January was wet and windy, and February was cold. At the start of March I had a cold, so the season started mid March with a three day trip to Chichester Harbour and back. I didn't expect this to be my main trip of the season!
Perhaps the best sail of the year was on the 12th May coming back from Hurst Spit under jib and mizzen. With the wind on the quarter and the help of the flood tide, the GPS was regularly peaking over 8 kts on the swells and once reached 9.5 kts. The winds measured at the Bramble Met Station averaged force 6 with gusts touching force 7. Above all it was a generally sunny day! Unfortunately from mid-May to the start of June I was unable to sail while the wound from a minor operation on my neck was healing... pulling on ropes wound have been likely to open it up.
Then June started with a force 9 gale and continued unsettled. Seatern gained modifications to the foredeck hatches, new binoculars and box, new jib sheets with 2:1 purchase, and a mizzen furling system. However she only sailed 50 miles all month! At the end of the month I got the trailer converted to braked by taking it back to CLH trailers in West Wales.
The start of July was more promising with some hot weather. On the 10th I sailed almost to Hengistbury Head - the furthest west yet. Unfortunately on the 23rd, returning from Binstead, I let Seatern get blown into the jetty and damaged the stem head. Seatern was already scheduled to go to Gwbert in August to have the paint blistering fixed under warrantee, so the trip was brought forward. Seatern was lifted out at Kemps at the end of July.
Towing Seatern to West Wales and back was my major adventure of the year. I've got little experience of towing anything let alone something as large and precious (to me) as Seatern. I practiced backing the empty trailer in the Asda car park early on Sunday mornings! Almost everything about the towing operation was new to me but Seatern got there OK and came back OK three weeks later as a "Swallow Yacht"! In the end the hull was completely repainted and the coppercoat antifouling was extended higher to reach the lower chine and to curve up towards the stern. That, and the quality of the paintwork is very much better.
I'd hurried to get Seatern back before the end of August but really needn't have done so. It seemed what little summer weather there had been was now departed. I managed one or two short sails and one longer trip towards Lymington in October. November and December were almost continually windy, and often wet too. However at least I had a new distraction. Following the Boat Show I'd joined the National Coastwatch Institution so spent some of my time at the top of Calshot Tower training to be a Watch Keeper.