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Sailing report 2014. By Roy Procter.!

In my report last year I described the purchase and upgrade
work that took most of last summer on my newly purchased
ETAP 23 while on its trailer here at my home. NOLAN VII was
finally put in the water last September. She stayed the winter on
my nice secure mooring on the river Frome close to Wareham.!
Apart from an occasional trip down the river under motor the first proper!
attempt to try her under sail did not occur until mid March this year. My!
brother-in-law, Paul, was able to join me for three or four days so we took her down
the river to base ourselves in Poole Quay Marina to give us access to more open
So for the first time we were able to wind the keel down, and raise the sails as!
soon as we were clear of the marina. Once outside we found the wind much!
stronger than we found to be comfortable for our first effort. So this, together with!
the rather restricted space with deep water within Poole Harbour, decided to return!
to the marina to await better conditions. The following day the wind was not quite so!
strong and we were able to have two or three hours sailing within the harbour!
finding out how she goes. We were both very pleased with what we found. But our!
time was now up so we had to return to the mooring at Wareham.!
But this turned out not to be straight forward as the engine refused run at higher
power just after we had left the marina. So we returned smartly to sort it out. The
engine would run at fast idle but no faster. At least this gave ability to manoeuvre.!
We had planned to call at Lakeside Marine on the way back to consult them on the
excessive charging voltage as they were Yamaha agents.. As the wind was
favourable and the tide high we decided to try to sail there. This was successful and
we had enough power to enter and moor. The staff were most helpful in addressing
the engine problem. It was concluded that the high speed jet in the carb was
obstructed. Rather than dismantle everything, he ran the engine as fast as possible
in neutral and then whacked the choke full on momentarily to try to suck the
obstruction through. Result was a cleared jet and normal throttle response! He also
looked at the spark plugs and said that these engines were rather hard on plugs. So
I asked for a new pair on principle. These were fitted immediately. and advice given
re my charging problem. All payment was refused, including supply of new plugs.
This was very nice and unexpected. So we retired to their bar and had a very
pleasant light lunch. A more pleasant and friendlier place would be hard to find.!
Despite having lazy jacks and an integrated sail cover, we found raising the!
main sail difficult. This was because the mainsail had short battens which protruded!
beyond the leach by about an inch. These caught on the lazy jacks as the wind!
made the sail flap. After discussion with Rob Kemp, I had the sale modified for!
longer battens that did not protrude beyond the leach. That solved the problem and!
subsequent trips showed that the setting of the sail was now much better.!!
It was not until mid July that Paul and I were able to find time for a slightly!
longer cruise. After our usual overnight at Poole Quay we set off for the Solent via!
the Eastern channel from the harbour. It was a beautiful day and we were delighted!
to be able to sail into the Solent without having to tack at all. The wind died just as!
we were approaching Lymington where we stayed for a couple of nights.!!
Our next destination was Cowes after a pleasant sail in nice weather.!
However the pleasure of this trip was somewhat marred by an exceedingly noisy!
racing power boat manoeuvring at speed just off the entrance to the river. Such was!
the level of noise that we could hardly hear each other speak or use the radio to talk!
to the Marina for a berth. What the inhabitants on the shore of the Isle of Wight!
thought about this appalling performance I have no idea. !
The following day we set off for Beaulieu in strong wind from the wrong!
direction! This, together with an adverse tide, meant that we made little progress
despite much tacking. So we reverted to use of the iron top sail. The main
excitement was trying to get into our assigned berth in the marina. This was down
wind and down tide with restricted space
between the pontoons. !
Due to poor stopping power in reverse an!
attempt was made to turn to go into the space!
backwards on the basis that forward power!
could be used to control the speed backwards
and also we would have some measure of
control from the rudder. However the effort to
turn was totally unsuccessful so a further
approach was made forwards. Fortunately the !
crew of the neighbouring boat had been watching this performance and came onto
the pontoon and provided a catching party to prevent us overrunning. It turned out
they had arrived about an hour before us and understood the problems we faced
very clearly and positioned themselves accordingly. Their assistance was much
appreciated, but they refused the proffered cans of beer!!!
It looked as though the weather over the next few days might deteriorate so!
we set off on the sail back to Poole. We anticipated that the wind would cause us to!
tack across Poole bay. However we were very pleased to find that we could hold the!
course almost the entire way until the wind dropped close to Poole. So it was!
engine on to get into the harbour avoiding the chain ferry etc. As we had made very!
much better time than we expected we decided to continue under power all the way!
back to our mooring at Wareham. Thus ended a very pleasant short cruise.!
In September my other brother-in-law, John, came over from Norway partly to!
help celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary and partly to spend a short time with
me on my boat to see how it performs. He is an experienced and knowledgeable
sailor who goes long distances in his Albin Ballard. (Such as from Oslo round and
up to Tromso via the Lofoten Isles.) We again based ourselves at Poole Quay
Marina and had three days sailing in Poole
Bay. !
John tweaked and modified various things
with the result that NOLAN VII performed
even better and I learnt a lot!!
Thank you John.!

The Waverly passed near Old Harry.

In addition to the trips described above there have been a number of days in!
which I have gone down to the boat for lunch on my own and sometimes had a little!
motor down the river and back. Due to the restricted space and shallow water all!
these trips have been made without lowering the keel. Sometimes it has been!
possible to sail slowly one way under foresail only.!
So after this first year of use what do I think of my return to a sailing boat?!
Firstly I am very pleased with its performance and two of us have found the!
accommodation arrangements surprisingly satisfactory. The combination of the!
spray hood and a full cockpit cover effectively give us a second living area provided!
with windows and is weather proof. The 8HP Yamaha 2/stroke out board with!
electric start has performed very well indeed. I've found that the battery charging!
arrangements would put the battery volts up to 15.7v. This seemed to be excessive!
and was not going to do the battery any good. After some head scratching and!
research, I changed the rectifier on the engine for a rectifier/regulator. This has!
solved the problem. I also installed a new battery. This has noticeably improved the!
reliability of starting the Wallas electrically controlled paraffin cooker/heater.!
The least satisfactory aspect of this boat is the effort required to raise and!
lower the keel. This entails inserting a handle into the tabernacle at the base of the!
mast and giving it 300 turns! However, when down this 23ft boats draught is 5ft.!
The bottom of the keel terminates in a very large lump of cast iron, so its effect is!
quite powerful. With keel up, the draught is 2ft 6in and she is stable and can be!
sailed in winds up to about force 3 according to the owners manual.!
Next year I will be half way through my ninth decade, so it will probably be!
prudent to sell Nolan VII later in the season and pursue one of my other hobbies,
building and running 5in gauge railway locomotives! ! ! !

Roy Procter!
October 2014.