Thursday, November 29, 2007

Single-handed Passage

Just finished reading Edward Allcards account of his first single-handed crossing of the Atlantic in 1948/49. The year Roach was concieved.

He has some handy tips that are still very valid for offshore sailing today - I think I am going the right way:

Advice to “Dreamers”

Have your working sails of heavy canvas - I think this refers to canvas and not dacron which is much stronger.
Have your sail made with vertical cut, clothes running parallel to the leech, in order that the stretch of the sail will be along the cloths, rather than on the seams - actually he is right and high cut number 1 jib is cut this way.
If Marconi rig, fit mast hoops up to the spreaders and jackstay above. All tracks tend to jam when the boat is off the wind. - yes, I have had this problem. By crimping the slides in mole grips you can get them to run up and down without jamming.
If you can afford roller reefing – fit it; but use the heavy pattern
Treat your sails with anti-mildew solution
Lash sails to spars with separate stops not continuous lacing.
Have at least 60 fathoms of stout anchor chain, and mark it. - Difficult in a small yacht
Don’t use yachty fittings – they are only good for the Solent
Don’t have a wood rudder stock. If it is, slide a steel tube over it and weld steel flats to the cutaway bottom of the tube, extending right across the rudder blade each side and riveting through. - Luckily Roach's rudder is transom hung
Have extra stout rigging screws on the shrouds - yes, and carry spares. I had a failure last Summer
The mast and rudder should never fail
Make the auxiliary engine very reliable and fit to run in any sea. It’s the best insurance.
Splice a length of chain at the end of rope halyards and outhauls at the “nip”
Use metal to metal connections – lashings part.
Don’t have a big cockpit - deck it.
Have sound hatches and deck layout to prevent submergence being permanent. - I need to sort out some hatch covers
Have two non-choking bilge-pumps. One to be worked at the
helm, and one from below.
Twin deep sinks are best of the galley, but fit non-choke waste pumps. Gravity outlets are no use on a heeled sailing boat.
Fit a sea-water pump in the galley and use it.
Position the galley aft where there is least motion.
Have a swung table in the saloon.
Have no equipment that cannot be used both at sea and in port.
Wherever the ballast is see that it stays there.
Assume that one day the boat will be upside down, and bolt things down accordingly.
Don’t have electric plugs an sockets on deck.
All deck-fittings should be bolted down not screwed.
Rattle down the ship.
Fit adequate lifelines
Make and fit baggywrinkles.
Keep the deck tight. Canvas for thin decks is best.
Don’t catch gadgetitis. Simplicity is best.
Don’t buy a boat without a professional survey
Do all the work on the boat yourself, if not get a written estimate
Check the compass for deviation, and take a spare. - Roach is getting a below decks compass this Winter
Never make fast to a cleat of belaying pin with a half-hitch.
Fit a wind vane that lasts – either the sock variety or the patent metal type.
Gas for stoves or light is a danger. - changing to Paraffin
So is petrol – so beware. - changed to diesel already
A ship is not complete without and vice clamped to a workbench, a sharp axe handy to the deck, and a coal stove below. - amazingly Roach ticks all three of these boxes
Finally, trust all men. Yea, even princes. Then cut the cards yourself. Caveat emptor.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Small Boat Club Burgee is raised!

Roach is a member of the SBC !

Woodbridge back to Ramsholt

So the next day it was enough of victualling the yacht and oing repairs, I was eager to set off. So at HW-2 I cast off and went over the sill at the TideMill marina to take on some fuel. After that I was away down the River in glorious sunshine as if no gale ever occurred.

At Ramsholt I met with Crystal and after a couple of pints at the Arms, we decided to have a BBQ dinner on Felixstowe Ferry Beach. It was a clear and cold night, but I brought some of Roach’s old off-cuts in order to have a fire afterwards.

The next day Crystal and Roach parted ways. I went North to the Ore entrance and Crystal went South.

With a stiff F4 blowing from the West the GPS was showing 9 knots over the bar and I sailed all the way to Aldeburgh at speed, all canvas set. The three visitors buoys were taken so I anchored of the Martello tower. There is good holding here. A launch went round all the visitors bouys in the morning, so I suspect I saved myself a fee there, but here was no mention of fees in the pilot book.

I would not recommend staying here as there is considerable works going on defending the spit. Dumper trucks zoom past every 2 or 3 minutes making a racket and sending lots of dust in the air. My the time I was ready to weigh anchor the decks were covered in a fine film of sea defence aggregate!


The holes left at Bass Dock after the festival

Note: When approaching you must do so from the right of the picture as it is considerably shallower on the left-hand-side. The daigonal scar mark in the mud here is left by Roach!

The Wall outside the Tide Mill. When not busy one can lie alongside here and there is a very nice café right next door.

An abandoned wooden wreck.

Mel Skeets at LW

The upper stretches of the Deben near Mel Skeet's yard

Ramsholt back to Woodbridge

My new dinghy wheels
Roach alongside at Mel Skeets

A Sea King investigates

Ramsholt back to Woodbridge

I was woken by an RAF Sea King doing an exercise up the Deben, and it few very close over Roach. Anyway, I made myself a nice espresso and decided to plan the rest of the week. I would leave tomorrow early on the last of the flood so that I could get in over the Orford bar with plenty under my keel.

I missed the inshore forecast on the VHF and rather stupidly decided not to wait up for the Shipping Forecast and turned in. This was a bad decision as I was awoken with the little ship rolling heavily. A gale was blowing from the West and there was enough Fetch on the Ramsholt Reach to make some nasty little waves. Although only around two feet high, they were breaking and moving the yacht disproportionately to their size. The wind was around F8 and annoyingly was strong enough to suck my lovely canvas bucket from the cockpit floor. I stupidly left my towel to dry over the boom too, so that was probably beached somewhere.

I knew that it would be sensible to abort the Ore trip and maybe I should head for shelter in Woodbridge. I could do with some diesel anyway.

So I rang up Mel Skeets yard (it is a fraction of the cost of the Tide Mill at £8 per night for Roach). I secured a berth for the night. As I motored back on the flood (I could not be arsed to deep reef and beat all the way back to town) I passed all the Albert Stranges running under foresails.

I have never been this far up the River and I had no pilotage chart for the upper reaches of the Deben, but Mel has buoyed it very well so long as you trust the acute meanders a yacht of under 5ft draft will have plenty of water at HWN. I moored up Roach, and decided to do a bit of maintenance. A new mainsheet block from Classic Marine and fit wheel to the back of my tender. The wheels were a present from my brother who lives in Australia – where incidentally they are very cheap as they are unaware of the concept of Mud and Tides!

After the tasks were done, I took a walk along the sea wall to the Wyford Bridge Pub. A lovely walk at dusk, but do take a torch for the return trip, as I could not see a damn thing!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Roach gets 1970's Wind Vane Steering

Just a quickie pots about a new acquisition that Roach has got: 1970’s self-steering gear.
I am not sure how well it will perform, but we will see. I am quite lucky as it was not expensive and I think it being wooden, will not be so outrageously ugly on a classic boat (it is also removable). As I have to varnish the whole yacht anyway, I can just carry on going over the vane!

Another winter project I am adding to the List - the others: Saloon table, the backrests and also roller furling on the jib. I am also planning a Spitfire Jib and Ghoster for next season together with setting up her now-restored Spinnaker Gear. So watch this space to see how I get along with these rather ambitious projects!