Wina II under sail

Wina II under sail has been a long time coming. As it is not possible to photograph your own boat under sail I had to wait for the opportunity to sail in company with my Daughter and her husband on their Westerly Griffon 'Paxi Moon'. For three days - 25th, 26th and 27th of July - the Met Office promised us a fine weekend in an otherwise dismal summer, the tides were right so we went for it. An added bonus was that my Son was home from Singapore for a week and I had a crew.

'Paxi Moon' was sailing from the River Hamble and 'Wina II' from Portsmouth Harbour and we planned to meet up off Lee-on the-Solent for a photo shoot. Things went according to plan. At the time of meeting I was under bare pole motoring into a force 4 and a foul tide whilst they were running free and down tide. It did not take long to head up a few degrees into the wind and get all of the sails up and stop the engine and start to enjoy the sailing.

We tacked and jibed around for about an hour getting into position for some good shots. We then set off towards Southampton Water close hauled and 'Wina II' got into her stride and we left 'Paxi Moon astern. The GPS gave us 6 kts over the ground against a head wind and foul tide. Just North of the Bramble Bank we hove too for 'Paxi Moon' to catch up before heading for Cowes where we would spend the night. Here she really came into her own.

A sea breeze set in and was a steady force 5 and the tide pushing us east right on the beam. We got tangled up with a racing fleet of 36ft open Keel boats and to my amazement we were pointing as high as they were and all making for Cowes. I had put the Auto helm on and was pleased to note that it was not having any work to do. Meanwhile, 'Paxi Moon' was about three quarters of a mile down wind and down tide of us and facing a long tack out into the Solent to get off the entrance of the River. She elected to stow her sails and motor.

The family came aboard Wina II for a drink in the cockpit before repairing ashore for dinner.

The photographs below show Wina II fitted out for Cruising.

After a third summer of lousy weather and strong winds I was getting fed up with continually getting soaked to the skin in south westerly winds of up to 30kts over a west going ebb tide of four knots throwing up the usual 'Solent Chop' in these conditions. The wave height of not more 0.75 of a metre and of a pitch marginally less than a boat length make for a very uncomfortable passage. Get over one wave and the next would stop the boat dead in the water as the bow fell off and ploughed straight into it. Solid water would run of the deck and coach roof before getting near the cockpit. Spray was a different ball game, being air borne it flew straight over the cockpit drenching any one in the way of it before landing astern of the boat. Something had to be done about that, I could not change the weather, so I toyed with the idea of a spray hood. When the boat was built in the 1950's I don't think spray hoods had been invented, at least I had never seen one on wooden boat and GRP was in its infancy. The sliding cockpit hatch sat on a runner either side of the saloon opening unlike its modern day counterpart which slides in a 'garage' and the foot of the spray hood is simply fastened to the top of the garage. With a wooden boat when the hatch is open the base of the hood has to have an opening to clear the hatch, when it is shut there is a hole the size of the cross section of the hatch. A big hole in fact that will let a lot of water in. Time to call in the experts!

At the 2008 Southampton boat show, in company with my daughter and son-in-law who were looking for a new spray hood for their Westerly Griffon, we happened upon a Company called Quay Sails based in Poole. Apart from making sails they make all sorts of boat covers, What is more they were a good 250 cheaper than other quotes they had had. Having completed their business, I approached them, told them I had a wooden boat with an upstanding sliding coach roof hatch with no garage and wanted to fit a spray hood and ----- I wanted a cockpit cover which could easily be put up from inside the cockpit !!!

On the day they were going to fit the steel work and deck fastenings on my daughter's boat on the Hamble they would come along to Gosport to see mine. They arrived on the day and on time and having looked at WINA 11 without any hesitation said "Yes we can do that --no problem". So I gave them an order subject to receipt of a quotation. They immediately set about measuring the boat up. Half an hour later they had gone. A week elapsed and I received their quotation and immediately confirmed the order. The next time they came they fitted the steel work for the spray hood and all the fasteners, likewise they fitted a temporary frame to the rear end of the cockpit tied every thing up in position and checked it for squareness etc.fitted the cockpit cover fasteners and made patterns over the complete framework and off they went.

Two weeks later it was ready for collection. My daughter took me to collect it as I had injured my back on a Friday afternoon and on Sunday she and her husband fitted it for me and it went on like a dream, not a fastener out of place and the quality of the material and manufacture absolutely superb.

How did Quay Sails overcome the problem of the hatch ? Absolutely ingenious, The aperture is elasticated. It seals to the coach roof when the hatch is shut and stretches to seal against the hatch when it is open. A very highly recommended company.

Whilst Quay Sails were fitting the steel work and fasteners I said I was interested in their sail "Sail Stackaway" system with lazy Jacks and would like one. They measured up for it and suggested it would work better with slides on the luff. I also asked them to put my correct sail number on the sail. My main sail carried the No 108 and came off a Proctor Seamew where as the registered no of the boat is 18. They took the sail off the boat for me and again every thing was ready for collection with the spray hood and cockpit cover. It took less than hour to install. The cost including the alterations to the sail ? ---- less than the cost of a ready made system advertised by a well known Mail Order chandler.

Admittedly, it has yet to be tested. I had a Barton lazy jack system fitted and it was an absolute pain trying to hoist the main as the battens kept catching in the lines and when sailing single handed trying to lower the main and free the lazy jack at the same time was a nightmare. The lines were only the width of the boom apart. It is well known that Lazy jacks are an aid to lowering a mainsail, not hoisting it. The other advantage of the "Stackaway System" is that one does not have to go on deck with sail ties which in itself is a good thing.

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