Saturday, 22 December 2012

Boats make friends

My newest contact on LinkedIn is the grandson of one of the partners in the boat building yard in Rock Ferry, Birkenhead which built Robinetta. In researching his family history he came across this blog. I'm hoping he will share more of the history of the Enterprise Small Craft Company. We know from Wikipedia that they also built Seabird Half Raters. I also came across HMS Conway which mentions that they built the 36' water boat of HMS Indefatigable, called the Arthur Bibby.

A very merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mending and clearing

Took the "new" mainsail to Brightlingsea today to get the damage repaired. They were very busy in James Lawrence, and did not get the sail out to have a look, but the white patches are obvious. They will replace them with matching and properly fixed patches. There is no deadline on when this will happen, since they are, as usual, extremely busy, but I did say we wanted it back before Easter.

I talked to Mark about the gaff saddle, and he wondered if maybe the mast tapers too much, so that the saddle does not fit snugly enough by the time it gets up to where it slides round. That could mean replacing the mast is one way of getting round the problem... Seems very drastic!

I then headed to Mersea to take the fore sails off Robinetta, together with the seat cushions, bed infill,sleeping bags..... It was another cold day, 2C, and when I took the floorboards up to check the bilges the water in them was an icy slush. I mopped them out as best I could, since the water in the electric bilge pump tube was too solid to flow. Hopefully the tube is okay!

Today's refurbishment task was to finish dismantling the galley, which I did. The available space looks impressive without the cooker in the way, but I like our cooking capability too much to want to go for something without an oven. It's going to take a lot of thinking to make the most of the space.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

End of year totals

Robinetta came out of the water on the 4th December, and I've just been on board today to start clearing her out. It was a lovely bright day, but cold. There was ice on the cover and foredeck when we got to the yard, and the temperature never got above 4C.

A quick look at the outside showed various minor patches of bare wood, but it was too cold to paint, even though the hull was dry.
Alex came with me, and between us we've made a good start on preparing her for the winter ashore. She's got her foredeck cover on, and her main sail off, and a car full of cabin contents are now at home. That includes the charts, which gives me a chance to total up our miles for the season.

We used our engine for 60 hours, covered 431 miles (mostly under sail) and spent 25 days on board. That means we averaged just over 17 nm per sailing day. The engine hours were pushed up by a couple of longish passages under motor, but the wind does not always oblige!
Not bad, given we also spent 10 days sailing out of the Hamble this year! (255nm, in three trips)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

End of the Season

Decided we'd sleep on Robinetta on Saturday night, since the OGA AGM was at the West Mersea Yacht Club. Seemed like a good idea since we would not need to drive home, so could drink.

Didn't seem like such a good idea when we came out the yacht club at gone 2200 and saw the frost on the ground, but we were expecting it, so well prepared with extra sleeping bags and plenty of warm clothes. I rowed us out, in bright moon light, with plenty of stars over head, and we were soon tucked up in Robinetta.

Putting our light weight summer quilt sleeping bags outside our normal ones, and wearing lots of layers of clothes plus our warm sailing hats, worked fine as a keeping warm in bed strategy; getting out of bed to go to the heads, not so great!

We woke up to ice inside the port holes, but bright sunshine and a good sailing breeze, so after a fry up we got the sails up, and headed for Tollesbury. The aim was to get fuel to top up the tanks before Robinetta comes out of the water. My 'phone rang as we sailed past the Packing Shed; Mike McCarthy had seen us as he drove off the Island!

We waited until until we were sure we had enough water to get over the sill at the marina (high tide at 1410 West Mersea), and tied onto the fuel dock by 1303. Then we discovered that the chandlers closes at 1300 out of season on a Sunday. They had already cashed up and shut down the computers, so there was nothing they could do to sell us fuel (although they were apologetic).

We went and had a drink at the Cruising Club, being too full of fry up to want a carvery dinner, then headed back to Mersea just after high water. We got the sails up again, but the wind had gone very light, so we put the engine on by Little Cob Marsh Island, and motored back home.

A gentle day's sailing, our last of the season, but very enjoyable despite the cold.

Unexpected delight

Gavin Atkin says of Francis B Cooke:

"Francis B Cooke was one of the great yachting writers of the 20th century and more – a long-lived man, he was first published in 1883 and was still writing in the early 1970s, by which time he was in his early 100s". Read more here

Alison and I were therefore over the moon last night to be presented with the Francis B Cooke trophy for the best log by an East Coast gaffer.

Thanks everyone!