Friday 31 May 2024

Digital Training Vessel

 This looks to be the new digital training vessel owned an operated by South Hampshire College Group.

According to a recent announcement SHCG ordered the vessel which is powered by Robosys Voyager AI, 

the craft "will be used through remote control operations either in-line-of-sight from ashore using a local wireless controller or from a classroom-based control. "

This type of craft is used for surveying, patrolling, monitoring, and more recently, search and rescue operations, training on the Group’s new DTV will enable students to learn on a real-life, compact uncrewed surface vessel to support marine engineering, marine electronics, software and digital skills. 

I had the opportunity to talk with IBM's lead architect for the Mayflower Autonomous Ship project and discussed the granularity of it's collision avoidance capability which in terms of large scale items ships, rocks etc is very good. My view is the capabilities will need to progress in identification of small floating hazzards including yachts as these types of semi intelligent craft proliferate especially so in nearshore operations where much of the wind farms, navigation buoys, fisheries combine with heavy small craft traffic.

Monday 27 May 2024

Another James

 My post about the James Autocycle promoted Greg to send me this pic of his 1952 James Colonel trials bike…197cc big brother of the Autocycles which he's owned for over 50 years, looking really nice and still going strong.

I really like these lightweight trials bikes. Something like this would be a great bike for just local quick trips, down to the shops or local cafe. Having cured myself (well at least recovering from) too many boats maybe I'm heading for too many bikes!!

Friday 24 May 2024

Random boats

After the recent travel items, lets get back to the boats

 Above a really nice small open motor boat, harbour launch ideal for fishing, picnics or just pottering. In these days of ubiquitous inflatable RIBs, it's nice to see a simple and straight forward and useful boat, although that center console with instrument array is a nod to the modern.

 Apparently in the 1920's and 30's and post WW2 small hydroplanes similar to this were raced in Southampton water. This seems to be a later and powerful craft but some of the early hydroplanes are very small. There's a example of a Bruce Crandel designed Class C Flyer in the National Maritime Museum which looks to be around perhaps  six or eight feet powered by a small but high performance outboard motor of the day.

There are several plans for still available relatively easy to build with epoxy and play, which would be an interesting project if time allowed.

Such a useful dinghy, circa 12 feet, single lug sail (seems like standing lug), easy to sail, good a s yacht tender, could be rowed, sailed or fitted with an outboard. Light enough to launch. The only downside is the upkeep of all that lovely varnish work, but I guess that's the price of beauty.

Monday 20 May 2024

Peak Tram

Some more from the recent visit to HK the Peak Tram is actually a funicular railway which runs from Admiralty up to Victoria peak. The route I took to walk up and down passes by in a couple of places and here at a lower level some serious maintenance and improvement was underway.

Below looking down to Admiralty from the same place

 Picture from around 100 years ago, looking up I think from the same spot to the peak.

 The walk up and down although very hard at times is so nice I don't think I'll be tempted to take the tram.

Friday 17 May 2024

Past Times - Hamble

Over at Winchester market there's a stall selling prints of Hampshire villages taken from old glass plate photos. This one shows a couple of boat men in what seems to be one of the little creeks downriver from what is now Mercury Gardens looking down river across to Warsash.

 The sailing dinghy at the edge of the creek is interesting, full bodied traditional design of a type which had all but disappeared until the revival of modern classics such as Francios Vivier's Ilur. There doesn't appear to be a boom, so likely lug rigged, exactly the type of boat I like.

Monday 13 May 2024


It may just be a coincidence, but back in the early 1990's I owned a dinghy exactly like this, including the glassed over gunnels and rubbing strips and I admit to leaving it chained up on the foreshore for a couple of years when we sailed off to the Caribbean.

 Having got back to UK what with one thing an another it got forgotten and as far as I know, stayed chained up on the foreshore, until a few years later when it turned up in the Hamble having been bought for almost next to nothing by one of the old live aboard characters for commuting between his yacht and the RAFYC bar. 

He did quite a good job of fixing it up, including a fresh coat of battleship grey paint and it was in use until his death probably 15 or more years ago.

Maybe this isn't the same boat, it's certainly had some more nice modifications and in better shape than when I possibly owned it, but it could well be and it makes a good story.

Friday 10 May 2024


We stopped at Frome recently, somewhere we hadn't visited for many years and had forgotten how charming the old rural town is.

Steep cobbled streets and buildings of Bath stone, maybe not Sharfesbury but you can imagine the baker's boy wheeling his bicycle up here (if you're old enough to remember the advert)

There's clearly some local civic pride to have gone to the time and trouble with the decorations of lamp posts like this fine example

And more than a sense of humour with some of the local shops, not the sort of name you're likely to see in a chain store in a big shopping mall and all the better for that.

Frome as a town grew and prospered with the wool trade and is still very aware of it's history.

 "Sheppards Barton" alleyway and steps on the Frome heritage trail, before the days of traffic. Would be interesting to know who or what Sheppards Barton was or why it was so named, I should have taken a better photo of the information wall plate.

 And don't think Frome is all 118th an d19th century history, there is clearly a modern social scene in the town. Would be interesting to understand what exactly a Buff disco is? And maybe with disco and Kiki Dee modern-ish would be a better description.

Really great secondhand bookshop, worth climbing the hill for.

The 19th century wealth of the town is perhaps displayed best in St John the Baptist church near the centre, the carved reliefs on the walled steps leading to the church are magnificent.

As is the interior, see here the side chapel and stained glass.

York's Motor Works and prior to that the Yeovil Tractor Company occupied grand premises on the main street.

 Slightly off the tourist beaten track, and as consequence maybe passed over with some of the less beneficial trends, with quite a few interesting places to eat, it's worth a visit together with the nearby Cley Hill

Aunty 's for Sale

Featured recently Tia Patricia is up for sale over in Emsworth, great boat for pottering around the harbour, fishing, picnics.


Monday 6 May 2024


Very aggressive looking motorboat, looks like high performance design perhaps for military or security use?

 Thanks to Steve for pointing out in comments that this is in fact an autonomous, unmanned Mine Counter-Measures craft, in short a robotic minesweeper. 

I've mentioned before that my Dad served on an Algerine Class minesweeper in WW2 including creating a safe pathway for the allied invasion of Italy, I'm sure he would have been interested, encouraged and enthusiastic to see that technology has come so far since those days

Friday 3 May 2024

This weekend

The Totland Inter club Sandcastle Competition will be held this coming weekend with teams representing Hurst Castle SC, Kehaven YC, Lymington Town SC and Yarmouth SC.


Teams from the "north island" will sail over to the Wight for a competition start at around 2.30 with 60 minutes building time to complete the sand castle or sculpture within a 3 meter x 3 meter plot.

 Prizes will be given for best traditional sand castle, most original sand sculpture and the famous Golden Bucket for best overall.