Thursday 31 December 2015

A Big Question for a New Year

That's a very big question and one I spend far too much time pondering and not nearly enough deciding on big answers.

On the one hand there's the view that 20 years from now you will only regret the things you didn't do, But then again you can't do everything, so what do you decide to leave out, and how much will you regret that decision?

I don't really buy into the whole bucket list idea, but if you asked me what I'd like to do before I die; I'd say something like being able to run along my favourite river for at least the next 30 years, watch the sun rise over mountains in the east and see it setting over the western horizon. Spending time with friends and the people I love, and in some small ways make the world a better place.

Wishing you success if you're making New Year resolutions and if you're not, have a great 2016 anyway.

Monday 28 December 2015

Winter rowing

Compared to the north of the country, Storm Eva passed us by with little more than high winds whistling down the chimney and yet more rain lashing the windows.

With four days off and warm weather in prospect over the holiday weekend I was thinking it would be a good opportunity to catch up with some rowing. Like fellow blogger Chris Partridge work and windy weather have kept me off the water for weeks now.

Out for a Boxing day stroll, there was a fresh 25 knots blowing upriver, kicking up white caps hardly the best conditions for rowing. So I went home and spent an hour or so sawing and chopping logs for the fire to work off a bit of the Christmas excess.

The strong winds didn't stop a few intrepid Laser sailors from Hill Head SC getting out on Sunday morning. I have to say I wasn't tempted to join them.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Short Stay

Short and Long stay boat parking, you can even stay all day!

Thursday 24 December 2015

Politically incorrect Merry Christmas

Forget Winter holiday, The holiday Season, Yuletide, Festive greetings

It starts with C and rhymes with isthmus

Have a really good one - Happy Christmas

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Winter Light

You know it's winter when you leave home for work in the dark and get home in the dark.

You know it's really winter when you leave home in the dark, travel to London and when you arrive it's still not light.

Twilight comes early and rather quickly at this time of year, but the good new is, from 04.48GMT on 22nd December, the winter solstice, the shortest day in the northern hemisphere which marks the first day of winter,  the nights start drawing out and summer's on the way.

Sunday 20 December 2015

Lyme Regis

We stopped off at Lyme Regis recently and enjoyed some spectacular views as the sun came out through a break in the grey winter sky.

It's been a few years since we visited and I recall then that the town was looking a little neglected, but now it's looking upbeat, with new cafes and shops opening along the seafront.

We left thinking we should go back for a weekend and explore the Dorset Jurassic coast.

Saturday 19 December 2015

The Force never actually went to sleep

Unless you've been on a remote island with no internet connection you can hardly be unaware that December 18th was the release of the new Star Wars movie The Force Awakens.

So Friday evening saw us at the local cinema with hugely excited Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader look alikes.

There was a bit of a disagreement over the seating arrangement which was settled by light sabre dual in the foyer.

I'm not giving anything away by saying at one point, I looked across at two very happy youngsters, sat on the edge of their seats, mouths wide open as the Rebel force swings into action in spectacular 3D. Thirty eight years after the original and still going strong.

Friday 18 December 2015

Alice - on the hard

 Seen ashore recently at the Agamemnon Boatyard in the heart of the new Forest, the Itchen Ferry Alice was looking a little neglected and in need of some TLC.

Everything looks to be sound, but could really do with some paint and varnish.

Monday 14 December 2015

Beaulieu sur Dordogne

Beaulieu sur Dordogne if not twinned with our local New Forest village shares the same name so interested us enough to make the 30 minute drive to take a look and see if there was any connection.

 Beyond being situated on a river there was nothing obvious to connect the two, Beaulieu sur Dordogne is bigger, a small and pretty town which has grown up around a medieval centre on the banks of the Dordogne. On the outskirts is the Chapel of Penitents dating back to the 12th century and this delightful collection of waterside cottages, which accounts for the popularity of the area, especially with British holiday makers and expats.

