Wednesday 30 September 2015

Lunar Eclipse

We didn't stay up all night, but fortunately woke up around 2.30AM to see some of the stages of the Luna eclipse of the harvest moon from our bedroom windows. It was very impressive, framed above the chestnut trees across the road.

What with the eclipse, the harvest or what's being called the blood moon and the autumnal equinox we have really big spring tides at the moment. I wasn't up early enough for the 0.6m low water at 5.15AM , but I went for a run just after 6.00 and it was still unusually low.

For some reason we we have very low spring low water, but the high water at 4.9m was not massive, at other times of the year it seems to be the other way around.

The last of the moon was still shinning brightly in the sky.

It's the second major eclipse Erica and I have seen, the previous one on September 16th 1997 in Madeira, which co coincidently was the anniversary of our first date, and which we celebrated over dinner of "steak on a stick" in a Funchal restaurant. But that's another story.

Monday 28 September 2015

Naming Nemo

Hamble River Sailing Club held a competition for the juniors and cadets to name the newly acquired Jeanneau Jaffa rescue boat.

The winner Elizabeth had the honour of christening the boat Nemo, not with the usual bottle of champagne, but a confetti filled balloon which was popped on the bows.

Saturday 26 September 2015

Bart's Bash No 2

The number of boats on the Hamble for Bart's Bash was well down on last year, but it was still a nice way to spend Sunday and a good excuse take out Tosh our Cornish Cormorant.

Joseph was keen to show mum and dad what he'd learned on his recent RYA 1 and 2 course.

Lots of friends from were out on the water including some much faster boats like this RS Vision below.

The HRSC handicap us really badly (boo shame I hear you cry) so we have a tough time even against Mirrors and and RD Fevas.

I will put my hands up to what was possibly the worst start of my entire racing career, but we were soon overtaking some of the stragglers and later in the race one or two boats who appeared to stop off presumably to dig for lug worms in the shallows, they probably would have done better using a spade rather than the centerboard though.

Thursday 24 September 2015

Last days of Summer on Studland Bay

With a fine weekend in prospect we drove down to Dorset to make the most of the weather before the Indian summer turns to autumn and then winter.

Studland Bay is bordered by a sandy beach running all the way from the Poole Harbour entrance almost right down to Swanage. It's sheltered from pretty much any weather except an easterly wind and relatively shallow so a good spot for us all to get out on the kayaks.

We launched at Knoll beach, a national trust area which is one of the best places to launch, just a few yards from car to sea. Our destination was Old Harry, three chalk formations which lie off Handfast point.

Joseph was getting a little bored so he and Erica found a quiet part of the beach right in the corner of the bay, while I headed out to the rocks.

And as if by design a yacht came sailing past just as I was looking through the chalk archway.

On the way home we stopped off at a viewing point, Hartland Moor to the  left, Poole and Brownsea to the right, the pictures don't do it justice.

Monday 21 September 2015

Greg's new gaffer

Friend and local boat builder Greg has an interesting project in build down at the Elephant Yard, converting a 1970's Itchen Ferry into a modern, gaff rigged cruising boat.

It's interesting to see what type a boat a professional boat builder makes for himself and knowing Greg who used to build the cunningly fast Memory, I have no doubt that his new boat will have  good turn of speed.

Back in the 1970's a local company Drummond Bayne Marine built a GRP cruising boat based on an old Itchen Ferry hull, I'm guessing they took a mould off an original boat, the Itchen Ferry being a famous Solent fishing boat type, but added a "modern" cabin and Bermudian rig. 

Greg found a cheap example (not the one pictured below I hasten to add) and did some major surgery, which includes cutting off everything above decks, stripping out the hull and a complete remodeling of the stem, pulling in the forward sections. 

The hull mouldings were in great shape, now substantially reinforced. Below Greg giving me the tour of the deck frames, beam shelf and carlins, which are built in straight grained Douglas Fir, lovely stuff.

Greg plans a traditional wooden cabin, she should be launched and ready to go for next season.

Friday 18 September 2015


Erica's SCOW Lollipop finally hit the water in August. It's been a long, a much too long restoration since I bought what we believe may be the oldest fiberglass SCOW ( originally built in Nottingham in the early 1950's).

I was thinking that with a quick coat of paint and replacement of the broken woodwork, she would soon be sailing again pretty soon, but that was 5 years ago. Work, house building and life generally all got in the way.

A bit like the hammer with two new handles and a new head. there isn't much of the old boat left (or worth saving) beyond the hull, deck and some of the old interior wood.

I tried to keep things as simple as possible, but couldn't help myself when it came to Spectra rigging and running gear.

Launch day saw very light winds, but she sailed really nicely and surprisingly for  first trip out everything worked and nothing broke.What was really pleasing was the number of admiring comments we got.

