Sailing my Paradox and country living


June 2015 sailing trip – final thoughts

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Click onto pictures to enlarge if you wish

My Paradox.

The  new blind, made from an old army tent, sticks onto the hatch with velcro and with a safety lanyard so that it won’t be lost when the wind rips it off.. Helps keep the interior cooler when the sun is blazing down. Does work well.

And for the chilly evenings

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The little charcoal heating stove has been given a new flue pipe as the old one was looking rusty. It didn’t actually cost me any extra, as I used the the bit left over from  when I made the original one..,. I still have the original rusty looking one and may get around to sprucing that up so that I have as a spare.

The Tiller pilot

Used the replacement one a lot so that  it had it a hard testing and hopefully discover any weakness while  it was  within the the guarantee period..

It makes horrible noises, as if it’s just about to expire, but did keep going.  It does quite a good job of steering, most of the time silently monitoring the course,  but when it needs to make an input it over corrects and then counter corrects in a little spasm of noisy activity  which goes on for half a dozen cycles before it settles down into silence again.

Any rolling –  like you get when a power boat overtakes and leaves a wake, sets it off on a long tussle with the tiller even if there is only yawing movement . I’ve tried al the different settings for rudder response but found no improvement. I think that really it’s too fussy and would be better if less responsive to a minute course deviation.

I tried it  with running in bigish  seas in a strong wind for a little while. It coped but was extra busy and working nearly non stop. it would use more electricity in the these conditions.

I was originally concerned that I wouldn’t have enough electricity available to keep it going but there was plenty.  My 30 watt  solar panel provided more than it needed so the battery voltage stayed at the maximum – even during a rainy period. So quite pleased on the score.

The trip

On the last part of my trip, while sailing from Newtown River to Poole I saw this sail training ship at anchor in the W. Solent waiting for a fair tide.  I’ve come across her before and saw her at the entrance to the Dart last year, so getting to be an old friend.

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The W Solent has fewer big ships to contend with but still has a some ship traffic. Met this little container ship there.

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On return to Poole I went straight to my usual anchorage at Rusty Bow Point and went for a stroll ashore to stretch my legs.  Noticed this new electric fence on the heathland near there but no sign of live-stock. Mysterious .. Anyone know what it’s for?

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This shot of  part of Poole harbour taken the same evening from the heath

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This abandoned electric cable exposed  at low tide, Poole harbour. A shame that people don’t clear up their own mess.

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The Condor ferry which runs from Poole is truly hideous. More like a space ship than a ferry.

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Altruistic.I must donate.

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This would be a very elegant sailing boat with a bit of care from its owner. Sad about the sail being left like that. It’s astonishing the number of nice boats which are just left to rot.

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Taken while at anchor in the R Piddle during my final evening. It had to wade through very soft mud before reaching the water and sank in up to its knees and the ebb stream was running hard too but it was unfazed. It returned by the same route a short time later…

I didn’t see my friendly seal in the River Piddle this time. I hope that he or she is OK and still around




June 2015 update and a sailing trip – part 1

Just back yesterday from a 14 day trip in my little paradox sailing boat, the only trip this year so far, due to illness and the poor summer weather that we’ve had lately. This trip covered familiar ground which I’ve sailed many times so nothing very adventurous. I wanted to stay near to home so that in the event of a domestic emergency I could react quickly..

I launched into the River Frome at Ridge Wharf Yacht Centre , which is a facility I’ve used many times before.

The slipway there is very steep. This is my car and trailer immediately after the boat has been launched. The water level wasn’t as high as I would have liked as the tide had dropped a fair bit by then.

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The front mounted tow ball makes it very easy to position the trailer exactly, for me – an old chap with a stiff neck.

Someone noted that my car is old by most standards but it’s actually the youngest of my little collection!

My little boat waiting for me on the waiting pontoon at the launching place.

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There was enough wind for me to sail down into the main part of the harbour and anchor in Brands Bay before low tide.

The anchorage in Brands Bay after the water had gone for a while

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I spent the first night at anchor there and it was very peaceful spot when the wind is from the west.

The next day the sun blazing down made the cabin too hot for me so fitted my blind to the hatch window.

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The west wind was fading away and forecast to become easterly so moved to the other side of the bay near Rusty Bow Point for better shelter

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The rusty bow is diminishing with rust and soon there’ll be nothing of it left and I’ll have to think of a new name for that spot. It’s a good spot to get ashore for a walk with firm sand on the little beach and nice heathland beyond.

