Saturday, 5 July 2014

Yarmouth IOW and the Old Gaffer's "YOGAFF" Rally

On Wed 28 May, Tom and Catherine Taylor in "Marjory" and myself in "Margherita" left Chichester early in the morning to sail to Cowes.  It was a grey drizzly day with an uncomfortable stiff wind over tide chop and was a hard beat all of the way.  We spent Wednesday evening in Cowes Yacht Haven, drying ourselves out. On Thursday, we had a pleasant broad reach under grey but dry skies to Yarmouth.


Two shillings dressed overall
On arrival, we were efficiently escorted to our pontoon berth amongst a growing fleet of Gaffers all dressed overall.  This was our first YOGAFF and it had attracted over 100 entrants, ranging from the Thames Barge Alice and the Pilot Cutter Jolie Brise.... all the way down to us!  The whole town was alive with people and activity.  Some seemed in keeping with the boats and the sea, and there was some good street music but much was (in my opinion) tending to street market tat.  

In the evening the YOGAFF organisers held a welcoming drinks party on the pontoons and on Friday evening they held an excellent nautical music evening at Yarmouth Sailing Club, recapturing much of the fantastic atmosphere of the OGA 50th Rally the year before at Cowes.

On Saturday morning there was the great YOGAFF race....but very little wind!  the fleet sailed and drifted over a shortened course for an hour or so and there was much confusion.  Tom entered Marjory with a borrowed crew, I did not.  At the evening prize giving in the Royal Solent Yacht Club, it was announced that Tom and Marjory had won their class....and the overall race on handicap - beating three times Fastnet winner Jolie Brise!!! Tom was amazed and delighted.

Marjory second from right

Marjory tucked in to the starboard side of Jolie Brise

On Saturday afternoon the sun came out and there was (scratch built) log yacht racing in the harbour and other races for the kids (of all ages!).  While others just relaxed in their yachts.

The Rally dispersed on Sunday.  Tom and Catherine left early to get the easterly flow of tide to Chichester.  I left at 13.00 to get the flow westwards past Hurst Castle.  Another hard and lumpy beat with wind over tide to Poole, arriving at 7pm, cold and damp.  I moored up in the harbour and fell on a tin of heated up beef stew .....and a whisky.  Back onto my mooring at Sandbanks on Monday June 2nd.   

All in all, a great trip from Chichester and a fantastic time at YOGAFF.  I will do it again.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

May 2014 - Chichester and the First International Shilling Rally

Launch day

On 15 May, I towed "Margherita" from home and launched her at Emsworth Yacht Harbour, in Chichester Harbour, and moored her in their marina for a couple of weeks, before sailing back to Poole.  I had her hoisted in with a crane, which looked rather scary! 

The following day I met up with Tom Taylor and his Shilling “Marjory”; the first one built by Phil Swift in about 1998. Together over the next couple of days we did some exploring of the harbour, and later sailed to Bembridge for a night.  It was very crowded and we were forced to anchor on the beach. which had a hideous cross current. Never again! 

!Marjory and Margherita on the beach at Bembridge

Four Shillings in the collection - and still not enough for an ice cream

Tom knows Vince Powell, who now owns Ten Bob (Shilling number 10 and the last one built by Phil Swift) and he keeps her at Emsworth too.  So, on 16 May we three met on the Emsworth visitors pontoon where Vince was puzzling over the mizzen rigging. Tom offered some advice..... 

We three agreed to meet later that evening at East Head, near the harbour entrance.  As Tom and I sailed slowly to our destination, against the tide in the entrance, I noticed a yawl with tan sails heading into the harbour.  As it got closer, I recognised her as Five Bob (Shilling number 5) with Matt Andrews on board. Quite by coincidence he had launched at Langston Harbour and sailed to Chichester – and he was as surprised as we were!  Five Bob is marginally longer than my Shilling at 17 ft 3 inches, and has her engine in a well. This works well for Matt as he keeps her on a trailer most of the time and does not suffer fouling problems, but it is in the water all of the time he is sailing, which must affect performance a bit.

