Dinghy Round the Isle Of Wight

sladonians

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Morning all,

So I have a bit of a newbie question. I have been dinghy sailing on inshore waters for some time and would consider myself competent, and want to move on to estuaries and coastal sailing. Nothing extreme, well not yet.

So the three main boats I have are:

Potter WW 14, gunter rigged with 2.5hp Honda 4 stroke o/b
MK2 GRP Wayfarer with the same 2.5 Honda o/b
1974 gunter rigged Mirror with a seagull o/b (or could use the Honda)

Whichever I chose would have manual and electronic portable bailers, VHF, EPRIB, flares, oars, anchor, reefing, topping lift / jacks, o/b, paper charts and electronic chartplotter, hh GPS unit with backup power, radar reflectors, portable transom ladder, waterproof mobile phone, masthead floats etc. Would be myself and my 21 year old son as crew, both wearing lifejackets not bouyancy aids, and most likely drysuits. Plenty of fresh drinking water / snacks etc

This year I want to circumnavigate the IOW sponsored for Prostate Cancer, understanding issues with the hurst races and necessary offing sometimes required round the Needles and ST Catherines Point. Grew up around the Solent so know the area well. So my questions are this:

1) of the three boats above, which would be the best suggested choice? I would prefer to use the WW Potter as it would also serve as a kind of pilgrimage for the boat. But I'm open to suggestions and or experiences as I've seen it done in all three.

2) what am I missing from the above list of equipment / kit?

3) If done in the summer in good weather would it be possible in a single, albeit long, day or should I plan for 2 days? If 2, where would be the best overnight spot?

4) I'm guessing the best approach is counter clockwise?

5) what would be the suggested launch / starting - finish point?

6) any other hints, tips and experiences from those that have completed this already, such as good training grounds on the coast to prepare for this.

Appreciated in advance.
 

Medway Matt

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Hi

The Wayfarer would be ideal for this as they're fairly fast,, stable, handle well and are capacious. Just make sure you have enough enough buoyancy in the boat to to keep the top of the centreboard case above water after a capsize/swamping with all your kit and crew on board, otherwise you'll never be able to bail it out. With this in mind, take two buckets. (sorry if i'm teaching you to suck eggs here)

Buoyancy aids would almost certainly be better than life-jackets as they'll allow you freedom of movement that an LJ won't if it deploys, most LJs have the disadvantage of being all or nothing. If you're intending to use the foam with manual inflation type LJ then they should be fine.

Cheers
Matt
 

FairweatherDave

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Sorry to be a damp squib. Your opening lines say that you have yet to move on to estuaries and coastal sailing. I think you need to build more experience. The Isle of Wight is at the extreme end for dinghy cruising, certainly do-able, but to do it safely you need more open sea experience. That said I would vote for the Wayfarer and practice your capsize drill, including inversion. I know someone who has done it in a Mirror but not my idea of fun. The successful accounts I have read have gone counter clockwise, launching early from Calshot. But Lymington or camping aboard at Keyhaven......(or on the Island, Newtown creek or Yarmouth). There is a harbour somewhere along the South East corner Ventnor? which is a possibility (maybe not) for an overnight, otherwise Bembridge is great. Then after that you should be fine. But build your experience.
 

DJE

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I did it with the Wayfarer Class Association about 25 years ago starting and finishing from Calshot. 9 hours in perfect conditions and it is still the fastest I have ever been round in any boat. But 12 hours and more is not uncommon. I believe they still do this as an annual event but these days they all have GPS and VHF radios. Direction depends entirely on the tide - that day we left 3 or 4 hours before HW Portsmouth and went clockwise getting to Bembridge just as the tide turned west. So one day is feasible but if you want to do it in two then starting at Stokes Bay and stopping overnight at Yarmouth is feasible as is starting at Lymington and overnighting at Bembridge.

Your list looks pretty comprehensive but we had self-heating tinned food which was most welcome after six or seven hours at sea. We wore decent foul weather gear and buoyancy aids because they were more comfortable and less expensive than drysuits in those days. I expect things have changed now.

If you capsize a Wayfarer in rough water then you are in serious trouble - especially if the boat is heavily loaded. They are difficult to right and difficult to bail once you have righted them.

I do know somebody who did it in a Laser but he had a RIB with him all the way. Nothing like that in my day!
 

seumask

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in order of preference Wayfarer, Potter , Mirror. You could get round in all of them with the limiting factor being the sea state. Atthe risk of stating the obvious if there is more than a F3-4 Westerly breeze on a west going tide you'll not want to be near Hurst narrows or the Needles unless you are top notch at recovering from a possible capsise! Posted here a few years ago was a disaster in a wayfarer that capsised in the region attempting a IOW circumnavigation, sorry cant find a link.
 
