Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Delpha's tender

Over in Chichester I spotted this lovely wooden tender.

It's true that she would benefit from some tlc and a varnishing, but despite that her design speaks of  safe and efficient yacht tender, clearly meant for rowing and able to carry a good load.

She is set up for two sets of oars but no sign of sailing rig. That pad for the outboard looks like a later addition.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Sea Kings

A few weeks ago Daughter Katy transferred to the Fleet Air Arm and started her training at HMS Saltern over in Gosport. For those not familiar with the British military the Fleet Air Arm is the navy air force.

After a few years of more general shipboard duties Katy decided to train in aircraft engineering. Families were invited to go along to see the facilities which as well as seeing Katy was an opportunity too good to miss. The tour took us through the workshops have examples of the different helicopters the trainees will be working on.

Not surprisingly most were retired aircraft, like these Sea Kings which were great to go aboard. They are due to go out of service in the next few years and the modern replacements won't have anything like these old dashboard gauges and controls, the flight controls being replaced by computerised and head up displays.

This was an interesting detail the tail including the rotor assembly fold for more effective storage aboard ships. At the top of the body section you can see a transmission coupling which takes power from the main engines to the tail rotor which is a nice reminder of how vital these components and their maintenance is.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Mud Moorings

We have some great natural harbours and sheltered creeks around the Solent, but with the big tidal range so much is exposed as wet mud twice a day, putting deep water moorings at a premium.

There are still plenty of mud berths or half tide moorings, but there in lies the problem, for half the time you can't actually get to and from your boat and when you can you have a limited time to sail or you have to stay away until the following tide come back.

A shore side mooring at the top of a creek is somewhat better since you can get to and from your boat at any time for loading or repairs even if you can't sail. Below the moorings at Dolphin Quay in Emsworth are also nicely located close to the town for shopping and some comfortable nearby pubs while you wait for the tide to return.

This is perhaps the ideal solution if you can find one and afford one, a creekside property where you can keep your boat at the end of the garden.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The barge

This boat has been around since the end of last summer. Intuitively it would seem to be more at home on the Canal du Midi rather than the tidal waters of the Hamble.

It's certainly going to provide spacious and luxurious accommodation, one can imagine sitting out on that huge fore deck on a balmy evening in the South of France, but if that is the intended destination some of that highly polished stainless steel might have a hard time going up and down the locks.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Solent Scenes

Over in Southampton Water over a mile or more away the ships are sounding their fog horns, the river is still or rather what you can see of it.

To the east in Portsmouth things are pretty similar, it might be worth waiting a couple of hours before going up the Spinnaker tower to take in the views.

Down in the west it's the same, hopefully it will burn off by mid morning, when it does that normally means a bright and hot day, fingers crossed.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Good day for wildlife

It's been really nice recently to be able to get up early and go running in daylight, very few people about at 6.00am but the river is getting lively.

This couple of Oyster Catchers seemed to have paired off and be setting up home on the old remains of a fishing boat. It's a good spot out on the mud and only reachable by water, so it should be a safe place for a nest.

Further out I think this is a pair of Canada geese, they were quite a common sight when we lived up in the Midlands, but  there doesn't seem to be to be so many down on the coast.

A couple of Black Headed Gulls were resting at the other end of the wreck, faces turned away from the north westerly wind which was cold despite the early sunshine.

A few days before I spotted this pair of swans one white and one black, and I guess quite rare pair.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Salterns Way to Itchenor

We took the Salterns trail from Dell Quay down to Itchenor in Chichester Harbour at the end of the summer. The trail actually runs from the centre of Chichester down to East Head in the Witterings, but I like the middle section which runs through the boat yards and these delightful villages.

The water front at Itchenor is always lively with a mix of cruising and racing boats and more than a few high performance skiffs from the sailing club. Our former neighbour sailed International 14's in the fleet at Itchenor.

There's a great mix of traditional and modern, that looks like a Squib in the foreground and a lovely gaff cutter getting ready to leave.

Chichester harbour is a great place for day sailing and is home to fleets of XOD, Sunbeams and Swallows,  I think this is a Solent Sunbeam designed by Alfred Westmacot and still keenly raced in the Solent.

Just outside the village is the former Northshore yard, builders of the Southerly lifting keel yachts and Fisher motor sailors before the company went into receivership last year, fortunately the company has recovered under the Southerly  name.

The big spring tide brought high water right up to the top of the hard, well past the dinghies, one owner had to put on waders to set out to his tender in  the dinghy compound. The tide came right up to the front of the sailing club.