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my little boat has such a shallow draught that I can step on a beach without using a tender.

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The beach. Someone has made a fire pit previously.

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On the beach

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Looking the other way from Rusty Bow Point

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Found this jelly fish washed up ashore. Must be over 12 inches across.

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I use this for holding the boat near the beach. Just drop the anchor from the stern ( 60 metre rode) as I scull onto the beach – so that I can easily pull myself off into deeper water later, then step off the bow into 4 inches of water taking the bow rope and helical widget with me to screw into the sand.

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I bought these gum boots recently -14 quid – for getting ashore. I like the self cleaning tread design . A quick swish in the water and they’re clean.

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Sorting through the bananas and wondering where to keep them all.

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Low tide again and the anchor is well dug in. The green plastic bottle is to act as a float  and is tied to the anchor crown by a 4 metre line so that I can extract the anchor in the event of it being caught up in some debris on the sea bed. I usually anchor in shallow water so 4 metres of line is more than enough to reach the surface.

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Another shot of the anchor . This time in ooze at Newtown River, Isle  of Wight .

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Newtown River, I of W again. This time with the tide in.

Sailed on after visiting Newton River to Cowes and on to the River Medina.

Some huge yachts seen in Cowes.

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Sailed on slowly up river with a light N wind. Which very much annoyed one of the ferry skippers, who gave me 5 blasts to make his point.

Spent that night on a mooring near the Folly.

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And went for a little walk from the beach nearby

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Next off to Langstone Harbour for a mosey  around.

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Saw some big ships while on the way there.

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Went past the old No Man’s Land fort.. Someone has been busy doing work recently.

Just inside Langstone Harbour  there’s the remains of part of the WW2 Mulberry Harbour .

Broken into 3 large pieces now. I wonder how much longer this relic will survive.

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Found Langstone Harbour  largely empty of other boats. Strange when you consider how crowded the adjacent Chichester Harbour is.

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I dried out on some muddy and slightly stony stuff  at the northern end of the harbour. Only had a very short stroll as I felt unsafe standing on the slightly boggy mud and felt that I could get my feet stuck  in soft mud all too easily.This has happened to me before and I ended up sitting in the mud to get my feet free.Not pleasant ,  frightening. and very dirtyresized_june 2015 trip 068

I met a bait digger while the tide was out who seemed more sanguine about the soft mud than I felt. The chap told me that the area was a crime hotspot with much vandalism and thieving and that’s why there are no other boats there..

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I went through the gap in the breakwater, took the mast down, and on under the bridge into Chichester harbour.

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I have an idea that I could have just got through without taking the mast down, but  it looked a close thing and risk I didn’t need.

The next day the wind blew hard and I took a day off from sailing and relaxed on a mooring. But did get ashore at Emsworth where there is a very handy free pontoon for visitors to use. Bought a few bits of groceries at the Co-op there and scoffed the last of the pineapple that I’d bought before setting off. Pineapple seems to keep well even in less than optimum storage conditions.

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The next day bought a good forecast for me to start the return journey westwards and back to Newtown River .(Force 4/5 east wind. force 6 later)

I made very good progress to the Solent Forts but had a bad time trying to cross the shipping lane. There seemed to be constant traffic with a different ship thundering towards me every time I set off to cross the lane and the wind fell light then in spite of the forecast.

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At last there appeared to be a gap in the shipping traffic and I set off to get across.

But the wind fell yet lighter and I was only going at 2 knots. Then, when nearly half way across I could see in the distance another big ship starting to head my way.  Then the pilot boat roared up to me to have a shouted conversation . he said that a ‘big box boat’ – jargon for a big container ship was heading for me at 18 knots. Very difficult to decide whether to carry on going at my leisurely pace, or turn around to go back the way that I’d come. The Pilot thought that turning back would be best so that’s what I did. There was some talk of whether or not I was listening to the VHF and had to point out that I don’t have one . I really don’t want any more gadgets to go wrong, waste electricity, to be generally annoying and waste yet more money.  Eventually made it across with no other ships in sight to frighten me.

The tail wind stiffened up enormously while I was going down the  Western Solent ( the top end of 5 , maybe 6. )  which was just what I needed, as by then the tide was against me and progress would have been slow . Creamed along at top speed with just a quarter of the sail up and entered Newtown River again for an overnight.

More later.