I am just uploading this to the DCA Dinghy Solent forum, but thought one or two here might like to point and laugh as well -
All this talk of Wind and Haying Challenges has emboldened me to admit a ghastly truth. I undertook some tests of my own yesterday, November the Bonfire Night 2016 and here is the list –
1. Being an ex-racing sort of sailor, Len’s discussion of times and comparing dinghies in association with the Hayling Challenge has had my mind chewing gently over the subject for months now, hence my three attempts during the latest Cobnor camp. This first test was to check out another theory regarding wind and tide - I went round clockwise from and back to, Cobnor. It satisfied my curiosity, but several other things happened.
2. A few months ago over on the HBBR forum (I don’t think it got as far as this DCA site??) Paul Hadley had asked about decent protective clothing for winter sailing. Among others, Fladen suits, as worn by real fishermen and the like, were recommended and Paul ordered a one-piece which he decided against and ended up with jacket and trousys made by the same company. These are Immersion/Flotation suits and I ordered a one-piece which arrived just this last week.
I actually slipped into some jeans and a cotton shirt, then climbed into it and donned my sea-boots, before even leaving the house; I was trying to keep up with Roger’s "Twenty minutes on the foreshore" rule. The suit is remarkably effective and I left the zip open until well out into Hayling Bay having perspired a tad rolling my charge to the water’s edge on rippling-ly flat trolley tyres.
3. I seem to have confirmed that there is a little-lugger sized funnelling-effect of wind through Langstone entrance – I’ve had to reef at the beginning of each end now; very lumpy.
4. During ‘Cobnor’ this year I had done the same trip on a full spring tide – and I assumed with the same timing, the heights would be moderated and directions would be the same, but with less current. I was in for another lesson in making tidal assumptions. Unlike the summer, as I approached Hayling Bridge the current was against me, through the old railway pilings, around mid-tide; and of course under the road bridge.
Just as well really. I approached the bridge with the sail mostly dropped into the lifts, the peek just showing to shove us through. Expecting the mast to slip neatly beneath the concrete, I kept up a knot or so, but no, it caught by about the same three or four inches as it has cleared in the summer and sprung the boat back out to Langstone; great. With a little fudging around I eventually got her heeled over and having lost way, paddle/sailed her through, swerving at the bridge supports and failing to avoid the odd scrunch of masthead on concrete.
5. The stability of my little grey lugger Polly Wee. It’s been five seasons now and apart from taking her to softly-sandy East head and deliberately pulling her over and swamping her, to check the effectiveness of the water-ballast –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxIZSSj8QlM she’s not let me down.
She has repeatedly implied that she’s just about to roll over and try it for her ownsome. However, she’s always changed her mind at the last split second and over the half decade, I’ve used the water-ballast less and less; I know my boat.
Explanatory paragraph - For these tests, it being November and all, I was wearing my favourite bobble-less woolly hat, but I had not got as far as rolling up the Fladen hood and stowing it into the collar. The main sheet on Polly Wee is rigged the same as a Laser – running forward under the boom and despite my getting down, if not dirty, it had already caught the hood several times – merely irritating on a tack. However, I was gybing to stay on the Hayling side as I was making my way back down the Emsworth channel and it not only caught, but jerked the hood, which knocked my hat into the water.
So I did a quick tack but missed the retrieve, tacked again and just managed to grab the offending article as it was about to sink beneath a racing mark.
Where did that come from?
Verification of tests 5 and 2 in that order –
5a. It was all so sudden and remarkably interesting that I am still trying to piece together quite what actually happened. One moment I was crouching downwind, squaring away and the next I came up between the boom and the boat to see a torrent of dirty green water rolling in over the port side deck. Swamped and no water-ballast to come to my assistance. My conveyance lay on her side presumably with the buoyancy of the (plugged carbon fibre) yard and solid wooden mast preventing her going turtle, (despite being in the line of withies, there was no mud on the end of any spar).
I didn’t want the sail interfering with my retrieval efforts, so I released the halyard before making my way round the stern and along to the centreboard. It’s amazing how little there is to hold onto on the underside, but I got a moderate grip on the water-ballast port and fingered the plate out of the hull. I then started to pull and she came part way up quite easily, though also began to wallow badly with the free water on board; I was worried she might come straight over toward me again. I also discovered that there is not much to hold onto with those cambered side decks; quite slippery really, my little boat. I gingerly pulled her upright moving to the windward quarter, as I did so.
The folds of sail in the lifts out to leeward were actually full of water, which I didn’t discover until I started to hoist some ten minutes later. The quarter was the only place I could control the wallow and slither on board all at the same time; it took a minute or two to find things to hold onto and pull myself back into the cockpit.
I then needed to stay perched half on the windward side-deck balancing, while pumping out perhaps a third of a cockpit-full of slopping oggin. The pump is mounted athwartships at thwart level, so it can be handled from either side. Good exercise and I’m glad I wasn’t out in Hayling Bay balancing among the lop. I have now tied on the stirrup to grab and hang over the stern for such eventualities – it was up forward among the tangle of anchor rode.
