Spring may not be with us quite yet, but down at Hamble Quay things are definitely warming up. People were out walking and enjoying what was a fine day, the cafe was crowded and the local Foxer fleet were out in force for their Sunday morning race.
In fairness the Foxer fleet from Hamble River Sailing Club sail all year round and can be seen even in the depths of winter, but seeing them out in force from the busy town quay suggested that the new season is really getting going.
Hamble is home to some 3500 boats which occupy the marinas and river moorings and make it the most crowded of all the Solent rivers.
But venture above Bursledon Bridge for half a mile and things are very different indeed. Upstream from the last of the moorings and the country park, it's easy to imagine the river as it was 200 years ago with oak trees growing along the banks.
On a clear winters day, with the tide making, you can have the place completely to your self - brilliant!
A Mini Transat yacht isn't the obvious choice for a trailer sailor, the basic dimensions 6.5meter LOA and 3 meter Beam mean that while they are not too long, they exceed the maximum towing width certainly fro the UK and presumably for the rest of Europe.
This canting trailer appears to get around the width problem and of course the 2 meter bulb keel needs to be removed, but where there's a will there's a way.
A hundred years ago in the run up to World War One, the creeks and villages of the Solent would have been alive with small fishing boats. These days it's nice to see a few small commercial fishing boats still working. Below this Portsmouth registered boat is pulled up on the foreshore at Emsworth.
Below Jo a Southampton registered boat is well turned out seen here on a mooring down by Hamble quay.I don't know what these boats fish for but it's nice to see that our local fishery is looking to be economically workable even at a small level.
As the Bursledon Blog approaches it's second year I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with it. On the basis of comments and clicks there are quite a few people who continue to read and hopefully enjoy my meandering observations, plus I’m still enjoying writing local about our local experiences.
This idea to try and do something more came out of my November post 1001 Boats to see before you die. Several of my fellow bloggers suggested that we should compile such a list (see the comments), from that idea comes the 1001 Boats Blog.
The idea is very simple, let's post images and information on a 1001 boats and while we're at it to raise a little money for charity.
1001 Boats which inspire, boats which fascinate, boats which captured the imagination of a small boy, boats which carry grown men to adventure, boats which are too important to be forgotten, boats which are beautiful, boats which are significant.
Perhaps not 1001 Boats which you really need to “see before you die" but your favourite boats, boats which for whatever reason are important to you.
They can be boats you have built, boats you have sailed, or boats which you just plain admire.
The aim is to have an interesting and extensive blog full of boats which people can enjoy.
Visitors will be invited to donate directly to two nominated charities.
So here’s the pitch please go over to 1001 Boats and become a follower, please email me and with pictures and stories, please tell your friends.
To kick off 1001 Boats I’ve chosen Blue Clipper a Van de Stadt designed Legend 34, built in 1970 by Tylers a famous UK yard.
But why not pop over to 1001 Boats and see the full details.
People will be thinking that I have a thing about winter, but this was a quite spectacular a bright sunny morning, clear skies and not a soul around. On the corner of Rope Walk is the Royal Southern YC which would normally be busy with yacht crews coming and going.
The public slipway was oddly silent and still with no sign of any activity, shame that it's never like that in the summer when I want to launch.
Apart from a couple of swans the village was almost deserted at 9.00am on recent a Sunday morning, it has to be said that the fine morning was a surprise after what seems to have been such a cold and grey winter, perhaps that was why it was so quiet, whatever the reason it was nice to have the place to our selves.
I didn't know much about this lovely ketch which we first saw on the river a few weeks ago down at the Royal Southern YC pontoon in Hamble, at the time I didn't have my camera with me, so it was a nice surprise to see her on what I guess is a permanent mooring up in Swanwick pool by the Jolly Sailor.
She's classic looking with a canoe stern, length on deck I estimated about 43 or 45 feet. That pilot house looks like a great place to be, offering good visibility together with a safe and cosy spot for the watch keeper.
Her name is Maybird of Falmouth and a quick google revealed that she was was designed by Fred Shepherd and his assistant at the time Fred Parker and built at Tyrrell's yard in Arklow.
Chichester Harbour has been important since Roman times and even further back with evidence of both Neolithic and Iron Age settlements. The natural harbour has been a port and fishery over the centuries as well as a base for smugglers of some notoriety during the 18th Century.
Fortunately not heavily developed, the harbour has some curious man made additions such as this causeway leading away from the tide mill at Emsworth. It's clear from the remaining wooden stakes that some form of structure or walkway existed during the past 100 years or maybe more recently.
The causeway leads out half a mile of so across the harbour at low water, clearly walking needs to be done with some caution to avoid being caught out on a rising tide.