Monday 28 March 2016

After Storm Katy

As predicted Storm Katy blew through on Easter Sunday, all night the wind howled and the chimneys whistled, while the house generally creaked and rain rattled against the windows.

The next day we went over to Emsworth for a late breakfast and spotted a catamaran clearly where it shouldn't be.

There was also a yacht, not a bilge keeler, left high and dry. Presumably with the combination of high winds and high tide it might be a while before either of these are off and in deep water again.

In the dinghy park things weren't much better, although there was a big turnout for a work party who soon had things back on an even keel and more than a few covers straightened out and secured.

Whether this boat had washed ashore or had been left on the town pontoon wasn't clear, either way it had a very hard time, both sails were flogged and shredded, the starboard windows were missing and the saloon cushions were splayed along the pontoon.

Up at the end of the creek a yacht and fishing boat were hard up against the wall and not where they should be, making for pretty novel garden ornaments.

And probably worse of all what looks like the remains of a Caprice washed up on the hard with the mast broken, probably lucky that it didn't come through the living room windows.

All in all one of the worst gales we've had in recent years, hopefully no one was hurt and the boats can get fixed.

Saturday 26 March 2016

Making the most of the Easter Weekend

With gales, rain and storm Katy threatening the Easter holiday weekend I managed to get up and out early on Friday morning which promised some sunshine and light winds before the trouble bearing depressions swept in.

There was no one about at the yacht club and I had Tosh, our Cornish Cormorant rigged, in the water and away in no time for a sail over to Ashlett creek.

The wind had been falling all morning and just as I got back to Hamble in the early afternoon it dropped off to almost nothing as the wind swung around to the south.

I couldn't decide if the  wind was going to pick back up, so after sailing back to the club on the slightest of zephyrs, I decided to go for a coffee down on the quay.

The new Hamble Lifeboat station had just opened, the build of he new facility has taken a long time, but now it's finished it's a huge improvement over the old shed. I chatted to one of the crew who were busy trying to put away all the equipment that's been in storage for so long.

Friends James and Emma were launching their new to them Wayfarer and fortunately the afternoon breeze set in enough for them to get away in perfect conditions for a shakedown sail.

All in all a pretty perfect way to spend Good Friday while Joseph and Mum were away visiting Grandma and Granddad.

PS. Things were a bit different on Saturday afternoon with gusts up to 50 knots and rain, pretty typical bank holiday weather.

Wednesday 23 March 2016

Bikes and boats

Boat owners and bike owners are pretty similar, they like to gather around and chat which is what happened in Lymington when I stopped to take a picture.

My first motorcycle was Royal Enfield Crusader and although the old Redditch based Royal Enfield company closed it’s doors back in the early 1970’s the entire manufacturing operation was transferred to India where production continues and thrives.

The owner explained that this was a 535cc single and I was interested to understand what it was like to ride on modern roads compared to my old early 1960’s vintage experience, apparently very well.

I've been thinking for some time that one of these newly built machines might be a good alternative to a restored classic which would avoid some of the issues with old bikes. I used to keep mine in the garage with a drip tray to catch the oil which leaked no matter how carefully I assembled the crankcase.

The yellow bike is a BSA C11, the owner also has a Royal Enfield Constellation a 700cc twin from the 1960’s.

While we were chatting we were joined by an old gentleman, and I use the word gentleman very deliberately, who apparently started riding with a Velocette before the war. He then went on to explain how he had purchased a German BMW and side car just after the war while stationed in North Africa, removed the side car and had ridden it for many years.

Which in turn took the conversation to the Ural, apparently during the war, Russia acquired the design and production techniques for the BMW R71 and built a version of the horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine which is still in production today.

By coincidence when we were on holiday in Austria last summer, our neighbour had just taken delivery of a brand new Ural (the one above), We got chatting, and he explained it was the last one allowed to be imported into Austria since it was in military camouflage and as a result had come under the US led trade embargo in response to the Ukraine situation.

Like most boat/motorbike enthusiasts he was also keen to chat and show me his collection which included 2 very sporty Harley’s, a brand new Royal Enfield 350 Bullet, a model which has been in production in India for around 45 years and this Morgan 3 wheeler. I didn't find out quite why it was in camouflage with RAF roundels and the shark teeth motif, but apparently it’s a lot of fun.

