Thursday, June 22, 2006

Heading Westwards

Tuesday 20th June

We arose at 05:00 to sunrise in Yarmouth and said our goodbyes to my mum & dad before setting off for Weymouth.

Sunrise from the cockpit at Yarmouth

Winds were dead ahead and we motor-sailed until Anvil point whereupon a safety vessel for Lulworth live-firing ranges told us to head offshore for 5 miles before continuing on our way. The Lulworth firing ranges are for tank firing practice. They fire at targets on-shore but, just in case they miss and shoot over the hill, boats are requested to keep well offshore. This actually suited us since the increased angle created to Weymouth meant that we could get all sail up and set a direct course. We romped towards Weymouth at 7+ knots and overtook a boat that was initially over a mile ahead. The man on the boat later said that we made a powerful and pretty picture as we went past. His nephew on-board actually worked at our local chandlery (Aladdins Cave).

Wednesday 21st June. Summer Solstice.

The morning forecast was good for an evening departure with NW winds force 4/5. We prepared the boat and picked-up the evening forecast. This was not so good since it suggested force 5/6 South-Westerly. We went out anyway with a view to see how the conditions were.

Up around Portland Island, we bashed into the beginnings of the overfalls with 2 reefs in the mainsail, staysail and a small amount of headsail. It was not a comfortable ride and, once committed around Portland Bill, the tides almost rule-out any return for 6 hours. We asked ourselves whether we needed to bash around uncomfortably for the night and decided that we did not. So, we took the headsail in and veered the boat off for a textbook controlled jibe and our return journey. Having sheeted the mainsail in and started our turn, I waited for the wind to catch the sail and swing the boom across. At that instant, I let the sail run-out on the opposite side. Shockingly, there was a loud CRACK as the mainsail split horizontally end-to-end leaving ragged tatters whipping in the wind.

Fliss took control and held the stern of Nadezhda steadily against the confused and occasionally breaking over-falls as I clipped m y harness on and went on deck. We managed to get the sail down and stowed on the boom and we sailed under headsail and staysail back to Weymouth.

Thursday 22nd June.

Having got the mainsail off the evening before, I got up, pumped-up the dinghy and rowed the sail across the small harbour to the sailmakers on the opposite side. I arrived as the owner arrived to unlock the premises. I presented the sail to him and he said it was repairable. His first question was “when are you leaving” to which I replied “tomorrow”. He had another job to do today but reckons that if he works late, he can get the sail back to us this evening – top man!

So here we wait in anticipation of setting-off to Dartmouth at 08:00ish tomorrow morning.

Weymouth Harbour

And again

Monday, June 19, 2006


Monday 19th June 2006

Only me again! Not a lot to report really as we have been stuck on the Hamble waiting for our mast to be sorted and put back on again technical details to follow courtesy of our resident tecchie.

It has been a really frustrating time as we have had fantastic weather and favourable winds until, oh yes, departure day.

Anyway looking on the positive side my tan has come on in leaps and bounds but sadly stops half way up my thighs, well I couldn’t expose too much flesh to the poor unsuspecting river users.

It also meant we got to see the two girls again!! Hello Holly, see I gave you a special mention!

So the mast went on and we said “Sod It” we’re leaving the mooring to go to Yarmouth. Well you know our luck. Guess what? Oh yes southwesterly winds likely to be gale force tomorrow (Tuesday & Wednesday) on the nose AGAIN!!! I think we’ve been here before.

I must say that I think Pete has left his patience & sense of humour back on the River Hamble as he isn’t the happiest of bunnies today, mind you, can you blame him?

We think that we have been jinxed as I don’t believe anybody could have been unluckier than us.

So “Big Man Upstairs” give us a break…. Pleassse.

Pete’s mum and dad have come down to Yarmouth with us and last night we went out for dinner, very bizarre set up as your steak was served raw on a piece of extremely hot marble and you cooked it yourself. Not recommended if you are a few sheets to the wind and it would be wise to stick with chips from the local chippy. Very friendly place and it was almost stepping into your favourite but slightly mad Aunt’s living room, you know the type, loads of cats & has facial hair. By the way the owner had enlisted his mum as the waitress had had a car accident and couldn’t work so mum had been drafted in to help out… I’m not sure about the cats but I can confirm that there’s no visible facial hair she just reminded me of an Aunt.

