Thursday, March 10, 2022

2022 towards St Kilda: launching and thread Intro.

The Blog

As in previous years I will be posting as and when I can but with limited time and bandwidth, pictures may be limited and if I post by email via Iridium there will be none until I get back to civilisation. 

St Kilda (left) about 45 miles west of Harris in the Outer Hebrides.
In a small sailing boat, the lack of a protected anchorage and
a safe all weather passage back through or around the outer Isles,
at least a week of fair weather it required to safety visit.

It would be best for new readers to check out my new (Nov 2022) introduction to the blog (Opens in a new tab / window) that explains how I go about writing the blog, its limitations whilst I am writing it whilst cruising and what some terms mean.

I will probably have Iridium tracking on around the Scottish Islands and the Outer Hebrides but have not yet made a decision as to when I will activate it. I will turn if off when I am confident of getting timely weather reports and some email connectivity by other means for the rest of the trip, again see my "Tracking Sancerre page" for the Iridium tracking reports.

The Launch

Sancerre was launched on the 9th of March and I took her down river to one of the RAFYC's berths for a night before putting her on the mooring. 

Quite a pleasant 2 mile trip up the river in the dinghy. This is
the easiest way to get the car and the boat down to the RAFYC
 single handed. Pic about half way between Port Hamble and
Mercury marinas looking upstream on the first of the flood tide. 
Looking downstream from about the same point. When I came back
down, against the tide, there was also a force 5 wind on the nose
which would not have been pleasant in the dinghy..
Nicolson 55 "Lord Portal" moored near the top of the river, I sailed
on her in the 70s when she was one of 2 Nic 55's used by the RAF
for adventure training.
Launching at Deacon's yard, once a very traditional boat yard but
now under new ownership it is being modernised and homogenised,
probably not for the better, prices are certainly going up quickly so I'll
probably not be there next year, or at least not for as long.
Sancerre was launched @ 10:00 an hour and a bit after low water, 2 hours ahead of the orriginal schedule, I was told the previous afternoon so had to leave early to get down in time. Its a long drop to the water even two days off of neaps, I don't think they launch so near to low water on spring tides. The yard was busy that day so they moved the boat launched before Sancerre (On the pontoon at the end of the jetty in the pic above, waiting to be towed over to Swanwick marina, AKA Moody's) into the slings the previous day and parked Sancerre right behind for a quick start, when I left at c 10:45 a third boat was going in.

Whilst moored at the RAFYC I loaded heavy and awkward sized items that it was not sensible to do when she was ashore, set up the running rigging that was removed for the winter and fitted the mainsail, stack pack and lazy-jacks. I was lucky with the weather this morning, the wind being much lighter than forecast, so I was also able to get the 150% genoa rigged as well, always a struggle single handed.

Most of the tinned food is loaded so after a few more hours of work and loading the rest of the food, clothes and bedding suitable for spring, and hopefully summer, I will be ready to go. 

Update 20th March: With the revised start date (see update at the end of the previous post) I loaded the rest of the non-perishable stores today and finished the odd jobs and the boat is ready to go, I just need to load clothes, perishable food and get the car home. to leave on the 25th or 26th.

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