Friday 18 March 2016


We haven't been over to Hardway on the west shore of Portsmouth harbour for ages, going back 20 years and more we used to keep a boat on a swing mooring in Bomb Ketch Lake out in the harbour.

The main hard was built up during WW2 to embark tanks and military vehicles for the D Day invasion.

Hardway sailing club was founded in 1945, the clubhouse and compound occupy a prime position on the waterfront, leading to an extensive pontoon which provides access to the waters of Portsmouth harbour at all states of the tide. We were members back in the 1990's when there was very active dinghy and keel boat racing scene, probably still is.

The industrial and military legacy of the area is all around, but it's no less a great spot, here with views across to the Portsmouth dockyards in the distance.

Wednesday 16 March 2016

Last Laugh

It wasn't until I was about to post this that I realised that I'd featured Last Laugh before, but she's looking spruced up and freshly painted and the name always makes me smile.

Enough said.

Sunday 13 March 2016

About time too

What a difference a week makes. After what has been a not especially cold but long, wet and windy winter, there is at last, a hint of spring with a fine clear day, very light wind, a perfect day for rowing.

I pulled Gato Negro up on the foreshore just before HW, I'm note sure that we've ever been able to get any closer to the cafe.

Earlier I was up and out early for my morning run at low water and despite the early fog, there were great views of what was one of the lowest tides I can remember 0.4M LW. With 4.8M HW at midday that's a 4.4m range or  nearly 14 foot six in old money. Sadly I didn't have my camera or phone with me in the morning.

Thursday 10 March 2016

An Unlikely Voyage

Fellow blogger  The Unlikely Boat Builder John Almberg very kindly sent me a copy of his recently published book, an account of John's solo 2000 mile voyage in his wooden, gaff cutter.

I finally found a few quiet moments to start reading, only to find I was past page 100 before I realised. What's good about John's writing is that he sets a good pace, neither too, much nor too little detail and does so in a way which so often relate to your own experiences, well mine at least. The dinghy which got loose, the outboard which fails at an inappropriate moment, tackling a difficult and new task with a Zen like approach (something I need to do more often).

I promised John I'd post a review once I've read  An Unlikely Voyage, but my advice is don't wait, go buy it now.

Wednesday 9 March 2016

More on Internet profile mysteries

The mystery which is internet profiling cropped up again recently ( see here and here for previous comments).

I'd just about forgotten my day trip to Orlando a couple of weeks ago, only to get a surprise when I checked the local weather forecast here in sunny Burseldon which featured an ad for Orlando's premier tattoo studio. It's a bit odd as neither I, nor Mrs BB have any kind of tattoo and I've only been to Orlando for one day in the past 12 years.

Of course Google may know something that I don't.

Monday 7 March 2016


I had a chance to practice some more local vernacular (Reet' Parkey). On Friday, having taken a day off work, under a bright blue sky and in spite of forecast for showers, I went for a row.

Just after I'd started on the return trip and about 3 miles from home, the sky grew dark, the wind picked up and the heavens opened - "coming down in stair-rods". For those not familiar, wooden or metal rods were used to secure carpet to stairs year ago, probably dating back to Victorian times, but I can just about remember them from when I was very young.

Needless to say it's a good metaphor for heavy rain. In fact on the day, it was so cold there were hail stones, but I don't remember any slang for those.

By the time I got back to Swanwick Hard the rain had stopped, everything was very still and the sun was starting to come out again.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Lymington seawater baths

The Lymington seawater baths were looking empty, cold and uninviting, the daytime temperature was below 5 degrees C which is probably warm for many, but in this mild part of the country is pretty chilly, with just a couple of palm trees as a reminder of warmer days to come.

In the next month or so there will be a flurry of activity and maintenance to get ready fro the easter opening.

On an overcast day in February though, the bar at the Lymington Town SC looks a lot more invititing

Tuesday 1 March 2016

Reet' Parkey

For my overseas reader I'd better explain, when I was very young I had an old Uncle who lived in Huddersfield all his life, working in the mills. His Yorkshire accent and slang was so strong,  I couldn't understand half of what he was saying.

 Reet' Parkey was pretty easy - very cold, which pretty well sums up Saturday morning out on the Lymington river where a few RS Teras were out practicing.