Tuesday 23 April 2024

England and St George's day

 The red cross on a white background, national flag of England  has recently come under abuse by the British Olympic Association  and Nike's design for the England football team shirt, while English Heritage are falling over backwards to tell us that St George wasn't actually English.

Unlike some of our neighbors we English don't seem to celebrate our patron saint much, and I confess the last time I went to the St George's day parade was with the Sea Scouts some 50 years ago.

Does it actually matter that our patron saint was born and died in the middle east? There's also some division over his origin some claiming it was Cappadocia in modern day Turkey, others that he was born in Joppa of Christian parents. The biblical city of Joppa is now understood to be Jaffa part of Tel Aviv.

Did he really kill a dragon and rescue a princess? It seems likely that he did die, executed for defending Christians against persecution by Roman Emperor Dicocietian in AD 303. His actions speak of bravery and integrity which are worthy of a patron saint. 

It's suggested that George's exploits were made known to England by Arculphus and Adamnan on return from the holy lands in circa AD 700 and was made patron saint of England in 1098 after appearing to the starving and outnumbered crusaders at Battle of Antioch in the same year, who went on to defeat the attacking regimens under Kerbogha.

So whether you can trace your ancestors back though the generations or if you have chosen this land as home, St George an adopted patron saint seems to be a good representative of the values of our island nation and worth celebrating

" All our past acclaims our future: Shakespeare's voice and Nelson's hand

Milton's faith and Wordsworth's trust in this our chosen and chain-less land"

Swinburne - England an Ode

Monday 22 April 2024


 For a variety of reasons we've been visiting the historic city of Winchester, often to walk the water meadows south of the city along the Itchen Navigation path, climbing St. Catherine’s Hill site of a hill fort and past Hospital of St. Cross established as an almshouse in medieval times, all of which are but a short stroll from the old city center.

The city itself is no less interesting having. once been the seat of government in pre-Norman England. Many of those historical roots can still be seen in the old center, below statue of William of Wykeham, Bishop of Winchester, 1367-1404 in the high street.

From more recent history probably 19th century, but don't be a nuisance in Hammond's passage, the little round nose and lips with. J.Ace is interesting, perhaps an insurance token> J.Ace is repeated on the main sign.

The high street formerly supported cobblers and boot makers, these day's there are more high end fashion shoes, cafe's and restaurants.

The old covered parade of shops

 There are lots of small passages and alleys linking the streets or opening out into a different space.

Not sure if this is a Parliament clock or just a commercial public timepiece.

Winchester also has it's own version of Banksy - Hendog who's artwork can be seen around the town

 Winchester has many famous attractions, the cathedral, Jane Austin's House, Winchester School, and as a result lots of cafes, bars and restaurants which make it a good place to visit, but there's huge amount to find just wandering slowly about and seeing what's around the next corner


Friday 19 April 2024

All Change

 One day it's blowing a gale, grey overcast and feeling like winter, there's flooding due the spring tide being pushed up by the wind reportedly as much as 3/4 of a meter above predicted HW and most probably the combined effect of the sun and moon alignment in the eclipse.

A couple of days later, the wind has dropped the sun has come out and it's feeling like Spring might actually have arrived.

Monday 15 April 2024


The two neighboring sailing clubs seem from across the saltings. On the left Hurst Castle SC and on the right Keyhaven YC. Both are a great place to sail from.


Friday 12 April 2024

Storm Kathleen

Sunday morning was probably the aftermath of Kathleen but it was still pretty breezy.

 The wind was blowing perpendicular across Southampton Water and even with the relatively short fetch it was kicking up white caps.

Combined with the spring tides the strong winds had pushed the high water height further which was flooding into the car park at Warsash.

Despite the conditions there were a couple of boats out, I only saw this making the approach and entry into the river making good speed with just two stay sails set.


Monday 8 April 2024


Seen in the yacht basin at Courseulles in Normandy, Papageno looks like she might be a Dragon, but I couldn't get close enough to be sure.

