Monday 30 May 2016


Whimbrel  I'm pretty sure is a Golant gaffer, designed by Roger Dongray, who also drew the Cornish Crabber boats.

It's one of those boats that I've always wanted but it's never been the right time to own one. Much prettier (in my opinion) that the Cornish shrimper, she's the perfect day boat or occasional over night for exploring the creeks and estuaries.

Thursday 26 May 2016

Opi fun

Joseph's Optimist dinghy acquired over winter has been out for a few times now.

Some creek crawling, looking for pirate treasure with friend.

Near miss avoiding a collision, although he didn't do so well later on the way back to the club, rounding up in a sudden gust, he managed to ram the sea wall head on.

Monday 23 May 2016

Hamble River Raid 2016

It was an especially overcast day for the annual Hamble River rowing extravaganza, despite which the event was very well attended with boats and crews coming from far and wide.

It's been quite a few years since I last entered (and won the single handed class) and the event seems to have a very different character these days, having done away with the Le Mans style start from the Beach. There were some seriously fit teams in out and out racing boats, I don't think I'd have much of a chance these days.

Friday 20 May 2016

Always there?

Thirty years ago Howard's Way burst onto our screens, a TV saga about everyday yachting folk in the fictional village of Tarrent (Bursledon in reality), the BBC's response to Dallas.

The opening title featured "the Flying Fish" a yacht owned by Tom Howard of the title, although it's starring role was short lived as I recall an early episode where Tom's son Leo went off in a sulk when it was announced that the Flying Fish was going to be sold to fund the purchase of the Mermaid  (Elephant) boatyard

So imagine my surprise when I spotted this while rowing down the river, I guess it's the same boat fully restored after sinking during a collision a few years ago.

Have a look at the opening sequence from about 50 seconds in I'm pretty sure it's the same Flying Fish a Laser 28.

If you missed Howard's Way just or you want to get an 80's fix, the entire series 1-6 is available as a boxed set DVD on amazon.

Tuesday 17 May 2016

Scrubbing Post

What could be better, warm sunshine, hardly any wind and a picturesque spot to dry out and scrub. Local cutter Aeolus pulled up at Lands End hard.

Mind you that's quite a lot of scrubbing, when your boat is a "plank on edge" full keel design with eight feet or so of draft. Even more surprising was to see her dried out on a neap tide - HW 3.6m LW 1.7m) but the crew seem to have done a good job.

Aeolus is an interesting boat, about 12 or 15 years ago I went on board with a friend so was considering buying her, in those days she was painted black and had no engine, or very much anything in the interior, there was just just ladder going down into the deep hull.

More recently we had a close encounter in an Old Gaffer's race she momentarily lost control powering up at the end of a downwind leg an got an all too close a view of that magnificent bowsprit.

Sunday 15 May 2016

1000 Words

I sometimes get a but frustrated with Pinterest, Flickr etc. While the photos are fantastic I find myself wanting to know more, the picture might need slightly more painting than the 1000 words provide.

Now I'm not suggesting this is a fantastic photo, but it is a rather lovely boat Graitiude. I'm not sure I could write a 1000 words and trying to take a shot from a rowing boat in the fast moving tide was tricky and doesn't do either the boat or the day justice, but at least you know something about the boat and its location. The lovely, varnished planking was a warm, golden statement of the boat builder's art reflected in the warm spring sunshine and certainly warrants a picture.

Tuesday 10 May 2016

More damage from Storm Katy

Another victim of Storm Katy which raged over the Easter weekend, Onward of ITO was on a mooring in Keyhaven when one of the other boats broke partially loose crashing into other nearby boats.

Ashore at West Solent Boatbuilders, the chap I was talking to didn't know if the hull damage was superficial but clearly a serious bit of scarfing or a new bowsprit is needed.

Friday 6 May 2016

Low Water Lymington

Neap tides and a midday low water over the May bank holiday weekend, not ideal to dry out and scrub unless the boat has shallow draft.

Might be a while getting off this mooring down in Oxey Marsh

Further along the Solent way past Pennington lagoon a long spit was exposed pointing down toward Hurst, the surface was mostly stone and shell, but the underlying mud was soft, not a good idea to go too far out.

Tuesday 3 May 2016

My First Boat

Well actually strictly speaking it's the second, his first was a scaled down dinghy which I made as a cradle when Joesph was first born. Plus last year Joseph decided to take over Erica's kayak, but this is his first real boat.

He tells his friends he "won it on ebay" as he still hasn't quite understood that dad had to pay for it.

The first time out it was pretty gusty, even in the river, but capsize was avoided and there was some great fun reaching up and down.