Monday, 5 November 2018

DCA - "Softies Rally"

The annual end of year sail on Coniston with the DCA, proved to an interesting day. I crewed on a Dabber, force 5 (at least) with continual rain. The food on the Saturday evening in a local pub was great!

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Mast - one year on

Last winter I added a small amount of glass tissue and epoxy resin where the gaff jaws rub, as this area  had worn quite badly. One year on and its seems to have lasted quite well, with just the surface varnish being rubbed off.

However, the bottom of the mast has started to show some wear, which is quite understandable. Two years ago I added a small amount of glass tissue and resin to help prevent wear. The water has got into the mast in this area and the glass tissue cracked, so all this old material was removed. Using the last of some epoxy resin I had and tissue this repair was completed again. Wonder how long it will last? As long as it slows the deterioration. The top of the mast also suffers, where the steel band which has the shrouds attached, "digs" into the wood. Each year this band its removed, the area sanded and varnished.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Coniston - last sail of the year?

The weather forecast was far from appealing and it had blown hard and rained all week. However, things can always change and three days of fine weather enabled an enjoyable end to the summer.

 The heavy rain fall had raised the level of the lake, to the point where the beach at the secret harbour on Peel Island had disappeared.

A slight delay in final departure !

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Deks Olje - 5 years on

The gunwales were stripped down to the bare wood in October 2013. Since then there has just been a light sand and a couple of coats each year, really just cosmetic. However, this is the first time there has been any noticeable deterioration. Maybe the strong sun we're had this year has something to do with it, as this part of the boat is not covered in the summer.

A bit of localised sanding and re-varnishing should return it to its previous condition.
Low Freeboard Fenders
I'm not going to claim to finding these - that honour goes to a fellow Coaster sailor.  Many pontoons and jetties are too high for boats like Drascombes. However there is now a solution. Majoni now produce a low freeboard fender.

They are excellent and just having a couple on board seems sensible. I've found two UK based mail order suppliers.

One word of warning - the fenders arrive "deflated" and you need a special adapter to inflate them, when using a car foot pump. I bought two fenders from Compassmarine and an adapter was enclosed FoC. But then they were more expensive than Bosun Bobs!

Monday, 17 September 2018

Ullswater - Joint OGA and Drascombe Rally

A pleasant weekend had by all, including a treasure hunt, race, BBQ, music and even a cooked breakfast on Sunday morning in the local community hall.

Our hosts, Glenridding Sailing Centre were both welcoming and helpful. Being held jointly with the OGA was also a success, with a wide range of different boats to admire and new friends to make.

The weather was fine for the sailing but overnight on both Friday and Saturday the wind and rain did keep some participants awake.

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

Walton Backwaters, the Stour and Orwell

The boat was launched at Titchmarsh Marine, who were very helpful. Also at a reasonable cost. The slipway can be used at all states of the tide and I did watch a boat being launched at low tide. However, there was a thin layer of mud on the lower part and unless you are desperate, it may be worth waiting for about half tide before recovering a boat.

Access to the slip is only available during office hours, when the harbour master is present and can lift a barrier. All the usual facilities are on site, with a good chandlery and a shop that sold basic provisions. The Harbour Lights Restaurant is also on site but this does close early in the evening.
Walton Backwaters is the setting for the Swallows and Amazons book Secret Water.
At high tide the area is a fantastic sailing venue, with plenty of creeks to explore. Departure and arrival is through a dredged and well buoyed channel. However, this is exposed to NE winds and even the East Coast Pilot book does not recommend entry in a strong NE when a sea has built up. Arrival on a rising tide is certainly a good idea. 

Mistley is the furthest up the River Stour that most boats can sail. However, at high tide and using a shallow draft boat it is possible to reach Manningtree.

Anchored in the River Stour, off Erwarton Ness. This could be quite an exposed place. I anchored on the Low Water line and just touched the bottom but didn't actually dry out. However, as the tide turned the water was a little disturbed, causing the boat to move around. Heading further upstream to Holbrook may be a better location.


Sailing under the Orwell road bridge on the outskirts of Ipswich.

The River Stour and Orwell meet at Felixstowe, which is one of the largest ports in Europe. Basic advice is keep out of the way - there are recommended routes for yachts marked on the chart.

Heading along the coast towards the River Deben

At high tide it is possible to reach Beaumont Quay, which was built using stone from the old London bridge and was an active port until the 1930's.

Halfpenny Pier provides easy access to Harwich, its free for a short stay during the day.