Tuesday 29 September 2009

Silhouette called Misty

Edward Hughes sails his Robert Tucker designed Silhouette Misty from a local yard at Bursledon and writes a blog about his adventures around the Solent.

He kindly sent me some misty morning pictures taken on his way down the Hamble last week, what a great start to an autumn day out on the water.

Here he is making his way down past Mercury close to my mooring.

Things haven't improved further down river, this looks like the gaff cutter Annabel J close to Hamble village with the sun rising over Bunny Meadows.

A spectacular shot of the training platform, which is part of Southampton University down by the mouth of the river.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Dylan's up the creek!!

Pyfleet Creek and St Osyth Creek specifically!!

Good news if you've been following Dylan Winter's circumnavigation around Britain -"Keep Turning Left" in an elderly Mirror Offshore, he's posted three new video's numbers 40 to 42.

Dylan and the "Sea Slug" are still on the east coast, exploring the muddy Essex rivers and creeks around Brightlingsea, including what he claims as his favourite anchorage Pyfleet Creek.

Now I know that those meandering rivers are a great place to sail, but for someone who's trying to sail all around the UK, Dylan's been stuck on the east coast for quite a while now; getting around the UK could take several years at this rate. I know he claims it to be the slowest circumnavigation of the British Isles, but he might make better progress with one of those motorboats, which he dislikes so much (only kidding Dylan!!).

There are also some great small clips, like the Bolger Spartina and the Orwell Corinthian (which means he must have got as far as the Deben), but my favourite episode is the sailing interview with sail maker James Lawrence on board his West Mersea Winkel Brig -Native.

I also like the Beach Hut boat below, I've been on a few boats that sail like a shed, but this one must take the prize.

Apologies for the corny title, couldn't resist!

Friday 25 September 2009

Misty Morning

Now that we're well into September, the mornings are cool, the dew settles on the cobwebs and mist rises from the river, waiting for the sun to come over the tree tops.
With the current high pressure, everything is still overnight, in fact the only ripples on the river this morning were caused by the local duck population.

As the sun came up, it gradually illuminated a forest of masts in Bursledon pool.

What a great finish to an early morning run along the river, here the Elephant Boatyard surrounded by trees just about to turn yellow and red - autumn is here.

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Another Itchen Ferry

Following my post about Wonder, Tom Armstrong who blogs at 70.8% kindly sent me details of another Itchen ferry for sale. This one is is located in Bristol, Maine and is a 1999 replica based on the lines of Wonder

Broker's comments - "This is a historically accurate reproduction of an 1860 Itchen Ferry Cutter. The builder was able to obtain the plans and offsets for the famous "Wonder" and built "Blackjack" to those specs. We sailed her briefly around Maine and I could not believe the interest in her by gold plate wooden boat owners. This is truly a fun boat and stood up very well to 25 knot winds and a 2' chop!"

Her dimensions are 19'2" LOA, 8'3" Beam, 3'6" Draft, with a displacement of 6,500lbs (ballast 1500lbs) Blackjack is offered for sale at $17,500 which makes her good value even at current exchange rates!!

Saturday 19 September 2009

Wonder - Itchen Ferry for Sale

Wonder is a genuine Itchen Ferry, a Solent boat built by the locally renowned shipwright Dan Hatcher around1860.

She was owned by the Nicholay family for many years and two generations, and in total she has passed through only six owners in her long life. Wonder underwent some major restorations at the Newport Classic Boat Museum on the Isle of Wight a few years ago.

About five years ago, we were able to lend a hand caulking, painting and pumping out for a few days, as the planking took up, while she was in a local boat yard . Sadly we didn’t get to sail her, as before she was rigged, she was moved to a berth at the Dolphin Quay Boatyard in Emsworth.

During her 140 years, Wonder has sailed the Solent, only recently having been fitted with an engine. She is now up for sale for at £14,000, I just hope a new and committed owner can be found.

Friday 18 September 2009

Beaulieu Blunder

Work has been manic, so we decided to sail over to the Beaulieu River to get away at the weekend.

Unusually the wind was in the east giving us a fast and easy sail, we were soon working our way up this beautiful wooded river to Buckler’s Hard.

