Thursday, 20 September 2018
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Saturday, 15 September 2018
The intention was to test out the new sail rigging; practise some reefing, sailing under main and mizzen and also eliminating the 'dreaded' sail crease that seems to permanently adorn my sail from throat to clew.
Well the rigging adjustments. In a previous post I outlined how I had moved the sail higher up its top yard and adjusted the down-haul so that it ran down through the deck. I had also devised, on the advice of many, a way of running the mainsail halyard through a stainless steel loop around the mast so that the yard stayed closer to the mast when sailing.
Lets start with the good news, The newly positioned down-haul worked. The tack was held right close to mast base via the parrel beads and I was able to crank on the tension on the luff with no problem.
The raised sail up its top yard had the desired effect, raising the tack some 8" at the bottom so that it cleared the coaming with ease.
The upper yard stayed close to the mast and didn't flog or drift away as it has done in the past.
And now the bad news. The crease still remains. I did manage to almost get rid of it by cranking on the luff tension but there are traces of it still there and adjusting the snotter didn't seem to have any impact. Not all is lost though. Next outing I will adjust the tie on point on the top yard and also move the snotter attachment up and down the mand these adjustments may well have the desired effect.
The toll on the rigging from the Salcombe debacle a few weeks ago was made evident when all of a sudden the jib suddenly collapsed and fell to the deck. The block that it runs through at the top of the mast, suddenly split open. On closer inspection, I discovered some internal screws had snapped and the sheave actually had split longitudinally in half. Quite some force a few weeks ago!
Reefing was diabolical. A disaster......with all the vowel intonation afforded the word by Craig, one of the judges, off 'Strictly come Dancing'! I will post some video on my YouTube channel at a later date. Its really cringing stuff!
I got all the things done in the correct order but my reefing lines are too long. The S hooks I use don't transfer smoothly into the luff holes as they should. Because I have led all lines aft to the cockpit, it was difficult to find the right line at the right time. It was, frankly shambolic.
I think I will get rid of the reefing lines. I have a snap hook that attaches the clew to the sprit boom. I can't see why I just don't un-clip it, pull the leech down and clip the boom into the first reefing point cringle on the leech. No need for reefing lines, just lower the whole lot into the boat, transfer the tack down-haul; transfer the clew and then raise the sail again and tidy up the loose sail afterwards.
Sailing just under main and mizzen went well. Tacking using only the mizzen and jib sheets was a partial success. I locked off the rudder, bought the mainsail to just off the transom port quarter and then used jib and mizzen sheet adjustments to tack about. I managed it but it needs improving.
Heaving to and using the mizzen to go head to wind......got that buttoned down. Sailing off a mooring has improved significantly as well although it can be hit and miss.
Sailing under jib and mizzen didn't go well when it came to tacking. Gybing, no problem. Tacking, a disaster!
Still, I did get to see the restored Tamar barge 'Lynher'. Oh my what a glorious sight she was. A real rare treat. it made up for some of the day's disasters!
It is difficult taking photos with one hand whilst sailing with the other! But I hope I caught a flavour of what a magnificent boat she is..................enjoy!
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Having always regarded the channel as a depository for my vlogs of sailing and travel adventures, a sort of visual diary for my future 80 yr old self, I was somewhat surprised to find that I have gained 156 new subscribers over the last 90 days or so.
In the last 28 days the videos have been viewed 7000 times with 150 likes and 30 comments. I just discovered an extraordinary amount of information in YouTube creator studio analytics, none of which I have any idea on what to do with or how to interpret. I don't even know whether I want to or not.
I do like, very much, the discussion that the comments generate; I definitely know that peoples' kind observations have helped me improve my sailing and dinghy cruising significantly in recent months and I am very grateful to them for their time and analysis. I have certainly made lots of new on-line friends across the UK and the rest of the world and I value the periodic contact with each and every one of them for all sorts of reasons.
Next year my channel, will be officially ten years old and this blog nine years.
A 'good' side to the internet and social media I guess.
Now readers of 'a certain age' will know where this one is heading! Both her indoors and I were heavily influenced by the laid back Bohemia that was 'The Magic roundabout'. Dylan, the rabbit had a significant influence on one of us at least! It was a sixties thing!
Anyway, having slightly digressed away from the topic for today's post, let's return to it. Not wishing to bore anyone with our diaries and photos from recent tours around the Malverns and North Devon, I did want to just share two little gems we thoroughly enjoyed. I am not into promoting any business on my blog, but we did enjoy both of these.
Firstly, I apologise, for I am no Giles Coren food critic but I did enjoy a pasty, coleslaw and salad at 'John's of Instow. Pasties are like a religion here in Devon and Cornwall and one can be fobbed off with some frankly quite appalling ones. This one, however,was simply stunning; a masterclass in pasty perfection.
