Monday 25 June 2012

Modified Drascombe Lugger Mainsheet

[Disclaimer for the traditionalists, I'm not suggesting this is a better arrangement than the original setup, only that it works well for me!]

The original John Watkinson design for the Drascombe Lugger mainsheet:
  • End of the sheet attached to an eye on the aft deck starboard of the mizzen
  • Sheet runs up to a parrallel double block at the clew of the main
  • Back down to a single block on the traveller back up to clew of the main
  • Down to an upright singleblock on the aft deck port of the mizzen
  • Sheet led forward through fairlead under traveller track to fairlead on base of tiller
  • Cleat, if used, is further up on the tiller
I found this unnecessarily complicated, and with all points of resistance given to the mainsheet, spilling wind became a bit haphazard, especially as the centre falls from the clew to traveller had a nasty habit of twisting. I also found that leading the mainsheet back to a fairlead on the base of tiller interfered with the helm.

On Ondine, we've converted the mainsheet to an arrangement I was already used to from our previous Wanderer, and seems common to aft-sheeted dinghies.

Essentially, we replaced the parallel double block on the clew with an inline double block, and replaced the single block on the traveller car with an inline double-block and becket. The fixing and upright block either side of the mizzen are redundant:
  • The mainsheet runs from the becket on the traveller block
  • Up through the top wheel of the clew block
  • Down to the top wheel of the traveller block
  • Back up to the lower wheel of the clew
  • To the lower wheel of the traveller block
  • Out to the helmsman's hand
More than sufficent purchase for the sheet, but no danger of it twisting and little resistance so it's easy and instantaneous to spill air from the sail in a gust. We've got a jamming cleat on ours, and found early on that it was essential to set the angle so that it required a definite action to set and would release on pressure from the helm without thinking of it in a rush.

We've been sailing with this setup in some, at times, quite boisterous conditions for over a year now, and haven't found any disadvantages to it.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Time & Tide

1412hrs, water is now just at the bottom of the slip.

Note to Self

7m tide, high water was 1138hrs. Time now 1345hrs. Still sufficient water on the slip to recover.

Monday 18 June 2012

All Fall Down

Saturday came with a blow, with gusts touching 38kts, which even on a small lake like Frampton-on-Severn can be a little hairy.

We're right in the middle of junior sail training at the sailing club at the moment, and I'm running the Level 4 course, which is about developing the kids' skills in double-handers. I've got half a dozen lads, all halfway competent sailors already, and pretty resilient, as only teenage boys can be, so despite the bluster of, at times, near gale conditions we sailed anyway.

More a day for heavy weather survival skills than any hope of covering off anything in the syllabus, despite numerous capsizes the kids did well. No casualties and no breakages; I've got a good bunch this year.

Only downside of the day was that I spent most of it in the coach boat when I would much rather have been sailing myself!

Friday 15 June 2012

The Weekend Cometh

Decision point. Double tide out on the estuary on Sunday; high water around 7am and 7pm respectively. Which means we could explore down channel from Lydney and still get back before dark.

Downside is that we've not been that way before so, whilst exploring unknown waters elsewhere isn't really a worry, dealing with the huge tides of the Severn Estuary on a 19' open sailing boat is not a challenge to be taken on lightly or in ignorance.

High water Sunday evening for the return is an 11.58m rise to deal with. And, of course, the thing with springs is that the high tides are HIGH and the low tides LOW, do there will be shoals and sandbanks galore to navigate.

In our favour is the weather forecast. It's going to blow like buggery tonight and tomorrow, and tomorrow brings the rain. But by Sunday it's supposed to drop off to a relatively moderate F3 southwesterly, a warmish day with sunny intervals. Perfect, in many ways, for a down-channel adventure.

We've discussed it, Dad and I, and have decided the decision will swing on whether or not we can convince any other boats out of Lydney to come down with us.

It's not looking promising so far.

However, the alternative plan is for H and I to race Penny in the Frampton Paddle, which is part of the club's Dave Evans Championship series. I don't normally sail enough of them to qualify, but this year looks like it may prove the exception.

We're currently ranked 5th out of 52 entries so far, but that's going to change as the series progresses and more boats qualify. If we can finish with a top 10 result by the end of the year then I'll be very happy as that will be a very satisfactory conclusion against what it usually a very strong  field.

But I digress. Bottom line is that I don't know what I'm doing on Sunday but whatever it is, it's going to be fun anyway.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Saturday 9th

Late on the evening of Saturday 9th June 2012, our beautiful Jasmine died.

Our gorgeous German Shepherd, a bolt out of the blue completely unexpected, she was barely three years old, and the picture of happiness and good health.

On Saturday evening she suffered some sort of catastrophic bleed on the spine that rapidly progressed to something akin to a stroke and was rushed to the vets.

We held her in our arms in the surgery and comforted her as our vet worked for hours to do all he could to save her, but by 11.30 that night she slipped quietly away and it was over.

All far too soon, and we are left distraught and confused.

A Long Weekend to Remember

Ship's Dog
On the evening of Thursday 31st May, I took our tent down to the Club at Frampton and, after crewing for H in the beginners race that evening (she too a deserved third place over the line, possibly taking second from the Laser 2 ahead of us but loosing to a Solo, however both boats were crewed by coaches, so don't count!) I then pitched our tent and moved the family and dogs to Frampton for the long weekend.

Light winds and, at times, heavy rains, but there was no better place to be, even if our old [and now replaced] tent leaked like a sieve.

We worried how our dogs, Jazz and Lilly, would behave, their first time camping, and with so many other dogs, children and other sundrey distractions about. We needn't have, they were both magic, spent the time living in our pockets, long walks, fresh air, chasing sticks and swimming in the lake. Saturday morning, I even managed to introduce Jazz (the bigger of our two German Shepherds, and Lilly's mum) to Dad's Lugger and took her out for a light sail on the lake, with H's help. She absolutely loved it.

"Can I fetch? Can I? Please?"

Sailing-wise, we ran a three hour race on Saturday and a beginners race on Sunday, but the highlight was a two hour midnight race; the winds were inconsistant and the rains poured down thick and heavy, but it was an amazing and uniquely new experience for all of us land-locked, pond-hopping dinghy racers, only enhanced by the adversity of the weather and the good humour of all involved.

Though a close second for the position of "hightlight of the weekend" came on Monday, bright and sunny with a light breeze, when many of us had our first race of team racing in the Club Toppers.

That afternoon, Nikki and I took Jazz and Lilly for a long walk exploring Frampton Village and over down to the estuary along part of the Severn Way. In the evening we made supper out of an Indian takeaway with friends by the side of the lake.

Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny, the tent dried out in time to get packed away, and then just as we loaded the last bag into the car, the heavens opened, the winds rose and the rains came down in an angry deluge, almost as if by appointment.

It feels like a lifetime ago now.

Monday Night Supper
"Night Fighters"