Monday 28 October 2019

Fowey River Class

I've been sailing some relatively modern boats of late, the Laser Stratos and a Hartley 12 to name but two. While I appreciate the speed, the lightness etc, I'm finding the constant movement, adjusting position, hiking in and out didn't make for a relaxing sail.

Not a problem during a race, but  especially for cruising or just pottering around and a long sail, I realised that the type of boat I really enjoy sailing are more traditional, certainly slower, but more stable boats which give me confidence to go further afield with confidence that if I loose concentration for a few moments I won't be swimming.

One of my favorites is the Fowey River class, elegant, seaworthy and so attractive. I haven't managed to sail one yet but can't help admiring themevery time we're in Fowey.


Friday 25 October 2019

West Country cutters & ketches

Some fine traditional boats stopped off in Fowey while we were there.

While I'm no expert this look like a pilot cutter of which there were several types plying their trade in the western approaches, all characterised but powerful hulls and large sail area.

Trading ketches were a common sight in the west country harbours and estuaries a hundred years or more ago.

These days they mostly used for sail training

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."