Tuesday 3 July 2018

Update - almost in Ipswich

I could write this up in sensational style, but I'll resist the temptation, beyond saying an unfortunate incident occurred in which Toucando, being securely moored in a high class south coast marina, with me hundreds of miles away, was struck by a former Nazi yacht resulting in some bended metal.  Nothing to adversely affect her seaworthiness,  but nevertheless definitely requiring some repairs.
We were able to proceed to Ipswich as planned, via Brighton and Dover, but instead of going to our intended marina we finished up at Fox's marina and boatyard - somewhere that offers all the necessary boatyard facilities to do the repairs. The excellent Bishop Skinner (insurer) has sorted everything out and hopefully all will be restored to appropriate condition without further delay. Once done we will probably relocate to Ipswich Haven from where we will make occasional trips. The Haven has the advantage of a town centre location, and I like towns. We will probably be doing some sailing in the latter part of August - the Suffolk and Essex coasts, Thames estuary, maybe the Low Countries. I'll keep you posted.
The Toucan Table

Friday 2 March 2018

Toucando is back - and looking for crew

Hello! It’s been a long time since I posted. The last few years have been dominated by boat maintenance. But Toucando is looking forward to sailing again. There’s a big change coming. After seven years based on the River Itchen in Southampton, we are relocating to Ipswich on the east coast. I have been spending more time in Harwich for family reasons, and it makes sense for Toucando to come round here so I can get to her more often for both maintenance and sailing purposes.
We’ll leave Kemps Quay on Saturday 31st March, probably for a short trip on day 1 to a Solent destination. In the week following we will head up channel with possible stops at Brighton, Eastbourne, Dover and Ramsgate, before heading across the Thames estuary to Harwich Haven, up the Orwell to Ipswich. The itinerary is flexible and will take account of the conditions at the time. I intend it to be a pleasant, relaxing passage - 200 miles in a week. A regular crew member is already signed up, but there are spaces for one or two more. Please get in touch if interested.
Ipswich is a great harbour. The docks have been developed a lot in recent years, with bars and restaurants and the University of Suffolk surrounding the locked dock - once a busy port exporting east anglian grain and importing baltic timber. Once installed I hope we’ll be joining in east coast gaffers events - and maybe popping back to the Solent or over to the Lowlands from time to time. I’ll keep you posted on Toucando’s progress... and if you want to join us, drop us a line.

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Caulking and Sailing: A trip to Haslar

Toucando's deck is made of iroko with Sikaflex "caulking". It had been coated with Sikkens. After eleven years of footfall, sunshine, rain, waves etc. it needed some attention. Some of the seams had opened up a little, allowing water to penetrate. This had to be stopped. The boatswain was engaged to apply the sander, gouge out the old Sikaflex, clean the channels, then apply primer and new Sikaflex. The illustrations below show before and after:

It's a big job: but the results are fantastic. Not only are the seams now well filled, but the wood is clean and bright, and the grip is better. About 1/3 done so far. Completion will depend on weather.
Other maintenance included a jet wash, anti foul and anode change. This entailed a trip to Sealift in Haslar. To achieve this we were joined by Dan and had a nice sail down on Bank Holiday Monday. The lift took place on Tuesday, and the rest of the week saw more caulking before the Solent Gaffer fleet arrived for the annual race and rally. We enjoyed their company before having an excellent sail back to Southampton, this time assisted by Nicholas. After a long period when Toucando was under maintenance it was a nice change for her to be under sail.

The outward crew comparing notes.

The jet wash at Sealift2

Enjoying refreshments on the new cockpit table (found in Derbyshire).

Homeward bound!

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Monday 24 August 2015

Weekend day sail crewing opportunities

The horrible weather has kept us at Kemps Quay. So the trip to Haslar (Gosport) has been postponed. I am confident that the weather will be fantastic next weekend: so I'm rescheduling the trip to Bank Holiday Monday (31st August). Toucando will have her wash etc. on Tuesday 1st, and then stay in Haslar for the week, until the following weekend which is the Gaffers' Annual rally which is taking place at... Haslar. We can go day sailing on Saturday 5th and will return to Kemps Quay Southampton on Sunday 6th. Anyone interested in joining for any part of the programme please get in touch!

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Tuesday 14 July 2015

Poole Rally

Toucando enjoyed the Gaffers' Poole Rally. We had a great sail out on Friday. We stayed at Poole Quay on Saturday... doing some land based sightseeing and shopping before taking the bus to the RMYC for our evening meal with other gaffers.
On Sunday we had a very lumpy crossing of the bay, complicated by a sail problem and an engine problem. We went in to Yarmouth. Both problems were sorted out very easily on Monday, and we then sailed up to Southampton very quickly in a strong south westerly. Thanks to crew Kev, Lesley and Roger.

