Monday, April 01, 2013

2013 - The weather will improve eventually...won't it?

So 2012 was another season that wasn't  exactly a classic. We finally got to Poole for the August bank holiday weekend, but the weather was so awful that Missy's vowed never to leave the Solent ever again. It was a little bouncy coming back and the baby stays breaking as we tried to get past Hurst Castle didn't help.

Ah well, onwards and upwards.

Moonshine's been in the water again this winter in the fond hope that the weather would be good enough to get out a couple of times. In fact it's been a good six month winter. March has been colder than December, January and February, and the first three of those weren't great.

Anyway, April is starting cold (4-5 degrees), but surely it's got to improve soon. Today we went down to her and pressure washed a winters worth of muck off the decks, ran the engine for an hour to make sure that the batteries are charged and drained the bilges of all the water that's accumulated.

Hopefully, the winter will end eventually and at least now we're ready to go once the temperatures start to rise a little.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Moonshine Gets New Stuff.

Moonshine got a few new bits and bobs over the winter, a new steaming light and wind indicator for the mast and a couple of new ensign halyards, but not very much.

This week however, the incredibly ratty old sprayhood was finally replaced. The sprayhood really needed replacing when we bought Moonshine and over the past six years it's become more and more of an embarrassment.

I went down today to take a look and do a bit more fettling and was greeted by a picture of great beauty.

It really does look the business. It's soon to be joined by new dodgers, too. We brought the old ones back to put in the washing machine so that they'd be nice and clean to go with the new sprayhood and it turns out that the lettering was more fragile than it looked. I'll put an order in tomorrow.

Apart from checking out the new sprayhood, today's other task was to put a coat of white deck paint in the cockpit to cover the custard yellow. That's now looking pretty good too.

There's still a fair amount to be done, but the plan is to have her looking presentable this summer instead of the being the slightly tatty old boat she's been for the past couple of years.

Next step more painting and replacing the old handrails....

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Scuttlebutt to Poole. Almost

Our first trip of the year. A bank holiday cruise to Poole with other YBW Scuttlebutt forumites. We set off from Chichester on Thursday with barely a breath of wind, motoring down to Cowes as a staging point to the Friday meeting point in Yarmouth. Unexpectedly met up with seven other Scuttlebutters in the Lifeboat inn, so had a pleasant evening there. Yesterday we made the short trip to Yarmouth drifting down with the tide more than actually sailing. Found immediate advantages to cruising in company - lots of willing hands to help with docking. Very pleasant dinner in the Kings Head, with the forecast higher winds being felt as we left the pub. Quite a bouncy night on the pontoon as Yarmouth is fairly exposed to Easterly winds. The forecast was for the winds to die down overnight, but that hasn't happened. Sadly, Poole is going to have to be postponed yet again. We'd get there with no problem, but returning would be a slog into the wind. Ah well, a lazy day in Yarmouth then....

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

How Long?

I knew that we'd been remiss in keeping this up to date, but three whole seasons is a lot.

The weather has a lot to do with it. It doesn't seem like we've had a decent summer since 2007, so there hasn't been much to write about. Because of the poor summers and the amount of time we were spending on other stuff,  we decided to sell Moonshine at the end of 2010. Here's the advert. We had a few people kicking tyres, but nobody put in an offer, not even the two blokes who poked around in every corner and asked every question in the book for a good two hours, then didn't bother to get back to me.

In September we had a couple of good weekends and decided that actually we rather like having a boat and made a decision that this year we'll use her more.

So, here we go. It's the beginning of May 2012, the weather is as awful as ever, but we're determined to go sailing this summer!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fronts, Fronts and more fronts.

The weather chart has looked like this all summer. Front after front after front has been heading across the Atlantic. Each weekend has been cold, damp and windy. We've been out in the boat three times and only gone anywhere twice, the last time in June!