2a. The Fladen suit? Well I know the water is still relatively warm, but apart from finding myself rather moist and unexpectedly holding my breath for a few seconds, I really didn’t even notice a change in temperature and I didn’t have any trouble keeping my head well above water. What is more, I stayed adequately warm for the remaining hour it took to get back to Cobnor. The only cold was my hands – I had Sealskins gloves (large) in the suit pockets, but I find them sufficiently skimped to be rather tight on my size eight paws and the ensuing blood lack does nothing to promote warmth.
I say chaps; “Three cheers for Fladen!”
6. Testing buoyancy aids only works if you are wearing one, not if it is in a net up forward; it was in the up-side and stayed remarkably dry. Well I did have a flotation suit on, but the makers do allow other buoyancy as well.
7. I once heard that someone had accidentally tested their Nokia 2730c-1 by taking it for a dip; subsequently they rinsed it out, wound it up and off it went again.
Not mine, it hasn’t; not yet
I still have the hat
An odd thing about the current through Hayling Bridge and the Billy line bridge piers is that it always flows from E to W regardless of the state of the tide. I don't know why this should be - my favourite theory is that Chichester Harbour fills faster than Langstone Harbour owing to the wider mouth. The break point between the harbours is not at the bridge as most people assume but somewhere close to the Langstone Hotel.
Chris, your hood story reminded me of something similar that happened to me earlier this year. First sail of the year down the R. Yealm with my brother in law as crew (he is not a small man and not really a sailor, either). Anyway, as we beat out through the moorings he made a quip about the hook dangling off the end of the boom - was it for my washing or some such nonsense. Actually, it was the hook and line that I use for reefing that I had neglected to rig properly. Well, two tacks later, the bloody thing found a firm hold on the back of my buoyancy aid, in a position that was just out of reach! You can image the chaos that ensued with the sail effectively sheeted hard in, the skipper with his hand up his back trying to get free, a big bloke thrashing around in the bilges and the green stuff coming in first one side then the other. I just managed the wriggle out of my buoyancy aid in time to avoid what would have been a chilly dip, leaving it hanging on the end of the boom. Needless to say, the open hook has since been replaced with one of the carabiner type!
In reply to this post by Chris Partridge
On 6 Nov 2016 at 15:28, Chris Partridge [via UK HBBR Forum] wrote:
> An odd thing about the current through Hayling Bridge and the Billy
> line bridge piers is that it always flows from E to W regardless of
> the state of the tide. I don't know why this should be - my favourite
> theory is that Chichester Harbour fills faster than Langstone Harbour
> owing to the wider mouth.
But doesn't empty faster?
The only time I have been at the bridge near low water I was trying
to go from E to W. My memory is that, under the bridge, we had to
drag the boats against the current and up a small waterfall.
Definitely flowing E from New Cut onwards.
Sail when you can, row when you must, motor only
when you have to be at work in the morning.
In reply to this post by Chris Partridge
You have been intimate with that stretch of water
Much more frequently than I Chris, but I feel I have spent any number of interesting struggles with the water going the opposite way to me, under the bridge, during Hayling roundings, with and against the clock, however wise or anti it may have been at the time; more struggle than direction perhaps?
We should probably ask Cliff Martin of DCA fame
He has some strong opinions
On the matter
In reply to this post by David Bewick
Dare I say it Dave?
There is something about our little boats
That is obviously catching
Also for DCA El Presidente in his French boat.
Say NO to Brexit. Kick it into the long grass
In reply to this post by alopenboat
I must admit I have not seen it at very low water. Tends to be a bit innaccessible. I must go there and examine it from the bridge.
When the tide is going out the flow will still from E to W irrespective of the relative speed at which the harbours empty because the break point is to the east of the bridge.
Well, I'm not sure what to say here, other than I'm very glad you survived your adventures and well done for sharing them with all and sundry (DCA).
There seems to have been a bit of a spate of duckings and near duckings of late with the illustrious DCA President Roger of the Barnes taking a spill, and John C Harris of C.L.C. fame capsizing his little nesting expedition dinghy. But then he was sailing without his ballast tanks filled. (!)
So it can happen to anyone, even the most experienced amongst us so it behoves all of us to know that we can recover our boats and ourselves when totally swamped and up to our necks not just our knees in the green stuff. Before you ask, no I haven't but I have come close a couple of times.
"Just because you haven't doesn't mean you won't..."
"it won't go wrong in the way you expect it to..."
His name was Reg, can't remember his surname, ran the Thames Young Mariners base near Ham on the Thames for years. Little sayings we found amusing as youths I now recognise as very wise!
In reply to this post by Port-Na-Storm
There's that saying -
"An experienced pilot is one who knows how to get himself out of the trouble that only he knows how to avoid in the first place"
Or something like that - can anyone fill in the details?
"A superior pilot uses his superior judgement to avoid having to use his superior skill."
Something like that? Glad it was just a dunking!
In the SAS it is the Six P's - Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
This post was updated on .
I'm pleased to hear the Fladen one-piece suit did its job well.
One reason you sailed home without feeling too cold is the Fladen suits do NOT breathe, so there is no absorption of water that would extract heat when the water evaporates in the wind.
