Friday 31 December 2021

Happy New Year 2022

As we usher in 2022 lets do so with a spirit of positivity and confidence.

COP26 may have been FLOP26, the remaining glaciers might not have enough ice left for a decent gin and tonic, the rising seawater might be lapping around our ankles but mankind is always defined by our hopes and aspirations.

Folk boat Friday

Lets close out the year with one of my favorite boats.

Actually it was a Saturday morning in a leafy side street in Lymington, which was a great opportunity to take a look at those lovely lines.

This is a GRP (fiberglass) version of what I believe is the Nordic Folk Boat, the moulded chine lines really show off the shape. 

I'm reminded of the late Phil Bolger's essay  "Afloat on a sea of peas" although the form is very different to many of his innovative box designs.

You can almost hear the water lapping and trickling on those plank lines.

 All the best for the new year, if you haven't made a resolution then at least try and get afloat more often in 2022, be kind to everyone even those who don't deserve it and remember you can't change the past so work on changing the future.

Monday 27 December 2021

Winter Visitors

Apart from a couple of chilly days it's been a mild autumn and winter so far, but that hasn't stopped winter visitors to the river including the usual Canada and Brent geese.
I'm not sure what these small birds are, they were flocking around the old wrecked MFV but seem now to have moved on to pastures or rather mudflats anew.

Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas

 With a slight break in the festive drizzle I took a walk along the river while Mrs BB was baking one of her scrumcious cakes for later.

Apart from other walkers there we a couple of runners and cyclists out, a paddle boarder and even a couple out on a kayak, all of which are not a bad way to spend Christmas morning.

 The river though was still and serene, if a little grey.

Whatever you are doing here's wishing you a merry Christmas from Bursledon.

Monday 20 December 2021

Tony's Hopoloney

 I've been working my way through the beer advent calendar, which admittedly wasn't too difficult at the end of the working week and over the weekend.


I wasn't quite sure what to make of this one. I've drunk Lef's Ruby (forest fruits) and the one with honey, but white chocolate and milkshake was a new one one.

But I have to report it was surprisingly good, not a session beer but good as an aperitif.

Friday 17 December 2021

Forest Ferrari

Meridien Modena is a bit of a tourist hot spot at the bottom of Lyndhurst high street looking at the array of exotic cars on display. We pass so often that we don't normally pay much notice, but this caught my attention on the way to our favorite cafe.

Not all of the premises are as luxurious as the showrooms, but these old photos are interesting especially the one of Peter Sellers with what is probably a 246 Dino and to my mind one of the nicest Ferrari ever.

As usual they have quite a few to choose from, so if Santa is going to be generous this year it might be worth a visit.

At the time of writing the open roadster was no longer on display, so maybe someone has already bought it. 

C'est la vie and anyway how would I have fitted a roof rack for the kayak?


Monday 13 December 2021


The two Wagtail dinghies purchased from the local Sea Scouts, safely ashore in Greg's shed for the winter.


Lovely boats, I'm going to ask to go for a sail in one next season, watch this space.

Friday 10 December 2021

High Water High Pressure

 The planets had all aligned on a December Saturday morning, brief high pressure promised clear blue sky, HW was a very respectable 10.15AM and the pile of lumber and building materials being stored in the garage for the garden room had just about cleared, so I could pull out Gato Negro without too much difficulty and go for the first row in months.

Arriving bang on a predicted 4.8m HW the saltings which cut off Badam Creek from the rest of the river so I was able to row straight across, in the distance is the shed formally used by Salterns Boatbuilders which according to Greg the water would come under the doors on such tides


This is an old raft used by the navy working alongside warships for hull painting and maintenance, made up of massive oak timbers to prevent the work party getting squeezed between ship and the dock wall. You can gauge the size of those shackles.

 For years it was stranded on the foreshore at Bursledon pool, but floated off during extreme HW in 2007 going down stream on the ebbing tide presumably without doing too much damage to moored boats and ending up at Badam, even this morning's tide wasn't enough to float it off.

Gato pulled up at the cafe in Hamble, another foot or so of tide and I would have be able to row past the take away window.

Monday 6 December 2021

Changing seasons changing scenes

 As the days rush into winter, the leaves fall and reveal views that are disguised in summer's growth. 


This picture taken in January allows a view from the church in Bursledon across the river to Sarisbury Green.

Inside the church was cold, still and sad with the pandemic restrictions in place.



Friday 3 December 2021


 As the nights have been drawing in with the rapid equinoctial changes the evening twilight's have often been dramatic and full of foreboding.

On the night we remember Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot over 400 years ago I'm reminded but can't remember who wrote "The Only Man Ever to Enter Parliament with Honest Intentions".

