Monday, 24 September 2018

Poor becoming Good

About three hours before this picture was taken there was low grey cloud, rain and drizzle as storm Bronagh (our second storm of the season) passed through.

Winds were still fresh but a few boats had ventured out.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Ups and downs of sailing

It was probably a nice down wind sail from Poole or Christchurch, but then just as it's time to go home the wind gets up and the way home is bashing across Christchurch bay.

For all that they didn't look too uncomfortable heading out past Hurst.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Lord Portal

For a Sunday meander and with winds gusting up to about 20 knots, Joseph and I decided to sail the dinghy up river where things were not quite so brisk. We stopped off at a midstream pontoon to eat our picnic lunch where this classic Nicholson 55 is moored.

The Nic 55's were built in small numbers (around 26) from 1970, the first was built as Lutine for the Lloyds  of London YC. The Joint Services Association (Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force) owned 7  which were sailed around the world primarily by service men and women during adventurous training events, the boats being ideal for a large and tough crew.

I recall they were sold off probably 15 or so years ago.

Lord Portal has apparently circumnavigated the world 3 times, not sure if she was a JSA yacht but seems likely.

That cockpit and open dog house is fantastic, you can imagine watch keeping, safe and sheltered with a cup of tea on a cold night.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Water spirits?

Twenty years ago I took a picture of Erica when we visited  the falls near Roseau on the island of  Dominica, she's the one in the middle with the good tan.

This summer not a waterfall but the source of a small river, the Saint-Pons as is bursts forth from the rock cliffs. It was clear and fresh, but very cold. Despite that we all managed a paddle around to cool down.

 Joseph was typically first in last out, maybe we've all got the gene that attracts us to water?

Monday, 10 September 2018

Signs of Autumn

All the signs that the summer is over and that autumn is coming on are starting to show, we picked a huge crop of blackberries, half of which with some of grandma and granddad's apples went into making 16 jars of jam, the rest are in the freezer waiting to be made into pie fillings. The horse chestnut trees are already shedding their leaves and these fungi made an appearance over night.

No idea what they are or if they are edible or not, but they look really nice.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Saturday Sailing

It was a busy Saturday, I got up early to finish some foundations for a new garden wall, then having committed to safety boat duties I missed sailing in Bursledon regatta, but managed to watch the start and get some pictures of the stage. The Hamble food festival was in full swing by the time we got to the sailing club, so after setting up the boats and getting the kids afloat it was nice to get out on the water and away from the crowds.

With the wind gusting  SE15/16 knots and a fleet of mixed experience we decided to head up river.

After a short pause for a few laps around the buoys at "shipwreck cove" we pressed on upriver. There were a few capsizes, one youngster literally just fell off the boat, but was quickly recovered by his companion. There was a bit of a nasty moment when one of the youngsters got a stray fishing hook caught in his hand. But all in all it was an adventure sail and a really good day out on the water.

Does it get much better than this?

Monday, 3 September 2018

Bursledon Regatta Down Under

The theme of this year's Bursledon Regatta was Down Under so we were expecting kangaroos, shrimps on the barbie and maybe a guest appearance from Crocodile Dundee.

The Elephant boatyard had as usual gone to town with both the Sydney Harbour bridge and the famous opera house built along the pontoon backdrop.

I popped down early on Saturday morning to get some pictures before the crowds arrived, some of the decorated dinghies were looking spectacular.

Without doubt the fastest entry Australia 2 built from what looks like a converted 12m Sharpie dinghy, in the background the Whitsunday Islands come to Bursledon in the shape of a converted Opti complete with palm tree.

The morning dinghy racing was well attended, due to a diary malfunction I'd already agreed to safety boat duties at Hamble River SC so I could only watch from the shore.

A Laser Stratos mixing it up with a Wayfarer, the results are not up yet but it will be interesting to see how they got on, clearly I'm rooting for the Stratos.

As far as I can tell this was the only Hamble Star entry, great to see this local classic out on the water.

After the start the fleet drag racing down towards Mercury, the race goes down the wooded river to Warsash and back, given there are some 3500 boats moored on the river with plenty moving around on a busy Saturday there are plenty of challenges.

The evening fireworks and music were spectacular, as always a big thank you to the committee and everyone involved.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Traditional Marseille fishing boats

There were a lot of these boats, some still actively fishing and other restored as pleasure craft.

While very distinctive double ended like some of the traditional Scottish craft, the hull form also has similar characteristics to our local Itchen Ferry with the wide beam, tight turn of the bilge and flat garboards.

The full length flush decks presumably made things relatively safe if they were caught out in one of the regions viscous squalls.

Many have been converted to pleasure craft, some perhaps less sympathetic than others, but it looks like a great downtown weekend pad.