Also beneath the outer fabric is a layer of polyurethane (or similar) that provides the Industry minimum of 50N flotation - but it gives layer of insulation around your entire body which is perfect after dunking/capsize/driving rain/snow blizzard.
I have the two piece jacket plus bib and brace trousers:
Worn together they are EN 393 certified as a two piece Flotation Suit. Typically £129 which is dramatically cheaper than all the Yachty clothing. The one-piece suit is under £100 - a brilliant option for canoeing this time of year.
The jacket is remarkably warm, so are the trousers.
Say NO to Brexit. Kick it into the long grass
I am quite tempted by one of these, how do they come out size wise?
Usually a large for me but they look quite chunky.
The one piece is the most difficult to size, as your height is important. I choose one based on my height from Uttings:
They have a sensible returns policy if the clothing does not fit - as long as you have not used it.
I found my size a bit short and tight in the back sitting down in MilliBee and wish I had gone for the next length up. So I bought the two piece.
Say NO to Brexit. Kick it into the long grass
(Again, uploaded here for those not of a DCA ilk)
I have just taken the next step
In reacquainting myself with Chichester harbour on a more intimate basis....
I fell out of the boat, didern' I?
With memories of my recent capsize still in the front of my mind, I resolved not to go sailing in winter without water-ballast aboard. Rounding the top of Itchenor reach and starting up toward Dell Quay, the wind piped up in it's usual arbitrary fashion. I had just fully hardened-up when I got hit by a substantial gust and threw myself onto the windward side-deck....
The gust having achieved its objective, instantly stopped (and/or headed me) almost in mid-throw and I went straight on over the side. Once more, there I was in the water next to my boat, only this time the ballast in place, she stayed upright, hanging about with that expression somewhere between uppity and sheepish that horses normally reserve for their thrown riders. How a horse manages to look sheepish - never mind a dinghy, is beyond me, but the attitude was definitely there.
Once again I was in my Fladen Immersion Suit (with the extra flotation of a buoyancy-aid inside it this time) and really didn't notice anything much more than a chilly dollop down the back of my neck.
I clambered back over the side deck and considered my position. I could go on chasing Cliff up to Dell Quay, or taking discretion as being the better part of valour, head for home as I wasn't likely to get much warmer. The suit was fine throughout, but my feet, clad in Sealskinz socks and ordinary wellies were none to warm and I reckoned to tempt fate no further on this occasion.
I cannot deny Polly Wee is a frisky beast
Tales of age and agility
Over on DCA Solent someone has just asked me how the suit stands up to six hours of pouring rain; here's my answer -
I've not warn it in constant pouring rain yet, but it has become well hooshed without leaking. It does not purport to be micro-porous, but actually waterproof and in fact, as David Sumner points out, it is the microclimate that is easy to develop inside the suit, that is more of a concern.
It says - "The Fladen Scandia Suit is made from top quality 210 denier oxford nylon with high density closed cell foam. This suit exceeds the standard EN393 floatation requirements by 54% to 115%. There is an attached fleece liner hood for extra safety preventing additional loss of body heat." I thought I had found a more detailed description, but it seems to have escaped for the time being.
I've just looked up Oxford nylon - "Coated in urethane, this fabric repels water and resists rips and tears. It has a denier of 210 and is easy to work with, lightweight, and incredibly versatile. Coated Nylon Oxford is frequently used in tent making, for flags and banners, as slip covers for furnishings, and for cases, sacks, and bags."
I was wearing the buoyancy aid underneath yesterday more for warmth than flotation, though if I get much more buoyant, I shall be rolling along the surface like some weird marine tumbleweed.
I already am? Oh, thank you; I didn't think anybody had noticed
Two things - firstly Fladen also makes two piece version which would breathe rather better around your middle and the top can be taken off - doesn't help much if it's in the boat and you're in the water, though. Secondly, I would ask you David - what better solution have you come up with for warm Spring day, but cold water sailing? I find the modern micro-porous foul weather gear clammy-cool and likely to take on water - more as the clothing ages and is subjected to the washing ministrations of the Minister of the Interior; God bless her.
I like the one-piece for its simplicity as an answer to immersion - put it on, swim away, no tops, bottoms, extra buoyancy, or other required. I have already found it too hot and internally humid to be lugging the boat around even down the beach in the Autumn. However there is the simplest of answers to that, it has a belt round the waist - do it up and peel the top half off, leaving it dangling for later - that works and if you don't like the arms round your ankles, they have Velcro fastenings at the wrist that can be commandeered to attach one to the other round your waist - Look no dangalums!
The next problem and answer, is one of it trying to creep off your shoulders if you leave it open to vent excess moisture. The answer is to zip it well up and open the bottom of the double-ended zip, which is a function actually designed to access your own pumping kit. Sorry girls, I'm afraid the creator didn't care to foresee this as a technical hitch to the current trend in equality.
There is actually enough buoyancy that if you were wearing a one-piece and fell in, it probably would not be impossibly difficult to climb into the top half while floating around. Maybe a mouthful or two of salt water, but otherwise....
Though I'm not making any promises
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