I think Pete’s mum and dad are leaving us tomorrow to head back to the Hamble (their getting good at this)

Our cunning plan is to take another massive step to Weymouth (approx 40 miles) but if you are still awake you would remember the paragraph re South Westerly winds and try to hop down the coast towards Falmouth.

Anyway enough of this madness and keep your fingers crossed that lady luck finds us on the radar and decides to shine on us. Take care all. Bye.

From Pete……………

We probably mentioned in an earlier update that the mast had a problem with it. Where the upper spreader connects to the mast is an alloy casting that had fractured somewhat. This needed replacing and this required the mast to be taken off by crane. The spreader bases (4 of them) are all the same and we decided that we might as well replace all of them with stainless steel ones that would be much sturdier. The problem was with the time it would take the fabricators to make new ones…over a week!

We had some timely warnings about the standing rigging (the wires that hold the mast up). A blogsite run by a daughter of friends of the family (Carolyn Reid) who are in the Pacific told of both their yacht and another having the backstay fail (potentially disasterous). I also spoke to the chap who has his boat adjacent to our mooring on the Hamble river who suggested replacing my standing rigging and especially the backstay. So, since our standing rigging is nearing the end of its insurable age, we had it all replaced at the same time as the spreader bases. The mast was surveyed with no defects and this makes us feel much more comfortable with things.

The weather was kind to us during our wait for rigging and we managed to put 4 coats of varnish on the cap-rails and the grab-rails and finish all those other jobs that we hadn’t got round to beforehand. We noted that the fine winds and weather would change just as we got the mast back on …. And it has.

Nadezhda without mast

The mast being replaced

As Fliss said, we are now in Yarmouth hoping the late forecast this afternoon does not keep us from heading off to Weymouth at 06:00 tomorrow morning.

Mum & Dad's boat 'Tirowaka' alonside Nadezhda at Yarmouth

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Shakedown Sail (The Return Leg)

27th May 2006 Saturday

Well after a favourable forecast we decided to leave Ramsgate at 06:00am. This was going to prove interesting as the marina was absolutely packed due to the Calais Rally and a race from Oostend. Not sure if Pete has mentioned Nadezhda doesn’t like turning, and going backwards is a complete no, no. Next to us was a small sailing boat who managed to squeeze next to us it was so close that Pete had to lift up the fenders to let them in. Pete & I were very concerned as Nadezhda can bite when other boats get too close for comfort. Anyway this proved to be extremely easy and Nadezhda gently slipped out and we were on our way. Goodbye Ramsgate which we left shrouded in a grey mist. Solent here we come.

You know they say best laid plans of mice and men, this is totally true! Wind as promised by Dover Coast Guard didn’t happen so we motored (again)… until the engine stopped! Pete did a very good job trying not to show the panic he felt but it turned out the fuel tanks had loads of gunk and had been mixed up by the rough seas so he changed the fuel filter and we were off again.

The wind picked up just off Dungeness (did I mention the tide was against us?) so we decided to sail and the wind kept increasing so a reef was necessary. South westerly winds against tide it was a horrible bumpy sail plus spreaders and engine problems made the moment quite stressful. The conditions deteriorated so much that I said to Pete that he should call Dover Coastguard to see if a gale warning had been issued. Dover Coastguard (I love these guys for the old fashioned approach) in their professional and calm manner informed him that they were only recording 23 knots of wind. The thought of beating ourselves & beloved Nadezhda up for 24 hours we decided to run back to Dover. I was very pleased to hear another boat call on the VHF to Dover Coastguard asking what the hell was going on off Dungeness as it made us completely happy to have made the decision to turn back.