Firstly lets set the ambience. Imagine if you will a grocery come deli come cafe shop set in the seaside village of Instow. Outside are nice green sunshade canopies drawn down over the pavement with the shops name across them. Rather lovely.
Inside, wooden floors, bare wood scrubbed table tops, white wooden chairs framed by white walls, discrete lighting and lovely sage green shelving and dressers. Cheerful, smiley, welcoming staff!
A window counter top with bar stools that afford simply stunning views out across the estuary muds and beaches towards the Babcock Appledore ship yard. Bare brick walls adorned with local artists work. A deli counter stocking local cheeses that frankly were sublime. And lets not get started on the neighbouring cake counter. One coffee cake was an 8" deep, yes 8" deep, melt in your mouth perfection! Soft music and shelves of local Devon produce ranging from wines to moonshine, from pickled vegetables to piccalilli, jams, preserves, curds, and a most impressive selection of local meats, sausages and pies in a chiller unit back in the grocery section.
As for the pasty?
I genuinely don't know where to start or how to do justice to this locally produced culinary perfection. The light brown flaky pastry melted in one's mouth. It crumbled to perfection. Pasty contents were well cooked, flavoursome with a wide selection of vegetable and tender meat; none of the tough gristle you normally find in what purport to be pasties in some parts of the south west. It was of a decent size and wasn't that horrible sort of triangular crimped hummock shape so beloved of some mass produced pastie makers.
As for the coleslaw. It crunched perfectly; genuinely freshly made with a thick creamy, possibly even yoghurty based sauce. It was heaven, just not enough of it!!
Normally having scoffed a pasty my poor stomach will protest much later at its ill-treatment; but not on this occasion. With local spring water and a fresh green salad, this simple meal was well worth the £6.00 paid.
Well done John's of Instow. You managed to tempt us back on three separate occasions during our stay in North Devon and it wasn't just because you are conveniently on the 'Tarka cycle trail'. Your lattes and cappuccinos were worth two return visits!
And now I'd like to point out I have no connection or affiliation with John's of Instow; neither did I receive any form of payment for this recommendation! This is merely a public service announcement, if you are in the vicinity of Bideford, pop across to Instow. You can even catch the little ferry across the estuary which practically drops you outside the shop front door!
And so to our second little find. In the words of Monty Python 'And now for something entirely different'
The Lynton and Lynmouth cliff railway. Awesome fun! Amazingly simple technology and a great ride with stunning views. Just go do it!
Thursday, 6 September 2018
Following on from all the advice offered over the last couple of weeks I made the following rigging changes.
1. I moved the peak of the mainsail further up the top yard to the very aft end. For some obscure unfathomable reason, I had it around 9 inches lower down the yard. I am hoping that this will now raise the tack several inches off the deck and coaming area
2. I bought new, smaller blocks for the down-haul tackle and re-rigged it. Now a line with an S hook attached can clip into the sail tack eyelet. This line runs vertically down through the deck, around 55mm back from the mast rear face, around a turning block attached to the reinforced thwart seat top below and attaches to the block and tackle of the down-haul. I re-positioned the attachment points for the block and tackle - moving it further back towards the front of the centre case. I should now be able to tighten up the luff and pull it further down and closer in to the mast where it goes through the deck
3. I have altered the parrel bead set up so that it is much closer around the mast. again a simple S hook attached to it will now attach to the tack eyelet. This arrangement should bring the sail tack far closer to the mast and in conjunction with the above changes mean that the sail tack doesn't brush against the coaming when fully tensioned.
4. In order to move back the down-haul block and tackle towards the centre-case front, I had to also move back and re-position the up-haul for the centreboard
5. i also added another stainless steel ring on the top yard for the mainsail halyard to run through. I now have rings positioned at the 30% and 40% marks along the yard. The main halyard runs through one of these rings, around the port side of the mast and gets tied off on another ring at its very forward end. This arrangement works well, holding the yard near vertically and very tightly against the mast. The yard doesn't drift or flog away from the mast and it has significantly improved sail shape already.
The two articles below summarise where I was with my understanding of sail trimming and rigging on Arwen, prior to all the helpful comments given me over the last two weeks.
Next week, after returning from a short break, I intending getting Arwen out on the water in a stiff breeze. Plymouth Sound should give me plenty of space to practise reefing, heaving to, sailing under main and mizzen, main alone and jib and mizzen. After my Salcombe scare, it is time to 'get back on the horse'!!
