Thursday 30 July 2015

Sailing on a sparkling sea

Does summer sailing get any better than this.

Sadly I can't afford a helicopter like some of the professional yacht photographers, but took advantage of the elevation along Durlaston Head and optical magnification out to the max.

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Petrel on the water

I wrote about Petrel when she was ashore being prepped for the season, so it was nice to see her cruising past as we had lunch at Itchenor recently.

It was a perfect day for a picnic and petrel looks the perfect boat for a potter down the habour and then find a quiet spot for lunch.

Saturday 25 July 2015

Slipway Saturday - Dell Quay Yacht Yard

Up the Fishbourne Channel in Chichester harbour  is Dell Quay Yacht yard, they have a lomg concrete slipway which is suitable for launching at high water - I'm guessing +/- 2 hours depending on draft.

Wednesday 22 July 2015

Say No - to Shark Fins

Saving sharks is perhaps a difficult message to get across, and I say this as a scuba diver who used to take every opportunity to dive with sharks. Ok, I never dived  with a great white, but certainly some of the close cousins, who have all got a rather bad press since that famous movie and are seen as less than cuddly creatures.

The practice of "finning" due to high demand is horribly cruel and seriously impacting these amazing creatures. So it was good to see this display bringing the message home at the airport in one of the largest consumer markets for shark fin.

Monday 20 July 2015


Given the thunderstorms of the previous evening and more rain during the night it was perhaps hardly surprising that it was a bit windy when I went out next day for a lunch time run. The wind was blowing straight up the river and was especially strong along the open area by Bunny Meadows.

The picture doesn't really do justice, the trees were shaking and there were small waves forming across the river. It was a headwind all the way down to my turning point by the Chinese bridge, and then having to slow myself down on the way back.

If I had a wind speed app for my phone I could have told you exactly how strong it was.

Saturday 18 July 2015

Slipway Saturday - Redcliffe

Redcliffe Farm is a camping and caravan site just outside Wareham in Dorset which has it's own slipway onto the Frome River which leads into Poole harbour.

It's a charming spot about a mile down river from Wareham and slightly further the other way to Poole. The river is banked by tall reeds. Below the nearby Redcliffe yacht Club.  Despite being a busy weekend in the campsite, there were plenty of boats and canoes, the slipway didn't seem busy or crowded.

The tidal range at neaps was only 0.8 meters and the slipway is wide and long which makes it usable at most states of the tides for small boats and dinghies. Below a local Falouth Bass Boat launches.

Slipway Saturday -Itchenor

We were over at Itchenor recently at HW springs. A lot of the trailers which had been left on the foreshore had water way over their axles, including more than a few with brakes.

I'm mindful having just replaced a set of bearings which the local trailer shop told me had been changed and which have not been out of the garage since, yet when I opened them up contained a nasty mix of rusty grease and were completely shot.

Road wheels and salt water really don't mix, but I wonder how many of these folks took the time to pressure wash and re grease their bearings when they got home? One of the reasons I'm really fussy about buying second hand trailers.

Thursday 16 July 2015

Dartmouth Classics

What could be better than wandering around Dartmouth, in the sunshine looking at boats, enjoy.

Monday 13 July 2015

Swanage Lifeboat Shout

We were walking the coastal path to Durlaston Head on Saturday when we saw the Swanage lifeboat heading out in earnest. It was a breezy afternoon with plenty of white caps around as they headed out.

About an hour later we saw them returning with a yacht in tow.

 From their web site a 29' yacht 'Maglar' out of Eastbourne had suffered rudder failure and was left drifting helplessly after dropping her sails. In a little over 30 minutes later the lifeboat was alongside Maglar and transferred 2 crew to her to arrange a tow.

Initially a tow was attempted without any steering correction, but very soon it was decided to employ a drogue to hold the tow steady. As the damage to the rudder was not simple and would need expert help, Maglar was towed towards Poole harbour, where the tow was taken over by the Poole all weather lifeboat and the volunteer Swanage crew transferred back aboard the Swanage Lifeboat.

Date: 11/07/15 Launch time: 15:12 Recovery time: 17:58 Wind speed: 4 Wind direction: SW Sea state: Moderate Weather: Sunny Visibility: Good Casualty: Yacht Location: 3nm S of St Albans Head Crew: M. Steeden (Coxn), R. Aggas, S. Williams, G. Steeden, Mt. Steeden, P. Lowe, N. Brooks.

Thanks to the volunteer crew who make our local waters a safer place.

Saturday 11 July 2015

Slipway Saturday - Lymington

It was another busy Optimist weekend down at Lymington

Fortunately the council have provided plenty of space for trolleys as well as car parking, and there's still room to launch.

Thursday 9 July 2015


We went down to Dartmouth recently, partly to celebrate my birthday and partly as we haven't been there for far too long.

The river is spectacular, a sheltered deep water harbour, home to the famous naval college, it was a favorite of Queen Victoria and the traces of colonial splendor are to be seen all around the town.

At the center of town is the small boat harbour, curiously boats enter through a passage under the promenade which limits the size and height.

On the Kingswear side the steam railway runs alongside the moorings.

The  road into and out of town rises steeply, for visitors there's now a park and ride, but misses out some of the great views.

With just a long weekend we drove down as quickly as the holiday traffic would allow, but we're made the entrance many times in both day and night. Above a yacht passes the Mew Stone outside the entrance.

The view from the other direction with the Royal Dart YC upstream of St Catherine's castle in the distance.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Tall masts

The thing about tall masts is that they normally go hand in hand with deep keels, like this Open 60 which has been a bit of a local landmark, towering above the surrounding boats while moored out in the river this year.

Of course it's on what is described as a deep water mooring, but at low water springs it's not quite deep emough.

Saturday 4 July 2015

Slipway Saturday - Kingsbridge

In the very to the center of Kingsbridge in Devon is a municipal car park which runs along the head of the creek. Trees line the river bank and it's a great place for a picnic or to sit and watch the comings and goings.

Right at the very far end is a wide stone slipway, which launches into the upper reaches of the Kingsbridge  Estuary, an expanse of water leading down past Frogmore Creek, then the delightful town of Salcombe and out to the sea.

Launching is more or less HW +/- 2 hours, you need to get the times right as most of the time it looks like this.

Thursday 2 July 2015


We visited some friends in Belgium recently, they have this delightful model ketch in their living room. If money were no object I'd rock up at one of the better, traditional boat yards and say "build me that full size."

I stupidly took photos using my phone so apologies for the poor quality, not to mention Joseph hiding in the background behind one of his Star Wars books.

The name is a bit odd, maybe the Flemish for Barracuda? I forgot to ask.