The alleged cause is the la nina event in the Pacific for the last two years which has pulled the jetstream further south over the Atlantic. Normally in the summer, there'd be a high pressure area coming up from the Azores and the jetstream would be guiding those depressions to the North of Scotland. This year, like last, has seen the jetstream just to the South of the UK and the associated depressions have come and dumped over us once every two or three days.

Last year the weather finally cleared in early September. Well, we've got a week of sailing booked from September 8th, so it had better do the same this time!

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Facelift

This is the sea dawg looking rather sorry for herself on Tuesday evening after the op to fix her eyes. She was a bit groggy when this was taken, but the surgeon's done a very neat job on her and she was back to her old self the next day.

Bless her little spotty chest.

Balmy Summer days

Chichester Harbour entrance 12th July 2008. Yep, that's a tornado over Selsey. Well, not quite. It's a funnel cloud coming down from an apocalyptic looking cloud line. We didn't see it touch down, but apparently Selsey is England's little tornado alley.

We were going to try and head over to Cowes, despite the fairly ropey weather, because we'd got James on board for the first time. We knew the tides would be against us, with high tide at 7:00am, but the wind was against us too. After three hours of pitifully slow progress against wind and tide, we were still only level with the Langstone Harbour. We could have pressed on and got to Cowes at about 7pm, but we decided that Chichester was still closer, and so we turned around and had a very pleasant sail back. With wind and tide favouring us, the GPS was showing a healthy 7 knots at times, which was nice.

The weather was still pretty indifferent though. We were hoping not to be in fleeces in the middle of July! Ah well, the food at the Ship was particularly fab.

We did manage a short sail and picnic in the harbour on Sunday. With no particular place to go and two crew to pull on the sheets, we spent some time tacking up the channel from Itchenor to East Head. Despite much moaning from the crew about tacking every couple of minutes, I thought it was quite fun. Of course I wasn't doing any work.

As the level of mutinous grumblings started to build up, I decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed up Thorney Channel to find a buoy to hang off while we had a little light lunch. Missy seemed much chirpier after a couple of glasses of pink wine, although she did refuse to do the first mate duties on the way back to base.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Burgau, Portugal

With school out in the US for the summer, Missy's mum came over for her annual visit. Last year she sat watching the rain for pretty much the whole trip, so this year we took the precaution of booking a week in Portugal to try and guarantee a little sunshine.

The chosen spot was Burgau, a small village in the Western Algarve just to the west of Praia da Luz. It's still relatively small and unspoiled, with the new complex where we stayed being one of the larger developments, but still not too intrusive.

We had a pleasant week over there, flying out on Saturday afternoon with BA to Faro and hiring a slightly scuffed up, but servicable Peugeot 307 estate from ZitAuto at Faro airport who seem to come highly recommended.

We didn't do much for the week but eat fish, read books, lie around in the sun. We had planned to do more, but that seemed just about sufficient to be honest. Most of the restaurants in Burgau specialise in fish and we had some great stuff.

A word of warning: if you go to the restaurant Ancora and order the crab salad starter, then it's probably best to share! It's quite an edifice.

On the other hand, there's plenty of simpler stuff at the cafes and you can't go to Portugal without having a few sardines. These were at the cafe at Ingrina, a few miles to the west of Burgau in the National Park. The food was good and the view's pretty special, too.

I did spend some time staring wistfully out to sea and we did have some ideas of hiring a hobie cat from the beach at Luz, or doing a trip on one of the larger sailing boats, but you can only sail the cats in a small area off the beach and the trips just looked too much hassle, so the only places we had to see were Sagres and Cape St Vincent.

Cape St Vincent is is the most south westerly part of Europe. I'm not fond of heights at the best of times so, while I appreciated the rugged beauty of the Cape St Vincent cliffs, it took a while for my stomach to stop churning.

All in all a very pleasant week, with lots of good food and good weather in lovely surroundings. Highly recommended.

There are some more pics of the week over here