Saturday 27 October 2012

Down the Plughole.

Port-na-storm HQ has been a hive of activity over the last few weeks but sadly none of it has been about boats or boating. The truth is we're fitting a new bathroom, the coral pink suite has been smashed into the skip and the luxurious corner bath in GRP  has been carved into pieces with a wave of the angle grinder.  This edifice of pink and chrome was a triumph of form over function being possibly the most uncomfortable bath ever made. It'll be a few weeks before its all over, so in the meantime please bear with if the transmissions are a bit irregular. 

We had a holiday in Greece a few weeks ago, so meantime here are some photos of the local life to keep you amused. 

I thought a refugee ship from North Africa had landed at the quay-side but it turns out they were just trippers. 

 Some of the local inshore fishing fleet,

This year's award for the ugliest boat on the Island goes to ........

I would have taken this one home. I love these little Greek fishing boats, they are very shapely, and very seaworthy.
 This one had been dumped in front of a Hotel to provide some local "character".
 I doubt if that engine will ever go again. 


Tourist boats of every description. 

The deep sea fishing fleet 

Our Hotel is up there somewhere. 

   Pass the Ouzo. 

Monday 1 October 2012

A Last Hurrah at the Horse & Jockey

The last weekend in September graced us with some fantastic weather, and thankfully Chris Partridge had called  what could be the last HBBR meeting of the season at the Horse & Jockey at the head of The Hamble.

He reported on his trip here Rowing for Pleasure.

Its best to leave Swanwick an hour or so before high water to get the benefit f the flood, and to ensure there is enough clearance beneath the three bridges. As it was we left it a bit late. I just made it with about six inches to spare.   

Photo Tim O'Conner

Chris and Ruth Waite came along in Polly Wee about five minutes behind me, and they reported having to heel the boat over to get under the road bridge.

Tim didn't have any such problems in Zelva. He just cruised around looking very relaxed. 

The Hamble River Rowers were out for a brisk trip to the pub and came storming past. 

The HBBR contingent took a more relaxed approach. Chatting as we went.  

Photo Tim O'Conner

The return trip provided a good sail as a bit of breeze picked up here and there. The run down under the bridges was "Interesting" as the ebb was running fast and there were some big standing waves below the railway and road bridges.  Motor boats coming up-river against the flow and tide need to stick to the middle of the channel and keep the momentum on to avoid veering into the  piers but they don't seem to appreciate that the little dinghy coming down stream, needs the middle of the channel to clear the mast under the arch, has almost no steerage or brakes other than that provided by the oars, and the skipper is craning over his shoulder to see where he's going.

A few not so new nautical hails were required.


Composure regained we recovered our boats and bid each a hearty farewell. 

Sunday 9 September 2012

A Roller Blind on a Dumpster?

Which of these boats is the most recent design? 

Well remembering that there is nothing new under the sun, the one on the right, the Puddle Duck Racer was devised in the last few years while the Enterprise dates back to the fifties.  

This is Bob, he's a bit of an inventor, he built this PDR in his shed and called it Dumpster. The thing about the PDR is that the only restrictions are the underwater shape which is pre-defined, the rest you can pretty much do what you want. Bob's is a very conservative design compared to some.  Neat and functional. You can find out more here. 

Bob had great fun sailing his little boat all over Chichester Harbour, however Dumpster is a bit slow, so he always tried to leave about an hour earlier than everyone else. The Roller reefing design was borrowed from Al's Paradox, below, and it works like a dream. Pull the string and up she goes, pull another and down she comes. Simples!

Thursday 6 September 2012

G&T down by the Jetty ?

How do you tell if you are Cruising or Racing ? 
Are there any other boats in sight? -  Yes,
You're Racing! 

