Saturday 30 November 2013

Wireless What?

I was amused at the packaging on a bra Erica had bought the other day.

Who would have thought it, then again in these connected days of always on, always available maybe it's no surprise at all.

The only question is it 4G or 34D.

There is a PS to this, apparently there really is a tweeting bra - sends out a tweet every time it's taken off

Wednesday 27 November 2013

Red Foxed

The Red Fox is a quirky but no less interesting boat which has two asymmetrical lee boards or perhaps they could be described as dagger boards since they are raised vertically through slots in the deck.

Apparently the performance is very good using a NACRA or similar foil shape, the other advantage is minimal intrusion  into the cabin compared to a more conventional centre boat, although raising and lowering the boats through a tack might become something of a chore.

Shallow draft, great interior space, there's even a separate head compartment which is incredible for a 20 footer.

It's one of those boats that makes such good sense but somehow it's never been the right time or the right boat at the time. There's been a few things like that in life, the house you'd love but the time wasn't right to move. When they first came out I really wanted an Alpha Romero GTV, but when I was in a position to buy one there were better cars around. In similar way the red fox has passed me by.

Saturday 23 November 2013

Chichester Canal

The Chichester Canal runs some  four and a half miles from the centre of the town down to this delightful stretch at Birdham where the still functioning lock gives access to the harbour and the sea.

The sea lock is still working, although sadly road bridges further inland prevent navigation along the full length of the canal.

Built as a ship canal in the 1820's as part of the Portsmouth and Arundel canal, which in turn was to be part of a planned and much greater waterway linking London to Portsmouth and the south coast via the river Wey. As with so many projects the scheme had a military basis the idea was to allow vessels to move between London and Portsmouth without the need to venture into the English Channel. But with the end of the war with France the Admiralty decided the link was not necessary and the system was not viable commercially.

The lower reach has a number of houseboats moored along the banks many of which appear to be weekend homes, delightfully situated adjacent the yacht marina.

Wednesday 20 November 2013

Maggie May

It was one of those trivial but odd co incidents, while cycling around Chichester harbour we'd spotted an unusual gaff yawl. On the way home we stopped off at the marina cafe and saw an add for a second hand anchor and rang the seller. between his holiday and other things it was a few of weeks before I went over to the marina to pick up the anchor, and what should be on the next pontoon but that same yawl.

Seen in close up her name is Maggie May, so a bit of google research reveals she's owned by Yachting World's retired editor Andrew Bray. Designed by Steve Dalzell and built by Farrow and Chambers. She is a 26 foot centreboard gaff yawl, with wooden hull and spars and very nice she is too, with a slight American classic look to her.

I guess if I read the yachting magazines I would have known about her, but I gave them up years ago, features like "the top ten boat hooks on test" have a limited appeal for me.

Friday 15 November 2013

After the Rain

Seems like it's been raining for weeks now, so no surprise that Saturday was a wash out, except that just around lunch time there was a brief lull.

The sky was moody with prospect of more rain coming through with fast moving low clouds. Down on the hard in Emsworth some of the dinghies were doing their best to stay afloat.

The thing about boats is they are very good at keeping water out or in, looks like there might be more time spend bailing than fishing the next time the owner comes down for this one.

 For about half an hour everything was still, the water showing hardly a ripple, the boats lay serene on their moorings, of at least the ones with covers or self draining cockpits.

About 20 minutes later it was raining cats and dogs, we beat a hasty retreat to the Greenhouse Cafe which is well worth a visit, the lunch special was bubble & squeak, topped with ham, eggs and hollandaise sauce. To be recommended.

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Needles Eye Cafe

On recommendation of fellow blogger Port'Na'Storm we dropped into the Needles Eye Cafe on a wet and windy day during half term. We hadn't been before and are always on the lookout for new breakfast locations.

As advertised the view is spectacular straight out to the needles on the western tip of the Isle of Wight. On the mainland the winds which later that weekend were gusting over 90knots, were piling up some surf on the shingle beaches.

Even in the cold and rain the cafe was busy, the food was good and therein lies the problem, on a nice day in the summer I expect it's going to be mobbed, the victim of it's own success, but for a nice winter's day or early morning it's definitely on our breakfast list.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Time and tide

Bit of a high tide recently with the combination of springs, a couple of weeks of gales from the south  and low pressure. Down on the scrubbing piles there might be a bit of a wait.

On the quay in Lymington a few folks were risking wet feet, in the event the water only just came over the top of the quay at the very end, the flood protection gates at the end of the slipway were closed but a nice big  puddle had formed on the land ward side.

Wednesday 6 November 2013


Just outside the Diving Museum in Stokes Bay a collection of VW's had assembled for a Sunday gathering.

There was a complete mix of around  40 or 50 Volkswagen cars and vans including the black, minimalist  hot rod above.

This cow patch Combi van was cute, the horn played a loud "moooo" much to the delight of a certain small child.

My favourite was the beach buggy, every now and then I threaten to buy one as part of my ongoing middle age crisis, but I always manage to resist, there being far too few sand dunes and sunny days in the UK, nice though.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Diving Museum at Gosport

We went over to Stokes Bay for a walk and lunch and discovered the Diving Museum which is located in the adjacent Number 2 Battery, a Victorian coastal defence gun battery that looks south over the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Outside there's a collection of diving equipment including decompression chambers from the nearby naval establishments. This suit is remarkable it was German, captured at the end of WW2 and brought back to Gosport for use by the then relatively young branch of the navy.

Inside the exhibitions are split into commercial diving, sports diving and research, with a special section to commemorate Busta Crabb the decorated British Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who vanished, mysteriously during a reconnaissance mission around a Soviet cruiser berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1956.

All the staff are volunteers who have long careers as navy or commercial divers are very knowledgeable and friendly.  There's lots to do for children in addition to hunting the 10 miniature divers hidden among the displays, there's a chance to have your photo taken as William Walker, a deep-sea diver, who worked under water every day for six years placing bags of concrete in the flooded foundations of Winchester cathedral to prevent it's collapse.

Or even try out first hand what  the old hard hat diving would have been like, fortunately it is only a fibre glass replica but heavy enough.

The Diving Museum is run by the volunteers from the Historical Diving Society, and is really well worth a visit.

Saturday 2 November 2013

Low water Lymington

The tide had well and truly gone out at Lymington salt water baths the other day, closed and drained at the end of the season.

During the summer there was an active canoeing school using the pool for training, but I guess the staffing costs of keeping it open for the winter out weight the revenue brought in from such activities.

One price of good news is the little cafe which normally closes for the winter is going to remain open, not only that, they's improved their menu with breakfasts, bacon rolls etc.  Perched right on the river path it's a great place to stop for a snack and watch the boats in the river, the seating area has been protected against the prevailing westerly with the installation of glass (probably polycarbonate) screens so it should be quite a comfortable spot.