Hottest Day of the year…

… and only one place to be was on the river.  We arranged for our friend Ken to come with us, much to his wife Laurie’s delight, it was Wimbledon Men’s Final Day and she would be able to watch it in peace with a couple of likeminded fiends and half a ton of strawberries (ok perhaps not half a ton)

Wind was a bit light at best so we motored down to Pin Mill and picked up a mooring for lunch.  Just as we settled down the wind pickup of course but we sat and had lunchanyway, enjoying the fresh air blow across the deck. We sat for a good hour chatting and watching the world sail passed with the occasional ‘interesting’ moment  – like the bowsprit coming towards you for some time before moving neatly round our stern at the last minute.  While we sat there the wind increased and we decided not to beat into it (too lazy) instead we just slipped the mooring, pulled out the Genoa and raced back to the Orwell Bridge with just couple of gybes to keep the wind in the right place.  For once we attempted to sail through the bridge, but the wind was all over the place so we quickly started the engine (so nice to be able to do this) and motored back to the mooring. 

After a great day out on the river we were still home in time to see the historic final set of the Murray final – what a match that was.

First Sail!

We went out Saturday afternoon with Wifey and Jeremy for our first sail.  Angela is not quite fully recovered needs a bit of help with the sheets so we’re going out with 3 aboard until she gets back to full strength.

To leave our trot mooring we needed to move the span ropes across and so we would get blown off, which while taking a bit of time in the preparation worked well.  Once through the bridge we were chatting away about the old causeway, which can still be found with the echo sounder and as it turned out the keels – yup we ran aground.  Seems that the previous owner had turned off the shallow alarm and we (me) weren’t paying close enough attention to the display – still we now that 0m means aground.  We did what should be done in these situations, ‘Don’t Panic and Drink Tea!’  The tide was coming in and we sat there with the engine gently in reverse until we sensed some movement and then gave her full throttle and off we came.

Once back on course, with the wind on her tail we pulled out the enormous 150% Genoa and sailed nicely down passed Wolverstone, where we put DugDug back on furled the Genoa and turned for home.  Then we pulled up the main, and around ¾ of the genoa to beat back, this is where the fun and the work really starts.

Capella  is must less skittish than Cupido, her much higher ballast ratio helps here and she is really stable leaned over giving us confidence in her, needed that reef in the Genoa though  (no ‘Wooh’s from Wifey so that’s a good sign).  Like most J25s Capella has a bit of ‘lea helm’, not a desirable trait and something we’ll have to work out how to cure eventually but I can live with it for now. 

So several tacks, and a lot of usful experience later the wind started to dieaway as we got passed Freston so back on with DugDug and a largely uneventful trip back to pick up the mooring and back to the club.

A great day out with our sailing guru on board

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.