I was slipping down the reach past Itchenor when George crept up behind me in his new Goat Island Skiff.  A few minutes later a couple in an Enterprise had joined us and then a Chap in a Miracle. Of course we weren't racing  but its funny how things start to get competitive as soon as there is another boat close-by .  It was very light airs and sheets were trimmed ever so slightly, weight adjusted for best trim etc. There was even a loose wager with the Enterprise that  last to the pub bought the drinks but they peeled off heading for Dell Quay, which is probably just as well as she looked like she could sink a G & T or two.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Beneath Still Waters

I'm just back from Cobnor. 

Some of the lucky souls will be there until Tuesday.

It was a truly fantastic week.

Great weather, great company and lots of good sailing. 

Question,- What's grey and white, wet, and wears my shorts? 

Answer,- Cee Dubbs capsize testing Polly Wee. 


Friday 17 August 2012

Its Cobnor Week.

Its time for the annual Dinghy Cruising Association, camping and sailing week in Chichester Harbour.  Coot has been given a fresh coat of Varnol, and is all spruced up and ready to go. 

The cooler is full of beer and super noodles and I've fixed the puncture in my Thermarest.

I'll try to remember and take some photographs while I'm there and will report back later. 

Chichester Harbour is only about an hour away from home which is quite convenient as  I need to be back in Southampton on Wednesday night. 

I'm going to see Richard Thompson in concert at The Brook.  So specially for Dory Man and all you Thompson fans out there, here is Britain's greatest songwriter/guitarist in concert at Celtic Connections in Glasgow last year.  I hope those of you abroad can see this. 

Thursday 26 July 2012

Messing About On The River Part 4

And so onward-ever-onward towards Wallingford and the warm welcome provided by Chris Partridges cousins who happily let us camp on their lawn and provided a superb BBQ which we  ate in their lounge, as the buns were getting soggy outside.  

Well the day started dry, it must have been bright because after travelling about a hundred yards down stream I noticed I didn't have my sunnies. So I did the sensible thing and phoned back to Paul H asking him to look out for them. It was later I realised I left them in the pub the night before. I wasn't going to need them.

Katie Beardie is featured early on in this one, sorry I didn't smile for the camera, but that's why people call me Grum. 

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Messing About on the River Part 3

From Eynsham to Abingdon featuring those Dreaming Spires of Oxford. 

Actually on the day in question those spires were dwarfed by the Sweeping Cranes of Oxford.

And yes it did rain quite a bit and blow mightily on the nose most of the time. 

Sunday 22 July 2012

Messing About on the River Part 2

Family business has taken me north over the last couple of weeks, and blogging has been fairly low on the priority list.
I have now returned to the warm and balmy south at least for a while so I give you the remaining episodes of our sojourn down the Thames. 

Thanks again to Paradox Pete. 

Part 2 Shifford to Eynesham in which Tim gesticulates to Cee Dubbs.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Messing about on the River part 1

Paradox Pete, whose Paradox Johanna won most innovative boat at last year's Beale Park Boat Show, was often seen with his eyeball to the viewfinder as he cruised effortlessly down the river on the Thames Raid, whilst those of us with more mundane forms of propulsion were thrashing against the wind.  Pete has posted his work on You tube and I shamelessly re-post it here. 

This is day one, starting from the abysmal Marina at Lechlade where the facilities were nothing short of squalid but had to be endured as the only slip available, but ending at Shifford Lock which is a haven of tranquillity, with free showers included.  The weather as you will see was quite benign, Pete has promised to post film of the following days when things got a bit livelier. 
Look out for Katie making a few cameo appearances.

Monday 2 July 2012

Nick's Skip find Kayak

Nick Paull, boat builder par excellence who won first prize at Beale Park three years ago for Hazy Days  has been at it again.
 He found this ply kayak in a skip, that's a dumpster for those elsewhere, and decided it deserved better treatment.  

So he has renovated it, and what a superb job he's made.

I particularly like the graphics, which raise it above the mundane 

Nick and his wife Marie are planning a holiday in a few weeks which will involve some walking and kayaking   on Lake Windermere  Loch Lomond and finally on Lake Bala where he will have both boats. Sounds like great fun, I hope they have a superb time. 

