I've always liked the Group Finot designed Open 5.70 since I first saw one in Le Sables D'Olonne back in the late 1990's. For some reason despite active fleets in Europe and the US it's not really taken off in the UK, well at least around the Solent. Apologies and please let me know if there's a fleet near you, I'd love to come for a sail.
The Group Finot site describes the Open 5.70 as "solid, simple, transportable, unsinkable, hardly capsizable," which is a great description.
Seems to me that the Open 5.70 would make a great boat for beginners and experienced racers who are too old for a skiff, but still want to have a blast sailing and without having to deal with a larger boat's disadvantages.
Maybe in the UK the popular SB3 (now the SB20) took that spot. Perhaps it's just me but I don't seem to see so many of those around these days.
Anyway an Open 5.70 in bright pink might just be the mid life crisis present I need right now.
A winter, west country weekend away for Mrs BB's birthday and for once some fine, if cool and breezy weather.
First stop for breakfast was Lyme Regis, great bakery/deli in the high street and a walk along the deserted beach. I've previously thought Lyme was a bit run down, but with the sun out and the cold clean air it was really nice with lots of new cafes and restaurants down near the Cobb, the harbour and location from the film The French Lieutenant's Woman.
Lunch time stop was at Looe for pasty's and yet another walk on another beach.
Then down to Bodinnick ferry and the short crossing to Fowey.
The river moorings were completely empty in complete contrast to the summer's bustling and busy scene.
And up to the top of the hill where Fowey Hall Hotel sits majestically with views or the estuary and a welcome with roaring fires in the lounges. It's a great family hotel with kids club, games room, pools and spa.
And other folk just like working with their boats. Who knows, the owner of this day boat, which I think is a Morton Explorer 18 (thanks to Brian for assistance with identification - see comments), may be a keen sailor but the evidence is he sure likes working on his boat.
An unusual figurehead graces the stem.
More bright work and decoration in the interior, I can't decide if those side benches are uncomfortable of just look it. Either way there's a lot to admire and a lot to varnish.
With the winter solstice fast approaching days are short and despite the early morning run getting rather less early it's still quite dark until well after 7.00AM, especially so being nearly miles further west than normal.
That didn't deter the ladies gig team from getting out on the water early on a cold Saturday with a chilly easterly blowing down the river.
Further along the almost deserted high street I had to stop by this interesting shop selling old ship's lighting and paraphernalia.
Great run, some steep hills and a fantastic breakfast waiting at Fowey Hall when I got back.
There seems to be some debate as to the origin and description of a Yawl, undoubtedly it's a two masted craft, the name of which may or may not have evolved from the Dutch Jol or Scottish Yole.
The position of the mizzen mast astern of the rudder is said to differentiate a yawl from a ketch (also twin masted), but it's hard to see how that might be achieved on a transom hung rudder with no counter. In US naval speak a yawl boat might refer to a rowing boat that rests in davits at the stern of a ship.
Whatever the description this is one pretty, open boat, about 16 to 18 feet long, given the absence of a boom, it may well be log rigged with a bumpkin or sprit for the mizzen. I'd like to see it under sail.
The day started cold, clear and frosty, but by the time we'd assembled down at the slipway the clouds were moving in low and menacing.
There was a lot of fun to be had picking up and breaking the sheets of ice which had formed on the trapped water in so many of the dinghy covers even if it did result in cold fingers.
Eventually the small fleet got underway, there wasn't a lot of wind in the river and they returned a couple of hours later very cold and ready for a warn shower.
Meanwhile Dad was off crewing on a Dart 16, it seemed like a good idea until the hailstones started with the 5 minute gun. The squall which had brought the hail, rain and wind, passed through at the end of the first lap, leaving the frozen crew wallowing around. We carried on and finished the three circuits of the long course just as the second race was starting and decided enough was enough.
We've been trying to get along to Comic Con for a while, so leaving storm Angus behind us we headed up to the NEC near Birmingham on a dark and dreary Sunday to mix with the superheros and villains.
