Sunday, 13 November 2011

Last Outing

Robinetta is due out of the water on Monday, and with the main sail out of commission there was no chance to sail this weekend. We did want to top up the fuel tanks for the winter though, so motored over to Tollesbury. It was sunny on the way there, although chilly with the east wind, and there was more swell than we expected out by the Mersea Quarters buoy.

By the time we were heading back the wind had risen, and the sun disappeared behind thick cloud making it really feel like a bleak November day. I helmed in both directions, while Julian loosened up and greased the shroud shackles so they would be easy for the yard tomorrow, then I ran the water pump while the engine was running to drain the fresh water system down.

Once back on the mooring Julian got the boom off the mast, then we tied up all the halyards to the mast. Laying up has begun!

Monday, 7 November 2011

New sails

We've wanted new sails for a while, and Mark Butler from James Lawrence came today to have a look at Robinetta. The tides were right to bring her to the hammerhead at West Mersea, and very few people want to use the pontoon in November so we tied up alongside at 0955. Luckily the wind was as forecast, and we were able to raise sail there which made Mark's job much easier.

He came up with a number of suggestions, including lengthening the gaff, and raising the peak angle which will give us a much larger main sail area. We've been thinking along those lines, so decided to go with it. Julian will make a new gaff this winter, having had practice with making Worm's spars.

We need larger fore-sail area to balance the new main, so we've ordered two new jibs, a number one, and a working jib which will be cut very differently to our current one. He also thinks we should abandon our club footed stay-sail, and go with one that overlaps the main to produce a better wind slot; we're not quite ready for that so we've not ordered one although he took the measurements so we can have one cut next season if we decide on it.

While standing back on the pontoon to think about things Mark noticed that the hound which holds one of the peak blocks to the mast was coming loose. This is critical to safely using the main sail, so we've decided not to sail again this season. We need the mast out to work on where it passes through the deck, so it was going to come out anyway.

We had a good long discussion, but all the time keeping an eye on the depth gage. I did not want to be stuck on the wrong side of the Gut! Business was concluded just before half tide, then we nipped back through the Gut sharpish. I helmed while Julian kept an eye on the depth. We got through without noticeably touching, but Julian reported 1 foot on the gauge at one point, so we must have been stirring the mud!

We've paid a deposit, to secure a place in the queue to have the sails made, but they won't be cut for a while. This is not a problem since we really want to check how much work needs doing on Robinetta's hull. We've hired Paul Drake to re-caulk her this winter, and don't know what other essential work this might reveal. We're keeping our fingers crossed!