Monday, 31 August 2015

Lake Boats

As a sailor on holiday and far from the sea, the lakes near Salzburg provide a nice surprise to see some very interesting boats.

The Yngling class of keel boat appears to be popular in Austria, we saw fleets on a few of the lakes.

There were more than a few Dragons on the water, this varnished one being a particularly nice example.

No idea what this was but it looked very fast and well developed for sailing the flat waters of the lakes.

There were even a few local gaffers.

Friday, 28 August 2015

RYA 1 & 2

Joseph and his friend Toby spent a week doing RYA Dinghy Stages 1&2 at Hamble Sailing Club. Most evenings over dinner an excited 6 year old would tell us all about what he'd learned " a flappy sail is an unhappy sail", all about reaching and some knots.

The week ended with an epic sail across Southampton Water to Ashlett Creek aboard a Pico, Joseph has already decided that he doesn't want an Optimist as the Laser Pico is much more fun.

Joseph and Toby with their certificants.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015


It's over 40 years since I visited Venice, but the magic of the place is still as strong and as moving as it was all those years ago, it really is a living museum, the affects of the modern world are clear to see but the hundreds of years of history are not diminished.

Coming out of the main railway station we crossed the chaotic and fascinating grand canal and then headed off to avoid the main tourist areas and explore the area to the south west of the grand canal.

Many of the major churches are charging an entry fee, but in the quiet back streets, or maybe that should be backwaters,  we found delightful churches with amazing 15th century paintings and ornate baroque decorations which were open and welcoming.

In another square we found what is probably the best chocolate ice cream we've ever had at Euro 1.30 for a cone it was hardly expensive. Lunch was in a small restaurant next to a canal, the choice was vast, the food was very good and the price was unexpectedly reasonable.

Inevitably we visited Piazza San Marco as Erica wanted to see it, which is actually a bit difficult with all the tourists, but never fails to be awe inspiring. the main tourist route seemed to lead to the Rialto bridge, but a quick right turn and across two small canals were once again back in relative tranquillity seeing things that so many visitors just seem to rush by.  

I could wander Venice for days and sit and draw the fascinating city, but Joseph was getting tiered so we decided to head back to the hotel and swimming pool. We  caught the water taxi almost along the full length of grand canal back to the railway station. It's also a great way to see the grandest buildings as it stops and starts every few hundred yards to docks on alternating sides of the canal.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Super Heroes and Villains at Bursledon Regatta

Super Heroes and Villains were out in force at Bursledon Regatta with Superman seen here in flight between the tall towers of Bursledon City.

Inevitably there were a couple of Batmobiles, one an almost exact replica from the 1965 TV series

And in the other Batman and Robin curiously assisted by Riddler and what looks like two Penguins.

With such villainy afoot and an abundance of super heroes it wasn't long before fighting broke out.

Superman's support crew came off pretty badly, maybe the green hull was too much like kryptonite.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

On days like these

We drove across the eastern Alps from Salzburg to Italy, taking the old road over some of the peaks, all the way we couldn’t help singing “Days Like These” from the opening titles of the Italian Job as we wove our way around the mountain roads.

Ok we were driving a Volvo, not a Lamborghini and were at the wrong end of the Alps heading for Venice instead of Turin; and thankfully we didn’t encounter a bulldozer at the end of any of the many tunnels we passed through.


 In case you missed the original movie, here it is.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Bursledon Regatta this Saturday - Super Heroes and Villains

And the weather is looking half reasonable, as long as the rain comes overnight Saturday s predicted.

At the Elephant Boatyard Saturday 22nd August  this year's theme is Super Heroes and Villains- open from 12.00 but the fun starts at 14.00 with the opening ceremony, racing and the water carnival. 

Come along, join the fun and say hello if you see me.

More details here

Postss from past years here, here, here and here.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Schafberg Mountain Railway

It’s all Michael Portillo’s fault, or at least having seen one of his televised railway journey’s ascend the Schafberg Mountain high above the Wolfgangsee near Salzburg where we were staying on holiday,  we thought we would follow in his footsteps.

I’ve written before that the best place for a sailor away from the sea is in the mountains, so what could be better than a steamer trip along an alpine lake and then ascend the high peak in a steam driven, cog railway. Well while it was actually a good trip and the scenery was breath taking, but it was all a bit too organised and as a result frankly disappointing.

We arrived at the very pretty little town of St Gilgen on the Wolfgangsee, something like a small version of Lake Como. The ticket office seemed incapable of taking money off the queue of eager tourists, but we eventually managed to pay and get on the steamer just before it left despite having arrived 25 minutes ahead of schedule on what was a slow day. Bizarrely we were told that we had been “booked” onto the 11.45 train to ascend the Schafberg which gave us just about time to buy Joseph an ice-cream between disembarking at the dock at St Wolfgang and getting on the hot and crowded train at the station just across the road.

Once at the summit you need to book a seat for the return trip down, and while the view of the surrounding mountains was breath taking, we had barely 50 minutes before getting onto the return train. The train has hot, stuffy and crowded and the whole experience had far too much similarity to a morning commute on the London tube, with people pushing and jumping the queue to get seats.

On the way down a woman sat opposite us with a tee shirt which said “collect memories not possessions.” Now maybe I'm being churlish and I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment, but I couldn’t help thinking that rushing around on what was little more than a tourist theme park ride was hardly any kind of experience.

The day after our Schafberg Mountain trip found us at a village the name of which I have no idea, we followed a trail between low alpine pasture and a fast flowing river until we found a perfect picnic spot under some trees looking up at the surrounding peaks. All of the few passing walkers wished us “gutten appetite” as they went by, we played and read from Joseph’s book before walking back to the village in the shadow of the almost sheer high peaks which surrounded it to the west. That was an experience worth collecting.

The Salzkammergut Mountains near Salzburg are fantastic and we had a great time holidaying there, maybe I'm just not too keen on being organised.