So we headed back, very rolling seas and as we approached the port walls we decided to take the main down. I find it very hard to helm Nadezhda in rolling seas so up I went to take the sail down. Steep seas and the boom swinging from side to side my safety harness came undone, a little scary as I’m a terrible swimmer! Attention all sailors make sure your harness is secured as I ran a big risk of being tossed into the deep old briny.

28th May 2006 Sunday

Another favourable forecast (whatever!) 3-4 north westerly winds. We left Dover at 11am for the sail back to Southampton.

Again the tide was against us up to Dungeness (we both have a strong dislike of this place) so again we motored. Pete being a purest said enough was enough and we were going to tack due into south westerly winds (he was also worried about the engine)

We did have the tide with us for about 3 hours (we missed the window due to the time spent getting past the dreaded Dungeness, (did I mention that we hate this place!)

Due to this being our first trip out in 6 months I was nervous of being left on watch on my own due to the amount of very large container ships which appeared to be very close, truth is they were probably a good 5 miles away but the visibility was very good. Sorry Pete for waking you up every time you managed to drift off. I will aim to control my anxiety.

Monday 29th May

So after 28 hours of wind against tide plus south westerly winds we approached the western end of the Solent it was quite windy so we put a reef in. Poor Pete due to a nervous crew had little sleep and found the conditions exhausting (I apologise again)
The problem is with just two of you on board you can’t go off watch in the Solent especially on a Bank Holiday Monday and at 2pm.

We picked up a pigeon that landed on the horseshoe life bouy and managed to hang on in the high winds, he then decided that that was too much like hard work and hopped on to the tiller whilst Pete was helming. This was a bad call as the tiller is varnished and very slippery, bless the pigeon as he hung on for a good five minutes and then headed for the companion way, to the sanctuary inside the boat.

The wind kept increasing and we both spotted a seriously menacing black cloud and agreed a second reef was necessary. This turned out to be a good call as within a few minutes we were hit by a squall. We were hard pressed and the cap rails were under the to the water. I was glad Pete was helming as Nadezhda can be very heavy to control in these conditions. It was squall after squall and they just kept coming and the Coastguard was overwhelmed with the amount of maydays and was heard calling up emergency services to be told that they had no one available. Do you know I find it amazing how many boats had full sail up and then found them selves in difficulty, you think like us they would have seen it coming and took sail in. Discretion being the better part of valour.

At this Point Pete said enough is enough and decided we should anchor off Hayling Bay.. Well done Pete! The pigeon then re-appeared and decided we had stopped so jumped onto the cap rails got his bearing and then flew off.

Did you ever hear the story of the English boat that picked up a pigeon in the Biscay and carried it for a few days until a French boat came close the pigeon jumped ship and flew to the French boat. The English boat met up with French boat in Northern Spain and asked them what happened to the pigeon, The Frenchies looked horrified and asked if the bird belonged to them, cut a long story short they had cooked it! Moral of the story the grass isn’t always greener! The pigeon thought the other boat was going to get to land sooner.

Anchored firmly in place large whisky’s were poured and off to bed at 4:30pm.

I have to say that I really enjoyed the buzz of the last bit and found it totally exilrating it did wonders for my confidence as towards the end Pete flagged a bit & I took over. The one problem I have is confidence and the fear of the unknown, but Pete is excellent and just makes me do it to prove that I can & I generally do well.

Anyway enough for now as Pete will do the next instalment.

From Pete………..

Tuesday 30th May

We got up just after midnight to catch the tide up the Solent to our mooring. The wind had eased and after a spell of sailing, we once again resorted to the engine. We moored just as dawn was showing and went straight back to bed.

We arose again at about 10:00 since we had engine service, fuel-tank cleaning and rigging repairs to organise. I then went to Overton to pick up Robyn who stayed with us until Sunday.

Friday 2nd June

The rest of the week was filled with chores until Friday when we motored around to Moodys boatyard for the pumping clean and swilling-out of the fuel tanks. They weren’t as bad as I had expected considering the state of the filter and what had appeared like oxtail soup rather than fuel that had poured-out when I had changed it. Still, that’s another job that hopefully will not need repeating soon.