Sunday, 2 September 2018
Monday, 27 August 2018
As one member of the dinghy cruising association Facebook group told me......"it can take years to internalise at an unconscious level the automatic unthinking adjustment of sails"......rather like we all do when driving a car.
A very good friend managed to get some photographs of Arwen out on the water recently. These are the very first photos I have ever seen of Arwen sailing and they have provided me with lots of information.
The saggy jib stay. The dreaded throat to clew crease. The not completely set jib. The poor mainsail shape.
I'm not really doing justice to John Welsford's design.
But there are a few things beginning to emerge. Firstly, whether the mainsail should actually be tied on at the very aft end of the top yard. Secondly, how the tack should be held much closer to the mast. Thirdly, how the down-haul tackle should be attached to the top of the deck next to the mast base.
This last one is an interesting point, since I have tried that arrangement and there was no way I could get any tension on the luff before both blocks had met at deck surface. It just didn't work.
Which raises the question why not and whether I have done something stupid during the build process and got my measurements wrong! Not only did the blocks close too early without applying sufficient tension but that the sail foot also caught up with the coaming top. Ho hum!
So next steps.
1. move the top peak sail tie on point to very aft of yard which may lift the tack a few inches up the mast
2. refit deck mounted down-haul tackle and see if doing 1 above makes any difference
3. do 1 above but alter the down-haul tackle so that a line runs from an S hook on the sail tack, down through the deck, through a turning block and then reattaches to the down-haul tackle which would run horizontally along the front of the centrecase/front thwart top
4. adjust the bobstay fittings to apply tension to the bowsprit so that the jib stay gets more tension on it
Over the next few weeks, Arwen and I will get out in the Sound and see whether these adjustments work. we could always enlist the help of a local sailmaker to see if adjustments could be made to the sail shape as well I guess, if need be.
Whilst out on the water, we will also spend time doing the following until it becomes better understood and more automatic
- reefing the main
- sailing under reefed main only
- sailing under jib and mizzen only
- sailing under main and mizzen only
- dropping mainsail between lazy jacks and down into the boat more quickly that I do now (and finding the best place to store the furled mainsail, yard and boom in the boat so that it doesn't interfere with tiller etc.
Sunday, 26 August 2018
Here is a taster of things to come, a thank you to all those who helped me with advice last week. thank you all and enjoy!
Saturday, 25 August 2018
“One of the other key things is to make sure your motor has a fuel hose and tank, so if you have to motor for 45 mins into a gathering gale or whatever you don't suddenly run out of fuel from a top tank as I have seen happen to a mate”. [which is an interesting point as I have a 3.5hp Tohatsu which has an internal tank and I can motor for about 40 minutes on mid revs; and yes I have frequently hung off the back to refuel in wavy conditions – not pleasant]
“Anchor and wait it out; put up mizzen to keep pointing into the wind”
Now over the years John has patiently explained several times how to remove the crease and I have acted upon everything but it still remains and so this now raises tow other questions
1. did the sail maker alter the cut of the sail and I never noticed because I don't know enough about sails?
2. and the more likely - did I do something silly when building Arwen, deviating away from the plans, in such a way to cause this problem?
I am beginning to think the answer is yes to question 2.
Firstly, I built the cockpit coaming about an inch and a half higher than the plans suggested. I'm sure I had a stupid reason at the time for doing so but here is the golden lesson, when you have never built a boat before, NEVER, NEVER deviate from the plans without checking the implications with the designer first (sorry John!). The designer designed it with the coaming height in mind for a reason!!
Secondly, I am now looking for the plans again to check measurements. Comments from Michael and Richard have made me think not only is the cockpit height wrong but that the coaming has come to far forward into the cockpit itself by what looks like three inches or so. So did I forget to cut excess of the deck king plank during the building phase and just put the coaming on without checking? Plausible, given I built it each evening after a long school day and normally didn't start building work until 9pm each night.
At present, I can get plenty of tension on the downhaul but what it does, due to its position, is it pulls the tack away from the mast into the cockpit in order to clear the coaming; and that is the likely cause of the crease.
Now I could put the downhaul halyards down through the deck in front of the mast by attaching a single line to the tack, running it through the deck and then attaching it to the downhaul block and tackle. In this way I could haul the tack down as far as the deck but then I couldnt apply any more tension. if I did this, what other adaptations would I have to make to the top yard halyard attachment point; and to the sprit boom attachment point on the mast?
If anyone has any advice or suggestions on the viability of this or about the possible problem of the crease, do please let me know because I have done something daft and so am not showing off John's brilliant design to best advantage and that isn't fair on him or his amazingly, wonderful boat 'navigator'.
I'm sure I was never this thick or stupid as a mountaineer!!