Monday, 21 October 2019

La Faou

It was the first time we have visited the north western tip of Brittany, a small village La Faou at the top of one of the rivers running into the Raz be Brest.

The old town quay was literally a stone's throw from where we were staying and there was a real sense of tradition as illustrated by this local boat.

The village  has a strong sense of history, illustrated by these old photographs which were dotted around. 

Above I tried to capture the same scene on my first photo, the original  was taken in 1900.
The hard taken in 1950.

A steamer embarking and or dissembarking from the same quay side in 1900.

Traditional fishing boats in 1922.

It was really nice to have a connection the past and understand a little of the history and past events that had taken place where we stoon.

Friday, 18 October 2019


Apparently Douarnenez has no fewer than four harbours, it's also famous for a classic boat festival, so even though it wasn't festival time we had to make a visit while we were in Brittany.

Chateau style villa on an island with a traditional, local boat moored nearby, could be a scene from 100 years ago.

The Pouldavid River is entered via a lock, so while the outer harbours have a huge tidal range, once inside depth is pretty constant.

The river is home to a huge number of interesting boats. I need to sort through the huge number of photos I took on the day and will post some of the interesting ones.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Interesting rowing boat

Spotted at the rowing club in Treboul in France.

Clearly designed for coastal rowing and the often rough waters of Brittany, this is no traditional gig. It lo row.oks more like an Australian surf boat, fast and wet to row.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Ashlett Creek

With a glorious sunny day but not much wind I sailed and rowed Tosh over to Ashlett Creek. Yachting World recently described it as "one of the Solent’s most 
delightful hidden treasures." I probably wouldn't go that far but it's a nice quiet spot nestled between the oil refinery and the now decommissioned power station

Highlights of the creek are the tidal mill building which is past years was the club house for Ashlett sailing club and did a very fine sausage sandwich with chips and beer, sadly it seemed to be closed the last couple of times I've been there, but the Jolly Sailor pub is open and the small quay accessable at high water still seems to be free.

To port on the way in is Ashlett Saing Club, who have a visitors pontoon and have always been very friendly and welcoming.

The creek entrance is very low lying, now improved by a couple of new buoys.

It's an easy sail from Hamble or rather would be were it not for the  Sunday motor boats powering up and down at high speed creating huge wash.

Thursday, 10 October 2019


Back in2016 Hampshire Countryside  Service closed the river footpath for about four months to effect essential repairs, which reapairs consisted of piling sand and gravel on top of the existing short stretch of path where it passes the old Crab Lake car park. It was no surprise therefore that within a few short months and a couple of gales the repairs were badly damaged.

There have been a couple of stop gap and clearly temporary repairs made since 2016,  so it was a welcome to see in September major repair work being undertaken, even if it did involve a further path closure.

Alas those of us looking at the  way the wooded sidings had been arranged thought, that isn't going to last long, and sure enough into the first week of October and substantial parts of the surface have been washed away by the recent high tides.

Doesn't take much imagination to realise that water was going to get in under  and over the wooden shoring plans and wash away the relatively soft sand and gravel.

Appreciating this is a small example,but our councils and local politicians endlessly claim that more money is needed for front line services, yet demonstrate a reckless waste in the use of our taxes by not doing the job correctly the first tor second times. It would come as no surprise, if when the current problems get worse, the Countryside  Service will want to close the path on health and safety grounds.

The above shows the results of the almost total lack of maintenance to this highly used public amenity during the past 20 years.

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Going, going ....


The turbine hall at Fawley bit the dust (literally) last week.

Friend Malcolm was passing on his boat, there were two big flashes and the roof fell in, seconds later they heard the shock wave, which was in his own words a "Flipping big bang."

Monday, 7 October 2019

More classics

Not all the classics at the Birdham Pool festival were boats.

Ariel's famous Square Four motorcycle produced between 1931 and 1959, my dad had one for a short time when I was very young. I seem to recall it broke down a lot.

Friday, 4 October 2019

Inisheen - David Moss Catboat

I received an email from Richard Gregson at specialist broker Woodenships asking if he could use a photo I took some years ago of the very lovely David Moss Catboat Inisheen.

