Monday, 14 May 2018

Great weekend

A nice picture from last weekend, getting the boat ready for this year's edition of Velaraid


Sunday, 13 May 2018

At last :)

First sail of the season!
We've taken full advantage of a couple of bank holidays to do some maintenance work on the boat , mostly repairs leftover from the last sailing season. 

After months working on planning, building and finishing our new house it was a great feeling to take the boat cover off for the first time in ages and get on with some long awaited maintenance works.
These included improving the cb pivot fixing and seals, adding Teflon pads to reduce cb play in case, adding a cb slot gasket, light sanding and two coat of clear varnish , gaff repairs, adding licker drains where needed, replacing the electric bilge pump  and servicing the motor.

I also had to validate the procedure of getting the boat out of our (new) garden using an electric cable winch I installed for the purpose.

We had two days sailing both alone and with up to 4 kids onboard. Ideal conditions with nice steady winds around 15 knots. The boat sailed like a dream, I have to say that having produced a constant stream of little improvements to the ergonomics, the rig and storage areas is really starting to show in terms of ease of use and sailing pleasure.

We feel the boat is ready for the upcoming adventure: one week sailing and camping in the Venice lagoon. We are becoming regular participants of the "velaraid" sail gathering which is organised every two year by a phenomenal bunch of people from a sail club in Venice.
Astrid was christened and launched there two years ago.... I realise now how much of a gamble it had been back then to take a brand new, home built, untested boat to a venue such like that one. Velaraid provides great sailing environment and experience , but conditions can be tricky (traffic, shallows, currents, local knowledge) and it is better handled with a tested and trusted boat.

Really looking forward to take the boat there with wife and the two boys.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

1st .... and 3rd

The return trip to France has started. Our Pathfinder Astrid will also serve as a carrier to transport our Stornoway 9 foot dinghy back to France.
The St 9 was our first build, a stitch and tape hull with nice lines and 5 strikes per side right out of a Selway Fisher stock design.
We built it as a small outboard dinghy for motoring around our well known bays here in Sardinia in the off season or as a utility tender to my dads boat, which shares its the same color scheme. We actually built it as a gift to my parents back in 2002. It had very little use, mostly because in 2005 I added  an aluminium outboard skiff to the family fleet, proving to be more roomy and powerful for off season use, and able to take a 15HP outboard.
The St9 spent the last fifteen years upturned under a tarp in my parents garden. It is still in perfect shape, bar the varnished transom flaking quite a lot . It will be now ferried back to France to be converted to a lugsail sailing dinghy for my boys Emilio and Filippo to learn how to sail straight from our new house on the waterfront. I will build a sailing rig using an existing gaff mainsail from a previous project,  daggerboard case, rudder, tiller and watertight side benches.
A new life for our 1st build , carried back home inside our 3rd ...
It wil also get a new paint job, possibly a little more striking and wild than the existing to match it's new owners/users eagerness to learn how to sail.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Sunset sail

This picture was taken from afar, my parent's house actually, while we were sailing in the bay. We were probably a good kilometer and a half away so when the photo is zoomed in it actually gets quite blurry.... to me it almost gives a watercolor painting effect to it. A good memory of a nice sunset sail with wife and two kids. And no, they weren't wearing life vests.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Mistral

Today we went out for a sail on a light northeasterly knowing that the mistral (northwesterly) was forecast for the day. It was forecast at 15 knots . It caught us a little off guard on our return trip (about 5 miles) as it rather built up to 25 knots gusting at 30. We had a longish stretch downwind rounding the island of Molara, and then to beat to get back to our mooring for the remaining two miles. We did so under jib and mizzen as we showed the mainsail already during the downwind stretch. The boat felt safe despite the fact that we had to gybe each time as tacking was not feasible due to the strong wind and waves. Waves, wind gusts, big splashes.... good fun . Our four year old son slept through it all in the shelter of the foredeck....

Thank you John Welsford for designing such a safe and seaworthy boat.