First trip of the season

Tuesday, me and Jeremy Belton (responsible for getting me into sailing in the first place) went out to Capella to get the Genoa up, the reefing lines on and give her her first sail of the season.

All went more or less to plan, reefing a the mast is different to Cupido or Katherine Rose (Jeremy’s Hunter Horizon 26)  as the ropes are run back to the cockpit (very sensible).  The only problem was the sailing bit, we motored down the river to the reassuring ‘dug-dug-dug’ of the the 33 year old  single cylinder Volvo Penta MD5A diesel – all 7 1/2 horses of raw power.  The mirror finish to the water and the Toppers paddling back to Woolverstone told us there was to be no sailing tonight.

We motored down to Pin Mill turn back and ate tea on the way home .  We did feel a bit of a breeze at one point so as the main was still up we gave it ago. We did move, just about had steerage way, but we needed to be home before Thursday. After one tack, mostly to see what the sail handling was like, and about 5 minutes under sail we rolled up the Genoa, put DugDug back in gear and motored back the mooring.

A very pleasant evening well spent.

Fixing the Roller Reefing

After a trawl of the Internet it seemed that maintenance roller reefing gear (Plastimo 608S) is limited to a regular flushing. As Capella arrived by road with the mast down and the offending drum at the front I figured there could be some grit got up inside and a rinse out might help.

So the next weekend I go back, armed with a plant sprayer (the sort you pump up) and flask of boiling water. Half the boiling water, topped up with cold and a dash of washing up liquid the 1l plant sprayer was ready. Pumped up as hard as it would go I sprayed in from the top, sprayed up from the bottom. Thought I’d give things a chance to soak if it needed it and decided to try and get a few more turns on the bottlescrew, this time from the deck. Still really needed 3 hands, but a bit of rope tied to stop the drum turning too far helped.

It occurred to be laying there on the foredeck that the crimp on the swage terminal on the bottom of the forestay was partly up inside the drum and as I wound it back down it appeared – was this the issue? Was the extra width of the crimp causing it to stick? Only one way to find out, so I found a bolt to stop the bottle screw turning, replaced the split pin in the threaded part and tried it out. Hooray it works! Found a line to be the ‘sail’, so wound it out and in several time and it worked a treat.

One relieved Malcolm went home happy

Genoa Fixed!

Next day we decided to head up to Minsmere to look do a bit of bird watching, so we stop at Suffolk Sails inWoodbridge on the way to drop the off Genoa to be repaired.  Great service – took one look and says I can sort that out now.  Basically the very top part of the boltrope is exposed to the sun as it is higher than the first turn of the UV strip – solution? Cut that piece off! They don’t take the bolt rope up there on new sails, and I seem to remember Cupido’s bolt rope not going to the top.  Out with the hot knife and in a minute or two it’s fixed – cost, nothing! I be a happy boy again.

Tuning the Rig, raising the sails

Capella went in the water before some the things I wanted to do didn’t get done.  It’s about  5 weeks later and finally we get the weather at the right time to tune the rig and put the sails up. The mast has been up for over a month, but I have still not managed to set up the rigging properly so that’s first job of the day.  The mast needs to rake back slightly; it was leaning forward slightly so I need to loosen the forestay – but the bottle screw is between two large pieces of Maccano type plates that is part of the roller reefing gear (Plastimo 608S). So turning this is difficult – in the end worked out the best way was to use an Allen key , as the L shape could be manipulated to make it turn around a third of a turn at a time – ten turns later and it’s as loose as the tread allow, still not enough but it will have to do.  After that making sure the mast is up right left to right and then putting in reasonable amount of pre-bend is relatively straight forward.  After all we’re just ambling up and down the Orwell, not racing or crossing ocean.

Next the sails

The mainsail goes on OK, but not sure how to fix the tack and there seems to be a shortage of shackles the outhaul and kicker.  The running reefing lines is another mystery to solve, leave that for another day as there may be some indication on the ‘for sale’ pictures.

The Genoa is a different story all together.  Bit of a pig to pull up – but nothing the winch couldn’t solve.  Then came the furling – not enough turns on the drum so pull it out a few turns and manually wrap the sail round and attach a sheet so I can pull it out again and check it’s OK.  This is where it start to go wrong.  Pull out the Genoa OK, pull it back in and things start to get stiff and springy towards the end.  Gave it that extra tug, as you do to get the last few turns in and the bottle screw on the forestay unscrews itself.  Fortunately it had a few more turns on the bottom then on the top so it stayed on deck and didn’t disappear into the murky depths.

So back to the rig

So there I am standing in a dinghy, so not a stable platform, next to the shipping channel in the Orwell with lots of leisure traffic coming or going into Ipswich – those motor boats do kick up some serious wash even at the 6 knot speed limit.  I’m trying to get the bottle to reconnect at both ends, but it doesn’t  want to know, too many things to pull, push and hang onto for on pair of hands – but I can’t leave the boat with the fore stay disconnected (the lowers are holding the mast up).  Along rows the ever helpful Alan Bimpson, whose yacht Oystercatcher is moored a few boats away.  He rows round with binoculars trying to see why the screw is undoing itself but nothing.  So with 4 hands we manage to get the forestay reconnected.  We stop things turning with an Allen key thought he bottle screw and a split pin in top threaded part, now things work OK  but it has a bit of a squeak – that can be left for another day.    We’d taken the Genoa off to take some load off the roller reefing gear and we spotted a small tear at the very top, so home that goes to go off to be repaired.

All round it felt like a really bad day, and the end of any chance of sailing during our week off.   

Moving on Up

We’d been thinking about moving up from our previous Bradwell 18 – Cupido for a few years After a long search as considering about a dozen different types of yacht, a Jaguar 25 was top of our short list of boats we could actually afford.  Finally last autumn the finances caught up with the ambition.

We found the boat fairs at Levington and Tollesbury very useful in helping us decide what we wanted, being able to sit in the cockpit with the tiller in your hand, is it comfortable, can I see over the coach roof.  Going below and getting an idea how practical the living accommodation is, and the engine access.

We of course did a load of Internet searches for review and opinion, gathered data on theoretical sailing characteristics, and important things like headroom and position of the heads.

At the start of the search we stepped aboard a fin keel J25 at the boat fair at Levington and liked her instantly, and from then on subconsciously it had to be as good as that yacht.  Capella was the 3rd of 4 Jaguars we looked at and obviously the best. 

So it was in March 2013 we bought Capella, and after several trips down to Leigh Marina where she had spent the winter, we arranged for her to be brought back to Ipswich by road on the 29th April.