One of England's most attractive and unusual villages, Buckler's Hard lies on the banks of the river in the heart of the New Forest and totally preserved, the village is without modern road or street lighting. One can almost imagine that you are back in the 18th century. Historically, it is famed as the place where some of the ships of Nelson's fleet were built and the remains of those activities can still be seen,

As the glorious afternoon sunshine started to fade, we discovered that we had accidentally left the spare baby milk at home and had only enough for one more feed. With no shops in the area, our only option was to head back home and quickly. The tide had turned against us and although fortunately it was neaps, it was going to be a slog.

In the most perfect conditions we chugged our way, against tide and the last, light winds of the day, back along the Solent towards Hamble and home. Despite being annoyed at ourselves, the evening was delightful. As dusk fell the restored paddlewheel ship “Waverley” ran up Southampton water, lit up with floodlights and a party in full swing. The sea was calm and a deep, almost purple blue colour, the sun went down in spectacular style, the sky blood red.

Darkness fell as we were making our approach to the cardinal buoy at the mouth of the Hamble river. We’ve sailed in and out of the river hundreds of times but it was easy to see how confusing things would be to someone unfamiliar, as the darkness disguises distance and the leading marks and lit buoys are lost against the riot of lights from the shore.

Soon though, we were tied up to the town quay and I was sprinting up the cobbled high street to catch the late night shop, where fortunately they were well stocked with baby milk.

Shortly after and back at our mooring, we gave Joe his late night feed, completely unaware of the minor crisis which had so nearly interrupted his routine.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Hamble Rowers at the London Great River Race

A number of Bursledon Gigs and their crews made their way up to London for the Great River Race, an annual 22 miles rowing race from Richmond to Docklands along the tidal Thames.

The event started in 1988 and has grown significantly ever since, entries for 2009 were approaching 300. The Bursledon Gigs have four rowers and a cox.

Four of the teams were from the Hamble Sea Scouts in "Exocet" "Schmidt", "Point Source" and "Sea Dart" with the other entries from the Hand Family in "Mistress" and Team Skill in the "Beryl C".

The results were impressive, out of 276 finishers the Hamble boats finished as follows:
Exocet - 17th
Schmidt - 24th
Mistress - 40th
Point Source - 129th
Sea Dart - 130th
Beryl C - 149th
The Sea Scouts also won first, second and third class in both the Scouts Affiliated and Sea Scouts classes - 1st Excoet, 2nd Schmidt, 3rd Point Source.
Congratulations to the teams and those who helped organise the Hamble entries especially those who loaned boats and trailers.
There are plans announced at the recent Bursldon Regatta to form a Hamble Rowing Club in order to encourage more rowing on the river. The plan is to start with some more rowing events both competitive and social. The club also intends to have boats available to members.
If you are interested and want more information please drop me an email.
Chris Partridge rowed with the Langstone Cutters has a couple of great reports from the Great River Race on his Rowing for Pleasure blog

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Solent Old Gaffers Annual Race - 50th Anniversary

Back in the Autumn of 1958 some local yachtsmen sat in the back bar of the Jolly Sailor pub in Bursledon and agreed to hold a race specifically for gaff rigged boats. Gaff rig describes a boat with a square main sail, which has a wooden spar both at the top and bottom of the sail. It was common on traditional English working boats, but even back in the 1950's wasn't competitive against the triangular "Bermudan" sails which were ubiquitous among more modern racing craft.

The first race had only three entries and was the first Old Gaffers Association OGA race. Since then the race has been held annually with increasing numbers.

Sunday saw the 50th anniversary of the race, with a fine turn out mostly from the local Solent OGA. The sky's were low and grey with a stiff breeze blowing from the south west which made for an exciting and fast race.

Running off from the East Knoll buoy the fleet was spreading out on a fast run, despite the strong winds most boats were setting as much sail as they dared.

Back in Bursledon for the prize giving, everyone had enjoyed a thoroughly good race and returned without any major breakages.

Winner of the class 1 was the yawl Iseult which in addition to winning the 50th anniversary race, also celebrates her 100th year.