One of the aforementioned local squalls, fortunately it had blown through by the time we finished lunch.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Club Nautique

The old port in downtown Marseille has been converted into a massive marina, which in turn has been subdivided to accommodate various clubs and societies.

Each club has a main pontoon and several smaller mooring pontoons running off. This one was very practical with a fully equipped open air workshop.

This club which was mostly classic local fishing boats even had their own crane and haul out facilities.

Nice to see practical marina facilities very much in contrast to so many of our local marinas.

Friday, 24 August 2018

Marseilles Classics

There were a few classics down in the vieux port in Marseille, this one reminds me of a Morcambe  Bay Prawner which was based at the Elephant boatyard for many years, but I can't for the life of me remember the name.

Mooring stern to Med fashion means it's easy to get  a close up view of the cockpit, this looks to be built for offshore sailing with a very small foot well and scuppers on the transom, looks a little exposed and for readers of Sailing Anarchy forum the "alarming and dangerous offset companionway".

Sweet lines, lovely counter stern with a clear racing heritage.

Very tempting, Mrs BB had to drag me away from what looks like it might be an Alden yawl.

Probably more practical known as a peche promenade, great dayboat, safe deep cockpit ideal for sailing around to the local rocky coves for a picnic.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Evening Run

It's nice to be away but it's also nice to be back after a long day travelling, a 2 hour flight takes up 9 hours with travel to and from airports, checking in, security, delays.  So I caught the last of the sun for a run down the river.

First up was this 8 meter with James Bond esq graphics hauled out and looking immaculate.

The sun was setting over Bursledon pool and this Hunter Liberty which has appeared while we were away.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Yacht Tender

I've been thinking about yacht tenders recently, not that we need one with a couple of inflatables tucked away in the garage and the 8 foot D4 pram dinghy that I built nearly 20 years ago still in fine shape stored under a cover.

I know you can sail an inflatable but not sure why you would. Years age I bought a Tinker Tramp rig and fitted it to our D4 pram dinghy "Poppy", even sitting on the floor which was the only possible position and resulted in a very wet bum, it was horribly uncomfortable and no fun to sail.

On balance either of the 2.5M meter inflatables work pretty well with our 3.3HP and fold away for storage, if we were going cruising again I think a lightweight, 12 feet hard dinghy that can row, motor or possibly sail is about optimal and depending on deck space a nesting dinghy could be the way to go. Nice example here from Chris Morejohn

Friday, 17 August 2018

Mountains and Boats

Despite the altitude where we were staying, with the sea so close it was inevitable that I'd take the opportunity to peruse some local boats.

Down in the Vieux Port in Marseilles there were more than a few of these traditional fishing craft some still working and some clearly restored and used as pleasure craft.

The harbour authorities have made lots of moorings available for small craft, there were probably 100's of boats between 18 and 25 feet. Nice to see that the area isn't taken over exclusively by super yachts and super paying owners. If there is an observant reader you might notice and recognise the little black hull with the white mast set forward as a Nigel Irens designed Romilly.

This was a really cute adaptation of a traditional local boat.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

In the mountains again

I've said before that the best place for sailors away from the sea is in the mountains, even better if those mountains are close to the sea.

This summer finds us in the Massif de la Sainte Baume the low mountains to the east of Marseilles which rise to about 1100 meters and plunge into the Mediterranean between Cassis , Le Ciotat and Toulon, forming the famous Calanques, sort of fjords with sunshine.

The view here, from what I think is called the Barre du Pin de Simon or it might have been Roque Forcade, the navigations apps on our phones had long given up along the D2, a wild and winding road between Gemenos and Plan d'Aupes Sainte Baume.

Above the view from the Grotto of Sainte Baume where the monks established a chapel in a large cave in a vertical cliff face high above the surrounding woods and still hold Mass. According to the religious chronology the site was visited by Mary Magdalen in AD47, today it remains a place of tranquility and spirituality.

Friday, 10 August 2018

School Projects

The school always sets "family project homework" at the end of school year, as if we parents don't have enough to do. This year it was make a model of the Titanic which the children have been studying.

Joseph and I came up with an animated diorama, the waves move back and forth and the iceberg wobbles menacingly towards the Titanic, which then sinks.

All in all I though it was pretty good.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Fowey River Class

Th Fowey River class dinghy is based on a 15 foot knockabout dinghy, plans were published in Yachting World to a design by Reg Freeman and gradually a fleet was established in Fowey during the 1950s.

Interest in the design during the 1990's  led to the building of new boats by local boatbuilders including Marcus Lewis who has launched the newest boats numbers 63 and 64 to the fleet.

Don't know. the history behind the colourful sails but they look so good especially lit by the late afternoon sun during the summer evening races.

Friday, 3 August 2018

Dukes of Hamble

Someone has a sense of humour.

Imagine Uncle Jessie, Beau, Luke and Daisy being chased around the Solent by Boss Hogg.