Five Bob skippered by Matt Andrews

Five Bob and Marjory

So, we three beached in the mud of a falling tide and, after being joined by Vince, the four skippers spent the evening drinking Matt’s wine and comparing boats, before dispersing next morning hoping we could all meet again in the future somewhere. 

We were 99% certain that this was the largest gathering of Shillings ever accomplished and it represented half of the existing active fleet. Well done team!

Ten Bob

Left to Right - Five Bob, Margherita, Marjory and Ten Bob
Tom and I spent some time sailing together in Chichester Harbour exploring places I had never visited before.  It was surprisingly large and very attractive - but very busy on the Sunday.  The tides were a bit of a shock after Poole, with a 4M range at Springs and a ferocious current in the entrance!  The two boats were surprisingly well matched despite different rigs.  With a decent breeze the cutter rig of Margherita made her a bit faster upwind, but we were never more than a few hundred yards apart.  This matching was even more evident in our later sail together to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight ( a later post I think). 

Marjory leading Margherita

Marjory looking good
An excellent Long weekend and my thanks to Tom for his company and local knowledge.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

August 2013 - A Trip to the Solent for the Old Gaffer's Association 50th Anniversary Rally

I have been a member of the Gaffers for a few years now.  2014 was their 50th Anniversary, which they celebrated in a number of ways, including a round-Britain sailing relay.  The grand finale was a gathering at Cowes Yacht Haven of about 230 gaff and traditionally rigged boats of varying sizes, for four days of events and racing.

I left Poole at lunch time on Tues Aug 13th with the aim of sailing to Christchurch and with a gentle SW breeze on my quarter and full sail.  As I progressed, the wind kept rising and I was soon surfing down 2 metre waves, with too much sail up and starting to broach a bit.  Being on my own it seemed more dangerous to try and reef than keep going so I furled the foresails and pressed on, passing Christchurch and reaching Hurst and Keyhaven in under 4 hrs.  It was only when I turned head to wind in the lee of Hurst spit that I quite realised how blowy it was.  When I picked up a mooring , my wind speed indicator showed 24kts over the deck inside the harbour!

Being ahead of myself now, on Wed 14 Aug I sailed in a F5 (reefed this time!) to Newtown Creek and moored up for a chilly, grey and sometimes drizzly afternoon and night.  But it is a lovely place.

On Thursday Aug 15th, I set sail at 07.30 in a SW F4-5 again.  I ran close inshore to Cowes under goose winged head sails and no main.  Margherita goes well like that and I was at Cowes by 11.15.  The rally organisation was superb and all boats were assisted into their allocated berths by teams of volunteers in RIBS.  To my delight, I was berthed well inside the marina, next to Tom and Catherine Taylor and their Shilling Marjory (who I had met earlier in the season at Newtown Creek).  During the afternoon the sun shone and the marina became more and more active.  The OGA completely filled it, as well as part of Shepherd's Wharf.  It was a splendid sight and one that I am unlikely to see again in the UK.

There was racing on Friday (wet) and Saturday (very windy) which I did not participate in but I did go out with Tom and sail Marjory off of Cowes, which was very enjoyable.

The Solent Branch of the OGA, the rally organisers, had laid on a fantastic programme of events with food music slide shows, awards ceremonies and lots of drinking - all in a fantastic atmosphere of happiness and good spirits.  It was very moving at times and hilarious at others.

There were quite a few Dutch participants and they had invited each of the OGA groups they met during the round-Britain relay challenge to make a "Clog Yacht" ,using a kit of parts provided, and to bring it to Cowes for a race.......which they did!

The rally finished on Sunday, with a wash up meeting and presentations to all of the round Britain crews, and boats began to depart.  I decided it was too blowy for a beat to the west and elected to stay until Monday.  I left Cowes at 10.00 on Mon Aug 19 and, with a reef in the main, had a wettish beat to Keyhaven, arriving there at 13.00.  As the tide was still under me, I kept going and reached Christchurch at around 4pm, where I stayed for the night. On Tues 20 Aug I sailed  back to Poole and my mooring.  

