Sunday, March 19, 2023

2023 March 18th - Scrub and Anti-foul.

A quite evening on Friday lit by my posh new oil
lamp that replaced a now rather battered hurricane
lamp, my only non-essential purchase for the
boat in at least 12 months, certainly a record πŸ˜‡.
It is fully gimbled and the base rotates 90 degrees
 to hang on a bulkhead or my mast support..
On Thursday, Saturday suddenly looked good for a scrub with light winds  and, unusually one day after neaps, there was likely to be enough water to get in and with the evening tide being higher there was no danger of being "Neaped". The maintenance dock was available and it was too good to miss so I quickly booked. 

First high water was at a sociable 07:43 and there would be sufficient water to get out of the dock from 19:30 - 20:00 which would allow me to get onto the mooring with the last of the flood tide. All good except it would be dark with no moon for my return.

Saturday broke with intermittent light rain and little wind so I was expecting a straight forward albeit damp departure from the trot mooring but it was not to be, the pick up line swept under the boat and caught the keel, the first time it has done that, so I had to get back on the mooring, disconnect one end of the line to clear it, now under time pressure to get off the mooring before the stand / second high which would be a bit lower and fearing a repeat I left it like that and later went back in the dinghy to reconnect everything.

With little wind and on the last of the first flood getting onto the piles was relatively straightforward although there was a narrow gap and a tricky left / right turn between the pile and one of the clubs launches, unfortunately the part time bosun's were not starting work until 09:00 or they could have moved one or more.

On the piles, in a little under 2m of water now a long wait for the
stand to end and the tide to drop 1.5 metres before I could start
work in knee deep water, wearing waders.
The A9m officially draws 1.67m / 5ft 6"  but with a bigger engine lots of batteries and fuel Sancerre has put on some weight so 1.7 - 1.72m is probably nearer the mark. The tidal gauge shows the depth about half way in to the dock.
Sancerre about to settle in 1.8m of water, the spinnaker
halyard is out to the right and tensioned to ensure the
boat leans against the piles. Helpfully the auto pilot
control unit measures heel and the plotter can display
it (not a given, the other NMEA 2000  instruments can't)
so I cranked on 2.5 degrees and maintained that as
she dropped.
Touching forward - the dock floor slopes down to the river. 
1.6m of water and the aft lashing to the pile had to be eased so that
the stern could drop.
I had just finished power washing when the light rain turned heavy, just when I needed the boat dry, so I retired to the bar for a quick pint as the squall past. Power washing is harder work than you might think, the industrial unit is powerful enough that you have to brace yourself or get knocked over so the rest was welcome. No pics at this stage because of the rain and I was busy.

Job done, two coats of white antifoul to the boot line which was
raised last year in something of a rush so it was rather thin on
the part of the boat that gets the most growth. Some of the
blue was touched up, leading edges get the most wear and
knocks and was a bit thin in places.
Surprisingly the shaft anodes, one over a year old and one 8 months were almost as good as new so were not replaced, the year old small anode on the P bracket was badly eroded so was.

Getting out of the dock is tricky with prop walk more a hinderance than a help until past the end of the pontoon and the three launches moored to it. To help I put a long line to the stern of the middle launch and used that to haul her back and then into the launches as the tide took Sancerre away from them. With almost no wind I was then able to motor out slowly backwards then turn with he prop walk before heading back to the mooring.
The line going to the second launch in the pic and was a big help,
if there had been more wind I would probably have run my long
(100m) line over to the finger in the next door marina and turned the
boat there before going out into a stronger wind and tide. 

A berth at that marina would be about six times what I pay for a
mooring 2 cables down stream and that is not cheap.
Pulling three and a half tonnes of boat fore and aft single handed in still water is not a problem but pulling one sideways or with a tide running is; so on top of the other work it is going to take me a day or two to recover 😞. 


The tide is good to leave for points west on or about the 29th but the weather does not look promising [Edit: and a few days later looked even worse], not being as fit as I would like I would prefer not to start the cruise by taking on a 30 - 36 hour direct trip to Start Point or Plymouth so to get a good tide through the Portland Bill inshore route, I will not get away until Wednesday April 12th at the earliest, disappointing but hopefully it will be a bit warmer and I will have a few days chasing trout πŸ˜€ after the season opens on the chalk streams in early April.

Friday, March 3, 2023

2023 March 3rd - Preparing for the scrub and a shout out to "Total Tide"

The RAFYC maintenance dock is a very economic alternative to a lift out for a pre-season scrub and touch up of the anti-fouling, Sancerre had 3 coats a year ago and another in July so should be OK for this season but the boot line was changed in July so an extra coat on that seems sensible and perhaps another coat of blue if it looks thin and time permits. 

The dock is equipped with an industrial standard power washer so once the tide has dropped the clean does not take long, but you do have to be careful not to take off the anti-foul by getting too close.