First up the Dark Knight and junior Dark Knight looking suitably menacing and ready to clean up Gotham.
Now that Batman's met Superman, what next? Could there be a Marvel/DC alliance in the making?
Oh oh, we thought for a moment Batman was going to be marched off to the prison cell next to Princess Laya, but these Storm troopers were on on their break and very friendly.
Something of a family photo, Batman, Bat girl and Bat boy.
Posing with not one but three arch enemy Harlequin's - possibly Dad's favourite picture.
Actually this is my favourite Joseph and big brother Duncan, The latter sporting his "Movember" moustache, around his office they's collectively raised over £600 which is good going. Great to see my two boys out having fun together.
No BB hasn't gone all monarchist, having mentioned Royal Enfield motorcycles earlier in the year, I've noticed a few more examples while we've been on our travels.
The first pair were seen in Etel in Brittany back in the summer, the cream one is pretty much a modern retro build based on the original Bullet, but with disk brakes and a modern engine it should be a nice ride.
Alongside this military spec version complete with saucy pin up.
Walking through St-Germain en Leye, outside Paris a couple of weeks ago yet another retro Bullet
Sailing on the River Seine in France has a long history, and from these pictures taken in Vernon a town about 50 Km from Paris it's easy to see why, the sailing club has a chateau as a backdrop with beautiful surroundings.
With the steeply wooded cliffs rising on the north shore of the river the sailing is likely to be mostly light airs. The fleet consisted of a number of keel boats and dinghies.
Which google translates as "That's my daughter Chloe" was spotted outside a chandlers in Locmariaquer on the northwest shore of the entrance to the Gulf of Morbihan.
Even if my French had been good enough, it was lunch time so there was no one around to ask for more info. She looks to be a local day boat, the hull form has an up swept bow (bit like the Solent SCOW), what looked like a fin keel, with very flat dead rise and a firm turn of the bilge.
The deck was straight planked, but presumably was covered in the past, note the stem which is shaped to follow the hull planking, which suggests this was a quality build in her day.
Recently I was lending a hand to move a boat from the Elephant Boatyard to a new home down river. I thought it was a great opportunity to have a look around as I hadn't been there for quite a while, but when I arrived the engine was running with the lines ready to go, but still I managed to grab a couple of pictures like this lovely sloop.
More than a few of the boats are tucked up, covers on and ready for the winter.
Spotted this rather lovely mechanical anemometer in France recently, it looks to be nickel plated and the mechanism was simply superb.
Apparently Jules Richard 1848-1930 was a meteorological and aviation instrument maker in Paris, this type of instrument appear to date from around 1900, and there's suggestion that the Wright brother's used one in preparation of their famous fist powered flight at Kitty Hawk.
It seems like variations on the model were made into the 1970's but there was no indication of the date on this example.
Continuing the French theme, we couldn't visit Paris without walking along the Seine to take in some of the boats. You can't get more central than the Port des Champs Elysees, the most exclusive, grand and undoubtedly expensive area of Paris, yet in admirable French character, the river bank marina has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site which houses some delightful houseboats.
What an address and with views of the Eiffel Tower, good on the French and shame on our local authority who have recently supported the eviction of some of the old established Hamble houseboats.
Nice to see the residents of Port des Champs Elysees taking environmental issues so seriously, there were wind generators, solar panels gardens and even a living green roof.
Back in Le Trinite Sur Mer again, it was an opportunity to check out a few more boats and visit a rather good bakery/cafe. I love the sloping transom on this classic ketch and the rather jolly paint scheme.
This was a real treat for us lovers of varnished boats, and slightly depressing as my efforts with the best badger brushes never come close to this standard.
Someone is probably going to tell me it's not a Flying Fifteen, maybe the class was popular in France or maybe it's a local boat - happy to hear from anyone who knows what she is?
Not much doubt about the provenance of this one, lovely, from the days before ridiculously fast catamarans became ubiquitous.