Sunday, 21 September 2014

Coniston Sailing Club - Bart's Bash

Friday evening light and no wind

A new jib stick made from a length of plastic tube, fine for light winds.

The weather remained fine for the weekend and a gentle NE breeze enabled us to have an enjoyable time on the water. On Saturday evening the club held an auction to raise money for the club house to be extended, to include new toilets and changing rooms. The event proved to be a great success, with over £3000 being raised.

On Sunday the club took part in the Bart's Bash, this is a sailing race run by sailing clubs all around the world on behalf of the charity, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation. The club had around 35 boats taking part, which did prove to be quite exciting, as they ranged from Toppers to cruisers of 25 feet in length. It also confirmed to me, that although Drascombes are great to sail, they are no racing machine, which was actually quite pleasing.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Deks Olje - One Year On

Last year we decided to strip the old varnish off all the wood on the boat. However, the decision about what type of finish to use was one that took some time. Reading various reviews, Deks Olje seems to be one of those "Marmite" products - you either love it or hate it, but did seem to provide a quality solution to protecting and enhancing the small amounts of wood that are on the boat.

Deks Olje comes in two parts: D1 which is an oil and D2 which is similar to varnish. Both products are very "fluid" and run very easily, so keeping a rag to hand to wipe any drips is very important, as I was to find out. The varnish dries very hard and is difficult to remove once dry.

Over the year the woodwork has worn very well and have been very impressed with the product. The finish seems very hard wearing, which is ideal for the gunwales and it also gives a high gloss. To keep things looking good, I recently used some wet n dry paper to give a good key and then rubbed in some of the D1 oil. Letting this dry for a day, I then gave two coats of the D2 to finish. There seems no reason to do any more work on the gunwales. Some say that a gloss finish can become slippery when wet but I have not found this a problem on the gunwales.

The wood grating in the cockpit floor has been treated just with the D1 oil, this being reapplied once during the year. The one area that that has been cause for concern, is the floorboard just inside the cabin doorway. This can become wet and I have felt the potential for a slip as I step down into the cabin and perhaps some non slip material here may be useful. The top of the centreboard case does have an area of non slip material on it and this has proved to be essential at times.

Once the season is over the spars and oars will need some attention. These only received a light sanding and a couple of coats of varnish last winter, with some areas which were worn having some additional coats. Perhaps more thought and effort will need to be applied to these.

Norfolk Broads

Once the rain and Bank Holiday traffic had calmed down I headed back the Norfolk Broads and launched at Martham boats early on Tuesday morning. This week and the previous visit to Chichester were actually a repeat of last year's trip, although I did manage to travel further at both venues. It was always interesting to talk with other boat owners, especially those who regularly sail their own boats on the Broads. The most relaxed sailing is always to be had up stream of Potter Heigham bridge, in the areas of Hickling Broad and Horsey Mere. However, the River Bure in the area of Thurne is wide and open, giving some excellent sailing. Another Broad worth visiting is South Walsham, although it is not possible to land in the actual Broad, free moorings are available on the approach and a pleasant walk takes you into the village.
Horsey Mere

Evening at Horsey Mere
The seal colony on the coast at Horsey

Public notice board at South Walsham

A traditional Norfolk Wherry on the River Bure

Moored on the River Bure

A traditional Broads sailing cruiser. This example is actually a modern copy and was in immaculate condition.

This Kettle Bell weight was my answer to a mud weight. It was considerably cheaper than a purpose made mud weight and seemed to work in quite well in sheltered locations. However, I do wonder how effective it would be once the wind got up.
This Norfolk Punt, which was taking part in a race from Hickling Broad, is perfectly designed for use on the Broads but completely different from a Drascombe. 


Having experienced the tail end of the Hurricane Bertha on the Isle of Skye while sea kayaking, I decided to head south for hopefully some more settled weather. As last year a rally had been organised for the last weekend in August, to be held at Chichester Marina. Arriving early on Wednesday morning gave the opportunity to sail for a few days before everyone else arrived. The weather held until Bank Holiday Monday, when it rained continuously for the whole day.

There were twelve Drascombes, which were joined by two local Shrimpers. The whole event was all very relaxed, with a meal at the yacht club on Friday and BBQ on the Saturday evening. As part of Sunday's sail we were invited to Dell Quay Sailing Club for coffee and cakes. The timing of this coincided with high tide, so we could use the club's jetty. The club plans to replace the jetty in the near future with a floating pontoon, which should give access for a greater length of time, as the area does dry out at low tide.

Heading out to West Pole, marking the entrance to Chichester Harbour

Waiting the start of an evening X Boat race at Itchenor Sailing Club
Heading out of the marina towards Dell Quay

Anchored for lunch at Pilsey Island

Heading back to the marina in an increasing wind

On the Sunday I took the opportunity of lighter winds to use, for the first time, a "High Gaff" mainsail, which came with the boat. It performed very well both fully set and reefed.

Sunbeam class yachts from Itchenor race past East Head.