Friday 31 May 2019

Boleh on the hard

I've written about the unusual yacht Boleh before, and it was nice to be able to see her fully while out on the hard at Birdham.

Transom detail with secure storage for those two horse shoe life buoys .

Despite the full keel she has quite a sharp turn at the bilge and a relatively shallow dead rise at the stern, so I image she would have a steady motion at sea.

The pylon mast is her signature feature, but I also like some of the details.

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Britsh Moths in Fowey

I spotted an unusual group of dinghies near the Caffa Mill slipway in Fowey and went over for a chat, wondering if a new fleet of single handers had been established. In fact they were British Moths sailors who had gathered in Fowey for the bank holiday.

A rare sight along the south coast, there's a small fleet used for training at Salterns near Lymington built by Moth Champion John Claridge and apparently one boat at Netley SC, so it was good to see a fleet of them together out on salt water. The boats were a mixture of GRP and wood and had all come from inland locations.

On he water the boats showed their ability to cope with both the light and flukey winds in the protected parts of the river and the gusty, brisk conditions with quite a bit of swell, near the mouth of the estuary.

Having got to see them up close on the water from my kayak I can see why people like them. It's a shame the British Moth isn't more popular in Britain.

Monday 27 May 2019


I was down at Warsash on a perfect spring evening twilight, the photo's aren't very good but they hopefully give an impression of what it was like, the air still, glassy settled sea.

The huge container ship was passing down Southampton water but towers over Hamble Point across the  river.

I got talking to a man who was sat watching the view, he said he's lived in London for 29 years  but missed the sea so much he often came down to the coast to refresh his soul.

Friday 24 May 2019

Seagull Saturday

Well not exactly

Keyhaven duck population enjoying the some rare winter sunshine.

Monday 20 May 2019


Hester is a 27 foot gaff cutter, originally built in Mevagissey in Cornwall to a design by Roger Dongray (designer of the original Cornish Crabber range of boats ).

Looking like she has come fresh from a winter refurbish and awaiting her mast and rigging.

Friday 17 May 2019

Avebury and Salisbury Plain

Stone Henge has sadly become a theme park and visitor centre, long gone are the days when you could sit on the stones or even hold pop festivals in the stone circle.

But not too far away is the Neolithic henge monument containing three stone circles, around the village of Avebury. One of the best known prehistoric sites in Britain and still very accessible.

The village is surrounded by these massive earth works and megalith standing stones.

I remember this knoll from a school trip back in the early 70's, my friends Stuart and George had sloped off for a crafty cigarette and although I didn't smoke I hung out with them in the trees avoiding teachers.

The surrounding Salisbury plain is dotted with prehistoric earth works and burial mounds.

Nearby Silbury Hill is the largest artificial prehistoric mound in Europe,  probably built around 2470 to 2350 BC, we still don't know its purpose.

Local legend has it that another national treasure David Attenborough made a TV documentary and dig to try and discover the secrets of the hill which risked destabilizing the hill and led to a slight reduction in height. Whether that's true or not on the day we visited the hill was permanently fenced off.

More accessible and with commanding views of Silbury is the West Kennet long barrow. 

One of the largest, most impressive and most accessible Neolithic tombs in Britain.  Built in around 3650 BC and was used for a short time as a burial chamber, with around 50 people being buried there.

We were fortunate that a tour guided party were visiting and the guide who was very knowledgeable didn't mind us listening in and even asking questions.

Monday 13 May 2019

Birdham Cruiser

Not the typical cruiser you expect to see on the South Coast, but looking really nice.

When I was growing up near the Thames in the 60's these sort of cabin cruiser were maybe not popular as there weren't that many, but certainly a not uncommon sight. This specific design reminds me of a fleet of hire boats, I think they were called Bates, Star boats based in Staines, but the quality and varnished topsides probably suggest she was a private boat.

Great boat for weekending around Chichester harbour.

Friday 10 May 2019

Keyhaven Sailing

Keyhaven is one of my favorite creeks in the Solent, so we decided to join Hurst Castle SC as a good excuse to spend more time there and explore the area.

On Sunday Joseph joined the juniors, sailing 2 up in a Hartley 12, the club has a small fleet of boats in really nice condition which include the Hartley's and of course the ubiquitous optimists.

Above ,the girls were too busy chatting so Joseph managed to sneak past despite being in their lee.

Checking sail trim, Joseph and his co-pilot had never met before but got on really well and helped Joseph get to grips with a new to him boat. So much of youth sail training is directed towards single handed sailing, but the more I observe  I think it's missing the point. If you have the next Ben Ainsley then maybe that's different, but getting kids out on the water, having fun with their friends, mucking about and enjoying sailing; surely that's what it's about?

Boats lined up on the spit, protected from all directions, it's a great place for kids to learn safely, picnic lunch on the beach and then back for some more sailing.

Monday 6 May 2019

The Ferry

We dropped Joseph off at cub camp and on the way home decided to have an adult meal in the Ferry Restaurant.

The restaurant is actually the old floating bridge ferry from nearby Woolston, which was retired from service back in the late 70's or early 80's when the bridge was built linking Woolston to Southampton.

It's been a feature of the Elephant Boatyard ever since and still houses both the restaurant and the yard offices. The Elephant  was also setting for the fictitious Mermaid Yard in the TV series Howards Way and it's nice to see the memorabilia.

At the entrance the fantastic carved wooden elephant. And below in situ with Roma in the background looking great and ready for her 108th season.

Joseph camped out under canvass while storm Hanna raged overhead, but none the worse for that, we had a nice meal, there's even a happy hour Thursday and Friday so no doubt we'll be back.

Friday 3 May 2019

Warsash Insect Hotel

Nice, on a sunny spot near the hard.

Over ten years ago Jo apparently, approached Fareham Borough Council stating the strip of road which goes past some pretty cottages, looked tatty and unkempt.

The council told Jo they only had £11 in their budget to maintain the land, but said she could work on it herself if she wanted to – and that’s exactly what she did.

For the following decade, Jo, a keen gardener, planted blossoming blooms in the strip to make it look more attractive to passers-by. Now, half-a dozen-ladies maintain the site.

The plaque reads ‘In Memory of Jo Oliver who created this border.’