Friday 31 January 2014

The Shingles

The waters of the Solent are generally regarded as safe and sheltered, but in the western approach the Shingles Bank should not be underestimated nor taken lightly. Running parallel to the coast of the Isle of Wight the Shingles form the northern boundary of the needles channel between Hurst Castle and the open water beyond the famous Needle rocks.

The channel is wide, but facing south west the direction of the prevailing winds it can become very treacherous in strong winds and gales. As the Solent empties on the west going tide, some really nasty wind over tide standing waves are set up on The Bridge which really have to be experience to be believed. I recall Angelina our 16 ton cutter literally being thrown around unmercifully when we miss timed our departure with a bit of a sea running. Perhaps the most dangerous conditions are inward bound with a following sea and wind. Some years ago a yacht was capsized and thrown up on the Shingles by a following sea which had built up in the shallow and narrow channel.

Normally the Shingles can only be seen at low water springs, but with the recent gales the shifting shingle banks have piled up and where clearly visible. Local kayak blogger Paddles with an Anas acuta took the opportunity of settled weather to land on the exposed banks which must have been a great and rare experience.

Monday 27 January 2014

Roving Reporter

Work has been full on (again, when did it stop) since the start of the year, which finds me in central London most days and nice as that is keeping up with things local has been difficult. Fortunately the Bursledon Blog's roving reporter (AKA Erica - Mrs BB) was out and about early on a spectacular morning to record the scene.

The sun was out early causing mists to swirl above the saltings across the somewhat oddly names Bunny Meadow

It's a great habitat for local wildlife, cut off as it is from the river and surrounding woodlands, oak trees seem to grow like weeds along the banks of our tidal rivers, these two (above) perhaps are the exception, bit too close to HW mark.

Two local residents taking in the scene and enjoying the winter sun and the respite from all the rain we've had recently.

Now if she could just row down, check the mooring and maybe give the bilge a quick pump out.....

Friday 24 January 2014

High Water Hill Head

The haven at Hill head looks it's best at high water, the boats which lay dried out most of the time come to life and the various harbour wildlife, mostly ducks gather in the knowledge that it's a good time to be fed by visitors.

The sailing club are pretty much guaranteed to be out and taking advantage of the tide and this day was no exception.

There wasn't  lot of wind, but this yacht looks almost please to be afloat, even on a glassy calm.

Out in the bay there was enough breeze for the juniors to be chasing around the course.

Tuesday 21 January 2014

More flooding

Although we're on spring tides again the extreme high water and flooding of a couple of weeks ago have thankfully not returned.  Here's a few more pictures showing how bad things were around the nearby boatyards.

Hmm, might have to take the dinghy to get out to the travel lift.

Both of these motor boats appear to have their drive legs removed, I think I might be getting a little nervous if I was the owner.

This area below is part of an ambitious development of luxury marina homes, clearly they haven't heard about living on a flood plane, lets hope they get built on stilts.

The local drains had gone into reverse, which made quite a nice water feature.

The nearby ditch was turned into a raging torrent on the way down the hill, so is it the Bursledon Brook or the Sarisbury Stream?

And down at my favourite pub drinkers were in danger of getting wet feet.

Friday 17 January 2014


It's funny how you walk past things so often but only very occasionally stop to take notice. It was like that at Swanwick pool one day back in the summer. I run past there and along the river a few times a week, but the combination of the tide, the light and a good covering of summer weed which had settled on the mud, had all thrown the remains of the old jetty into sharp relief.

The remains can be seen running out from Shore Road where there are two houses, so presumably the jetty was constructed to provide all tide access. Below the remains of the posts are clearly visible

Further round on the other side of the pool are the remains of another jetty, following the line ashore there are stone steps leading through the trees, directly up to Brooklands, a large estate once the home of the de Selincourt family.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Meeting Dylan

I've been following Dylan Winter on his sailing odyssey "Keep Turning left" exploring every creek and tidal inlet on his way around Britain, pretty much since he started in 2008. We've corresponded by email over the years but never actually met until last Friday when Dylan gave a lecture at my very own yacht club the RAFYC in Hamble.

Actually I very nearly missed it being so tied up in work and other things I never read the noticeboard or the newsletters, fortunately Erica spotted it about half way through dinner on Friday evening so I rushed off to the club just in time for the start, guiltily leaving her to the washing up.

Having watched most if not all of Dylan's films it was pretty familiar (my favourite featuring sail maker and barge skipper James Lawrence above) but no less entertaining, Dylan's a great speaker and we share similar opinion regarding excessive motor boat wash, although I haven't received any death threats yet, sorry Dylan that's the price of celebrity.

If you get the chance to hear him speak then get along, or catch up with his journey on Keep Turning Left. It was also great to have the chance to talk in the bar afterwards. Dylan was down on the south coast scouting boat yards for an old Westerly Centaure for his trip up to Shetland.

Wednesday 8 January 2014

Some Dinghies

It can be a long hard winter down at the dinghy dock, especially with the amount of rain we've been having over the past few weeks. You have to wonder what inspired the name?

Might Mouse could certainly do with a mighty good bailout, come spring who knows there might be tadpoles and freshwater fish living in there.

A lovely example of a clinker tender, looks like she would row like a charm and sails too.

Saturday 4 January 2014

Waters Rising

With all the flood and storm warnings in the news I took the opportunity to go down to Hamble at high water and see for myself.

Down at Hamble Point (above and below) things were lively certainly not a day for sailing, protected by the Isle of Wight this part of the Solent is relatively sheltered compared to some of the main headlands along the coast.

Down in Hamble the RAFYC was pretty much cut off, ironically there used to be a gate in the wall to the left of the picture which is higher up the path and still dry, but it was bricked up some years ago, could be there was a good reason for having it.

The club pontoon was still afloat, but you would need a dinghy to get there, just as I was taking this (2 or 3 minutes after the picture above) there was an almighty downpour of hail stones and winds which I later saw were recorded at 60 knots.

Down on the town quay things were's not much better, the Royal Southern YC was just about staying dry.

One of many road closures around the area, fortunately this one was manned by a couple of community police officers who were on hand to redirect people.

We're just coming off a big spring tide, HW was 12.05 and predicted as 4.8m which isn't especially high, the full height and flooding are a combination of spring tide, low pressure and the surge caused by the ongoing gales we've had during the past couple of weeks.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Seasonal SCOWs

A small fleet of SCOWs had gathered at the Royal Lymington YC pontoon on between Christmas and New Year, the bright coloured sails making a fine sight against the winter background.

There was a race of sorts which seemed to be in the river just off the RLYC to a turning point about 200 yards down stream, of course there was the odd moving hazard to make things more interestings.

All the sail numbers are up in the 400's so all reasonably new, according to the Lymington SCOW class news letter new boats continue to be built at around 12 a year.

Erica's "Nottingham" SCOW is just about complete, with all the building work going on throughout 2013 and several other boats to sail Lollypop is languishing at the back of the garage but should be seeing the water in the spring.