By far the best and longest cruise yet with Margherita, with 7 days afloat and 7 nights on board.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A trip to the Solent and a meeting with "Marjory" - July 2013

I decided to take advantage of a spell of settled weather to attend an impromptu gathering of boats from the Old Gaffer's Association in Newtown Creek on the Isle of Wight.  Setting sail from Poole on Thursday 4 July, I ran in front of a F4  and spent Thursday night anchoin Christchurch Harbour, before heading for Hurst Castle and the entrance to the Solent early on Friday morning.  Those who know these waters will be aware that, ideally,  you need to get to the Hurst race with the tide either slack or gently beginning to move in your direction - especially in a small boat like mine.  Through lack of wind, I motored most of the way and got through with the tide just beginning to run against me.  From there it was a gentle two hour motor to Newtown Creek.  

Those reading this who have been there will know that it is a beautiful spot and very popular with people from all over the Solent. Here are a couple of Pictures of the scene around my National Trust Mooring (£15 per night)

One of the objectives of the weekend was to meet up with Tom and Catherine Taylor, who I had made contact with through this Blog and who now own "Marjory", which is Shilling number one. Phil Swift's Prototype, she was built in 1998 for Roger Boxall and, after spending time with him around Milford haven, is now based in Chichester.  This is how she looks, with the Yawl rig that most Shillings have.  Very Pretty.

It was interesting to compare the two boats, built 10 years apart. Mine has more built-in bouyancy and hence less space below, but I have a lower centre box top which makes it easier to move about in the cabin, I think.  Overall though, it was encouraging to see how well Marjory was ageing - well done Phil!

later in the day I motored to the other end of Newtown Creek and met up with a number of boats from the Old Gaffers Association, Solent Group.  All very friendly and welcoming , we had a BBQ on the shore in the evening.   This is "Roma", owned by Mike and Jessica Warren, with "Helen" anchored behind her.

On Sunday, I followed Roma and Helen across the Solent in a dead calm and up the Beaulieu River to Bucklers Hard, where we spent the day enjoying the sunshine and exploring the village and museum. The Master Builder pub proved a crashing disappointment food-wise, the only good thing being the view. 

The Beaulieu River is beautiful.  After Roma and Helen departed on Monday morning, I motored 2 miles or so up river to Beaulieu Abbey, home of Lord Montague, which is the limit of navigation. Amazing houses on the river bank.

Motoring back down to the river entrance, I raised sail and tooled around in a good breeze and heading westward with the tide, I anchored in Keyhaven for the night.  

On Tuesday, I motorsailed from Keyhaven and until I got to Bournemouth Bay, when a day breeze enabled a fast sail to Studland Bay to wait the rising tide needed to get into Poole, where I moored up in Bramble Bush bay for the night.  

On Wed July 10th, I sailed around for a while before mooring in the shallows off Brownsea and cleaning ship.  Then back to the mooring. A great trip all round, with 6 nights on board and new friends made.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

2013 - A Much Better Season!

Yes, yearly updates are rather sad I know, but life has been busy.  I update my Facebook page with about the same frequency! 

Well, 2013 was a much better sailing season and I took "Margherita" to places she had never been before, as well as making new friends.  I launched in Poole on 31 May and took her home on 8 October.  Between those dates I enjoyed 26 days sailing, spent 24 nights on board, made one trip to Christchurch and two to the Solent (more in a later post).  For those few souls who were wondering, my "new for 2012" but untested commode-cum-bucket toilet works OK.....provided you are careful.  It enabled me to perform my ablutions in relatively crowded anchorages without embarrassment. 

This is me sailing around near my mooring while talking to Chris Boxer on his Wharram Catamaran "Skinny Dipper".  He kindly took the pictures.

You can tell the water is relatively shallow by the shape of the wave form around the hull.  The Wharram is new to Chris, and a team of willing volunteers helped him erect the mast alongside our club pier, at low tide.  He had no shortage of advice and we got it up without mishap.

Chris on the cat with myself (blue) and Pete Brown, offering advice...whether he wants it or not!