Monday, 1 June 2020

West country Schooners

From the archives, a couple of schooners approaching the Fowey entrance last November on a calm sea.


Sails furled on the approach and a boat to guide them in.


At rest in the settled anchorage.


Friday, 29 May 2020

Love me tender

For anyone who has a yacht or motorboat on a mooring getting back and forth from land is always a subject for debate and consideration. Clearly much will depend on land access to the water, distance out to the boat, crew numbers, safety and of course cost.


Above would be  my ideal, sturdy aluminum boat with a big-ish outboard, can't see from the photo but looks like a 10 or 15HP which will get there reasonably quickly. From what I've read these Scandinavian boats have a good reputation for sea keeping.


More often than not something like this is the tender of choice either  rowed or sporting a Seagull or other outboard well past it's sell by date. I'm being slightly unkind as this dinghy looks to be in good condition compared to many neglected examples I've seen.


Something slightly bigger but similar, the lines of this tender suggest an attractive and efficient boat. The nice high free board should make for a dry ride. It would come up well with some TCL but none the less seems to be giving good service.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Failed to Launch

With lock down rules relaxing, I took Friday off and drove the Wanderer dinghy , which has sat on the drive since we bought it in early March, over to Keyhaven where we have a space in the Hurst Castle SC dinghy park.


It was a fine day but with gusts hitting 35mph I didn't think it was ideal conditions for a first sail in a new to us boat, especially single handed.

Besides which rigging the boat and working through how best to raise the mast  and fit everything all took quite a  long time and was frankly a very enjoyable way to spend the morning.



A few club members and other interested parties came past and chatted from a suitable distance, including a couple who are in the market for a Wanderer.

It was also a nice opportunity to walk around the foreshore which is starting to come back to life.


Out in the open harbour it was pretty breezy with lots of white caps despite the short fetch across to the Hurst spit.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Leading lights

It's been been a few years since we've eyeballed our way into a river or harbour in the dark.


These days GPS, electronic charts and radar probably make it a lot easier but it's a really good skill to learn.




Monday, 18 May 2020

Camaret festival of sail

Camaret is a delightful port at the north western tip of the Crozon peninsular and while we were there back in the summer last year, Camaret had the double attraction of hosting a classic sail festival.


The arrival day didn't look too promising, we watched a few boats arriving in the drizzle and poor visibility while we were having a coffee in the comfort of a waterside cafe.


But on the big day, the rain and mist had lifted giving an fine if not especially sunny outlook for the assembled fleet.


The pontoons were open for visitors to inspect the boats at close quarters, all very relaxed and very sociable.


In the afternoon the fleet took the tide out into the bay for a parade of sail.


There was a good mix of  small and large boats with more than a few "voile aviron" sail and oar boats which are very popular in France.

Of course no festival was going to take place without arrangements for lunch, or an aperitif before the parade of sail.


Camaret was one of many summer festivals on and around on the Crozon peninsular, we didn't quite figure this one out but it looked interesting.


Saturday, 16 May 2020

Perfect

For the early risers yesterday was just about as perfect a morning as you can get.




Friday, 15 May 2020

Herb Dinghy overhaul

To say the herb dinghy was overgrown was something of an understatement, so unable to go out for yet another weekend and with some kindly donated reclaimed timber I set about a spruce up.


First up was to dig out all the old soil, thinking not so much herb dinghy as cat toilet. That done the day was getting rather hot, fortunately I was able to spend a pleasant couple of hours marking up and cutting the planks to length under the shade of the nearby oak tree.

The plan is to plant herbs and flowers in a collection of pots which will sit on the new raised wooded decking - over to Mrss BB for step 2.

And yes I do need to tidy up that bit of rubbing strake.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Hamble River re opens

Hamble river re opened today following the guidance of UK government that we can spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing and pursue outdoor sports.


The Hamble Harbour Authority announced that "dinghies, kayakers,  paddle boarders and other river user may use the River Hamble and adjacent waters for recreational purposes."


At just after 6.00AM there were a few presumably keen kayakers out on the water, which is the first time in eight weeks that it's been allowed. Nice to see also that the cars were parked to be socially distanced.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Quiet times

Southampton water viewed from Victoria park in Netley, as I've never seen it before or hopefully in the future, not a boat in sight.


The Red funnel ferry was still running a lone vessel in what is always a busy waterway. 


In the distance cruise ships and freighters in Southampton dock, presumably some are laid up.


The RAFYC under normal circumstances the club would have been dressed over for the VE day celebrations with a party in ful swing on the lawn.


Saturday, 9 May 2020

VE Day Views

Despite the lock down there was no shortage of local celebrations, below the high street in Hamble although unusually quiet on such a sunny weekend and despite the pubs being closed was "dressed overall".


Don't have a flagpole no problem, there was quite a street party going on down in Hungerford Bottom.

If you're  going to fly the Union Jack make sure it's the right way up, upside down is an old form of distress signal. Then again maybe it was a sign of these distressing times? 


A couple of local vetrans enjoying the sunshine.


