Ok, ok I’ve done it again and not kept up to date with the blog. It doesn’t really matter, I’m sure there’s only a couple of people that have a look now and then so it’s only really myself that I’m letting down. I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since the last update, there’s been a lot going on and it seems like I’ve barely had a free weekend, plus it’s so easy to post pictures to Facebook the blog gets forgotten about!
The nav pod was looking a bit unloved, thick brown woodstain and instruments that mismatched (not that that’s important). The depth repeater was playing up so I decided to sell the Nasa log and combine it with a Nasa Duet, this would enable me to put a small chart plotter between the duet and the wind display to show AIS data and would mean no diving down to the nav table to check paper charts/ a tablet getting wet in the cockpit, or checking the seafarer depth sounder. I’m very pleased with the result, see the difference below.
I mentioned pretty much a year ago that I planned on rewiring Sundance here. Well I’m a step closer after recieveing my custom Blue Sea panels and I’m very happy with them.
They did take a little longer then expected to turn up but that wasn’t the end of the world. Now I just need to make a new panel/box to fit them in to but more on that shortly.
It’s September, the season is almost over and it’s the last sail I’ll get in before the club recovery. It was a springs so a morning tide and I had talked a friend in to coming along. We woke to a beautiful autumnal morning, sun warming the air and not much of a breeze but enough to keep us moving. After breakfast in the clubhouse we cast off and headed out in the channel.
The breeze dropped, well with the tide taking us there was no apparent wind. I decided we would give it a go at flying the spinnaker for the first time, just see if it would pull us along?! Pole and lines rigged I hoisted the kite, rolled away the genoa and she filled ever so gently. Pulling us along no faster then we were before it was a fantastic introduction to the new sail. As we passed Lavernock point the wind died and the kite dangled motionless which made for an easy recovery. We turned on the engine and slowly motored, with the tide mostly taking us down towards Barry.
On the horizon, in the haze it looked like a mass of ships anchored on the far side of the channel, as we got closer it was infact 30 or so leisure fishing boats achored off Barry enjoying the nice weather. With not a ripple on the water we entered Barry harbour and anchored in the fairway, giving plenty of room for the pilot and lifeboat and keeping far enough away from any mooring chains there may be on the bottom. Anchor down which was another first in Sundance we cooked our lunch and ate it in the cockpit.
An hour or so later, after the tide turned we set back off, a slight zephyr ripples the water we upped anchor and motored out. The plan was to sail between the islands but with not much wind and a few boats motoring around we decided a slow drift up on the tide. Only making a couple of knots and with the shifted wind we once again raised the spinnaker which in the ever so slightly rising wind dragged us closer and closer to Newport. The wind now starting to blow over the deck was increasing to about 6 kts apparent and I was starting to get concerned about dropping the kite effectivly on my own as Andy although has sailed with me before is largly inexperienced.
After the drop, which went as well as it could have we wasted a bit of time sailing about under genny outside the Usk for the tide to rise a little more. The spinnaker certainly did it’s job and got us back to Newport in record time! Heading up river we rolled the genoa away, motored on to the mooring and sorted the boat. That was it, a perfect last sail of the season. Anchored, flew the kite and visited a new port I couldn’t ask for more.
A week later I was back slipped her into the wise and onto her cradle, sails, boom and sprayhood off and she was ready for some winter fettling… more about that, soon!
Firstly I should apologise for another delayed blog post. This year as they all seem to, has flown by and it seems like all work and no play. I didn’t want to wait till the boat came out of the water to fit the furler so I sacrificed one of my sailing days as a jobs day. Heading down to the boat after with the furler in the car, tool and well thumbed instructions I moved the boat off the mooring and on to the club pontoon. The next day I woke up early and removed the forestay, it’s a odd feeling being up the top of the mast solo, with no forestay. Don’t worry too much, Sundance’s keel stepped mast won’t go anywhere and I had a couple of halyards made off on deck.
That’s it, I’m on the list… no not that one… the Jester Challenge Baltimore 2019 list.
Although I’ve been planning and prepping for the 2019 JBC since, well before the 2017 one I didn’t really want to make my intentions known till closer to the date in case it didn’t happen.
I was with a friend at the Southampton Boat show who was looking for a DAB radio for his boat and we got on to the subject of music whist sailing. Strangly enough I has the same conversation with a club member a few weeks back, both listened to music in the cockpit whilst sailing, one over speaker and one with headphones, both seemed surprised I didn’t.
I enjoy music, I’m one of those that will listen to anything quite happily but when I’m sailing I like the peace and quiet of the sea. I go sailing to get away from the noise of modern life, internet, phones, radios, adverts etc. It’s vary rare I’ll look at my phone whilst on the boat, infact it normally stays in the chart table.
I’m sure I would stick the LW on if I had been at sea for a week or so, just to check the rest of the world is still there, I would probably enjoy listening to a rhythm but I’ll enjoy the sounds of the natural world for as long as possible. There’s nothing like the sound of water lapping against the hull to put a smile on my face.
Sundance has a lovely wooden tiller but no tiller extension which isn’t the end of the world but I do like sitting on the coaming whilst I’m helming in nice weather and tucking under the spray hood when it’s not so nice, both I can do with the long tiller but it’s all a stretch. I decided on the Spinlock EA1200, I had thought I would prefer the joystick handle coming from a dinghy background but the asymmetrical one is a joy to use. The other thing I wanted to add to the tiller was a bracket or connector for the windvane (I decided on the Windpilot tiller bracket, despite the cost it’s seemed the best made for the job) as all I had was a canvas sleeve that slid over the tiller with a couple of eyes for the lines. This worked but it did mean an extra faff if you needed to unconnect the windvane in a hurry but with the tiller extension bracket I wouldn’t be able to use it.
One thing Sundance didn’t have when I bought her was roller reefing for her genoa, her previous owner opting for hank on sails as she was club raced with a crew. I thought I could manage with these sailing singlehanded and whilst I can it’s hard work, especially when the wind picks up and you have to change the sails in a good bit of Bristol Channel wind over tide. It was the sole reason I didn’t take part in the 2017 Jester Baltimore Challenge and with the 2019 event round the corner I thought I better get things sorted.
Roller reefing has been on the cards, well since I’ve owned her, but it’s such an expense I haven’t managed to get it till now!
I’ve bought myself a Sailspar continuous line roller reefing for Sundance as sail changes whilst solo are a pain in the backside let alone trying to fold the sail at the end of the day! To go with this I wanted a clutch to go on the reefing line so I can easily pull it through and lock it off where I wanted. Doing a bit of digging on the net I found Spinlock do a couple of clutches and Selden do a “Tandem fiddle double cam”. In the end I opted for the Spinlock clutch as I thought the Selden system could be a bit of a handful or two handful so to speak (I should point out I’ve not tried one and have heard they are very easy to use, it’s just a/my personal choice. I tried to find some sort of reviews or instructions online for the Spinlock XTS0814/1M and I couldn’t so here’s my thoughts.