Update - I wrote this post back in November meaning to post on 5th, but the commentary on Guy Fawkes is still makes me smile

Wednesday 1 December 2021

Countdown to Christmas

 An early present from Mrs BB. Going to be a challenge but will try and keep up.

Monday 29 November 2021

Big Mean Green Sailing Machine

 Spotted at the Berthon yard in Lymington, in fact not something you'd miss either on of off the water.

 It's actually a Knierim FC53 designed as a very fast around the world cruiser, which sounds like a bit of a contradiction because sailing at whatever rate of knots isn't a fast way to get around the world and is enjoyable for that very reason.

Whatever if someone's spending £1.5 million which is the asking price then they're entitled to travel how they please. 

There's a really good video on Aquaholic  if you want to know more and which will save me typing. 

With apologies again to Tom Wolfe for the title

Friday 26 November 2021

Cara 16

I'm pretty sure this is a boat that I haven't seen this boat for a few years, a Cara 16 Miss Nighy.

 Making down the river at the start of a perfect autumn day, about as good as it gets.

Monday 22 November 2021


I have it on good authority that the local Sea Scouts are selling off some of their old boating stock.

Anyone looking for a very cheap project Wayfarer could do well with one of these, all three are old GRP boats that wouldn't take much to get them sailing and will be very cheap.

There are a few interesting keel boats including a 1720, a Dragon, an E Boat (an IOR mini ton) and this which I believe is a MacWester Kelpie the open day boat version

LOA: 14’11” 4.55m LWL: 12’6” 3.81m Beam: 5’ 6” 1.68m Draft: 2’0” 0.61m Disp: 800lb Ball 450lb Sail: 115ft2 10.7m2 

If you're interested pleas drop me an email and I'll pass on your details to the Scouts, but hurry they won't hang around.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Slow moving traffic

 A traction engine or steamroller are not an uncommon sight locally, many of the of steam engines operated by members of the South Hampshire Historic Steam & Engineering Society, based at  Bursledon Brickworks Museum are taken out for a "run" either as part of their maintenance or for the simple pleasure of piloting one of these beautiful machines along the highways and byways.

With working speeds of three or four miles an hour the pace is leisurely and rightly so if you imagine the braking force required to stop one. A run around the block of 10 or 12 miles is going to take a while including a couple of hours to fire and steam up, but maybe that's the whole point.

Monday 15 November 2021

Fast Skiff

 Apologies for the poor quality photo of this fast two person skiff, which I'm pretty sure had sliding seats and well as outriggers.

 I've been pondering building a similar fast and lightweight skiff as an alternative to Gato Negro. I really like Ken Basset designed Firefly and closer to home Paul Fisher has a nice two seat Thames skiff which might be the boat above. 

I've got the plans for Dave Gentry's Ruth which is a lovely looking boat built very lightweight using skin on frame construction which is very interesting.

Friday 12 November 2021

Hamble Tranquility

 I came across these pictures and frankly can't remember if I've used them before, but they are a reminder of the peace and tranquility of an early morning on the river.

Monday 8 November 2021


 I've spent a good deal of this season building a garden room or as a friend said "a big shed" at the bottom of the garden.

Passing through the boatyard recently I spotted this which would make a brilliant weekend retreat.  A shed is pretty much a shed but location, location, location.

Friday 5 November 2021

Autumn's Bounty

With the recent change of weather there's been a breakout of fungi locally. Walking down the garden in the early morning to eject a visiting mouse the cat brought in still alive, there was almost a carpet of what look like magic mushrooms - don't know why I think that, having never been inclined to try them.

Later out walking, I spotted this crop, no idea if they are edible or not and honestly I'm not confident that I could identify so with any certainly. In France apparently you can take wild mushrooms for testing at some pharmacies which sounds like a good idea.

In past years we used to visit the market in Sete at this time of year which had the most amazing array on sale, alas not this year, so I'm cooking mushroom risotto for tea with common button mushrooms picked in the wild at Tesco.

Monday 1 November 2021


The local Sea Scouts were very kindly given some boats from the estate of a late local businessman. These comprised two Wagtail dinghies and a Thames rowing skiff.

The wagtails are really nice traditional dinghies, very much in the vein of Ransom's Swallows and Amazons, but not really what young teenagers want to sail. Modern dinghies like Pico's or Feva's are more exciting and need significantly less maintenance. The spars and sails had gone missing over the years so the Scouts decided to sell all three boats.

 Wagtails were built on the Hamble by our local boat builder Greg at Salterns Boat builders for many years and having spotted them for sale he and a friend bought both so they are in good hands to be bought back to full compliment. 

At time of writing the Thames skiff is still looking for a new home.

Friday 29 October 2021

Three Brothers

 My friend Malcolm has been out and about in the Solent over summer sending me pictures of interesting boats.


 The Three Brothers is a 28 foot, originally Cornish boat owned and maintained by three brothers out of Littlehampton  for many years and has appeared in many Old Gaffers Association events.

