Saturday, 25 July 2009

25 July 2009 - Run down to Meneou and back

16 nautical miles
The forecast was interesting. One forecast said winds from north/northwest in the morning dying off at mid-day to nothing in the afternoon and the other said at mid-day the winds would turn and be southerly. As it happened the second forecast was correct. This made for a very interesting sail. We had downwind runs and broad reaches down to Meneou and a broad reach and downwind run back to the club.

I was taking out friends of mine, Brian and Ruth with their son Oliver. John, a colleague, went with Tim in his trimaran. I had an extra 5 litres of fuel for the outboard so that had the former forecast been correct we could have motored back, towing Tim.

We all started out quite well, enjoying the sail, but the winds were low and because we were mostly running it was a bit difficult for new sailors to helm. Mind you I accidentally gybed a couple of times myself on runs. Tim had suggested a route closer to the shore to pick up the shore winds. It helped a little but meant we were gybing from broad reach to broad reach all the time. Not a bad exercise I guess, since its not something we do very often.

The motion of the boat was strange on these runs, rolling quite a bit in the very gentle swell, which is not the best for people liable to seasickness and sadly Ruth succumbed, and when we got to Meneou Brian and Ruth jumped ship and took a car back to Larnaca!

We sat down in Meneou and I had a frappe and Tim and John had english breakfast. The first english breakfast John had in his life and he was staggered at the sausage, bacon, two eggs, fried bread, toast and beans... he claims he will not need to eat for the rest of the day!

Then the wind turned. As we sat watching the flags dropped to no wind and then picked up 180 degrees from the original direction. A quick race out to Galini to move her buoy since she had swung round onto the beach. Good job Andreas was not watching, he would have been appalled since anchoring in the Day Skipper course is supposed to teach you not to get into that difficulty!

Finally its time to sail back. Oh no... now there are swimmers in the way, and a powerboat dropping people off... which means I do a somewhat inelegant take off from the beach and tear my swimming trunks in the process.

Oli and I sail back. It gets hotter and hotter. As we sail we eat all the lunches... I had brought lunch for John and we no longer had Brian and Ruth with us. Amazing what a 13 year old boy can eat. Well... actually we didn't quite manage to eat 5 lunches, but we had a pretty good try!

It gets hotter and hotter still, by now I am helming as we are on a downwind run. The suntan lotion I had put on my forehead [I had burnt it on Friday morning so was being extra careful] managed to melt and drip into my eyes. We have no towel on board. Boy, does suntan lotion in the eyes sting!

Goose-wing running most of the way back was a bit of a roll, roll, roll, ride, so it was a good thing Ruth did jump ship as she would not have enjoyed the sail back.

Tim calls up on the radio reckoning we should have a fast run back, but the GPS reckons about 2 hours. The GPS is correct!

I have bought Admiralty charts for the area now and so were following our route on the chart. Interesting to see how it correlates to being out there. There seem to be quite a lot of discrepancies with the charts for our area, I think I will have to log the changes. Anyhow... so can you work out how I put the GPS plot onto the chart? No, I didn't do it by hand.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

19 July 09 - Off round the bay

22 nautical miles
The plan had been to take Henri and possibly his kids out for a sail around the bay. Today there were Optimist races taking place and so were rescue boats and Optimists everywhere. So we arrived at the club early (9:30) but found people already there... and Nikkos saying 'Tomorrow I switch off my mobile and sleep all day!'

We were getting ready to get out on the water and away from the madding crowds when Christos came over and asked if he could come too and the club were not allowing any club lasers out today. Yes, of course he was welcome.

We motored out, set the sails and headed off towards Dhekelia. None of the Dhekelia dinghies were out so sailed on towards Romanzos. Kiriakos suggested we should go there next weekend and have lunch there. Sounds like a good idea.

Just passing Romanzos a power boat comes out and asks us to help look for someone who has fallen in the water. We join the search. Apparently they are wearing a life-jacket. There are about a dozen boats out looking and eventually they do find the person alive. It appears to us that probably the person was being towed on an inflatable behind a power boat and that the power boat had only the driver on board. So when the person fell off they didn't notice and had no idea where they were! Not a great safety idea at all. We saw he power boats heading for the shore so presumed they had found the person... then one of them came back out to tell us that yes they had found the person alive.

We sailed on towards Cape Pila for a while then hove to and had lunch. We sailed back towards the eastern shore of the bay and the wind begins to pick up. Yes, that's spray over the camera lens!

Eventually I take the helm and we sail back towards the harbour. I plan to pass the club and then do a downwind run in to the club. See if we can get Galini surfing.

I expected to find all the optimists in by now as the waves are quite high, some out where we were about a metre high. But as we get to the club we see a whole regatta of optimists. I later find that closer inshore the conditions are easier... anyway we turn earlier and downwind goose-wing run towards the coast... up to about 8.6 knots surfing some waves.

Finally back in to the club, but find the furling line for the genoa has trapped and we cannot free it on the water. Great day sailing - enjoyable with both Henri and Christos.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

14 July 09 - 3rd Lesson

Today I had Jacob starting as well as Josh and Marie. The club was using lots of the Optimists for training so used only two and kept swapping people. In some ways they liked the breaks, but meant they didn't keep at it.

So... for first lesson: tacking back and forth on beam reach. Second lesson: tacking back and forth on beam reach, close reach and close hauled. Third lesson: beam reach, tack close hauled, turn into run, tack back to beam reach [a triangle]. Fourth lesson (next week) add gybe and complete basic racing course.

