Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Drying Out

I guess this is the difference between drying out and drying alongside.

Anyone who has dried out for a scrub will recognise how easily it is to get into this situation, our Endurance cutter Angelina always wanted to lead to starboard no matter how many jerry cans of water or other weights I hung on the port side.

There was a goodly crew of people on the quay helping out and presumably trying to take some of the weight off those timbers at the turn of the bilge, to prevent damage

Monday, 20 November 2017

Local boats

Local keel boats in the Port de Plaisance, Courseulles-sur-Mer.


Friday, 17 November 2017

TLC needed

One of the problems with boats is having the time to use them.

Things could be worse, these two yachts don't look as if they have seen the right end of a deck brush or mop for some time.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Quick trip west

We had a quick and impromptu trip west to take Mrs BB to the Knit Fest in Totnes recently, so after dropping mum off at the event Joseph and I went down to Dartmouth for a look around and some lunch.

There were three traditional sailing vessels alongside the town quay, pretty much the perfect setting.

Down in the backstreets this gallery has a giraffe poking it's head out of the window, not sure what the rational behind it is but it made us stop and look so as publicity goes it clearly worked.

Cafe culture has really come to Dartmouth with an alfresco establishment just about on every corner. This one is an example of one of the more traditional cafes, where years ago my friend Stuart and I were left while our respective sailing wives went shopping or it might have been to get away from us pair of salty old sea dogs after an especially rough holiday "beat" down to the west country against the prevailing winds.

Although tourist retailing has taken over the town it's nice to see this shop keeping up the strong maritime tradition, selling the latest in essential sailing wear.

Dartmouth castle a familiar landmark at what is one of the most spectacular harbour entrances.

Friday, 10 November 2017


Not sure what to say about this, "only in France" springs to mind.

Some interesting features both wheel and tiller steering seem to be permanently set up andget those comfy looking outboard seats.

The hard dodger looks very useful and no one is going to mistake the colour scheme.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Cool Rides

Maybe it's because I'm relaxed and have more time, that I seem to stumble across interesting motorcycles when I'm on holiday and this one was no exception. Just down the street between the house we were staying at and the beach was this fantastic motorbike shop.

It was full of 1970's classics, Honda 750-4, Honda 500T and at the back what looked like a BSA Rocket 3.

Bad photo's taken through the windows - a Harley flat track 750 and a Vincent Black Something (Shadow perhaps, apologies to purists).

A Norton 850 Commando the last of the big British twins and behind another 4 cylinder Honda, the bikes that dealt the final death blow to the British bike industry at the time.

These bikes were the stuff of my youth, I got onto 2 wheels in the early mid 70's

Finally a Honda 750-4 custom cafe racer, I snapped this picture especially for my eldest son Duncan who's busy building a similar cafe racer restoration on a 1978 Suzuki 750 - can't wait to see it finished.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Autumn mornings on the beach

Where we live the beaches nearby are shingle, so while we've been away for a few days over half term, it was a real pleasure to wander down to the real, firm, sandy beaches stretching along the coast and observe the constantly changing scene.

Moody skies left over from a passing storm transformed the following morning into calm seas and low clouds.

Then a bright and frisky start to the day, some unexpected surf running.

And in complete contrast a sea fog which hung around all day when the tide was out you couldn't see the water from the head of the beach.

Love the autumn blues and a run along a deserted beach at first light.

Despite the cold wind, the sun and blue skies soon brought out more than a few holiday makers, children having fun digging and finding shells.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Our neighbour had a bumper year growing pumpkins, lets hope they don't come to life tonight.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Classic Sandpaper

My regular reader Joe Rouse commented on my recent post Classic Varnish  "Varnish is the first thing to come to mind, the second, sandpaper. " so I thought  this might be a better title for these pictures of an amazing classic captured by my friend.

From the cove line I'm guessing it's a William Fife design and I should know what it is but I just can't remember possibly an 8 meter?

Sure is nice, in Joe's words "God bless the blokes with money."

Friday, 27 October 2017

Nightfall a gaff cutter

My friend Malcolm know's I'm into classic yachts and he has kindly sent me pictures of some great examples while cruising around the Solent, you gotta love whatsapp.

Seen here in Bembridge harbour is Nightfall a classic gaff cutter.

Originally built for a Mr WD Silcock and his wife to gently sail on the Norfolk Broads and around the Suffolk Coast. She was designed by Harold Lidston who lived in Cowes

These days Nighfall is based on Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and fantastically maintained by marine artist Martyn Mackrill

Monday, 23 October 2017

Classic Varnish

Just lovely, they say a picture paints a 1000 words,  in this case the varnish brush certainly had a hand in things.

