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Mike Fox

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Everything posted by Mike Fox

  1. Sad news from Weymouth

    The boat was a fin-keeled fibreglass Westerly GK29, 29' long, around 3-4 tons in weight. They've been around since the 70s. A yacht like that should be stored ashore resting on it's keel in an adjustable steel cradle giving secure support under and around the hull to stop movement. Additional props would be needed bow and stern to keep it absolutely secure, and braced like that, it should be able to survive winds of 100 mph plus, even with the mast up, and genoa furled, as in this case. The fact the owner was present when it moved suggests he was working on the boat, perhaps antifouling, and may have accidentally or deliberately moved one of the supports (something that is banned in most boatyards). I'm sure an investigation will show if it's a failure of the supporting cradle, or the owner's activities that caused the tragedy. While my heart goes out to the deceased and family at this time, for club members working on boats still, please DON'T move any supports for maintenance. Leave it to the professionals, or wait until launching time for a last minute touch-up of the "patches".
  2. Bass Regs 2018 - C&R

    France has had a very active lure angling culture for bass for many years. The range of soft plastics, plugs, and metal lures in every tackle shop over there is truly staggering (as are some of the prices!). The French bass anglers I've met are verging on fanatical, and artificials are at the heart of their angling, from boat as well as shore. There's a chance that British anglers will go the same way - if supported by the more adventurous tackle shops, and if the bass stocks warrant the investment by individual anglers. Gone are the days of Redgills or nothing.
  3. First Swallow

    I saw my first swallow of Spring today. This might not be monumental news, but it's one of my personal signs that the mackerel and bream aren't too far off now... Roll on Summer! Mike
  4. Lazy old Tiddler

    Do they visit Cobbs?
  5. Removing antifoul

    Hi Steve, I've scraped 2 boats...and the weapon of choice is a 3/4 inch wood chisel, to be used just after going ashore, when the antifoul is all crumbly still. If you wait, it still works, but is much harder work. The technique to use is to make one long straight clean strip on one side of your chosen area, then using half the width of the chisel blade, take off new rows, so your cleaned area gets progressively wider. Make sure each strip is clean, and then there's no bumps to make the chisel jump. Once the whole required area is clean, thinners and rags will remove the rest. I'd then cut the hole needed, then use an orbital sander to key the gel coat, ready for primer. Typically, you'll remove an area slightly larger than the transducer you're fitting, and make good with underwater epoxy and suitable sealants. The bare gel will need priming, before applying antifoul to the hull again. There's some specialist antifouls out there now specially for transducers, but they come in small pots and are incredibly expensive. Mike
  6. Madness is out

    We'll be ashore in a couple of weeks. I have last year's new Bowthruster instalation to check out, blades to remove and antifoul, anodes to check, etc. We also fitted a galvanic isolator last year, which should have stopped any electrical "leakage" and stopped eating my anodes so fast. Results will be interesting. When we bought the boat (gosh, nearly 2 years ago), the top-loading cool box had cooling plates that didn't work. Following a recent survey, I know I have a blockage and all of this needs to be ripped out, and replaced, else it will remain an inert cool box. I'm looking at a complete Isotherm system that's keel-cooled, as a long-term best fix. Have one more project ashore, more details to follow, when I have more clarity. Otherwise, scrubbing bottoms, polishing, greasing my sea cocks (ooeerr Rob) and fixing a few gel coat "dings" the previous owner left me.
  7. Reason to wear a lifejacket

    Horrifying.... https://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/906397/Viral-video-watch-fishermen-Oregon-boat-crash-save-life Mike
  8. Overhead safety harness rail

    I have strong webbing tapes secured to strong points on both side decks. My lifejacket has an integral harness, and I use a safety line to clip onto the webbing line when leaving the safety of the cockpit in boisterous conditions and moving forwards. The clip on the lifeline slides along smoothly, and doesn't restrict my movement. I have a diesel engine, use autopilot a lot, and have no kill cord. If I was out solo with this arrangement, there is a risk I'd be dragged along until something (or someone) stopped the boat, but I'd still be attached to the boat. If I was with crew, I'd be spotted as missing, and I'd be attached to the vessel for the first stage of MOB recovery. I consider it safer than watching the vessel disappear without me.
  9. Cod Competition - Sunday 19th

    Well done Stuie, and Kev for putting him on the fish!
  10. Cod Competition - Sunday 19th

    I'm available to help crew, contribute to fuel etc. Am keen to defend my title from last year! Mike
  11. West Country adventure

    Devastating to hear how your mako fishing was wrecked by the arrival of so much in the way of by-catch. Keep at it, and am sure you'll get one soon! Mike
  12. Making stuff from stainless steel

    Think Stainless Steve is Lymington based, and he can probably knock it up for you at a sensible price..... Else your'e looking at high speed drills, grinders, and specialist welding gear....
  13. November Cod Comp.

