 chaps, an early start, quite a lot of food – a fair bit that wasn’t eaten, 9hr+ of sailing, from all accounts a lot of fun, some indifferent tacking, some iffy navigating, but for a first try not too bad a placing. Everyone seemed pleased with their efforts. Dare I say it no one was really out to win. We might have another go next year if enough people are interested, and now that the boys have had a trial run they might get onto the top half of the leader board.
(The above is all hearsay as I was not on the boat but the bloke below was)
Here comes summer
Channel Islands June
Straight after the race we set out for the Channel Islands and the north Brittany coast. We stopped off in Alderney and then went down to St. Peter Port. Next stop was French in nature. We went to Treguier and Lezardrieux. We ate “moules et frites” for dinner.
The Pigeon : Bless his little metal tags.
As we were coming back from foreign climes we were joined by a really knackered little chap who had only just taken up racing. (as I write this we (England) have just won the Ashes Series). It was a very windy and grey day and I think he just got blown so far off whatever course he was flying that he had no energy to get home. We have had sky travellers before and they have stayed for a few hours and then left. Even when Robin nearly sat on him he showed no inclination to fly off. When the hail came he hopped into one of the side pockets in the cockpit, it must have looked a bit like a pigeon loft. When we got back to ST.P.P. we called the harbour master and he called the pigeon fancier people and they came and collected him. I do hope they found his real home.
On Saturday we tried to get out of ST.P.P. but had to turn back because the sea state was so bad. At that point Robin decided to take the ferry home because he had to be back for Sunday night and we could not guarantee to be in England for Sunday afternoon. We did manage to get out on Sunday. The sea was at least passable if somewhat lumpy. We arrived back at Haslar sometime in the early hours of Monday and stayed on the boat . No one felt like driving at that time of night.
We saw some of the local wildlife on our way to France
I am afraid to say it but eventually the sea gets to you
Not always in the way you would hope - he really is talking to the loo brush
West Country August
How far west to you have to sail to be able to say 'we went sailing in the West Country'? Is Yarmouth far enough? (Thought not). We left at 03:00 and got to Yarmouth. Weather seemed to have just carried on from the last trip. We stayed in Yarmouth all day and finally tried to go west or at least Poole at 16:00. OMG which bright spark thought up that plan? We did get to Poole and there was a berth for us but I would rather not do another passage like it. We decided to stay in Poole for Tuesday because of the weather and do some chores. Bought a new kettle to replace the new kettle which had replaced Little Gran’s Canary Island kettle which was fine the last time we were on the boat. It was almost an antique. I wonder what happened to it. It had been one the boat since 1998. The only thing that it didn’t do was whistle. But at least it was quiet in the morning when it was time to make tea and everyone in the main cabin was still snoring. Funny, being sentimental about a kettle.
We found this in Poole, it can be yours for £6-7mil and only costs £1K per hour to run the engine
On Wednesday we set out for Portland. Weather greatly improved. We had a nice sail and put in at the new Olympic facilities. As it is run by the same company as Haslar it came as one of our free nights.
Thursday we went to Dartmouth (does that qualify as the West Country?). Just before we got there we went through a fog bank. It was a bit like going through a door. One minute bright sunlight and the next fog. There was a picture in the paper the next day of this fog taken looking at Kingswear. One half was clear blue sky and the other half was white.
We stayed in Dartmouth Friday because there didn’t seem to be any point in going further west when we would have an even longer sail back. The plan was to do it in one long sail. There was a lovely big 3 masted liner (see below) in the middle of the Dart on Friday morning along with a pod of dolphins or porpoise and a pilot whale. Last summer when we were crossing to Alderney I saw a pilot whale. Chris did not believe me but 3 of us saw it. Now he may have to reconsider because I was not the only one who saw it right in town this time. Paul and Chris 2 were out in the dinghy, they had been all the way up to Dittisham, and they saw it. The little boy in the pub saw it. I am not alone.
We had dinner at 19:00 before we set sail for Yarmouth. We estimated that we would get in around 16:00 Saturday. By the time we got the right configuration of sail it was 21:00 and off we went. The storm jib would have been a good bet but the 3/4 did the job. We managed to keep up over 6k all night and at 11:15 we were off the Needles. Now at this point SWWRN’less suggested that because the wind had dropped off a bit it would be fun to pole out the number 1. NOT!! No sooner did it go up than the wind went up and Chris was fighting a bit on the helm. Oh and how to get it down? “All’s well that ends well”. We tied up at about 13:30. Yarmouth was packed. Don’t think I have seen that number of boats in there, but with the new pontoons they just keep squeezing them in, shoehorning really.