We had are really nice celebration, afternoon tea with our neighbors, observing social distancing at all times despite home made cakes and scones being passed back and forth.


Mrs BB's  VE baking day,  including a terrific Victoria sponge, the quintessential English cake.


It was good to see so many people celebrating VE day and the memory of those the Americans so aptly call "the greatest generation".

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

VE Day

With VE day celebrations in prospect, I had a quick look on twitter and as expected there were a number of detractors, fortunately the negative comments were outnumbered 10:1 by positive tweets.

 I will certainly celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE day and will do so with thought and reflection as there is much to remember.

Let us celebrate the anniversary of the day that marked the end, after 6 long years of a conflict that had wrought havoc, destruction and death across Europe.

Celebrate the anniversary of the day that began the restoration of freedom to those countries that had lived under the yolk of occupation and repression.

Celebrate the anniversary of the day when a repugnant, murderous regime was finally defeated.

Celebrate the anniversary of the day when freedom prevailed thanks to the peoples of countries around the world, who came to Britain's aid as we stood alone in Europe.

Most importantly I will celebrate the memory of the people who made this day and our freedom possible.


People like these three young sailors who went to war to defend their nation. At the rear are my dad Ralph and his friend John, sadly I don't know the name of the third. All served as crew aboard HMS Aries an Algerine class minesweeper.

HMS Aries was built in Canada one of 110 ships launched between 1942 and 1944, Aries commissioned in 1943 seeing service in the Adriatic during the invasion of Italy.

During that time two of the crew were killed when the ship hit a mine, one of those killed was Ralph’s close friend. Only after his death I discovered Ralph also sustained light injuries from enemy aircraft fire during service in the Adriatic.

Today the Algerine class is almost forgotten, there's a tiny memorial on a green in Portsmouth. It's diminutive and quite hard to find, but worth seeking out if you are there.

The inscription reads

 "LET THERE BE A WAY THROUGH THE WATER" THESE TREES AND MEMORIAL STONE WERE COMMEMORATED ON THE 14 MAY 2000 REMEMBERING WITH PRIDE AND GRATITUDE THE MEN AND THE SHIPS OF THE 'ALGERINE' CLASS OF FLEET MINESWEEPERS OPERATING IN THE ROYAL NAVY 1942 – 61 AND THOSE WHO ALSO SERVED IN ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY ESCORTS OF THE 'ALGERINE' CLASS

The coming weekend is an opportunity to celebrate the memory of the millions of stories like this, the lives and the people who fought for our freedom. Sadly the majority of those who served in WWII are no longer with us, surely those of us who knew them personally have a duty to keep their stories and their memories alive.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Lockdown morning

Went down to the local fishmongers down my Bursledon bridge first thing on Saturday morning, everything in Deacons and the Elephant boatyards was strangely quiet and still.


The Jolly Sailor closed for business and and looking very sad all boarded up.


I haven't been down to the bridge  for a few weeks and evidence that the lock down impacting local businesses is to be seen - unfinished building work, a used car lot is completely empty where there would normally be 30 or more cars for sale, a cafe closed down completely.

Friday, 1 May 2020

Looks like fun

Not much boating going on right now so found a few things from last year

Apologies for the poor quality photo, this presumably electric powered surfboard came whizzing past but a long way off.



I couldn't get the camera out quickly enough for his earlier pass which was standing up and the board was out of the water on foils.

Monday, 27 April 2020

TillerMaster

I was rummaging around for some boat parts when I came across this which was in a box of bits from Blue Clipper our Van de Stadt 34 we sold 22 years ago.


TillerMaster was an early electrical self steering gear, it was very robust built of metal and I believe it used light aircraft actuators which were quite powerful and very reliable. The drive mechanism on ours was still working fine but the course setting and control had problems which I never managed to fix, plus we had a Clearway Autosteer wind vane gear which was a super piece of kit so repair of the TillerMaster was always one of those jobs you put off and was sold with the boat.

Blue Clipper was built in 1970, so I'm guessing the TillerMaster was from the early 70's, it was certainly old when we bought the boat in the 90's.

Photo credit Onboard with Mark Corke

There's also a great instruction and repair article by Electric Marine  which if it had been around back then I might have had more luck fixing our old unit.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Early morning in the western Solent

For those of us who have been stuck at home on lockdown or doing essential work, here's a reminder of how things are down at the western end of the Solent.

Keyhaven harbour to be specific during last summer, we were up early to catch the tide, there was a faint haze which quickly burned off.


That sparkling water over towards the Isle of Wight was delightful.


Boats on moorings in the deep water channels among the saltings.


Hurst Castle and the old lighthouse.


Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Evening exercise

In contrast to the misty morning pictures from earlier in the year, this was a near perfect evening walk.


Clear sky, flat calm, warm late afternoon sunshine.



Monday, 20 April 2020

Misty Morning

It wasn't that long ago that we had frost on the windows and mist circling on the still water.


Missing my early morning row, the Hamble harbour master  has posted on face book suggesting that being on the water puts rescue staff at risk based on a boat which ran aground at the river entrance.

So a couple of reminders from better times.