    Charlie, I'm looking for a boat for the cod comp to join as crew....I think mine will be too restrictive. Cheers, Mike
  14. Ex-hurricane Ophelia

    Well, it's due to hit tomorrow. Glad we're not under the main track of it. See here for the forecast for Fastnet: Wind Cyclonic, mainly south or southwest, 5 to 7, increasing severe gale 9 to violent storm 11 later, occasionally hurricane force 12 (sustained winds of 64 knots or more) Sea state Moderate or rough, becoming high or very high later, occasionally phenomenal (wave height more than 14m) Weather Fair then rain. Visibility Good becoming poor. words in brackets are mine...
  15. Ex-hurricane Ophelia

    I have no desire to break this summer's speed record of 15.5 knots over the ground. Admittedly that was with 10 knots of tide, off Cap de la Hague, in the Alderney Race. It's just incredible to think some people have survived those conditions in boats...
  16. 48 Hour Comp Weather Watch

    Thanks Alun
  17. 48 Hour Comp Weather Watch

    I was undecided about the 48 hour comp, but picked up some bait today, and might be out inshore tomorrow. Anyone have any recent advice as to what's in, and worth going for? Mackerel? Flatties? Bream? Pollack? any early Whiting?
  18. Personal MOB Alarm via AIS

    We have these fitted to our life jackets. A phenomenal bit of kit, that means you should be able to get back to the MOB even in significant waves, fog or darkness.
  19. Birthday greetings Allan

    A scary number Allan, hope you have a fabulous day. Mike
  20. Fuelling issue..