Friday, 10 July 2009

10 July 09 - Second lesson

Second sailing lesson went much better. I now had idea what I was trying to do and simple started them off on the two original buoys and then got them tacking back and forth to three buoys: one 90 degrees to wind, one 60 degrees to wind and one 45 degrees to wind, so they would do beam reach, close reach and close hauled and feel the different angles to the wind for each tack.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

7 July 09 - First sailing lesson

First sailing lesson for Marie and Josh in Optimists. James is also coming to help rig and advise.

Interesting experience.

I put my boat in the water with outboard rigged as saftey boat [I am not licensed to drive the club safety boat] and use it almost immediately when Josh capsizes!

I had set them off tacking back and forth between two buoys, quite a distance apart at 90 degrees to the wind. My mistake...

The buoys I had chosen were too far apart and they kept drifting too far into the swimming area. Then when they had problems I had to go sort them out in the swimming area.

Not a good idea.

Nikkos then suggests two much closer buoys, and although not as exciting is much easier for first lesson.

Closer in you can shout advice more easily and keep them learning better technique.

Standing in the water there is salt water all over the lens of the camera, which I try [unsuccessfully] to remove. Still, you get the general idea of Marie and Josh tacking back and forth.

They pick up technique and Nikkos suggests coming back tomorrow...

but I'm off to on a short trip tomorrow so will have to be Friday.

Nikkos is out by the safety boat doing leg exercises - he had an accident playing football and they operated a few weeks ago.

What I learnt was that teaching sailing you don't need voice exercises - you get enough of that anyway!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

5 July 09 - first sail for the real 'baby blue'

3 nautical miles
I came down to the club this morning to take Kiriakos out for a sail. He motors her first around the bay just to get a feel. We then rig the sails and I go out with him and Demetris [his son]. Demetris is silent but grinning ear to ear... happy as could be. This will be father and son time in the future I think.

As we are sailing the wind gets up a little... no, the wind picks up a lot. But the boat feels safe and sails well. We head back to the shore to wait for Kiriakos wife and other kids to come and admire their new family member.

I had been hoping to do a first sailing lesson for a couple of the kids in the afternoon. But as you can see from the chart its now Bft 6 gusting 8+. Not first lesson wind and not even wind I would sail in with light or inexperienced crew.

So I have lunch and watch the daughter of one of the club members keep going to Nikkos... 'Ella, Ella' she calls and drags him off to put her on the club safety boat.

We start them young at our club!

Eventually time to head home.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

4 July 09 - New boat at the club

14 nautical miles

I tried a few people as crew for today, but all could not make it. So I went down to the club anyway thinking I would single-hand it. The forecast was pretty strong winds, but I hoped they would be lighter than forecast. As it turns out they were not.

James was sailing his optimist in the afternoon, so was free and crewed for me in the morning. The winds were pretty strong. Neil reckoned 3 gusting 5. The combined weight of me and James is not quite the same as me and Tim! Anyhow, we tacked out into the wind towards the harbour then goose-winged back at great speed - we touched 8.9 knots.

James was not quite sure about trying the goose-winging, but it felt safe and in control. I always start on a broad reach, feel how the boat is behaving and see if she will be comfortable and safe goose-winging before actually doing it. Sometime I guess a spinnaker is called for.

After lunch we wait for Kiriakos to bring his new boat to the club. Its a laser 13 - the little sister of Neil and Paulas boat.

Theirs was called 'Baby Blue' renamed to just 'Blue' but this really does look like Baby Blue!

Lunchtime comes and goes...

3pm comes and goes...

Kiriakos eventually arrives at about 4pm towing his new boat, takes it off the roadt trailer and then pushes it on the hard to check it out.

People gathered around to admire...

make comment...

and help rig...

feel the hull...

give advice...

check the rig tension... whatever.

Kiriakos like a proud dad after the birth of a new baby is keen to show her off and all together we rig the mast, standing rigging and sails. She is in really good condition.

One vital rope missing: Downhaul for the centre-board. This had also been missing from Neil and Paula's boat and made things more difficult when they went over. Neil helped Kiriakos add this extra rope. She's now ready to sail... but we will wait till tomorrow for that.

Finally it's time for pictures of the family together - three generations plus the new daughter!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

2 July 09 - New rig on the trimaran

Afternoon sail with Tim in his trimaran. We're testing the new rig [tightened] and his repair to the sail [better than the sailmaker]. The boat sails very much better despite light winds, more responsive and faster.

I also suggested a downhaul on the sail to the boom rather than just outhaul. Its loose footed. I cut some of the rope from the outhaul and use that. I stood up to fix it and the boom swings.... with me hanging on... landing on one of the pontoons!

Yes, she sails better still with the sail better shaped. The only problem being the downhaul doesn't run along the boom. Tim suggests the balls used for rope ties... later Neil suggests just small bits of plastic tubing to make it run easier.

Tim's off to UK on Saturday for two weeks and he suggested we plan a mini-cruise for when he comes back. Two days, about 30 nautical miles per day. There are two options - east to Fireman's Bay or west to Limassol. East looks better as there are many bolt holes [bays] to run into if we don't make it or weather not good enough. Only plus to going west would be the look on Andreas [True North Yachting] face coming into the marina in a 16 foot dinghy sailed from Larnaca!

So, we need to order the charts for this - its a bit more than I would like to do on ready reckoning, but should be great fun.