Topping lift upgrade

The natural position for the boom is quite low, so when not sailing it makes sense to raise it out of the way a little. My previous owner had an arrangement which worked, but it was somewhat cumbersome. Quite often my owner could be heard swearing as he wrestled with it, for it involved resting the boom on his shoulder whilst unravelling rope from cleats on each side of the boom, taking in the slack and then wrapping the spare around the cleats again. Something new was needed, and it seemed that another CC19 owner, Dennis, knew what to do.

To keep everything simple this needed to be a single line operation, so over the winter my starboard side double clutch and double deck blocks were changed to triples in readiness. Then, changes were made to the rear hounds, a metal band around the mast at the point where it changes from natural colour to white. This band has welded wings to which shrouds and blocks are fitted. On the rear hounds tab a small double block was fitted, but as this fouled the throat halyard block it was decided to lower this down the mast by a foot with a stainless steel wire strop.

All that was needed now was to run the new topping lift lines. Firstly, the old lines were removed and designated to other duties. New 1m lengths of 6mm were fitted to the boom on each side – each end passed through a bullseye and knotted off. On the created loop the original s/s ring was threaded, ready to tie to the new lifting line. The new lifting line was halved, and at the bight (bend in the middle) a single line was attached using a double sheetbend. That made an arrangement of three ropes joined in the middle; two of equal length, and the longer added length. The two shorter lengths were fed through the new small double block and tied off with a bowline to each of the s/s rings on the boom loops. The long length of the lifting line ran down to the deck, fed through the new triple block, and then along the deck and through the triple clutch.

I have to say that it proved to be a very successful upgrade; it’s been in use for two weekends this year already, and not one swear word has been uttered. It works perfectly – just a quick pull on a single line and the boom can be raised as high as the owner likes. To drop it, just release the clutch lever and release the single line. All lines are 6mm. Good one Dennis!

Log 8/4/12 – Hamble to Northney

Although he was clearly nervous, today was the best sail the owner and I have had together. With an awful forecast for the next day we had to get back to Northney, so last night there was much ruffling of almanac pages and drilling into one iPad app or another. A plan was made and it began at 05:40 when the alarm went off. After a quick breakfast, and stowing everything for the trip we slipped the pontoon at 6am. It was not quite light.

As we exited the Hamble River the engine was already off and my three sails were full. The breeze seemed stable at around 6.6 – 6.8kts from the west. By 06:40 we passed the Bald Head green to port, then Coronation just 7 minutes later. At 07:30 we were at the East Bramble cardinal and pretty much on the same point of sail. Just over an hour later, and still on the same point of sail, we were between the Horse Sand and No Mans Land forts – and we had a departing ferry closing on us. We’d sailed 12 miles at an average of 4.8kts OG.

With half of the passage in the bag the owner decided to hold course and carry full sail, and this meant following the main channel towards the Nab Channel. We went passed a host of channel marks and made our only gybe of the day near two cardinals, giving us a 40deg course towards Chichester. We made short work of this due to us being on a three sail broad reach – we were shifting, and before long were in Chichester Harbour and riding the flooding tide up the Emsworth Channel and round to Northney. It had been a fantastic, quick, 24 miles, with just one gybe.

I’m now back in the pig shed, but plans are already made to return to these waters in early May.

Log 7/4/12 – Cowes to Hamble

Bit of a lame day really. After a very peaceful night at East Cowes marina we woke to a cold cloudy day with not much breeze to talk about. The owner lay in bed until 08:30 and who could blame him. But then he remembered he had to go and find my older sister, Cape Cutter 19 sail number 7, named Moneypenny. She’s for sale, and The Erbs from last weekend’s logs want the owner to check it out, so off he went for an hour, returning with Moneypenny’s owner, non other than Captain Peter Jackson FRIN RN(Rtd). He’d come back for a look at me!

At 11:00 we slipped lines and headed out of the Medina into a windless Solent, where we drifted on the tide for a while before the owner begrudgingly fired up the motor and used it all the way over. It was an event free crossing, apart from being breasted out of the main channel by the Southampton Pilot guiding a huge ship in.

So here we are in Port Hamble marina. The owner went shopping to the chandlery and bought an anchor ball, some thin rope, bungee and plastic clips. I doubt that would excite his wife very much.

And now that picture. ; it’s a Cobb oven, charcoal powered, and it is magnificent. Chicken thighs, butter soaked mushroom, and banana with chocolate for pudding. Fat git.

Log 6/4/12 – Northney to Cowes

The owner arrived at Northney before 08:30 this morning. There was still quite a frost, but this had largely disappeared by the time he’d filled my fuel tank, loaded the food and kit on board and prepared me for launch – although it remains cold despite the sunshine. It’s really easy to launch here, and that part do the day took around 15 minutes on total.

In what was a repeat of last Sunday we made our way along Emsworth channel with the wind behind us. Once beyond the beacon we set the course due east towards Horse Sand Fort. The wind was variable in both direction and speed, and we drifted our way to and through the passage in the submerged barrier from the fort to the mainland.

With the sun still shining we both drifted and sailed east past the Portsmouth entrance, being particularly aware of the substantial movements of ferries and hovercraft – the latter coming quite close.

Ahead, the sky was becoming grey and at last the wind picked up. It was now blowing between 8 and 18kts, whereas before it was ranging from 0 to 6kts. It became colder with the windchill, and the tide turned, making for an entertaining last few miles to Cowes – 24 nautical miles from Northney. This was our longest sail to date, and looking back we’d certainly sailed over the horizon this time.

Log 1/4/12 – Chichester Harbour in the sunshine

What a day! It started after a very cold night; the sky was clear and blue, and the wind was much lighter than the day before. The females of the Erb family had other plans, so it was just Charles and the owner for today.

The northerly wind gave us a great shove out towards Hayling Island Sailing Club. As we approached the fleets were already out racing, and cruisers could be seen behind them sailing in a mirage. We kept out of the way and passed the club on the way to the open sea.

Out of the harbour and the wind gave up, which caused a somewhat weird period of drifting interleaved with patches of wind from one direction or another. The crew decided to head back in for a late lunch, so picked our way through the race fleets and hydrofoil Moths to join the other yachts at anchor in the lee of East Head.

One could be forgiven for thinking it was mid summer, although there would probably have been 200 yachts here. After around 40 minutes time was running out and we sailed off the anchor and headed back to Northney.

It was a much better weekend than was expected, and I’m pleased to have met Nicky, Alice, Amy and Charles.