A nice sail down the Solent

Roger telling a story

The Dorset coast

At our mooring at Poole Quay


Mark, the race officer, giving the prizes

Exiting Poole

The quay

A very grey day on the Solent

Home again!

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Location:Quayside Road,Southampton,United Kingdom

Tuesday 2 June 2015

Sailing Again!!!

After a long period of maintenance Toucando cautiously edged out of her berth at the Elephant Boatyard and made her way down the River Hamble on Thursday 28th May.
Once out of the shelter of the steep valley side we began to feel the wind. The forecast was for fives and sixes: a little more than ideal for a shakedown cruise. The bowsprit was lowered and we left the river and motored into the last bit of Southampton Water before the Solent. When we were clear of the shipping channel we raised the well reefed main and pulled out the staysail. We were able to sail close hauled a good way down the Western Solent before motoring into Yarmouth harbour. We had discovered that one or two things had not been set up correctly: roles which should have gone this way we're going that way, but we were able to sort most things out.
In the harbour we moored alongside Nightingale. Quite a lot of boats were there, many having come early to get ahead of the forecast bad weather.

We dressed Toucando in a lot of pink laundry, in honour of the festival's "In the Pink" Breast Cancer Campaign theme.
Friday was wet and windy - not good news for the organisers of the shore side activities, but an enjoyable day nevertheless. The festival was opened by the Pink Panther, and the usual range of somewhat surreal local entertainment was on offer.

The highlights of the evening entertainment were Derek Sandy, the Isle of Wight's high energy reggae superstar, and Wight Hot Pipes, the island's high energy, bagpipe driven punk band.

Saturday the weather was much better. Toucando left harbour to watch the racing from the water.

As usual it is impossible to tell what was going on, but it was good to see a fleet of gaffers racing.

On Sunday we returned home. The forecast was pretty dire but the afternoon looked ok. We had a nice run up the Western Solent under staysail. Then we motored up Southampton Water into a Force 6. Eventually we berthed in Southampton - at Shamrock Quay on Sunday then moved over to Kemp's on Monday. It was good to be back on the industrial Itchen opposite the scrapyard.

Thanks to crew Anne and Karen for getting Toucando sailing again.

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Sunday 15 March 2015

Toucando 2015

Ahoy! After a long absence the blog is back.  Following "Round Britain Challenge" in 2013 two things happened.  First my professional skills suddenly became in very high demand and I made a return to the world of work.  Second, I looked at Toucando's varnish and saw that it was shabby.  Fortunately the work enabled me to pay for lots of varnish, although deprived me of as much time as I would like to put it on.  However with the help of friends and crew quite a lot was done.

Toucando looking shabby

Toucando looking smart

After several years at Kemps Quay on the Itchen we relocated to the Elephant Boatyard on the Hamble, mainly in order to enable their people to undertake some of the more highly skilled maintenance tasks.  This had the added advantage of walk ashore pontoon mooring, and easy accessibility to "The Jolly Sailor".  I had hoped that the work would all get done quite quickly and Toucando would have some sailing last summer.  But it just didn't work out.  This year will be different.

There is still some work to be done, however it will not impede a sailing programme.  The ongoing varnishing can be done between voyages, or on a quiet day in harbour.  There are some tasks that will have to be done before we can set sail... mainly reattaching all the ironmongery that was removed to get access to the woodwork.  April will see this done, along with other necessary pre-season servicing, and in May Toucando will resume her true vocation as a sailing vessel.

The core of the programme will be the Solent Gaffers' events. For those that don't know, gaffers are traditionally rigged boats, with four cornered mainsails... and also the people who sail them.  A gaffers event usually involves sailing from the home port to an agreed destination, where there will be some form of communal event, such as a barbecue or meal ashore.  And then sailing back.  Gaffers tend to like real ale and folk music, especially sea shanties... so think CAMRA, folk festival and sailing boats and you will have a good idea what to expect.

We will also do occasional weekend sails around the Solent and nearby as and when it seems like a good idea to do so.  The great thing about the area is that there are so many destinations available, rivers, harbours, cities, anchorages, marinas.  It is possible to go somewhere different pretty much every weekend in the summer months.

