Saturday 29 January 2011

Winter - Will we miss it?

Although I hate to say it we might actually miss these winter days in a few months. The low sun reflecting on the water, the town quay all to ourselves. A couple of hours on the water wrapped up in thermals to grab a short sail or go rowing, all too soon the river will be bustling with the weekend scramble.

Down by Warsash this boat has the look of a Smack with the high bows and low short counter stern. Clearly the cabin is a later addition, but with the coal stove keeping out the cold and glorious views from those windows it would be a great place to pass a winter weekend, and just a short dinghy ride from the pub!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Morning Low Water

Although we've come off the big spring tide from last week, low water was around about 1meter just after 8.00am yesterday.

With the tide out and the grey winter sky reflected in the still wet mud the river takes on a sculptural quality with the mud banks and contours exposed.

All the boats crowed into the deep water channel, it seems more congested than ever.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Rowing in France

Down on the Mediterranean coast they have a long tradition of rowing which is still kept very much alive today. Every small port or harbour seems to have a double ended boat like this and a rowing club.

The larger towns like Sete have a small fleet of them. During the summer teams from the various towns up and down the Languedoc coast compete in various events. and regattas.

The most striking however are the water jousting boats like these below. The crews of two boats row towards each other as fast as they can, on the platform extending from the stern is another member of the crew who stands with lance and shield. The object is to knock the other boat's jouster from his platform.

There is a big festival in Sete, but each of the smaller towns of Meze, Marsellian and Adge have teams, seen here are the Meze boats.

The sport is very popular with crowds lining the harbour side bars to watch the action, a cheer goes up when one of the jousters is knocked into the saea.

Friday 21 January 2011


We were down at Emsworth on a cold overcast day, wandering around the boat yard, seeing what interesting boats had been hauled out for the winter. On the slipway this Corribee had just been pulled out by a young man in a wet suit.

Apparently the boat is his eighteenth birthday present, what a fantastic way to celebrate adulthood.

The Corribee is just one of many small cruisers which can be bought for not much money, but will provide bucket loads of cruising fun. The bilge keel version above has come in for some criticism of its sailing ability, but just look at those hull lines, they are so pretty.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

More on Robert Tucker

Quite a few of Robert Tucker's boats have been featured here so I was pleased to get an email from marine surveyor Nick Vass with some photographs of the designer and his boats.

Below a picture from 1958 shows Robert Tucker on the right with one of his boats.

These other pictures are of what is perhaps Tucker's most famous design the Silhouette circa 1961 and built by George Hurley at his Plymouth yard.

Tucker had a long standing relationship with the Hurley yard which was at the forefront of bringing these new affordable yachts to the market.

In the early 1960's I recall visiting the London Boat Show with my Dad who was very taken with these pocket cruisers, at the time our budget was something like £35 rather than the £350 cost for a new yacht. Still we managed to get afloat on an old pre war motor boat which took us on some great family holidays, not withstanding the leeky decks and tempremental petrol parrafin engine.

It wasn't until many years later that I bought a Tucker designed 19 foot Caprice

Nick is currently researching and writing a book about the George Hurley and his Plymouth yard.

Friday 14 January 2011

Better than Garden Gnomes

This architect designed house overlooks the delightful canal in Ghent, Belgium and features a life sized bronze statue of a diver.

Not to be outdone the neighbours across the canal commissioned their own statue.

Possibly a case of one up man ship or in this case one up woman ship.

Ghent is a fabulous city much of it dating back to the 1600's, we visited in the depths of winter and I have to say it was a little cold for skinny dipping.

Monday 10 January 2011

Deja Vu

Dawn on Sunday morning revealed a bright, clear winter day in complete contrast the dull grey and overcast conditions we've had recently, so I took the opportunity for an early run along the river while the light frost was still on the ground.

When I got back home we decided to walk down the river to Nautical Nelly's cafe for breakfast and take Joe to see the donkeys.

In fact it was such a nice day that I couldn't resist the chance to launch Gato Negro for a row, the tide was perfect I pushed against the end of the ebb, neap tide all the way down river to Hamble and rowed back with the wind behind me on the stand.

Going up and down the river three times in one day might seem excessive, but I write this on Monday evening with rain lashing at the windows, take the opportunity when you can.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Rowing Heroes

Wandering around Lymington recently, this offshore rowing boat caught my attention mostly because I was curious to see the design of one of these offshore boats close up. Of particular interest is the bow fin which presumably is to aid tracking.

However the boat and its crew are much more interesting, Hamish Reid and Nick Dennison both doctors and Captains in the British Army, completed a fifty day row around the British Isles in aid of Help for Heroes.

You can see details on their site Row for Heroes.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Paint Job

Acquired taste? Beauty in the eye of the beholder? Your choice....

Me, I quite like it.