Courseulles is a small, tidal port on the Normandy coast which is mainly gently sloping beaches, there's a long history of day boats sailing from the port dating back well before the war.

 Interesting name, Papageno is half man and half bird, loves wine, women and music and is the secret star of Mozart's Magic Flute and also seems to mean bird catcher.

Friday 5 April 2024

Haul Out

 The Flugel, Greg's Memory sloop hauled out at the Pink Ferry marine railway

One of the benefits of a shoal draft centerboard is being able to access facilities which don't have the depth for deep draft boats.

Nice traditional interior.


Monday 1 April 2024

On the hard

What looks like an MFV, perhaps based on a Fife alongside the pier at Wicor in Portsmouth harbour, hopefully awaiting restoration.

 The photo has a washed out colour which seems to suit the scene, i can't claim any intention behind that I just took a quick pic using my phone.

Friday 29 March 2024

Itchen Ferry - Freda intrigue

Itchen Ferry Freda has been featured previously here looking great in a brief spell of winter sunshine.  

There is however some intrigue involving her history, according to local sources she was not originally called Freda, previous name unknown but still a working fishing boat, she was wrecked in the great storm which ravaged the UK in 1987.

At the time she broke her mooring and was washed ashore, suffering damage and so sold out of fishing use to a local yacht broker who effected repairs and put her to use as a leisure yacht.

It's an interesting chapter in a long history which has thankfully she survived and is still with us after all these years and looking good.

Monday 25 March 2024


 Spectacular view of the needles, thanks to one of the intrepid members of Hurst Castle SC who sail all year round.

Friday 22 March 2024


 Perhaps it's because twilight come early during winter and so is more noticeable, but the winter evening skies seem to be the most dramatic.

 Or perhaps as the clocks spring forward to BST at the end of March we're so thank full for the lighter evenings and the approach of spring that we like to forget the passing winter.

Monday 18 March 2024

Massey Ferguson

 Lovely example of an old Massey Ferguson tractor down at the Donkey sanctuary, would be just the thing for launching and recovery as is common on the Normandy coast, but probably too nicecondition to run into the sea and expose to that nasty salt water.


Friday 15 March 2024

Trailer trials

Following the sale of the Wanderer I found myself with one combi type (piggy back) road trailer and three boats. 

The road base came with the Cornish Cormorant and although old is actually in good condition. So what I needed were two launching trolleys for the other two boats and which fit securely on the road base, so I can keep all the boats on a dedicated a trolley and move whichever one with the road base as necessary - tall order.

Unable to buy anything suitable, I set too with some steel section, angle grinder (with cutting disk - hacksaw is far to slow). After watching some Youtube videos I bought one of the flux core MIG welders which after a bit of practice was quite easy to use and get good results - Welding tip buy an Auto Darkening welding helmet.

Eldest son also brought down his more powerful gas shielded MIG which was good for the heavy components like the axles, plus it was a really good father and son time and a good excuse to go down the pub afterwards..

 Above collecting the two new trolleys from our local galvanizers. All up probably not much more than four days work in total. All that's left to do is fit the new wheels and buffers and I'll be ready for the new season.

Monday 11 March 2024

James auto cycle

Nice example of a James auto cycle. Auto cycles were typically motorised bicycle attachments  generally  50cc to 100cc sold in the immediate post war austerity years sold by many UK manufacturers including James, Sun, New Hudson etc.

Many had pre war origins and engines, the James possibly one of the better makes with their Comet and Excelsior Consort models were good for maybe 40mph.

In the early 1950s import restrictions began to be lifted and the market was overwhelmed by well designed better built continental mopeds mainly from Germany…. notably the 50 cc NSU quickly which had gears and was as fast as the older 98cc auto cycles. At the same time the Vespa and Lambrettas arrived and very quickly all of those funny little British bikes were consigned to history

 Hampshire council continue to keep cycles off the pavement, but not inflation has caused them to add higher fines to the old cast sign.