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Sounds a fun project!
Don't let people put you off with their own fears and discouragement, ( that will happen on this forum whether you are talking about rowing across the Serpentine, or windsurfing through the North Passage)
it seems like you have put plenty of thought into it already. Maybe do a VHF course?
I am not an experienced dinghy cruiser,so I wonder, how you plan to visit the 'heads' (bucket?)for a No.2 on a boisterous dinghy?

Training-wise, I would have thought that physical endurance was key, so more longer trips in rougher seas perhaps?
 
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lw395

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I think the last people to famously make fools of themselves doing this were in a Wayfarer.
The biggest problem was overloading the boat with outboards, excess crew and spurious safety equipment.

The main thing will be picking your day, there is quite a fine line between enough wind to make adequate progress and a difficult sea state.

These sound like quite old boats, you need to be absolutely sure that nothing will break.
It might be a good idea to have someone on the island tracking you and updating you with weather forecasts? That might be more use than EPIRBs etc.
I'd suggest putting some hours in, in some breeze, in the Lymington-Hurst-Needles area before committing.
 

Biggles Wader

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Its perfectly doable in a wayfarer but you just need to get the weather right. Do your homework and have several plan B options if there are problems and go and do it.
 

FulmarJeddo

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Sounds a fun project!
I am not an experienced dinghy cruiser,so I wonder, how you plan to visit the 'heads' (bucket?)for a No.2 on a boisterous dinghy?

When I first read that you plan to where dry suits, a very similar thought went through my mind. Dry suits aren't the easiest things to get in and out off at the best of times, let alone in a dinghy whilst sailing. The length of time you will be at sea is an awfully long time to be trapped in a dry suit.
 

FairweatherDave

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I think I the process of building experience you determine what clothing to wear. If in a dry suit get a comfort zip put in.
I have managed to get soaked through very easily in our Wayfarer, the day seemed pleasant enough to start with:), and that was just a short sail. Planning a 12 hour sail I know you will need good cushions too....
Not saying I am incontinent or suffer from piles....:)
 
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Malabarista

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When I first read that you plan to where dry suits, a very similar thought went through my mind. Dry suits aren't the easiest things to get in and out off at the best of times, let alone in a dinghy whilst sailing. The length of time you will be at sea is an awfully long time to be trapped in a dry suit.

We did Barmouth to Wicklow and Barmouth to IOW in Wayfarer …and the answer is …if you can bear it …in your drysuit and live with it. I discovered that it’s impossible to swim and shit at the same time !
 

scruff

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As per the above, I'd use the wayfarer - the mirror would take 4 days to get round!

Get yourself over to the dinghy cruising association - they have a forum online but their facebook page is more active. You will get loads of helpful advice there from folk that do this sorta thing (and more!) on a regular basis.
 

prv

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I wonder, how you plan to visit the 'heads' (bucket?)for a No.2 on a boisterous dinghy?

Is this an old man thing? ;)

Surely, dodgy curries the night before excepted, one simply visits the lavatory in the morning and is then set up for the day. They're not planning a Frank Dye week-long voyage here.

For a pee, either a "comfort zip" in a drysuit, as suggested, or wear ordinary oilies. I can see the advantages of a good sailing drysuit but I'm not sure it's necessary in a Wayfarer.

Pete
 
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johnalison

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Is this an old man thing? ;)

Surely, dodgy curries the night before excepted, one simply visits the lavatory in the morning and is then set up for the day. They're not planning a Frank Dye week-long voyage here.

For a pee, either a "comfort zip" in a drysuit, as suggested, or wear ordinary oilies. I can see the advantages of a good sailing drysuit but I'm not sure it's necessary in a Wayfarer.

Pete
Any dinghy with a self-bailer is fully equipped for peeing.
 

langstonelayabout

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I did this in a Wayfarer about 6 years ago with the annual outing of the Wayfarer class association. Lovely day out, we had anything from force 2 to force 5 and being part of the annual trip we had the tides right (leave Calshot at 4th hour of the ebb tide).

I wore my jeans, sweatshirt and waterproofs with a borrowed buoyancy aid. We took unnecessary things like an outboard and also a cushion but remember to take the right foods and plenty to drink.

Most of all, have a great day!

Oh, search YouTube for ‘chreselen wayfarer’ and You’ll see the video that my helm’s son made.
 

FairweatherDave

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Well I'm jealous. Nice video! That is how I would hope to do it. But your description makes light of the amount of experience and preparation the UKWA have doing the trip. From their guidance our OP would not be able to join their cruise yet.
 
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