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.

Friday 13 September 2019

Virgo Voyager

I admit to having a soft spot for these, built by Newbridge boats, the cabin roof was a bit big, but it gave loads of room below for a23 footer and that flush fore deck was great to work on.

Sailing performance was not exactly riveting,  apparently the fin keeled version was better than the bilge keels on mine, but great little family boat, well built and very tough. We met a guy in the Azores who had sailed one there single handed from the south coast.

Tuesday 10 September 2019


I've mentioned several time my fascination with day boats, so a trip to the west country is always a good opportunity to check out a few examples.

No idea what the above is maybe someone will recognise the sail emblem?

Above a Troy class one of my all time favourites.

Not sure if this is a tosher or a lugger or a cove crabber or hooker or a drifter or a driver -could be any or none of the above

I think this a Picarooner  only because I've seen a few before which were made by Heard down in Mylar

No idea what this was and hard to see as it's covered, but about 20 feet it was looking modern and a large volume and robust daysailer.

Friday 6 September 2019


Looking very pretty and well kept, Zircon is a Harrison Butler design Built in 1938 by Alfred Lockhart of Brentford, Middlesex. No. 25 of the class.

Build larch planking on oak frames with teak cockpit and coach roof.
LOA : 22ft.
Beam : 7ft.
Draft : 4ft
Displacement : 4 Tons TM

I'd like to see her out sailing.

Monday 2 September 2019


Drop deal gorgeous classic moored off of Peter Williams yard at Bodinnick

Probably no room down below but just look at the length of that boom.

And a tall mast that almost certainly sets a topsail, can imagine her bowling along under a cloud of white canvass.