On Sunday morning we left for Portsmouth and had probably the best sail of the week. The wind was the right speed and from the right place the sun shone and Cowes Week had only just started so it wasn’t too busy in the Solent. A good in parts week.
Sea Cloud II in Dartmouth
Of these two craft seen on this trip. Which would you rather be on?
What more is there to say? This time, unlike the last time, the anchor did not drag, there was no Angry Antipodean with a kevlar vest, no one waving a carving knife in my face and no one wiping the loo floor with a face cloth. We had a happy boat. The fireworks were up to the usual standard, dinner wasn’t bad and the weather was good. We went back to Haslar for the night again because we could.
On Saturday morning we went very slowly sort of in the direction of the Beaulieu via a fort or two and Ryde. We did have to stop and change the sail and put a reef in the main but we did get to Bucklers Hard at 15:00. We thought it was a bit early but with the number of boat out and about it was best to get there a bit early or we would be in danger of not getting a place. As it was we were given the first berth on the Town quay because they were full already. Just had to wait for the commercial boat to leave. Fall off the boat into the pub - couldn’t have been better.
Sunday morning was put aside to watch the start of the Fastnet Race. It goes off at 12:30 and we were there via the north side of the Lepe Spit South Cardinal mark. I cannot recommend this highly enough if you want to go aground. We were right at the start line for the first boat which seemed to be for a variety of reasons the only one in its class. It is the biggest racing trimaran sailing today. Spindrift 2 – a black and white and gold monster of a boat - 40m.(see below) It was sailing straight at us followed by about 20 ribs with photographers all trying to get the best shot of the back of the thing. I have just read that Spindrift 2 finished the race in 38h53m58s. We, Jeremy and I, took a racing J Boat to Cork It took 27h to go from Falmouth to Cork. Puts everything into perspective.
We hung around the start line for a bit and saw some of the lesser boats off and then we headed towards the Victoria and Albert club house for lunch but decided to sail instead and finally got back to Haslar at 15:30 where I injured my knee again. Same knee, same marina, and it wasn’t even icy.
Summer Has Gone - Here Comes Christmas
Summer came and stayed around for quite awhile after it's use by date.Lados got out in September , twice in October and once in November. We provided a table of 8 at the Haslar Yacht Club's Pickle Night Celebration. Jeremy and Chris and Andrew followed the ship's orders to the letter and showed up in fancy dress. Jeremy made a passable Lord Nelson, Andrew, we decided from his uniform was 'Hardy' and Chris came as a pirate. I am afraid the other 5 (me included) made no effort what so ever. We were served the daily rum ration before dinner and then ate a meal that was loosely fashioned on the below deck meal that would have been eaten by the crews aboard the ships of the line at Trafalgar. Glad I wasn't there,(at Trafalgar). Each table or 'ship' had to provide entertainment for the other crews so Jeremy sang Flanders and Swann number about a whale with flu. Very entertaining it was too if not a bit silly.
The sailing on Saturday was a bit exiting for about 5 mins. Steve did very well handling it. It might have been me but I handed him the helm just time time for it not to be me. We were quite wet by the time we got to Cowes. Sunday was a glorious sunny day and we just went out and about for 5 hours and had a good sail.
Tom Cunliffe's second visit to us for this year was another really informative day. He brought with him his electronic sailing aids and the club has decided on the strength of an hour's demonstration that we will purchase the computer package and GPS dongle which will give us all the charts of the English Channel on anybody's laptop. We will enter the modern age of sailing if it kills us. He also showed us,at Chris's request, how to tie an eye splice. Chris did not explain why he wanted to have this bit of technology in his armoury but as I admired at the one I had done it had more than a passing look of a noose about it. Keith tried very hard to demolish the Wootton Creek pontoon because he forgot for a moment that LE doesn't stop as quickly as the boats he prefers to sail in the Med stop. In fact the glide path of LE must be about half a km unless you want her to glide for a bit then it would be almost nil kms. That was exiting. This was an exercise in coming along side under control. Hey no damage done, and Maggie was ever so pleased that she was not on the helm this time,(see Cowes Fireworks report ref Lepe Spit cardinal ).
We have one more trip planned for this season so if you fancy getting cold do join us the beginning us December.