The RAFYC maintenance docks (© RAFYC). Getting in is
reasonably straightforward, getting out trickier as there is
little room between the RAFYC launches on the pontoon and
boats in the marina and Sancerre does not steer that well going
slow astern, but there is good protection from the tide much of
the way so I can warp her through the narrow part if necessary.
An early start is required to enable me to be in and out in one tide, to use the full 24 hours I would need to be there as she lifted on the second tide and settled on the following ebb - and I could not reasonably stay on board. 

The dock sill is at 2m above datum and Sancerre draws 1.7 metres so I need close to 4 metres to get in and out safely allowing for a lower than predicted tide if there is particularly high atmospheric pressure and / or a NE wind. That is not available at neaps so I went for the 13th March, four days before the neap tide, far enough away to avoid being "neaped" (Having sufficient water on one tide but insufficient on the next to get out or off) but close enough that I would have enough daylight for the scrub, replacing the anodes and any touch up work.

The days tide as shown by Admiralty "Total Tide", many
apps do not show the curve for the Hamble accurately, particularly
the 2nd high, often shown as a simple "stand" or not at all and
the "Young Flood Stand" starting c 2.5 hours after low water.
I need dead slack water or an incoming tide to get on and off the mooring so going into the dock at 04:30 gives a few hours sleep and, even allowing for any depressed height, sufficient water to get in on the second high and plenty of water on the first high at at 14:00 to get out of the dock.

Admiralty "Total Tide" vs the rest.

It's interesting to compare this prediction from Imray's Tides App (and
 most other apps) with the "Gold Standard" the Admiralty's "Total
Tide" shown above it, the later is expensive but far more detailed in
complex situations you find around the Solent, Poole etc.

Total Tide will do a lot more and to a very fine resolution, of
course wind and atmospheric pressure will impact the above
but its a very good starting point. Unfortunately it only runs
on a PC.
And tidal streams as well - more than shown on the charts, here
the Portland inshore route is just opening on March 17th although
 at the time of writing it looks like the weather will not be good
enough to leave that week.
Update March 7th: With a couple of exceptions the weather models have started to come together and there is a good chance of 20 - 40 knots of wind along the south coast early next week, too much to safely get off of the piles and onto the mooring single handed and I have no desire to beat against a strong south westerly to go sailing so I have booked the piles for a another day on Monday the 27th so if the weather is reasonable I'll be looking to leave on the following Wednesday to go round the Portland inshore route on Friday 31st.

If I am able to get on and off the piles next week I will do so and perhaps come out a second time on the 27th to put a full coat of anti-foul on.

Friday, February 10, 2023

2023 Plans

The April wind rose for Portland from Predictwind
showing the preponderance of favourable winds
to get from the Hamble to the west, the only month
of the year when westerlies are not predominant.
February; and it is still five or six weeks before I can realistically go sailing, the boat needs one delivery trip with stores, cloths etc., half a days work to prepare her for sea and a scrub after being on the mooring for five months. The big problem with self ablating (polishing) anti foul is that if you don't use the boat the depleted paint does not polish off and it stops working so the bottom and particularly the boot line (the white strip on the waterline) are filthy, enough to noticeably reduce boat speed.

To save quite a lot of money I will, wind permitting, dry her out in the RAFYC maintenance dock on the 13th March and attack the mess with the industrial power washer, change the shaft anodes, and I will then be ready to go. 

The plan is to have another go at St Kilda visiting Barra and hopefully the Monach Isles on-route, then either continue to Orkney and hopefully Shetland or to come south to Pwllheli for the start of the Jester Challenge to Baltimore (IRE) in mid June - that plan failed in 2021 but I may have a bit more time this year..

There is a good chance of easterly winds during April and often in late March, to help me down to Land's End, much preferable to bashing into a westerly, so I'll be tracking the weather very carefully. 

To be able to use the inshore route around Portland Bill at daybreak I will be looking for decent weather with an easterly wind about two days before a neap tide so the 15th or 29th March would suit, the 13th April is after Easter so I might bite the bullet of an overnight trip with no sleep and go direct from the Solent to The Start on a spring tide in early April.

Hopefully it will still be possible to anchor behind Hurst Point  now that a new bank has appeared, probably due to work stabilising Hurst Castle. Even close to neaps the depth of water was marginal over much of the area with a charted depth of only c 1m at LAT and 2.1m at LW on the 15th March and 3.3m in the deeper spots (Sancerre draws 1.7 metres) , it may be shallower or deeper now towards  Keyhaven, hopefully the latter. I'll investigate on the day and go on to Studland if necessary.

Video by Nick Boxall on U-Tube

Update 18th Feb:

Looking good for favourable winds in mid to late march but it could be cold, we shall see.

Preparing for the scrub.