Sunday 31 March 2013

Easter as it should be

In the past Easter weekend was characterised, the nights have been drawing out, signs of spring are to be seen. It's a time of ritual and tradition.

 The boat yards buzzing with activity. It's time to haul the sails out of storage, finish off the varnish, slap on the anti foul for the new season.

Down in the river some of the work boats are ahead of the curve and looking really nice.

Thursday 28 March 2013


Having a clear out the other day I found the original weather fax from the morning of our departure from Falmouth to cross the Bay of Biscay on our way to the Caribbean.

We'd read and heard many times the advice to wait for an Azores high to build for about 3 days before leaving, but we were young and anxious to depart, reasoning that we would make good progress to the south and west as the low pressure centre moved to the north of Scotland.

It wasn't all plain sailing, we never did see the forecast north easterly winds, we did have calms, some very poor visibility about 2 days out and strong north westerly winds on the quarter, overall the trade off was a fast passage and arrival in La Coruna at first light four days later.

Sunday 24 March 2013


With a life long fascination for model boats I couldn't help but notice this interesting marine device down on the Lymington slip way, it's called a Datafish and seems to be a remote/automated platform for marine survey and hydro graphic data collection.

The big X is a day mark and the device has lighting to comply with IALA navigation regulations, which I'm guessing is behind the colour scheme, or it could be the makers just have a sense of humour.- all together "and we lived beneath the waves....

Thursday 21 March 2013

Lost in Translation

I was reading the in-flight magazine (in Spanish) on an Aero Mexico flight which was extolling the virtues of the English pub or "casa para el público para beber" - literally a house for the public for drinking.

The writer went on to say that English taverns were renowned for traditional names such as "the George and Dragon" or "the Fox and Hounds", also popular it claimed was "the Olde White Tart" and "the Athlete's Foot".

I couldn't decide if it was deliberate or a slip of Google translator,  and no mention of my favourite pub!

Sunday 17 March 2013

New Forest High Water

Driving through the New Forest today everywhere the ground was waterlogged, but at Brockenhurst two streams the North Weir and South Weir meet and are joined by the Blackwater and Ober Water to become the Lymington River.

For most of the year this this gentle stream is a place of picnics where forest pony's gather. With the snow and almost unceasing rain things are a bit different.

It brought to mind a time back in the 1970's, the Thames had flooded so badly that a friend and I were able to canoe from Cookham right through the woods to the outskirts of Maidenhead, it was a great way to explore areas which were not normally accessible by foot. Sadly today we didn't have a boat with is but if this rainy weather persists watch this space.

Friday 15 March 2013

Ciao Maisie & friends

You might think that blogging about boats is a dull, nerdy business, and indeed there is evidence to support that argument. Take for example Dylan Winter who has created a community of enthusiastic followers for his slow circumnavigation sailing a "s*** boat around a small island" (Dylan's words 4:20 into the film). Said followers according to you tube are all men over 50.

I'm pleased to say that over here on the Bursledon Blog we have a mixed and eclectic audience of followers and commenter's, here are some recent examples.

 Maisie (above) commented on my motor sailor post  "wow what a beautiful place to go with your loved once for the most Romantic Dinner"   clearly the girl knows her boats, and  well she actually went on to say " at Dhow cruise Dubai" but I'm sure that was a typo as you'd hardly cruise all that way in a 23 foot motor sailor.

Then there was Liama who seems to be also called Angeica but anyway she thought BB was "very lovely blog on yachts", thanks and a very nice sweater you have there too.

Finally there was Edward from Dubai  Yacht Safari, who might just have used a picture of his sister as his avatar by mistake.

Just recently their comments seem to have stopped, maybe they've gone sailing!

Monday 11 March 2013

Wanted - SCOW sails

I'd like to say that  I've been making good progress with restoration of the SCOW, but looking back on elapsed time slow progress is perhaps a better description.

None the less despite pressures of work, family and home commitments,  patience and persistence, plus  a fair bit of perspiration is finally starting to show results.

The hull is painted inside and out, all of the hull woodwork has been fitted and the interior woodwork and trim either made or restored. Sadly all too little was worth keeping but the mahogany rudder has come up a treat, almost too good to put back on the boat.

Since the pictures were taken all the woodwork has had several coats of varnish

The boat came with a Heron mast, which quite apart from being wrong would be better used for weightlifting and is being replaced by a lightweight aluminium one of the correct pattern. I'm undecided on rigging as yet but Spectra or similar appeals.

The next step is to find some sails, so if anyone in the local SCOW fleets has some tired racing sails which are still serviceable I'm in the market.

Friday 8 March 2013


With Joseph's forth birthday coming up we've been thinking about getting him his first boat, well actually it will be his seconds as his cradle was a scaled down clinker dinghy. Inevitable the Optimist figures large in our thinking, with active fleets all along the Solent.

Ironically about sixty years ago boat designer Clark Mills of Clearwater, Florida built a floating version of the "soapbox car". The boat Mills came up with in 1948 was a little square bowed boat called the Optimist Pram. It was a boat which a young skipper and a parent could put together in the garage, with one sheet of plywood, some stainless steel screws, some glue, and a few banged thumbs.

Today the Optimist is the de facto training dinghy, sailed in 120 countries, competitive models run to several thousand pounds not including the support boat from which anxious parents or hired coach deliver encouragement and guidance.

I have to say that spending Saturday morning on the water, watching Joe learning to tack and gybe has a lot of appeal and could be the excuse to buy not one but two more boats!

Friday 1 March 2013

Tar Baby

Brass monkeys, icicles, puddings, word games about blackberry's but what about the boats? Well there was a reference to kite boards, but it's not the same thing. So there I was thinking about interesting boats which might make an worthwhile post when a local boat motored up the river, a boat which is worth mention.

Tar Baby was built by Camper and Nicholson in 1939, and was for a time owned by the Nicholson family. For as long as I can remember Tar Baby has sailed from the Beaulieu river and is often see around the solent or heading for the west country during the summer.

The hull shape reminds me of the popular Nicolson 32, which was built in grp and which Tar Baby pre-dates by many years. I've always liked the pilot house, I spent several hours making a detailed sketch when we were moored close by some years ago in Fowey during a summer cruise, with the thought that it might be possible to build something similar onto a Nic 32.