Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Shake down sails

It's almost the end of April. Vagabond has been on the briny twice since I hitched her, Terence (the trailer) behind Martina and drove the ensemble south to the Marina at Northney on Hayling Island for the summer quarters

A couple of "shake down"  outings showed that  the changes made during the winter work, some better than others.

The "undercarriage doors"  in the outboard well are a partial success, in that the amount of swirl in the chamber is much less that it was with the battered Mylar strips that used to try to keep the worst of the water out.
But raising and lowering them is a bit of a palaver.
One has images of naval officers shouting commands to Petty Officers, who pass them to the AB's who actually do the work :
"Close up well crew"
"Well Crew ready sir"
"Let go under carrgage doors."
"Aye Aye sir undercarriage doors let go"
"Haul in opening uphaul"
"Aye Aye sir, uphaul hauled in and doors open"
"Lower engine and prepare to start" etc etc

You get the idea: Lot's of shouting and tugging of forelocks.

The electric winch and bilge pump are both a success. The first is fixed to the trailer, together with battery and solar panel, in place of the hand winch of yesteryear.   I had noticed towards the end of last season that age was  starting to tell on the owner and getting Vagabond onto the trailer was almost too much of an effort. So, with a bit of bracketry knocked up by Swallows metal smith in Cardigan, a "Warrior" winch was fitted to the front of the trailer and various electrics were designed and fitted (cobbled together). The winch came with a wandering hand held "wire free" controller, so, once the dyneema string on the winch has been unrolled enough to clip it on to the eye on Vagabonds bows, one can stand on the pontoon alongside the boat, press the "up" button and watch as the winch draws her up onto the trailer. If necessary, a casual push or pull on the side of the boat keeps her in line. So far, it seems to work OK, although I am very aware that there is no manual back up should the electrics fail......

The electric bilge pump (about a tenner from ebay) emptied that ballast tanks in about 5 minutes, so you can leave it to get on with the task whilst positioning the trailer..

The sailing on the two days was pretty uneventful - a slow drift down with the ebbing spring tide on day one, and a fine display of short tacks on an ebbing neap tide for day two. The fine display was a little disrupted by gently running aground a couple of times as I left the tacks a little late but no damage seems to have been done. I must remember that 1.3 metres on the echo sounder means 1.3 metres and not 2!

On the first day, we had the harbour to ourselves and on the second a BRE joined in the tacking excerises.

The skipper is off to have another eye operation next week, so there's be no more news until towards the end of May.






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