Tag Archives: planning

To Purbeck with Emmelène

I’m planning to sail from the Solent to Purbeck and Poole next weekend in company with Chris Boxer aboard Tammy’s sister Emmelène. This should be a fun outing. I’ll be meeting family there, but more interesting for my readers, this will be a good chance to compare my flat Hasler-McLeod rig with Emmelène’s split rig under a variety of conditions.

Here’s the plan:

  • Thursday around 13:00: Tammy and Emmelène rendezvous in the eastern Solent and ride the current to the west. Most likely overnight at Yarmouth, Lymington, or Keyhaven.
  • Friday 13:00: Pass through west Solent tide race at slack water and ride the current to Studland Bay.
  • Monday 04:00: Catch the tide change to sail back to the west Solent channel before it becomes impassable at around 11:00.

As always, if anyone wants to meet up please get on touch. (My nephew and niece get priority as crew on Tammy Norie, but have not yet confirmed.)

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Poole to Warsash dash

Last Monday (2015-06-29) I left Tammy at Redhorn Lake in Poole Harbour in the company of Tim McCloy aboard China Blue, because the winds had turned easterly and prevented me from returning to Fareham. But I plan to reach the JRSRC rally in Warsash on Saturday (2015-07-04).  It looks a little tricky so I thought I’d make a note about it.

PassageWeather.com predicts that the winds will still be easterly for most of Friday, turning briefly southerly at 03:00 Saturday and then westerly by 06:00.  A further complication is the formidable West Solent tidal gate at  Hurst Point. I know from experience that I can’t fight my way in or out of the Solent against it. High tide at Portsmouth will be at 01:20 so the stream there will turn from west to east around 06:20. It’s about 15 nautical miles from Poole Harbour entrance to Hurst Point in a straight line, so that’s three hours in ideal conditions, but I suspect the wind will be quite light, so it could take as much as five.

On the other hand, the tidal stream will be good for reaching Warsash until about midday, and it’s only about 12 nautical miles from Hurst Point to the Hamble, so I have about three hours of slop in the plan.  So if the wind prediction is off by a few hours I’ll still be able to make it by 12:00, the start of the rally, though I won’t be as well rested.

So my plan is to go to Tammy on Friday evening, move her outside Poole Harbour, then set off east as soon as the wind allows me. I’m expecting a warm and pleasant night. It should be very nice out on the water!

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Autumn plans

The summer was fantastic. I have gained so many experiences in the past few months that it surprises me to look back on them. Did I really do all that?

And now everything must seem very quiet to regular followers of this blog. This is something of an illusion. Two things are happening. I’m having to get on with some work. But also I’m quietly planning all the things I want to do with Tammy Norie before spring.

The next goal on my long term plan is the Jester Baltimore Challenge 2015: solo sailing from Plymouth to Baltimore in June. While not yet a true ocean crossing, it’s a significant bit of offshore solo sailing, and I need to prepare.

The most important item on the list is mechanical self-steering gear. Tammy Norie’s electronic tiller pilot has done well over the summer, but it sometimes plays up, fails to keep a course in some conditions, and I’ve managed to break it once already. I want a reliable wind vane, and I’ll keep the tiller pilot as backup.

I plan to build a Hebridean. Building my own self-steering will not only be interesting, it’ll give me a thorough understanding, and a much better chance of being able to repair or adapt the gear. It’s also a cheap option. If the Hebridean doesn’t work out, I will have lost only a little money and learned a great deal.

The second item on my list is to either make Tammy Norie unsinkable or repair the liferaft. My plans for making her unsinkable involve lining her with foam and that includes fixing up the headlining, so it might be a good move in any case.

I would like to have a Jordan series drogue ready. I’ve had various opinions on this. Most people think I’m unlikely to need one for the Baltimore challenge, but several have also said that I really should have one in general, given Tammy’s small size. So I’m going to see if I can get this done too.

I would also like to build a new sail, so that I have more flexibility in adverse conditions. This is quite a big job, probably involving re-engineering the mast step, so it may not get done this winter. The current sail is good enough, and it’s not a safety issue.

There are, of course, various bits of kit I need: a simple reliable GPS, an SSB radio receiver, a distress beacon (though I may just rent an EPIRB for the Baltimore challenge). I have a much longer list of things I’d like to have, but those are the only ones I think I ought to have before going offshore.

And of course, sailing! I’ll get Tammy on a mooring in Portsmouth Harbour as soon as I can for some autumn and winter sailing.

I’ll be writing about each of these projects in time, so watch this space!

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Plans for Blakeney

Tammy Norie is currently berthed at Lowestoft Cruising Club. My goal is to reach Blakeney before Saturday and meet friends who are on holiday in Sheringham.

PassageWeather is showing light south and south-easterly winds until Sunday, then on Monday a big low appears on the North Sea and there’ll be some nasty onshore winds, making entry to Blakeney very hazardous.  I should be OK, though, if I go in the next few days.

High tides at Blakeney Bar are in the late afternoon for the next few days. I need to get into Blakeney around high tide, so I should plan to arrive in the early afternoon. If I fail to get in to Blakeney my back-up plan will be Wells-next-the-Sea.