Toucando is privately owned and definitely not a commercial vessel.  I go sailing with friends with the objective of having a pleasant voyage and visiting interesting places.  I worked my way through the RYA training scheme, culminating in becoming a commercially endorsed yachtmaster and cruising instructor.  I am happy to take complete novices, as well as experienced sailors.  And I have all the kit you will require, including oilskins and lifejackets. All that I expect of crew is a willingness to share in the life of the boat.  You will get to helm, do sail handling, make cups of tea, share your life story (if you wish), contribute to the navigation and passage planning, etc..  I am always keen to welcome those new to sailing, or to the gaff rig.

Toucando has a fore cabin with a double berth, a small single quarter berth, and two pilot berths in the main saloon.  In theory another two people could sleep on the lower saloon berths.  I tend to sail with me plus one, two or three others.

So what do we hope to do?

The first event will be the Chichester Rally. We will set sail on Friday 1st May from The Elephant Boatyard at Old Bursledon on the River Hamble heading towards Chichester Harbour.  On Saturday there will be an event in Chichester Yacht Club, on Sunday we will return to Bursledon. http://www.oga.org.uk/solent/events/chichester.

The highlight of the year for many traditional sailors in the Solent is the Yarmouth Old Gaffers' Festival, also known as YOGAFF.  I will be sailing there on Thursday 28th May (half term week), and back to Bursledon on Sunday 31st.  I may do some day sailing on Friday and Saturday, but will not be racing. http://www.oga.org.uk/solent/events/yarmouth-old-gaffers-festival-2015

On Saturday June 13th we will be taking part in the Solent Gaffel Race.  This is a completely new event for us, inspired by our Dutch friends.  You can start the race when you want, you choose your own course, and time your finish.  The whole thing takes place out of the Hamble, and we are pleased to welcome young gaffers to take part.

The Poole Rally take place on the weekend of 10th-12th July.  We sail from Bursledon to Pool Harbour, anchoring in Black Deep.  Barbecues and a meal ashore are features.  We return to Bursledon on Sunday.  Currently I have a full crew for this event, but I might be able to squeeze in one more, or start a reserve list.

The big one this year will be the St Malo cruise:

Proposed cruise schedule (Subject to weather, of course!)

Saturday 25th July: A nice sail from Bursledon to Yarmouth.
Sunday 26th July Depart Yarmouth, IOW
Sunday 26th - Monday 27 July Cherbourg or Alderney, to be decided by consensus
Wednesday 29th July St Peter Port, Guernsey
Friday 31th July St Helier, Jersey
Monday 3rd August OGA fleet arrives St Malo
Tuesday 4th August British & French parade of sail following 'la Recouvrance' (perhaps)
Thence back to England so we are safely on the right side of the Channel for the weekend of 8th/9th August
I have one crew member confirmed.  For this event I will require experienced crew as long passages are inevitable in sailing grounds with huge and fast tides.
The Bursledon Regatta takes place from Friday 21st August to Sunday 23rd, at the Elephant Boatyard, Toucando's current home port.  It is really a village fete combined with a lot of watery activities.  The only sailing we would do might be to go out on Saturday and watch the racing on the Solent while having a bit of a sail round.  There is lots of entertainment in the boatyard: fancy dress, fireworks, hog roast, etc. etc.. Visitors are very welcome to come and sit aboard Toucando and drink grog.
The Solent Gaffers Annual Race and Rally takes place the first weekend in September.  On Friday 4th we would sail to Cowes Yacht Haven.  A quick hop over the Solent. On Saturday there is a race to Portsmouth Harbour.  We will be stopping at Haslar Marina in the evening.  I am not committed to racing, and would only do so with a very experienced crew.  However it would be a nice sail anyway.  On Sunday we return to Bursledon.
The final scheduled event of the summer is the Centenary Chase.  This takes places at Yarmouth and involves sailing from Bursledon on Friday 18th September, sailing about in the western Solent on Saturday and returning to Bursledon on Sunday.  I would only race with a very experienced crew... otherwise, we would just have an enjoyable day sail at a safe distance.
Other nearby destinations for occasional weekends could include: Bembridge - a recently improved harbour at the west end of the Isle of Wight; the Beaulieu River and Buckler's Hard; Lymington; New Town Creek, and indeed Southampton.
Anybody interested in varnishing and boat maintenance, will be handsomely rewarded with tea, biscuits, lunch, beer, etc.. Especially in April as we get Toucando into sailing condition.
Things that you need to know.  The Elephant Boatyard is near Bursledon railway station and bus routes between Southampton and Portsmouth.  There is a large free car park at the station.  If you are interested in any of these events... or just generally in the possibility of sailing with Toucando please get in touch: toucando[at]citybeat.org.uk.