Of course I could hardly visit without checking out the local boats, this one is a replica of the working boats which plied trade of the river, built with the distinctive flat bows and significant rocker at the bow.

Smaller scale but the same flat bottom, almost punt like hull form can be seen on this skiff.

While the Dordogne is undoubtedly lovely, it’s a bit too chocolate box and the influence of  many Brit’s was apparent, not least by the number of estate agents in every town and village.

We retreated back to the Correze area where we were staying and where the only non Fench speaking folk we met were an American couple.

Saturday 12 December 2015

Safe harbour

Chichester harbour, especially in the eastern end can be an open and windy place to moor a boat.

But with the spring tide low water, these boats are snugly tucked away down between the mud banks, with the wind whistling harmlessly overhead.

Of course getting out and back to the boat from shore might be a problem.

Thursday 10 December 2015

Beaulieu Classics

A fine day for a winter walk along our own Beaulieu River revealed a couple of lovely classic yachts still on their moorings.

Both immaculately maintained, it looks like the owners enjoy varnishing as much as they like sailing and who could blame them.

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Touring by motorbike

It's been a while since I've actually ridden a motorbike, much less gone touring on one. Here's a neat idea what look like his and hers Honda cub's complete with camping gear and numerous stickers recording places visited.

Much easier than pedalling a bicycle, much smaller and lighter than a full blown motorcycle and a speed range which allows you to go slow and connect with the landscape as you travel.

I seem to recall that someone rode one right around the world.

Sunday 6 December 2015

Secure dinghy storage?

I habitually lock our dinghies up with a stout chain or cable on the basis that I like to find our dinghy to be where we left it, but I'm not sure I'd go to the trouble of hiding it in away like this.

Maybe it's a good deterrent for thieves with hay fever?

Friday 4 December 2015

Eastney boats

Tucked up behind the spit at Eastney there were a few interesting boats as we were wandering around at the end of summer.

A sporty looking trailer sailor on an almost walk ashore mooring.

It's not a good photograph, but that looks like a lee board on this red day sailor, interesting to know the rational and history behind it.

A few fishing boats drawn up alongside the house boats and dinghies.

In the marina what looks like a Cork 1720, lots of fun.

And an MFV which would make a nice weekend getaway.

Couldn't get a better shot of  this fast looking cat,, the retractable dagger boards seem to be right outboard - almost lee boards and the silver paint job looks great.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

First Light - morning run

Despite a wet and windy weekend, and the obstacle of dragging myself out of a very comfy bed, I got up early to do what is one of my favourite morning runs.

From Fowey Hall the route takes me above the town and then down to the Caffa Mill car park, then back through the town while it's still empty and quiet, along the esplanade down to Readymoney Cove, up a really steep hill and finally back along the top road. It's a short, but sometimes steep 4k run and just the thing to work up a healthy appetite for breakfast.

Monday 30 November 2015

Clinker dinghy

Every time we walk past the marina at Lymington I can't help but be attracted to this varnished dinghy which may or may not be a Yachting World Dayboat

I know there are more modern, lighter, faster and probably more exciting boats to sail, but I just love these older dinghies, a bit like a classic British sports car, they don't actually go that fast they just feel like they are.

Saturday 28 November 2015

Clever storage

What do you do when the spars and oars are too long to be stored down below as on this Drascombe Coaster?

Some lateral thinking, quick bit of woodwork and you have a very elegant solution.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Holiday weekend

I got an email about Thanksgiving which said " It is a simple concept- take time off to spend with family and friends, share a meal and reflect on our blessings."

It's a shame we don't really have a similar and such thoughtful day in England other than Christmas, although our retailers are rapidly adopting the other aspect Black Friday.

We definitely won't be scouring the shops tomorrow as Erica has a major birthday (ending in a zero), so we're off to Fowey for the weekend with a couple of friends, staying in the posh hotel at the top of the hill, (almost hidden by the trees) to celebrate.

