Saturday 28 July 2012

The Bar of Doom

Or a welcome respite from a Saturday shopping trip, the Bluebell Inn in Emsworth offers a safe environment where husbands can be left for a few hours allowing wives to concentrate on the important work of retail therapy.

For readers who may be unfamiliar with English ale, Doom Bar is a west country beer named after an infamous sandbar at the entrance to the Camel estuary on the north Cornwall coast.

The head brewer claims "The aroma of Doom Bar combines an accomplished balance of spicy resinous hop, inviting sweet malt and delicate roasted notes. The mouth feel is a perfectly balanced and complex blend of succulent dried fruit, lightly roasted malty notes and a subtle yet assertive bitterness. The bitterness remains into the finish with dry fruity notes which implore the drinker to go back for more." I have to confess that on occasions I have been temped to exceed the recommended daily limit for alcohol.

Please beware English beers are an acquired taste, they should be served warm with a piece of rusty chain in the bottom of the glass for added flavour!

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Mary Edna

At last all is revealed, I first spotted this gaffer in June last year,a  half decked day boat I thought she might be a Tosher from the west country.

We saw her again  back in June sailing into the Hamble river and later on the marina pontoon opposite the yacht club. Alas the owner wasn't aboard and  although it was clear she was GRP it was equally apparent that she was an unusual design.

All was revealed last weekend, when Mary Edna was once again tied up opposite the yacht club, this time her owner was aboard and more than pleased to talk about her history.

She's a one off built on the hull moulding of a Dockrell 17, a solid day sailor, well ballasted centre board design built in Tavistock.

The build started by modifying the sheer line of the GRP hull which was raised mostly amidships. She was then fitted out as a gaff cutter, with plenty of very nicely varnished wood - lovely.

Sunday 22 July 2012

Hamble River Games

Inspired by the 2012 Olympics the River Hamble Games took place at the weekend with events for Swimming, Rowing, Kayaking, Sailing and Running.

The Hamble gigs were out in force with the turning point just upstream from our vantage point aboard Matilda Emily. Above one of the fast crews have rounded the mark and are getting into their stride for the homeward leg.

Interestingly the rowing took place while the tide was slack, but earlier the open water swimming took place at the height of the flood. The 30 or so swimmers were making progress against incoming tide but it looked like hard work, sadly no photos as I was too busy rowing to hold position against the strong current.

Friday 20 July 2012

On the Hard

On one of the few sunny days this season this classic canoe yawl was pulled up on the hard at Hamble for a scrub, anti foul and a spot of maintenance.

I think the boat is Snippet which featured back in February, sadly I was being dragged away by a small boy on his new bicycle and didn't have time to chat with the owner.

Not a bad way to spend a spring morning with the sun shining, in pleasant surroundings doing some work on a lovely boat.

Saturday 14 July 2012

Motor Sailors

With the bad weather dragging on week after week after week this season I'm starting to see the appeal of a motor sailor. The old image of only being able to sail downwind in a gale is long gone, with many examples being based on yacht hulls and rigs with reasonable performance, a big engine to get you there when you need it and a comfy deck saloon from which to enjoy the surroundings.

If the thought of a motor sailor is a bit too much like "pipe and slippers" then maybe a sturdy doghouse like this one fitted to a Westerly makes sense and would certainly extend the sailing season despite the rain.

Of course when it's cold and wet actually going sailing isn't that appealing, so why not something like this old favourite of mine, the perfect floating weekend cottage, warmed by a roaring stove, great views and when you want to go somewhere crank up that slow revving diesel from the comfort of that wheelhouse.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

Austerity Britain

Amid the news of cuts and recession and general gloom I couldn't help noticing this newly launched motor yacht.

It was a "Something 98" so I'm guessing just short of 100 feet long, maybe the owner has just downsized from a larger boat? 

Sunday 8 July 2012


We spotted this racing yacht recently while wandering around a boatyard at Lymington. A little research shows that she is QII, an Open 35 designed by Michael Pocock as a water ballasted monhull with the express purpose of winning the 35 foot class OSTAR (single handed transatlantic race)

QII was campaigned by Mary Falk coming second in the 1992 OSTAR and in 1996 she finally achieved her ambition winning the 35 foot Class OSTAR and creating a new Class record of 19 days, 22 hours and 57 minutes, a record which, despite subsequent advances in design, equipment and communications, still stands to this day.

The thing which caught my eye was the hull form with this unusual knuckle below the sheer line which extends the full length of the boat. It can be seen better in the picture below. I'm guessing that when the boat is upright the narrow waterline beam helps minimise wetted surface but when heeled the flare adds extra form stability.

Friday 6 July 2012

Black Diamond up close

The day after the Round the Island race, I finally got the chance to see Black Diamond in the flesh alongside at the harbour master's pontoon at Warsash. Greg and crew hadn't surfaced when we rowed down for breakfast, but she was unmistakable even from a distance.

The YM Diamond class has a strong following in Australia and given Greg's creditable performance in the RtI race it's easy to see why.

For a 30 foot stripped down racing keel boat that looks like a comfortable and reasonably well protected cockpit.

Later on we caught up with Greg and crew Hugo as they were preparing to recover Black Diamond onto her trailer for the journey back to the east coast.

Tuesday 3 July 2012


Apologies for getting the trailer in picture, I didn't get down the pontoon quickly enough but hopefully it doesn't detract too much.

There is just something about steam yachts, elegant, quiet and that counter stern - lovely.