Friday 8 March 2024

Glide Boat

Had an interesting chat with the owner of this Glide Boat down on the slipway at Swanwick. From a distance I thought it was a LiteBoat which is a similar French bot built I believe with carbon fiber

By contracts Glide Boats are made of roto-moulded plastic, like many kayaks and sailing dinghies. It's robust and strong and while heavier than carbon at 22Kg the Glide Solo is not exactly heavy and should slip along very nicely.

Detail at the stern is a drop down, or flip up skeg, which gives good directional stability.

 The other benefit arising from the construction is cost, the owner kindly shared that we paid well under £2,000 for the whole set up including oars and trolley, pretty good way to start the new year's fitness regime and looks like a lot of fun.

If you wanted to try one, Rowing Adventures over at Lymington do try out sessions.

Monday 4 March 2024

Weston SC

We joined Weston Sailing Club in 2023, but life events got in the way and sadly we only managed to sail a very few times at the start of the season.

The club's situation north of Netley, located in the wooded shores of Southampton Water is lovely and both the dinghy park and car park are spacious.

With the prevailing winds the club is a lee shore so a quick launch and recovery are necessary in such conditions.

Someone joked that the cannon adjacent the race office was to repel non members ­čśé but in fact the club is really friendly and welcoming.

Friday 1 March 2024

After the rain

 Driving through the New Forest the rain was lashing down and the wind howling, I had to slow down to drive safely. A few miles further as I approached Keyhaven things couldn't have been more different.

Flat calm, not a breath of wind nor hint of rain, typical of a passing squall.

The harbour surface like glass.

Sadly it didn't last long, within another 30 minutes or so the rain resumed although thank fully with less intensity.

Monday 26 February 2024

South Downs chalk stream Idyll

Couple of photos from last summer along one of Hampshire's chalk streams, the water is crystal clear, filtered by the chalk hills.

Nearby there are watercress beds, cress being one of the traditional local summer crops.

 I could probably put up with water in the basement to live there, but not sure about the thatch, nice to look at someone else's house with that. Like teak decks, an expensive repair waiting to happen.

Friday 23 February 2024

Harrison Butler

Local Harrison Butler design, I'm never quite sure but I presume the Z denotes the Zyclon design which was a 4 ton 22 foot sloop which the famous Doctor created for production manufacture from an earlier design for Captain O M Watts in the late 1930's.

These small HB boats just look so perfect and with the metacenric shelf hull projection apparently sail really well. Nice.

Monday 19 February 2024

Sinking feeling

Further to the local yacht sinking, the boat in question was exposed enough to be bailed out during the LW springs (I believe by the Pink Ferry guys),

and then subsequently re-floated and put back on her mooring.

Apparently sunk due to rainwater after being abandoned or at least severely neglected on her mooring, she looks like a Hurley 22, one of which I seem to recall made an Atlantic crossing some years back.

Above looks like another potential sinking candidate, already sitting very oddly bows down like that probably only a matter of time and a few days of heavy rain before she goes submarine.

The problems of abandoned boats locally appears to be getting worse. With ever rising costs of moorings, running costs and maintenance, while the capital values are virtually nil, owners are walking away leaving the mooring operators and port authorities to pick up the removal and disposal.

Friday 16 February 2024

High High Wtaer

With some big spring tides together with combined atmospheric pressure and southerly winds  have forced recent high water up by as much as three quarters of a meter above predicted levels (that's almost two and a half feet in old money).

 There was no one sitting on the town quay benches over in Lymington on Saturday morning. The flood gates were closed and when we went past they were holding back the water.

We heard that further west in Keyhaven, the water had reached the war memorial in the village (photo courtesy HCSC members).

 Down by the Royal Lymington YC the tide was up to the bottom of the wall and just staring to spill over.

No doubt there will be speculation that global warming is involved, but the levels were well below the 2007 big HW, plus there are many other examples such as this and this.