Browsing some of the boats for sale (Richard's site probably gets far too many visitors like me) I noticed that she's sold and hardly surprising, if I didn't already have a catboat I would have been tempted.

The picture was taken on the Beauleau river back in 2003 or 4, I used to organise an Old Gaffers race from Buckler's Hard up to the top of the navigable top of the river for small open boats.

Richard still has plenty of other nice boats for sale, including a very nice Ivan Jefferies built gaff cutter down in Chichester.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019


Joseph  had gone off to his friends so Mrs BB & I decided to walk along the river to the marina cafe for lunch, forgetting that it was midday high water and a strong southerly had been blowing for a few days.

The river path was completely flooded as was the dinghy park at Swanwick hard.

Fortunately we have more than one marina with cafes and this one, although close to flooding was still open(sand bags were at the ready.

Over at Lands End Road water levels were getting very close to spoiling the day. When I was a teenager my mum went mad when I tried to bring a motorbike into the kitchen (it was the middle of freezing cold winter), she would definitely wouldn't have been happy with a steam boat  floating around the larder.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Kayak Racing

Joseph and I helped out by doing marshaling and safety boat for the Hamble kayak racing in one of the Hamble Sea Scouts boats.

The event was run from Fairthorne Manor on the upper Hamble, it was impossible to count the entries from the boat but I would guess getting on for 200 kayaks

The race pretty much took over the whole stretch of the upper river above the motorway bridge.

Hamble Sea Scouts took four safety boats staged along the river, Joseph and I were stationed at the downstream turning point where the wind was strongest and of course where most of the capsizes occurred.

We managed to get three of the capsized competitors back in their boats and back in the race, but these two sadly retired after capsizing twice. The wind had got up I'm guessing to gusts of 30 knot, they were getting tired and cold so discretion being the better part of valor they agreed to a ride all the way back up river.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Surly Todd The Axeman

Craft beers are hugely popular everywhere and more so in the US. Faced with a choice like this the first pint just had to be "Surly Todd the Axeman," which wasn't half bad or is that good.

In solidarity with our German colleague Otto, Bauhaus was next up, maybe under similar naming convention to Axeman it might have been called "Walter Gropius the Bad Ass", but in any event it was very modern and very good.

Over a couple of days we tried most of these except familiar Michelob, Stella and Guinness and the Stiegl Radler Grapefruit which was just going too far.

Monday, 23 September 2019

Birdham Pool Marina Classic Boat Festival

By happy coincidence we cycled along to the cafe a Birdham Pool to find the Classic boat festival in full swing.

There were some lovely boats on show. Below pretty sure this is a Laurent Giles design, same as Eric Hiscock's famous Wanderer III, with that classic LG cover stripe.

One of my favorites, Widgets, I really do have a thing for these classic small day boats and she's one of the best.

There was a good turn out and a mixed fleet of Bermudian rigs, gaffers and motor boats.

More than a few have featured before on these pages.

I keep thinking that something like this would make a great retirement project, but sadly not something that'slikely to happen anytime soon.

A nice looking Memory and the boat alongside, both great smallboats for pottering around Chichester harbour and the Solent.

How about a motorised tender, I'm guessing it was about 8 feet, with a single cylinder inboard engine. and check out the wire wheels on the trailer, fantastic.

More than a few gallons of varnish on display, including this more typical tender.

And an lovely wooden SCOW.

Birdham Pool marina is becoming something of a center for classic wooden boats.

Friday, 20 September 2019


Early morning or late afternoon when the wind has dropped off and the water is still, the saturated colours and contrast bring everything to life.

A time when that extra effort with bright work during winter maintenance really pays off.

Early light creeping over the hills and illuminating the masts.

As the world starts to wake up and the wind ripples the water, the reflections although still strong in colour become broken and hazy.

The waterfront is a source of endless fascination and variety.

Monday, 16 September 2019


There's something rather magical about a steam launch, power boating at a majestic pace, much like sailing some things can't be rushed -  if raising steam takes and hour then it takes an hour.

Then there's the very distinctive, not unpleasant smell of coal and steam, plus lots of mechanical things to play with. Pretty perfect for a day out on the river or the local estuary.