Saturday, 11 February 2012

Margherita Sailing

Over the past couple of years I have been lucky enough to have other people taking pictures of me at sea under sail.  Here are the best of them.

In Poole harbour

Sailing in Poole Bay

A Beat back from Christchurch  - F5 on the nose, and a reef

These four were taken by David Harding of "Sailing" and are his copyright

These three were taken by Chris Green near my mooring

Improving Margherita

Hello again. You can tell that I am not much of a Blogger as I have been silent after that first burst of enthusiasm in 2008. Since then, nearly three sailing seasons have passed and I have made good use of Margherita in and around Poole, sleeping on board for some 70 nights in total. I have not been too far afield;  to Lymington once, Christchurch Harbour a few times, and to Swanage on day sails.  But it is always fun to sail such a lovely boat, even if only round in circles! Since 2008 Margherita has had a write-up in both Practical Boat Owner (summer 2010 issue) and Watercraft Magazines. I have also made a number of improvements and additions to Margherita that have worked well. Here are a few that may be of interest.

Transom height. The first improvement was to cut about 35mm off of the transom top to lower the engine further into the water. Phil Swift did this for me (I lacked the courage!) over the winter of 2008/9. It is still a bit too high but the clamping screws are almost on the deck so it is not possible to lower further. The shape of the boat and its light weight means that if you go forward by more than a few feet, the engine lifts out of the water and you get cavitation and lose cooling water pumping.

Cockpit Tent. This was designed by me using lots of bits of rope to get a workable space envelope and then patterned up and manufactured by Dawn Morgan who trades as "Cover Girl" in Swanage. She made a good job of it. What I wanted was somewhere to put stowage when two people were sleeping in the cabin, or for when I needed a bit of privacy or weather protection. You can see that it ties under the raised boom (I have put a whipping on the topping lift rope so that I know when the boom is at the correct height) and fastens to the hull throught the scuppers in the bulwarks. I did not want holes or hooks in the hull. The four corners have adjustable buckles the rest use Velcro loops. You can tie the sides up to allow some fresh air in but when it is all battened down you need to be sure of your anchorage as you cannot see much of what is going on around and about.

Adjusting the trim.  Margherita is very much a small yacht not a big dinghy, and she sits in the water with solidity.  This is aided by a 50kg steel centre plate and by around 90kg of steel punchings in 4kg bags.The boat builder and designer Phil Swift came up with a very neat  way of stowing the ballast.  He made two boxes that are bolted to the transverse frames and take the weight, rather than it sitting on the hull.  Each box has a curved base to match the hull shape and is divided up into 9 compartments and has a lid that ties down firmly.  I have moved ballast to starboard and forward to better balance the 25kg outboard and she sits almost level to the waterline now. 

Cockpit and Sail Covers.  I had these made in Windermere when the boat was being built and they work well.  The sail cover was initially too big hence the rope around it but was reduced by the maker and now fits well.  The cockpit cover was a work of art and fits brilliantly.  Keeping Gulls off is another matter.

Mooring.  She is moored much like the many shrimpers in the harbour, with the header chain clipped to the D ring that goes through the stem (and also carries the bobstay) However, a rope strop from the Samson post joins the chain via a shackle that is placed far enough down to make normal loadings go to the boat via the strop, and the chain only takes load in a heavy blow.  The chain goes to a swivel and thence to the sinker.  As you can see , my mooring dries at low tide.