    On our way back from the Isle of Wight last week, the engine died, shortly after increasing the revs. Feisty fortunately has twin tanks, and separate filters, so I moved from Tank 2 to Tank 1, bled a little air from the fuel line, and the engine fired again quickly. It was a good job we were a few miles offshore in open water, and it was calm. Close quarters or a rough day it might have been a bit dodgy. Back on the pontoon, I discovered jubilee clips that weren't done up fully, and one fuel pipe that wasn't properly aligned, corrected it all, and when I tested the boat while lashed to the pontoon, I could pull high revs under load, with no fuel issues on Tank 2. Took friends out for a day trip yesterday, and going down through the harbour, the engine revs died again, but this time I popped it into neutral, and kept it running. While running, I switched back to Tank 1, and carried on with the day trip with no problems, but I was annoyed and needed to find why. Spent a little time this morning stripping apart the fuel filter from Tank 2, checked all of the seals and seating positions carefully, and tried to work out what had happened. I found a large bit of grit between the glass bowl and it's associated seal, and I'm pretty sure it would have lifted the seal enough to pull in a little air while under load. Nothing else seemed to be wrong. I reassembled with a new filter, and new seals, taking great care all surfaces were clean, then used the lift pump to bleed the air from the system. It took a long time, but finally I got clean air-free diesel. Again, I ran the engine in gear at full load in the marina, and couldn't cause any hiccups. Will need yet another sea trial to prove it, so will try to get out this weekend, and wait until I'm in open waters before trying to induce a failure. I really need to trust this engine in all conditions! Mike PS Have now bought 4 more primary filters, so could potentially do two more changes while out and about if needed PPS If anyone has a diesel engine and can't change a filter at sea, and bleed the air out, can I recommend getting training, and trying it out in the security of a marina? It's not a fun thing to have to do, but it could make a real difference if it's ever really needed!
  21. Following the AGM comments about boat safety, I checked through the various posts on here to find a list of the local danger spots, but couldn't see anything, so thought it might be an idea to start a thread off. Have fished this stretch of coast for 18 years, and in good weather, I reckon most of it is pretty safe, but have been out in some "interesting" conditions in that time, and what might be a "mark" in good weather can then become somewhere to avoid. Moving East to West: Needles: the Bridge at the seaward end of the Needles channel can have huge seas in a SW6 or above, especially on an ebb tide. The water shelves sharply there, and big swells coming in can rear up alarmingly. A Yarmouth lifeboatman told me they go out there to practice and take new crew when it's blowing, because it has the biggest waves in the area. If blowing hard, it's safer to use the North Channel back into the Solent instead. Shingles Bank: next to the Needles Channel. Dries extensively at times. There used to be fun cricket matches played here at low spring tides so you can imagine the drying area. Christchurch entrance: drying sand bank just offshore, strong ebb tide, a moving channel, and missing channel markers at times. While I've used the entrance over the years, I know enough to treat this one with respect in good weather, and I lack the experience here, so would try to avoid it in moderate to strong onshore winds. A fair bit on other posts, suggesting I'm not alone in treating this with caution. Christchurch Ledge: pot markers through the year, often towed under water in strong tides making them almost invisible until upon them. Many boats have caught one round their props, and found themselves stern on to the tide and waves (happened to a friend of mine). In spring ebb tides especially, overfalls make it tricky for small boats. Spring ebb and SW wind of 4-5 makes this get quite steep, and very confused - making it harder to see the pot markers. Have come over the end of it in SW7 on an ebb, and there is a proper tidal race, with typical toppling "dancing pyramid" waves. Beerpan Rocks: just out from the small jetty at Hengistbury Head (see chart for details). Exposed at lowest spring tides. Can chew up props and keel bands (or worse) on ordinary low tides. Have heard of several boats being wrecked there. Maybe the Christchurch specialists could add more here! Hook Sands: shifting sandbank, main navigational markers move most years to show deeper channels inshore of it. Many small boats ignore the channels, but this can and does dry at low Springs. Breaking waves over it in Southerly swell. Many boats lost on it over the years, rescue very difficult because of shallow depths and deep water all around (have watched once). Swash Channel, Hook Sands side (marked by green buoys): large "standing" waves in a southerly blow on an ebb tide. Unbelievable unless you have seen them yourself, and definitely worth avoiding (stick to the middle of main channel) in bad conditions when dashing back. Biggest I've seen have been over 8', but have been told of larger. Swash Channel Training Bank (marked by red stakes): deliberately laid to force the tide to scour out the main channel. Covers at high tide, and looks safe. Don't make the mistake of going between the stakes. Many boats have, and get holed, never mind the prop. Old Harry: small ledge running out from the cliffs towards the Needles. Usually pot markers on it, that can be towed under in the biggest tides. Slight overfalls in fishable conditions, but if blowing hard these can stand up to form a small tidal race. Going a hundred yards or so further out keeps you outside of the race. Peveril Ledge: just out from Swanage, end marked by a large buoy normally. Can generate standing waves and downstream race in big tides and strong onshore winds. Fished it at slack in a commercial boat once, and saw weed clearly under the boat - haven't been back. Anvil Point to St.Aldheims Head: heavy overfalls all the way through in fresh-strong S-SW winds, especially on a spring ebb. Have battled through this against tide on several occasions, finding it unpleasant going, and used to be surprised because this isn't charted. Need to be a few miles off for it to calm down. St. Aldheims: bottom shelves upwards steeply, and an offshore current meets the coastal current as well. I hate the tidal race here with a passion. Have been told it can be as bad as the Portland Race in bad conditions and can believe it. The race is usually on and downstream of the ledge proper. Large overfalls sometimes seen even in good weather, and in strong winds I've seen some very heavy overfalls. Have been in the middle of it in a SW6 when the tide changed and don't fancy anything more. Small inshore passage inside it close to the cliffs - can vanish in onshore winds. Portland Bill: well known tidal race off the Bill (position moves with the changes in tide - see tidal atlas for details). Extends much further out than the charted position in strong winds and tides. Last time I came round it, I was 5-6 miles off in a SW6 coming back from Brixham, and I remember wishing I had given it a bit more offing due to the size and unpredictable nature of the overfalls. Watch out for standing waves on the edge of the race. Can have very steep sides. Think that's it for now. Am sure there are more, and other viewpoints! Mike
  22. AIS

    Ever considered a mast and sails, Martin?
  23. AIS

    Martin, I just have the one arial. The other was 15 years old and "noisy", greenham tested and recommended replacing it.
  24. AIS

    Greenham Regis installed Digital Yacht Class B (transmit/receive) for us, new arial, with a splitter. We have it interfaced with a Garmin plotter, so can see AIS targets on that, overlayed on charts (a bit like Radar). Can check each vessel's info, and see if there's a collision risk. We show up on other AIS screens, the same size as a tanker. We also have AIS mob transponders on life jackets, linked to the Garmin to show mob position, and Dsc radio alert via mmsi if activated. The kit has behaved properly, no issues. I was glad they did the installation, all a bit fiddly. Mike