Tag Archives: plans

To the Netherlands aboard Emmelène

I plan to sail to the Netherlands again this summer.

Last summer I enjoyed some relaxed sailing around the Solent in tandem with Chris Boxer aboard Emmelène, his split-rigged Coromandel. My health was (and still is) very limited by Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and I spent what little energy I had on sailing rather than recording all my adventures and blogging. Sorry about that!

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Chris explained that he’d very much like to sail Emmelène to the Netherlands, as I did in 2015, and asked if I’d be able to sail in tandem with Tammy Norie. I had to decline: I have to spend an average of 16 hours per day asleep, keeping me from making solo voyages. However, I felt I could go along with Chris aboard Emmelène as mate, to keep an eye on him and help him with any trouble. And so we hatched a plan.

Unfortunately, the summer of 2018 was almost windless.

But we’ve revived the plan for this year. If there’s any wind at all, we’ll be sailing from the Solent to the Netherlands between 2019-07-15 and 2019-07-28. Our goal is to deliver Emmelène to Lauwersoog, home of Marco and his Wharram catermaran Stern with whom I sailed on my last trip. Emmelène will stay there until next year, when perhaps Chris will take her in to the Baltic.

Maybe by then I’ll be able to catch her up in Tammy Norie, or set off in an entirely different direction. We’ll have to wait and see.

I’m hoping to visit a number of old friends along the way. Let us know if you’d like to meet up!

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A New Rig

It’s been three years since I first wrote about making new sails for Tammy Norie. Since then I’ve been delayed by illness and injury, and have been getting along quite well with her existing sail, but now I’m planning to make a move.

Seeing Emmelène with a split junk rig was inspiring, because of improved light wind performance and especially the significant improvement in boat balance.

There has also been some very interesting (and sometimes fierce) debate about sail position and balance on the Junk Rig Association forums. This prompted me to experiment with my own sail position and geometry, with some very encouraging results.

But mostly, of course, I want to play around with the rigging.

Currently I’m doing several things simultaneously, as my health allows:

  • Designing a new mast step that will allow me to adjust the rake of the mast up to about 5° forward.
  • Making sketches of sail plans to see how they might fit.
  • Sailing Tammy with the sail tied in various odd positions to see what happens.
  • Experimenting with materials for making short-lived experimental sails and sail battens.
  • Shoving Tammy around with a boathook to discover her centre of lateral resistance.
  • Reading about Roger Taylor’s experience with his “Triple H TB” rig on Mingming II.

I hope to write more about all these activities and cover the actual construction and testing of a new rig, so I’m starting a new blog series called “A New Rig”.

Be warned that what I do is going to be experimental. This won’t be a step-by-step guide on how to build a junk rig written by an experienced constructor. (You can find that information at the Junk Rig Association.) As usual this will be me trying out ideas, making mistakes, and possibly discovering some new and useful stuff.

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Filed under A New Rig, 2017-2018, mast, Plans, sail

Jester Ipswich Challenge

Poor Tammy Norie has been sitting in the mud at Woodbridge for a few weeks since the North Sea crossing back from the Netherlands.  Suddenly I have a lot of work requests from clients and very little time to sail. I’m having something of a three bus problem at work.

This Saturday night there’ll be a dinner for Jester Challengers at Fox’s Marina in Ipswich. There’s a big morning high tide at Woodbridge on Saturday, pleasant weather and a fair wind, so it looks good to get off the mud at about 10:30, sail down the Deben, around the corner at Felixstowe, and up to Fox’s.

Sunday is not quite so convenient. There’s a very high (4.4m) tide at Woodbridge at 00:44 on Monday, so I should be able to get back on to the dock at about 23:15, then head back to Cambridge in the morning.

As usual, do let me know if you’d like to meet up or join in!

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Setting off for the Netherlands

I’m setting off this Sunday morning for my Netherlands cruise.

High tide at Fareham is at 07:06, so I can be out of Portmouth on the ebb by around 08:15.  The tidal streams will be helpful for most of the day.