Seen in Hamble Point marina, no idea what she is but it's great that there are folks around with the money, time and enthusiasm to restore these beautiful classics.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Some Classics

I completely forgot the Hamble Classics race during September, but was reminded when these two classics were seen heading off down river while we were having an early lunch

H4 I think is the  Herreschoff half rater Winifred,  she certainly is nice. Built as a replica of the original 1892 fin-keeled  Wee Win in 1999 using the epoxy coated strip plank method.There's a great video on My Classic Boat

Further afield this looks to be an old (late 1960's or early 70's?) Merlin Rocket,. When I was in the Sea Scouts in my early teens the Merlin Rocket was the aspirational boat in our small fleet,  I was desperate to qualify to sail it and did. It wasn't always kept in the best of condition and I recall going swimming when a toe strap broke while hiked out.

Hull shape is very different from the modern wide dish shape.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Top Banana

Looking on the bright side (pun intended) high visibility would be useful if they had to call out the lifeboat.

I still don't really understand motor boats.

Friday, 13 October 2017


An interesting vehicle parked down at Swanwick hard the other day, loosely based on the WW2 DUKW amphibious truck, colloquially know as a Duck.

The original DUKW was designed in partnership with non other than the naval architect firm Sparkman &Stevens. This more modern interpretation was remarkably,home built based on a variety of components the builder collected from various scrapyards including. What a fantastic project.

Chatting to the owner/builder he's crossed the Solent a couple of times down at the western end between Lymington and Yarmouth. He was down at Swanwick accessing the slipway and how the harbour dues introduced by the harbour board might be applied, after all he's already fully paid up on his road find license.

Would have been great to see it afloat.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

End of the season

Saturday was the last session for peanuts and cadets down at Hamble River SC, despite the overcast weather and prospect of high winds around 40 children showed up for what turned out to be a really good day's sailing.

It's been interesting to observe some changes during the year, there's been an increasing number of children of Joseph's age moving away from the Optimists. Laser Picos are favourite since the club has a good fleet, but also a Topper and even the club RS Fever's. What's become apparent is a split between those children who want to race, predominately staying in Opti's and those who just like to get out on the water and have fun and there was certainly plenty of that on Saturday.

Pretty much all of the RYA training is focused towards racing and presumably trying to develop the next Ben Ainsley, but we seem to be leaving behind a whole group of children. Sailing is a big subject and there's plenty of skills to learn around seamanship, safety, navigation the list goes on and we shouldn't loose sight that that a lot of kids enjoy sailing with their friends.

There's a plan next year to split the groups and introduce more "adventure sailing" for those children who don't especially want to tear around a triangular course. As a tester we sailed the senior fleet up river on Saturday, the Opti's stopped off at "Shipwreck Bay" where a course had been laid out for race training while the Pico's and Topper carried on for an impromptu thrash up to Bursledon pool and the long beat back. Judging by the smiles back in the clubhouse both groups had a good time, so something we need to develop next for season.

I'm sure everyone involved will join me in thanking Richard and Rachel who do a fantastic job of organising peanuts and cadets, and also sharing appreciation to all of the parents who help out.

Monday, 9 October 2017


A twilight run along the river with the setting sun back lighting the old MFV wreck shows how little of the hull planking remains below the high water mark.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Grey old day at the Jolly Sailor

Winter is on it's way, or at least the chilly, overcast days of autumn make it feel that way. So at the end of a wet Sunday we walked up to the Jolly Sailor.

Only the leaves still on the trees gave clue that this wasn't a mid winter scene.

Boats on their mooring, no one around, everything still and quiet.

By contract inside was warm and cheery, a good way to end a gloomy day.

Monday, 2 October 2017


There's a saying that everything on a boat should have two purposes and this certainly fits that description.

Seen at the Museo dell'automobile Turin.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Lake Rowing

I first saw this type of boat in an old copy of The Boatman magazine (No 33 1996) which described a traditional fishing boat called a Cannot which is not a canoe but a native of Lac Leman. These boats below were seen respectively on Lac Bourget and Lac Annecy and seem to closely follow the type from Leman.

Apparently size of the traditional boats was 18 to 23 feet, these examples are at the shorter end of that scale. While traditional boats were sailed, outboards appear to be the now almost universal method of propulsion.

The lines are not dissimilar to our own Bursledon gig, most appear to be used for leisure fishing on the lakes and it was nice to see a few being worked by oars.