Thursday 31 August 2023

Laser: season's end

Final race of the Wednesday evening season is next week; the evenings are drawing in fast now. Last night was a pleasant evening on the water though. On a good day, the lowering light is so pretty this time of the year.

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Freefall: Saturday nights

A sequence of three stills from a video taken on Saturday night at our gig at The Lamb in Eastcombe, Stroud. The drummer is behind me, and the bassist typically stood behind my left shoulder. So with the way my guitar sits and with my attention typically focused on the crowd out front, I'm typically aware of the guitarist out of the corner of my eye to my left, but these two are pretty much invisible to me whilst we're playing.

On drums is the amazingly talented Leah, who stands in for our regular drummer, Bean, so often that she's pretty much an honourary member of the band these days. I think this was her fourteenth gig with us in the last year. On bass is my brother, Jay.

The sequence, midway through the Stereophonics song "Dakota" just made me smile, so I thought I'd leave it here. In Leah's words, ". . . took us three goes but finally nailed those stabs (you might be able to tell)" 

Better still, they dropped neither a note nor a beat through their little celebration.

Tuesday 29 August 2023

weather permitting

We progress. Contracts exchanged, deposit paid, date for completion confirmed as this coming Sunday 3rd. Weather permitting, and at the moment it's looking a bit marginal, we might actually move her around to Brixham Marina on Sunday morning, where her new berth has already been allocated; the previous owners to be have kindly offered to sail her around with us.

Hardly essential, but very welcome. And it does feel like a fitting way to hand a boat over.

Friday 25 August 2023

Laser: upstart yoof

There are two races left in the Wednesday evening Hotdog series before the season finishes.

However, as of last Wednesday, the conclusion is now foregone.

Two seconds of corrected time is all that was in it. That gives the youngster in the Laser Radial ahead of me eight clear wins, and doesn't leave me with enough room to catch him as I'd need to discard three races, but only have two remaining.

So I'd best start polishing my trophy ready to surrender it in a couple of weeks time.

On a more serious note, it's been a great series this year, with the Laser fleet in particular enjoying a very welcome revival. It's been particularly gratifying to see so many youngsters out with the fleet, even if one of them is going to end up beating me very fair and square.

Brixham bound

I don't think I've ever had so much trouble trying to spend so much money. 

Our new boat to be is secure upon her current trot mooring in the River Dart until the end of March next year. At which point the mooring, which is non transferrable, reverts to the harbour authority. There is a waiting list for moorings on the Dart that requires a deposit of £150 just to get your name added.

Which is fair enough, and I wouldn't begrudge. But the more I think of it, the more I think we need the new boat in a marina. It's a three hour drive to the boat, so I want to be able to park securely, leave the car, walk on the boat and walk back off whenever I want.

Arriving in Kingswear, finding somewhere to park, inflating a tender, paddling out across the river to the mooring, quite likely in the dark, is an adventure I'm not particularly concerned about for my own part, but it doesn't seem reasonable to impose the same burden on Dad or my wife. Or my dog, for that matter.

Made enquiries with the marinas in the Dart. The one was exceptionally friendly and helpful, but the one space they had was too narrow for the beam of the new boat. They couldn't make any promises, but suggested I call back in late January once they'd dealt with next year's renewals. The other told me they had a 5 to 7 year waiting list and they couldn't even give me any certainty of a winter berth from October till February. There's a waiting list for that too, but to get on it I needed to email them next week once they were done with the Dartmouth Regatta.

Similar story with Sutton Harbour in Plymouth. No near decade long waiting list, lovely lady to took the call, really keen to help but I'd really have to take my chances and call back late January. Everywhere, at this time of year at least, is fully subscribed. It doesn't help that the boat is 11m length overall and 3.8m beam.

I really don't like uncertainty. It bothers me leaving things hanging and undecided.

Then I had a call from a guy called Mike at Brixham Marina this morning. They've just had a boat previously berthed with them and confirmed as sold and moving on. The space it leaves is a perfect fit for us. They can take us any time from the beginning of September. 

So the deposit is paid. I'll pay the balance once we've taken possession of the boat, which is planned for Sunday 3rd September. We shall leave her on her trot mooring for a couple of weeks (annoyingly, I'm fully booked the weekend following) and then, weather permitting, move her around Berry Head and into Brixham Marina on Saturday 16th. At which point, Brixham will become our new home port.

(the photos above were from our last trip with Calstar to Brixham and Dartmouth back in August 2020)

Friday 18 August 2023

Calstar: 1981 Westerly Griffon Mk1 for sale

And suddenly, it feels all so real.

One much loved, generously appointed and meticulously maintained (mostly by Dad, I should add!) Westerly Griffon for sale, lying Portishead, Bristol Channel.

Our next boat is currently with her present owners off on their last adventure together, a couple of weeks cruising the south west. I think they were anchored last night in Plymouth Sound, to watch the Plymouth Fireworks Championships (yes, such a thing exists).

Our planned day for the handover is Sunday 3rd September.

Monday 14 August 2023

all change

We had planned to be away sailing this week; provisionally thought Portishead to Minehead, to Ilfracombe, to Swansea, to Cardiff then home to Portishead.

In part the weather has flummoxed us.

In other parts, bookending my week off work with Saturday gigs was not the smartest of ideas. 

And then, instead of heading directly down to Calstar and sailing after the gig on Saturday, we headed down to Dartmouth to meet up with some friends and have a look at a 1979 Moody 36CC.

She's quite lovely. And I've just had an offer accepted for her.

I won't jinx it with any more details until I have the keys actually in my hand (figuratively, at least) and the deal is done. But it seems I'm now in the unfortunate position of owning two boats.

So does anybody want to buy a beautifully kept, appointed and maintained Westerly Griffon?

I can't say that I didn't feel a huge twinge of regret the moment I confirmed instructions to the broker to put Calstar on the market. She's been very good to us.

Thursday 3 August 2023

Laser: thunderclouds

Had a good evening's racing last night with the Laser at South Cerney. Black skies and patchy sun over dark waters. The rain set in for around twenty minutes at the start; thick, heavy drops of icy water. But it eased off as the evening progressed and when the sun occasionally broke back through, it was actually quite pleasant. 

A little bit of thunder and distant lightning about half way through, but didn't amount to anything more than a couple of threatening peals. The wind was supposed to be gusting up to 20 knots, but, on that count at least, failed to deliver. Instead, we got a shifty, temperamental north-westerly of around 10 knots. Perfect for a certain featherweight youngster with his Radial, who stole an early lead off the start-line and turned it in to a convincing win, beating me into an ungracious second place.

I'd rigged my old Rooster sail; I've bought a new Holt class replica sail for the Laser, but if I'm honest, I'm not getting on with it. The boat feels sluggish, the leach of the sail seems overly hooked and the luff seems too long. I'm tempted to eBay it and get a new Rooster replica instead to replace the old one. Then again, I should probably be a little less spendthrift at the moment. We're seriously considering selling Calstar and getting something a little bigger.

It's been a consideration for a while, but not something I was planning to do within the next couple of years, except a potential opportunity has presented itself. Calstar is a lovely little boat, but a little bit tight for space or privacy when there's more than a couple of us aboard, which discourages Nikki somewhat, I think.