Monday, 23 March 2015


Well maybe more like fender bender. Rowing down the river fairly early on Friday morning during a rare day off work, I spotted this boat clearly where it shouldn't be. It looked like the down stream mooring line had failed and the tide was pushing it up onto the upstream pile and the adjacent pontoon.

Hauling it off from a tender rowing skiff didn't seem like a good idea, not least as it was a big spring tide at full flood, so I called the harbour office. A launch was quickly dispatched and the boat was soon back on its mooring, hopefully no damage done.

Friday, 20 March 2015


With a day off work I thought I'd row down the river early to see the eclipse. It was a grey, overcast morning, which got gradually more the eclipse passed.

 Despite warnings in the press about power cuts as our solar generating capacity went off line and cars crashing in the sudden darkness, there was pretty much nothing to be seen around here.

It was interesting all the local bird life went quite for a while, but soon the morning birdsong was back again, a sort of double dawn chorus.

The last major UK solar eclipse was in 1999, I remember going down to Hamble Point to view, but it was equally unspectacular.

Thursday, 19 March 2015


Another blast from the past,  the mid 70's when flares were something to do with trousers, the government was encouraging people to share a bath and save water and the Sex Pistols hadn't met Eddie Grundy.

The Allegro Express is not the peculiar Austin with the square steering wheel, I kid you not. It is an interesting boat, not that I saw one at the time or indeed since. A 20 foot high performance keel boat with a heavy ballasted lifting keel, easy to transport and a spirited boat to sail, sounds like a winning combination?

At nearly sixteen hundred quid plus VAT, plus spinnaker, plus trailer, plus outboard it wasn't an especially cheap boat back in 1976.  Nor is it clear which part of the boating demographic the builders were targeting. Back in those days I was lusting after a Laser or a Merlin Rocket while Westerly built nearly 3000 Centaurs for the cruising set.

These kind of small open day sailors seem to be much more popular in Holland, Van de Stadt Spanker, EF Six, Centaur and Randmeer to name but a few. Maybe they are better suited to slightly protected waters or maybe the Dutch are more intrepid sailors, whatever the reason the Allegro doesn't seem to have caught on in the UK,

Monday, 16 March 2015

No more heroes anymore

"Ben's put you on the guest list for the Stranglers concert on Monday night." Ben, I should explain is Erica's nephew and a member of the Strangler's tour crew who are playing Portsmouth tonight.

In the event I couldn't go, but Erica took Joseph along to the sound check after school. Seen here Joseph getting guitar lessons from cousin Ben who is a fine musician and singer. Joseph and Erica also got to meet drummer Jet Black doing his sound check and still out and doing it well into his 70's.

All the tour crew made Joseph really welcome, how cool is that for a "nearly 6 year old".

I went to see the original Stranglers at uni, probably 1977 or 78 and most likely at the Coventry Apollo Theater although I could well be wrong, things from that far back are a little hazy. I'm more than miffed at not being able to go tonight, having just got back from foreign parts I picked up some nasty bug while I was away, "of course it's not bird flu, I'm a bloke!"

And you all thought Bursledon was a sleepy backwater.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

High water causeway

The river path between Swanwick and Warsash runs past an area called Bunny Meadows. To one side is the river and on the other an area of protected inter tidal mudflats and saltings.

At high water the elevated path is surrounded by water with a small bridge and path leading off midway to Holly Hill. Crossing the bridge provides a great viewpoint.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Gotta love varnish

What can I say a varnished teak, can a boat look any better.

I guess it goes without saying "gotta love varnish, gotta love varnishing."

Sunday, 8 March 2015

PBO Road test local dinghy

I was reading read though some old 1976 boating magazines when I spotted a test report on the local Jacqueline class dinghy, native to nearby Hill Head.

According to the report, back in the long hot summer of 76 the boats were still being built by Tom Robertson in his shed by the harbour, now alas long gone. Construction was of mahogany or British Columbian spruce on oak or Canadian rock elm. 

Tom claimed the construction was durable and an owner could expect to see 40 or 50 years life from a boat. Maybe that was true with good maintenance and regular use, but didn't take into account changing boat fashion. Even in Hill Head Jacqueline's are few and far between, having long been replaced by more modern GRP dinghies, although a few are still going strong