Saturday 27 February 2010

Another Itchen Ferry

I've posted about the Itchen Ferry before, a local traditional Solent boat, of which alas there are all too few remaining today .

The best known builders in the 19th century were Alfred Payne and Dan Hatcher. I don't know much about this boat, but she certainly looks like an Itchen Ferry.

Alice has a sweet transom, I've seen her out on the water but this is the first time I've seen her close up. She is decked over and has a chimney that suggests she will has snug accommodation down below.

Wednesday 24 February 2010

Lymington Ferry

A ferry service has been running between Lymington and Yarmouth at the western end of the Solent since around 1830. A hundred years or so later, on May 1st 1938 a car ferry was introduced capable of taking 17 cars and 516 passengers.

As you would expect some progress has been made since then culminating during 2009 with the introduction of new purpose designed and built ferry's operated by Wight Link, named Wight Light, Wight Sky and Wight Sun.

These new ferries are bigger and better than their predecessors, and therein lies the problem which has become something of a local controversy.

The Lymington River Association claim that the new ferries are damaging the mud flats, salt marshes and the river banks with their new propulsion and steering systems. Indeed they feel so strongly about it that they have hired a barrister and taken the case to the high court.

In the picture below you can see a ferry making an approach in the outer river. I've been in close quarters at that point with a ferry, just where the river does a dog leg, and it can be a little uncomfortable, especially at low tide when there's not much water.

Further inside the river things get even more congested, it must be a nightmare piloting a ferry in such close proximity during a busy holiday weekend.

This is clearly a hot issue, there is even a flickr group dedicated to the issue, which also has some great photographs.

The picture below - well nothing to do with the ferry, just a nice photo of Lymington Yacht Haven, shame about the "Danger of Death" sign - or maybe it's becasue the river is too congested!

Tuesday 23 February 2010

A Blogging Year

It's been a year since I made my first post Winter Work about varnishing masts and spars. Well a year later they are back in the garage for quick touch up before the 2010 season and the oars are still waiting!

What I couldn't have imagined back then, was that the blog would attract over 20,000 visits, so a big thank you to everyone who has taken even a passing interest in my ramblings.

Although my blog has mostly been about local boats, sailing and rowing, curiously the topics which have received the most comments are:

Jam Making

Saturday 20 February 2010

Morning Flame

Down on the river, early this morning, a huge flame was visible above the oil refinery over at Fawley. From Swanwick pool, it must be a couple of miles distant, Fawley lies beyond Netley and across Southampton Water. Presumably they were burning off some excess gas or oil fumes.

Further down river, but still maybe a mile away, the noise of the flame was really quite loud when suddenly it stopped.

Today was a morning low tide so a good opportunity to show that we do have some fine mud. In the background is Salterns Boatyard and some live aboard barges.

The sun was just rising, casting light above and through the trees.

Of course it's not all mud, but it is very crowded.

Friday 19 February 2010


Last Sunday was one of those days, it started off nice, so I went down to the boat yard to get some work done, but by 10.00 it was raining and really cold. I managed to get few jobs done, but painting the boot top (the contrasting line that runs around the boat, just above the waterline) was out of the question.

When I buy a new boat I normally change the sea cocks, they are the through the hull fittings which allow water into or out of the engine, sink and toilet. Greta has Blake's Type -old fashioned bronze sea cocks, so I decided to keep them. This is seriously old technology, you need to "grind them in" using abrasive paste, to ensure a good seal, every couple of years. It doesn't take long, and it gives you something to do while the boat is out for a scrub between tides.

So with the weather putting off outside work, I took the sea cocks back to the garage and the machine polisher. Despite being 20 odd years old, they came up shiny and looking better than new. Too bad when I refit them, they will be hidden away under the toilet!!

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Eastern Solent

The eastern Solent was looking a bit crowded on Saturday afternoon, at one point we could see six large freighters in line coming in past the Nab Tower.

In the center of the picture is one of the Palmserston Forts, built to protect the Solent against the perceived threat of a French naval invasion. I think this one the No Man's Land Fort as we were up in Stokes Bay, but it could be the Spitbank Fort, to be honest I wasn't paying that much attention!!

Further west, we stopped off at Hill Head, looking east the late afternoon sun was lighting up Lee on Solent.

But turning west there was some cold, grey sky moving in over Calshott, time to head home.

Sunday 14 February 2010

First Valentine

Joseph got his first valentine card today, from his little friend Chloe. While the card was unsigned, it just said "To Joseph, love from ? XX" the picture on the front was a bit of a give away.

Joseph is two weeks younger than Chloe, clearly he has a eye for the older women! They have been seen out together several times, below they are enjoying lunch at Joe's regular haunt, The Jolly Sailor.

While many couples will be enjoying a candle lit, valentine dinner, given some of Joe's eating habits, that might be one to miss.

With special thanks to Chloe's mum, who might have helped her make the card!

Tuesday 9 February 2010

Another Mystery Boat

Dylan Winter has got himself a new web site where you can see his progress sailing around Britain in an elderly 19 foot, Mirror Offshore yacht, he even has HD video.

In the scuttlebutt section Dylan has a clip of an unusual and interesting day boat at the Walton Yacht Club.

With carbon spars and a Laser style drop in dagger board, she looks fast, the raised floor suggests she might be water ballasted.

If you know more, please drop me an email.

Friday 5 February 2010

High Pressure

With a high pressure system forming to the north of the UK, there's talk about a return to Arctic conditions for the week ahead. Weather forecasting is always a tricky business, but most predictions are for some clear sunny days as well, which is when the river is at it's best.

You would have to get up pretty early in the summer to see the river so tranquil and so lovely.

Nice to see a splash of colour among the hundreds of white hulls and decks.

And what about this beauty, keeping up that immaculate varnished hull must be hard work and expensive, but on a day like this it looks so worthwhile.

Thursday 4 February 2010

Winter Afternoon

The nice thing about winter and the odd high pressure weather system we get, is the quality of the light. We were down at the quay in Hamble the other day and while there was certainly no "red sky at night" there was the most delightful pink hue to the oncoming evening sky. It reminds me of some of the early impressionist paintings, that I saw in Paris back when I was a student (just waiting for someone to comment that they were freshly painted back then!!).

And of course the light did wonders for our very own Hamble Ferry which was just winding up for the day.

This looks like a Maurice Griffiths designed Eventide, highlighted against the woodland backdrop, notice the ebb is running really fast.

The last ferry was really struggling to make progress against the tide. It was getting cold and with the last of the light slipping away, a warm fire and a pint of beer was calling us indoors!

Monday 1 February 2010

Lady Marmalade

Do you remember Labelle belting out "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?" and wearing those wild, silver outfits? Well this is altogether less exciting.

The green grocer was selling off the last of the years' Seville oranges and Erica suggested that we make marmalade. Not having the recipe to hand, and given that they were at a knock down price, I bought 3 kilos.

Three kilos of oranges makes quite a lot of marmalade. In my defense I did squeeze all the juice, and remove all the pith and finely chop all the rind. Even so we maxed out the jam pan and had to call in a couple of other saucepans to handle the volume.

Erica is a pretty good jam maker and the results are delicious, all 22 jars!!

Gitchi Gitchi Ya Ya Da Da (?)

Gitchi Gitchi Ya YaHere (?)

Mocca chocolata Ya Ya

Creole Lady Marmalade - as they said in the song!