Saturday, 6 February 2016

Not Ankle Deep

We stumbled upon this interesting boat in a local yard.  Some time ago I started a thread on the Wooden boat forum about Low Horsepower Planning Boats, which was very popular and has some very interesting boats on it, one of which is Ankle Deep a fast planning launch built by Uffa Fox. Not having seen the original but from the drawings and pictures this boat although much smaller has many similarities.

The bow is fine and flared and if not exactly wave piercing then looks well able to cut through the local Solent chop, while the rear sections are flat and certainly give the impression that they are able to plane. Quite different and unusual is the inboard engine, Ankle Deep by contrast had twin outboards. I'm guessing this boat to be around 12 to 14  feet, so curious to know it’s purpose, but alas there was no one around to ask.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Winter Views

A brief window of high pressure at the dead of winter, the moorings are empty apart from one lone yacht.

A few more boats on the pontoons, the few afloat are locked up, presumably too cold, too early in the year or too early in the morning for maintenance.

Monday, 1 February 2016


Realising that it’s been quite a few years since we visited and with a settled day in prospect we drove over to Weymouth in Dorset.

The town established itself as a seaside destination and no doubt increase its popularity with the coming of the railway in 1857, not least because of the glorious sandy beach which stretches away up to the Purbeck coast and being east facing in protected from the prevailing weather.

The river has always been my favourite part of town, when we started sailing, visiting boats would tie up along the wall and raft up. I remember one time the crew of a yacht inside us struggling up and down the ladder to take their huge Pyrenean Mountain dog ashore. 

These days things are easier with floating pontoons and ramps installed for visitors. It’s a perfect place to sit and watch the comings and goings with plenty of café’s and bars right on your door step and the centre of town just a short walk away.

Places never look their best on a cold January day, but the town seemed very run down with many empty shops and air of neglect despite the investments made for the 2012 Olympics. 

The Cutter Hotel caught my eye and seemed to sum up the situation, a fine old building which if located in Dartmouth or Padstow  would probably be a gastro pub run by a celebrity chef.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Local Knowledge

I was able to help out fellow blogger Tillerman recently having spotted the Cowes Hammerhead crane in an old sailing photo of him from back in the 1980's. For anyone who's traveled up the Median river from  Cowes, the crane (sometimes called Souter's crane correctly or not) will be a familiar land mark.

The character of the river changes markedly above the chain ferry which runs between west and east Cowes. Upriver the river frontage is still largely industrial although the seemingly inevitable waterside flats have taken a firm hold. Downriver the entrance still has it's classic, even aristocratic elegance down past the promenade to the Royal Yacht Squadron.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Morgan Giles Fleet

I spotted these two Morgan Giles 43's a while ago when they were in the hard getting prepared for the season, so it was nice to see them on the water down by the lock gates at Chichester Marina.

The three boats are Gryphis, Pegasus and Leopard are operated as sail training boats, continuing their origin as Royal navy yachts.

It's great to see all three together and in such great condition, especially after seeing them part way through restoration the previous year

As a result of my earlier post I received an email from Ed Hughes who sails a Robert Tucker Silhouette - Misty

Ed writes, "I was browsing though some old photos including a couple taken during my naval training at BRNC Dartmouth in the early 1960s and came across the attached. On the tender is the yacht's name "Gryphis" and it was taken during a trip across the Channel in 1962; not much wind as I recall but it looks as though my efforts in the galley met with a mixed reception".

"Each division at the College had its own MG 43 yacht and Gryphis belonged to 'our' Grenville Division. Imagine my surprise when I Googled her name to find that she was not only still around but in excellent condition and with an assured future ahead".

Thanks to Ed for sharing a real piece of history.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Old and New

Since the early 1980's the Cornish Shrimper has been the classic day boat and weekender for pottering around the estuaries and coastal sailing. With numbers over the 1000 built it's a successful and very fetching little boat.

All of which makes it a hard act to follow, so all praise to the folks down at Cornish Crabbers who have released a new larger version and appear to have left the original one updated but essentially the same boat we know and love.

It was quite handy to see  the boats side by side recently down at Hamble Point. Above not a new boat but immediately recognisable, a true classic.

The new boat is slightly larger at 21 feet, and I'm sure the additional space will be welcome. But nice as it is it, to me at least it just doesn't have the simplicity and elegance of the original. 

It will be interesting to see if Crabbers can retain both boats in their range, I certainly hope so.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Bridge Under Troubled Waters

The footpath across Hamble Common floods quite often at high water springs, but I don't think I've ever seen it this high.