Several people have mentioned that it’s possible to stop behind the wave breaks at Sea Palling. Nathan Whitworth stopped there over night between part 9 and part 10 of his attempt to sail around Britain in a Corribee. It’s pretty much the only plausible place to stop between Lowestoft and Blakeney. Sea Palling is about 20 miles from Lowestoft, whereas Blakeney is 50. If I conservatively estimate my average speed at 3.5kn it will be 14 hours from Lowestoft to Blakeney, so I’d have to set off around midnight on Thursday to get there by Friday’s afternoon high tide. With tidal streams against me for half the journey, it’s tempting to break it into two parts, especially given the fairly light winds.

So plan A will be to set off from Lowestoft around 08:30 on Thursday, ride the tide and wind to Sea Palling, arriving early afternoon. Then anchor up until 06:00 Friday and ride round to Blakeney, arriving mid afternoon. Plan B will be to set off from Lowestoft at 00:00 on Friday and do it in one go, perhaps taking a nap at Sea Palling around sunrise.

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Fan-tailed Tammy Norie?

I made this post on the Junk Rig Association technical forums. I’m quoting it here for the record, and so that anyone interested can follow the discussion.

I’m inexperienced with junk rig but (I hope) learning fast. So far I find the flat-sailed HR rig on Tammy Norie lacking drive below F4 and unable to make progress to windward in light airs in a chop. This may just be poor technique on my part, but when I bought her I was definitely thinking about making a more up-to-date sail. I have offshore ambitions. The fantail rig just looks right.

I admit that I have not done any homework yet, but I made this crude overlay by matching the waterlines of Tammy Norie and this fantail, just to get an idea if it’s at all feasible.

It quickly raises one question: does the mast position of the Coromandel rule out the fantail (at least, the standard one). If so, what can be done? But also, what homework should I be doing?

Coromandel on fantail overlay

Coromandel on fantail overlay

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Plans for Aldeburgh, Southwold, and the Blyth

This weekend I plan to take Tammy Norie to Blythburgh, where friends are going to the Latitude festival, stopping to visit Southwold. The back-up plan is to sail the Ore and the Alde and visit Aldeburgh (where those same friends are sleeping). I’ll have a non-sailing friend with me, and winds are looking pretty light, so we might well end up in the Ore and Alde. Dylan Winter has made films about Southwold and the Blyth and several about the Ore and Alde, where he overwintered. It all looks wonderful.

The tides are a problem. I’d need to enter the Ore a little after low water, not only to ride the tide in, but to ensure that I don’t get stranded should I make a mistake. Low water at Orford Haven Bar is at 22:53 on Friday. But Sunset is 20:59. I really don’t fancy doing it in the dark. So it’s not very practical to enter the Ore on Friday.

Orford Haven Bar

Tammy Norie is at Suffolk Yacht Harbour and it’s about 13 NM from there to the Orford Haven Bar, so about three hours. Southwold is 33 NM, more like eight hours away. We can’t enter Southwold on the ebb, and low water is at 22:09.

Tidal currents will be running north around the coast between 17:30 and 22:30 and will be running south before 16:30. We’re only a quarter after springs so they’re fairly strong.

All this argues for setting out from Suffolk Yacht Harbour in the early afternoon then heading all the way to Southwold, arriving around 22:00 and entering in the dark. If things don’t work out we can ditch (back to Shotley if necessary), get up early, and ride into the Ore after low tide at 11:00 on Saturday.

Southwold Entrance

If we make to Southwold then we’ll have the morning to look around the town before attempting the Blyth using the high tide at 16:31. I fully expect to get stranded on the mud in the Blyth on Saturday night and have to catch the early tide on Sunday to get out. I’ve been in touch with the Blyth River Navigation Association, who’ve warned me

If you do get stuck, do not leave the boat under any circumstances as the mud is deep and treacherous.

However, with some careful parking I believe we’ll be able to go exploring in the inflatable kayak. Most of the river is a bird sanctuary and it ought to be beautiful.

I can’t wait.

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Plans for Tammy Norie

I bought Tammy Norie because to me she seemed like an excellent compromise. Her 0.6m draft will enable me to poke around in estuaries and rivers in the manner of Dylan Winter but at the same time Roger Taylor has proved that she can voyage across thousands of miles of ocean to some of the most remote places on earth. And I’ve been interested in the junk rig ever since I borrowed Annie Hill’s Voyaging on a Small Income from my parents. In the last 12 years I’ve sailed thousands of miles all over Europe with the Cambridge University Yacht Club and even have a share in Puffin.

So what are my plans?  Unusually for me, I’m thinking four years ahead.

In 2014 I’ll finish preparing Tammy Norie for sailing in Europe. I intend to do a lot of pottering around the UK coast, and possibly make a trip to the Netherlands.  If I get really ambitious I might take her to the Algarve for the winter.

In 2015 my main goal is the Jester Baltimore Challenge: a single-handed voyage from Plymouth to Baltimore (the original one in Ireland).  And of course, some sort of return journey.

In 2016 my goal is the Jester Azores Challenge: similar to the above but from Plymouth to the Azores. And again, I’ll have to get back.

In 2018 my goal is the Jester Challenge: single-handed across the Atlantic. And this time, perhaps I’ll be coming back the long way around.

Of course, it may turn out that I’m not cut out for single-handed ocean sailing, but I really want to find out.

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