Here's a reminder of how she arrived back in 2010 almost 5 years to the day.

Tuesday 15 September 2015

Scarborough sailing

Matilda Emillie or as she's been renamed Valkyrie, sailng off the North Yorkshire coast, Roger her new owner sent me a few pictures of her sailing over the summer.

He's also treated her to a new spinnaker in striking pink.

Sunday 13 September 2015

Uncle Bob's Race

Uncle Bob's race is long standing tradition at Hamble River SC, Bob was one of the founding members and sponsored a junior's race. which some of the more senior club members can remember sailing back in their teens.

The turn out was fantastic and with such  wide age range the day was split into three groups, the older juniors, the "Uncle Bob's" sailing Picos out in the Solent, while the younger children "Cousin Bob's" and "Baby Bob's" sailing courses in the river. Below Richard manages to keep everyone's attention for the briefing.

Joseph was in Baby Bob's having just completed his RYA 1&2 a couple of weeks ago, seen here checking out some of the hot competition.

In his first heat he got off to  great start, and while I'd like to say he didn't look back, at least they didn't manage to catch him as he came in first.

In the final he didn't do quite so well, his friend Archie (right) streaked in first, but Joseph came in second beating Monty (No 5217) who came in third, despite the carbon spars and sponsorship.

It was a great day for all the kids and a good start to Joseph's racing career with  first place in his heat and second overall. Oops I'm starting to sound like one of those pushy parents.

Saturday 12 September 2015

Vital Spark

Alas not Para Handy's famous puffer, this Vital Spark is a Keyhaven SCOW on a mooring in the inner harbour.

It looks like a tidy and well used boat.

Not sure what I'm going to do once Erica's SCOW is finished I won't have an excuse to wander around Keyhaven taking pictures of boats - or at least I'll need to find a new excuse.

Thursday 10 September 2015

How fast can a houseboat go?

Pretty fast, even when it's still attached to the shore.


Seen in Salzburg recently.

Monday 7 September 2015

Inspiring - 77 year old kite surfer

I rarely repost from other blogs but this film of a local kite surfer resonated very strongly. The film is set between Hill Head and Lee on Solent, adjacent to the Seafarers Sailing Club.


 With the prospect of my 60th year in the not too distant future I found this very inspirational.

Friday 4 September 2015

Cricket on the Bramble Bank

In the middle of the Solent, the sound which separates the Isle of Wight from mainland England is the Bramble Bank, a sandy shoal. At low water during the extreme equinoctial tides the sand bank breaks surface for about 90 minutes.

In a demonstration of English eccentricity each year two local yacht clubs the Royal Southern and the Island Sailing Club have  held a cricket match on the briefly exposed sand.

We took the opportunity to go over as spectators on one of the  Hamble River Sailing Club ribs on what was an overcast, but hugely fun, Bank Holiday Monday evening.

These couple of panoramic shots hopefully convey the spirit of the event and the location of the pitch.

After all these year of living here it was great to actually see things first hand.

Lake Boats continued Part 3

Did I mention Dragons? Sorry they just look so great and can you think of a better place for daysailing than in this setting on Wolfgangsee

Of course being high in the mountains and with the summer high pressure winds can be light so the lakes also  provide a marvelous environment for rowing.

There was a fleet of what look like traditional rowing boats at a club near St Gilgen, we were passing by on the steamer so they were a way off, but looked not dissimilar to our very own Burlesdon Gig, I would guess about 15 or 16 feet in length..

And if competitive rowing isn't your thing, how about this? Perfect for getting out on the water and cooling down on what was a a very hot (34 degrees C) and windless day.

This traditional looking boat was tucked up behind the fire station, it's flat bottomed, abut 12 or 13 feet presumably used for fishing. I couldn't help noticing that it has a lot of similarity with fellow blogger Chris Partridge's Snarleyow Too over at Rowing for Pleasure.

And if rowing and sailing isn't your thing there were a few interesting motor boats, I just love that Chris Craft in the foreground.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

Lake Boats continued Part 2

I drew a blank trying to identify this yellow boat, there was a fleet of them at St Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee, the hull has the look of a 12 Meter Sharpie, but the tall Bermudan sail definitely isn't.

Below, is this one of those classes that occurs around the world, each purpose-built for the specific location they sail in, ultra lightweight boat and with unfeasible large sail plan?

Needle thin and a towering mast presumably evolved for the relatively light winds and flat waters, it would be a blast to sail on one.

A modern interpretation on a similar theme the Esse 850, conceived to be sailed easily single-handed or by a small crew at fast speed without the ship heeling too much, the class became popular in the Swiss lakes and now has international fleets.

I guess there will be people saying it's a boat for middle aged men, I can see the attraction some fast, spirited sailing without too much drama.