Equally it's a chance to reflect on the past 20 years that we've been together, the wonderful things we've done together and how being together has enriched my life.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Museum of Modern Art

I was in New York a few weeks ago on business, unusually I managed to get a couple of hours off early one evening and took the opportunity to go the Museum of Modern Art.

I haven't spent any time in a serious art gallery since my student days when we spent a couple of weeks in Paris visiting all the modernist galleries - Pause for jokes about those were they days before Van Gogh cut his ear off.

Anyway while it was exciting to see the Warhol's, Picasso's  Cezanne's, Mondrian's, Monet's in real life, the two pictures which really caught my attention were these by George Serurat (at least I'm pretty sure they are but the photo's are such poor quality I can't read the title cards).

Georges-Pierre Seurat was a post impressionist, developing pointillism, most famously in his picture  "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte."

What I find interesting and exciting about these much more simple views of  the channel coast is the way they so exactly capture the atmosphere and the similarity to our own piece of coast line. The top one while undoubtedly of France, could so easily be Hill Head or Lee on Solent near here a hundred years ago.

Monday 23 November 2015

Thunder clouds

The first cold weather of the year this weekend reminded me that things were quite different not very long ago, as summer turned to autumn.

With some heavy black thunderclouds rolling in from the southeast, the owner of this folk boat might be quite pleased to have the mast unstepped early ready for winter.

Saturday 21 November 2015

East Light of Emsworth

Pulled up on the town quay at Emsworth, Eastern Light has the look of a traditional local boat.

Sadly there was no one around to get more details from.

Looks like a great boat for exploring Chichester harbour and seaworthy enough to venture out and beyond the entrance.

Thursday 19 November 2015

Cobble Salacia

The distinctive cobble shape immediately set this boat aside from the other mostly working boats in Dartmouth's small inner harbour.

The pronounced tumble home at the transom can be seen very clearly as can the hollow forefoot, I wasn't about to wade around in the mud to get a better look.

From what I could see Salacia appeared to be glass fiber construction, length I'm guessing around 16 feet, maybe less.  A nice little boat for pottering around the estuary and a spot of fishing further afield.

Monday 16 November 2015

The wreck of Edmund Fitzgerald

I've been reminded by fellow blogger (now on Facebook) Soundbounder that it was November 1975, forty years ago that the the 729 feet LoA, Great Lakes freighter, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank with the loss of all crew. The tragedy was commemorated by Gordon Lightfoot in a song of the same name.

It's one of those things in life that has stuck with me, even though it took place half way around the world. I can clearly remember when I first heard the song, it must have been October or maybe early November 1976, I was painting a cartoon of the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins for a girlfriend, well it was the 70's. One of the Radio 1 Saturday morning DJ's played US releases and chose the song from Lightfoot's Summertime Dream album.

Fast forward 35 years and we saw some of these huge vessels while on holiday on Lake Huron and got to really appreciate the scale and beauty of those vast freshwater lakes. All the pictures here are of lake freighters approaching the St Clair river which joins Huron and Erie.

In the words of the song "the ship was the pride of the American side" so it's no surprise that there are a number of events to mark the event.

If you haven't heard it, here's the song.

Saturday 14 November 2015

Eastney Houseboats

One of the interesting houseboats down at Eastney looking over Langston Harbour.

 The area is out of the way and sort of forgotten, which is a large part of it’s charm, but I can’t help feeling that some developer or other will be planning waterfront apartments or similar, which would be a real shame

Not quite sure where the house ends and the boat starts on this one, but I'm sure it makes a nice weekend retreat.

Thursday 12 November 2015

Super yacht tender goes Star Wars

It must be the influence of the forthcoming The Force Awakens, but I seem to be seeing storm trooper design influence everywhere.

While passing our local builders who specialise in tenders for super yachts I spotted this, which might be unkindly described as an aquatic version of the Range Rover Evoque, but who knows it equally might be appearing in the film when it opens in Decmber.

Hmm, strong the force is,  in this one