I seem to recall she was quite badly damaged a few years ago, but judging by the photo she's been repaired and looking great.

Tuesday 26 October 2021

Blast from the past

 I remember lusting over these back in the 1970's, well before I could drive, having fitted a new rear view mirror to my Mobylette moped, I no doubt thought I was ready for building a kit car looking something like a cross between a Lamborghini and Corvette. School, girlfriends, Uni probably fortunately, all got in the way.


 Designed by Richard Oaks as the Nova on a VW chassis and engine in the UK and in the US sold as the Sterling. That lift up, center section/door was like something out of Thunderbirds. They were built somewhere in Southampton and apparently successful, although I've only ever seen three or four on the road.

The eagle eyed reader might point out that the engine looks nothing like a VW flat four, in fact it's an aluminum Rover V8 (derived from the Buick engine). Hung out the back there it must have had some interesting handling to say the least.

Great to see one, even better if it's getting restored. It seems there's an active owners association and forum

Friday 22 October 2021

Hovercraft flights

 We were going over to Lee on Solent on Saturday morning and passed the Hovercraft Museum which was having a very busy day including demonstration flights from the slipway adjacent Daedalus in partnership with Hovertravel.

 Seen here heading out into the Solent.

Having never been on a hovercraft I floated the idea that a trip would make a good Dad birthday or Christmas present, there are still some dates coming up this year.

Hovercraft Museum

Hovercraft Ride Days 15-minute demo rides on one of the Hovertravel Hovercrafts! 

 16th October 2021 

13th November 2021 1

1th December 2021 

 Plus there's a Hover Halloween season, event who knew there were haunted Hovercraft

Monday 18 October 2021

Italian Job

I've had a thing for Italian motorbikes going way back to the days when my school friend Clive had a Garelli moped, a complete contrast from the Mobylette I owned. While my school friends were buying Hondas, Yamahas and Suzukis, I was lusting after the single cylinder Ducati desmo despite the fact that I could only afford an aging Royal Enfield - well at least it was a 250 single. 

Objects of desire were the Moto Morni 350 V twin, the stunningly beautiful Moto Guzzi 750S3 and the fabulous MV Augusta. Of all the two wheeled Italian objects of desire it was the Laverda was top of my list, just like this spotted up near the green recently.

It was on a black background H plate which suggests it's 1969.

Friday 15 October 2021

Two tone

I spotted this at a local marina thinking I've seen a two tone boat like that somewhere before.

  Later remembering it was The Sailing Frenchman one of many sailing youtubers who sailed an Ecume de Mer - Ann Alie to the Caribbean, now moved on to crew super yachts and race Mini Transats.

Ann Alie was had a similar colour scheme but was fitted with a bow sprit and without the contracting sheer.

Monday 11 October 2021

Autumn days

 Recent days have seen perfect autumn weather, the mornings misty with a heavy dew settled on cobwebs. The sun breaking through and burning off the mist and the day moves towards a sunny midday. 



The early trees are starting to turn yellow and brown, chestnuts are falling, bushes are scattered with berries. This picture pretty much represents the day.


Friday 8 October 2021

Jets - captions?

Caption competition


The best I could come up with :

The ultimate garden ornament

The gnomes have moved on from fishing

Normally boys toys, maybe these are his and hers?

Monday 4 October 2021


I'm reasonably sure this pretty yawl is a willow Bay Boats "Shilling", she sits on a drying mooring at Emsworth just below the millpond.


I think she's called Marjory, and is either new or very well kept, the colour scheme is great.

 An ideal day boat for sailing around the protected waters of Chichester harbour.

Friday 1 October 2021

Things could be worse

But probably not much.

Walking along the river for a lunchtime break and my eyesight being not what it was, something seemed not quite right going on over at Swanwick hard.


Sure enough the owner of the van was having a bad day. The side of the hard changes to deep, soft mud really quickly, very easy to get a wheel caught and then.

I had to go back to work, hopefully they got out ok, HW is at 17.22 so they had a bit of time.

Monday 27 September 2021

Jaguar 22

 The Jaguar 22 was designed by Frank Butler of Catalina Yachts, USA., in 1969 as the Catalina 22 and built in England for many years as the Jaguar on Canvey Island in the Thames estuary.

A lifting keel is operated by a winch on the bridge deck, but this one also has the optional bilge skegs which were fitted to protect the hull when drying out.

 Really nice little boat, probably one of the best of it's time.

Friday 24 September 2021

Solent Puffer?

It looked at first glance as though Para Handy has come to the Solent, but the more I looked around as this motor launch the more I liked it.

I'm still not sure about the cabin trunk, sloping as it does, but sitting in that wheelhouse on a cold or rainy day with a slow revving diesel, turning a big prop would be a good way to travel.