The winds don’t look so great.  PassageWeather.com shows light westerlies until Tuesday, veering into northerlies and then westerlies later in the week.  I may get stuck in a few days time, but there’s nothing I can do about that except get off the boat and enjoy wherever I am.

On Saturday I’ll be making last-minute preparations:

  1. gluing together the trunk of the Hebridean self steering gear
  2. mounting the antenna of my new VHF so that I can get AIS warnings of approaching ships
  3. buying food

I’m not going to be able to make detailed posts with photos or video until I get back, since these are all edited on my desktop computer, but I hope to make short posts and show you the occasional photo.

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Netherlands Cruise

With the self steering almost complete, it’s time to plan my summer cruise — to the Netherlands.  I have plenty of reasons to go there — several sets of friends, islands, inland waterways, lovely people, and cheese — but also, Antoine Maartens (often seen commenting on this blog) is stepping the past of his Coromandel Siksin this weekend.  Siskin and Tammy Norie will meet.  Sister ships and birds together.

I’m hoping to make about 45 nautical miles per day on the prevailing westerlies, with overnight stops in ports. I was making 40 to 50 NM days last summer without too much difficulty. Of course it will all depend on conditions. I might get ambitious and try a longer leg while sleeping on self steering, but I’m not keen to do that in the English Channel, still the worlds busiest seaway with over 500 ships per day.

Here’s my outline passage plan:

  1. Fareham to Brighton
  2. Brighton to Rye
  3. Rye to Calais
  4. Calais to Ostend
  5. Ostend to the Rhine delta

At this point I’m in the Netherlands.  Since the coast between Rotterdam and IJmuiden looks quite boring, I’m interested in trying the inland waterways to get to Amsterdam via Leiden.  Then it’s around the corner to Edam to meet Antoine on Siskin, and off across the inland Markermeer and IJsselmeer to the Waddenzee, and the islands of Frisia, with no fixed plan.

I need to be back at work before the beginning of September, when my Swedish clients kick off their new work year. My plans for returning are not fixed, but roughly in order of preference, they are:

  1. Passage from Den Helder to Ipswich (140NM) or Lowestoft (115NM).
  2. Leave Tammy Norie in the Netherlands.
  3. Sail back to Fareham.

The long passage, done solo, would be a good warm-up for the Jester Azores Challenge 2016.

I’ll set out this coming weekend, as soon as conditions are favourable.

If you’d like to join me for any part of the journey, or meet me somewhere, please let me know!

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Building the Hebridean wind vane self-steering

I studied the plans I received for the Hebridean wind vane self-steering gear carefully. I really wanted to build the whole thing from scratch, but I realised that I don’t really have the time, especially if I’m to get used to sailing with it before next spring. So I ordered a kit.

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The kit still doesn’t allow me to just bolt together the Hebridean. It contains all the fastenings, some tricky-to-source bits, and stainless steel joints cut to length, but not to shape. I’m getting some American white oak for the frame and pendulum from Bamptons in Southampton.

John Fleming, designer of the Hebridean, said it could be built in a week or two if “you’re good at that sort of thing”. Well, I don’t know that I’m good, but I’ve taken a week off work from 2015-07-20 to get as far as I can. My goal is to have the self-steering gear working before August.

Progress will be interrupted on 2014-07-23/24 by a meeting of the Small Sailboat Club at Ashlett Creek.  I plan to sail Tammy Norie there from Fareham.  That’s a bit awkward as I have to both leave Fareham and arrive there near high tide.  I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

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Filed under Constructing the Hebridean, Equipment, Plans, Repairs and Modifications, self steering

No sailing this weekend

This is a short post to say that sailing to Brighton this weekend is cancelled. PassageWeather.com predicts easterlies tomorrow and then westerlies on Sunday, exactly the opposite of what I need to get there in reasonable time. But I still plan to visit Jake and his Coromandel Sinobee, as well as the Brighton Kite Festival. I’ll just go by train.

The good news is that this will give me some time to write up some recent sailing adventures and edit some video. Quite a few people have been asking how recent trips went, and I have some fun footage of being in the middle of the Round the Island Race.

Watch this space!

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