Sunday 17 June 2012

The Longest Reach

A short pictorial record of the 2012 Thames Raid .

Here we see Tim O'Conner having a wee tipple to celebrate the launching of Zelva his self designed Super Camping Canoe  apparently launched for the first time, which shows supreme confidence or stupidity, you choose!

And here he is carrying out the stability tests with a big grin on his face. Zelva is normally (?) powered by a Hobie Mirage Drive and went on to win most innovative boat at Beale Park.  

It was a day for First Launches. Spirits only being slightly dampened by the torrential rain.
 Here is Cee Dubbs launching Polly Wee.
He coaxed her off the trailer with encouraging words of endearment. 

Then had a celebratory tot just to wet her head for the paparazzi. Behind him you can see the enthusiastic crowd of HBBR stalwarts hiding from the rain in the salubrious facilities, which were later to become our alfresco dining area.   

John "Ratcatcher" Lockwood who lives closest was last to arrive. According to John he was making last minute adjustments to TBA who certainly looked a lot different from the last time we saw her. 

Day One dawned fairly dry and we were off.  This is the first lock below Lechlade.
Once we spread out it became a bit less chaotic. 

Ah Peace at last.

Well until the next lock.
Notice the sign on the gate. 

If it had rained much more they could have closed the river. 

Cee Dubbs cruising below one of the Thames Path foot bridges. 

This is me trying to pull in for refreshment at The Swan at Racott on the first day 

Approaching Newbridge at The Rose Revived Pub on the second day.
 Too early for a pint though. 

Camping in the rain at Swinford Lock near Eyensham 

Katie Beardie at Rest

A small encampment of Water Gypsies gathered down stream 

What do you call two paradox's and a Millibee? 

Ratcatcher arriving at Swinford

The much modified and extended TBA . Notice the historic Captain's Chair. 
He's talking about adding a flybridge next.
 I hope he does. 

Phil and Gem the wonderdog. 

Wild weather, adverse gales, and heavy rain put paid to photography after that. 
 As did the dose of Thames Tummy I had on Friday.

We rose early Friday morning and battled against the winds to meet our date with the world's press, only to discover the Friday Show had been cancelled due to treacherous conditions underfoot.

  But here we are at Beale, on Saturday with the sun actually shining.  

What Larks!

Monday 11 June 2012

Beale '12

The 18 Boat flotilla of the HBBR made it to a very wet and muddy Beale Park on Friday after facing the worst of the fickle British Weather. 

Unfortunately the show was cancelled the day we arrived but it did open on Saturday and Sunday. 

Here is Katie beside her distant cousin Polly Wee . 

We entered five boats in the Watercraft Amateur Boat Building Awards and altogether lifted three of the prizes which can't be bad.

More details to follow as they say. 

Saturday 2 June 2012

Sticky Tape and String.

A few days of sunshine last weekend meant I could get on with Katie's new suite of sails.

Now the trouble with this Blue Peter type of build, where there is very little in the way of plans, is that you can change your mind right up until the last minute, and also things don't always work out exactly how you hadn't planned them, if you know what I mean.  

Since this early sketch the main mast has been moved back to the other side of the bulkhead, so that the buoyancy chamber wasn't compromised. 

Somewhere along the line the mizzen mast has lost a bit of rake, the Boom is shorter and the yard possibly a bit higher. 

The picture below doesn't really do it justice as it was sitting at a broad reach in order to prevent a capsize on the trolley .

I seem to have spent all week getting ready. The boat is now finished. Well as finished as a boat ever is. The camping gear has been all sorted, food and clothes packed, and the roof bars have been altered to take Katie.

We meet at Lechlade, tomorrow Sunday, and we set off on Monday morning. 

Friday should see us at Beale Park for the Boat Show. 

A full report will follow. 

Weather Forecast?

Don't ask.