Friday 20 December 2013


The Famous Five ventured out into the New Forest again the other day. It will come as no surprise to some, especially those who know us, that out of four cars, containing five cartographers, two cars managed to turn up at the wrong car park. Of course we'd probably all used G**gle Maps to find our way.
Soon rectified by a couple of mobile phone calls we were re-united and raring to go.  

Oooo Harder!  John and I goof around changing the tube. 

 A couple of miles into the ride and disaster struck. I got a flat due to a massive piece of flint through the front tyre.  Of course I was carrying a spare and it was quickly changed with speed and precision normally reserved for a Formula 1 pit crew, but with considerably more heckling from the onlookers.  
I Pray, John does all the work, Paul B calls for roadside assistance and Paul T provides verbal support. 

Back on the road we made good progress towards our lunchtime target except for one of John's famous "shortcuts" which resulted an a fair bit of ditch vaulting, and probably took longer than if we'd just cycled round the track.   

We soon enjoyed an excellent repast at  The Royal Oak at Bank which is one of my favourite New Forest Pubs.  I can state that the chips are excellent and there really is no need for anyone to order extra bread with their soup. Is there Peter?

We'd seen signs that the road was closed near Brockenhurst which is usually caused by flooding under the railway bridge so of course we had to go and investigate.
Imagine our disappointment to discover it was all clear, and judging by the number of cars who passed through while we were trying to get a photo, the locals have a healthy disregard for H&S and road signs in general.  

Monday 25 November 2013

Golden Slumbers

A sunny late autumn day on Saturday gave me the chance to muck out the dinghy. As well as the usual detritus of mud seaweed and stones, I found a pair of trolly wheels and a slightly grubby BBQ left over from Cobnor. All sorted now and she's tucked up for the winter.

Thursday 21 November 2013

Pete and Pam's perfect day out.

Paradox Pate has been out in Pam again. He's taken advantage of a short improvement in the Autumn weather and gone of a paddle  on the Stroudwater Canal.  Its really great to see Pam getting used so much.
You can see Pete's other photos and read his story on the excellent  Song of the Paddle forum. 

Sunday 10 November 2013


I had an unexpected e-mail on the way to Scotland yesterday. Maarten from Belgium got in touch to say he had just bought Caitlin the Oughtred Whilly Tern I sold away to The Netherlands six years ago.
She seems to be in good nick and its really great to know she's moved on to a family who will enjoy her.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

Paddling Past Gormenghast

It is believed that when Mervin Peake wrote his Titus Groan trilogy he used Arundel Castle as a model for  Gormenghast.  It certainly  seems to have had an influence, the town of Arundel appears to climb up the ramparts of the castle, and is that a Tower Of Flints I see?

I'm sure Arundel has its fair share of Bright Carvers,  

Its also the home of a certain boatbuilder, so CW and I took advantage of some rare autumn sunshine and had a trip up the River Arun the other day.

The spring tide was still coming wellying in as we launched, that footpath had been dry a few minutes before.  The current gave us a free ride up stream until the turning of the tide and the call of the pub mysteriously drew us back. 
 After a swift one at the Black Rabbit it was time to float back on the quickly ebbing tide.  Once it goes it goes and the instructions were to head straight for the slipway with no messing around as you could easily end up in Littlehampton or worse still Cherbourg. So all cameras car keys wallets and other valuables were safely tucked away, hence the lack of photos after the pub. 

Here's the inevitable video, the soundtrack by Richard Thompson seemed to be appropriate. 

 I hope you enjoy it.

If you haven't read Gormenghast, give it a try. It really is worth the effort. 

Friday 18 October 2013

Five Go Wild in The New Forest.

My very good friend JP hit 60 in August and retired from HM Map Factory after a long and very illustrious career.  To help him celebrate and to kick off what we hope will become a regular thing some of his old colleagues joined him in a bike ride in The New Forest yesterday. 

Some of us used to do this 20 years ago so it was good to re-visit old haunts.  We had the free-wheeling competition on Hampton Ridge, and the ritual Fording of the stream at Ogdens.  

Between the five of us we did over 175 years at Ordnance Survey and between us on Thursday we had exactly one map and no compass. Which pretty much sums things up. We stopped for Haribo along the way. 

 We did get slightly lost but the smell of beer seemed to guide us to the pub. 

A Brilliant Day 

Thursday 3 October 2013

Pulborough Paddle.................

...........................or, the HBBR voyage to seek the navigational limit of the River Arun.

The River Arun used to be connected to the River Wey by the Wey and Arun Canal. this effectively connected the capital London to the south coast and Portsmouth, home of the Royal Navy, by an inland waterway.   

Officially abandoned in 1871 when it was superseded  by the railways, much of the canal sections particularly towards the Arun end have all but disappeared, however the enthusiastic volunteers of the Wey & Arun Trust have worked hard to restore much of it at the Wey end. 

Chris Partridge of Rowing for Pleasure has already reported on this trip.
 How we battled through jungles of reeds and endured untold privations to reach the pub our goal.  

We got there just before the tide so the last few yards were a bit bumpy, but we did reach the point at which the canal turned off the river. 

Not much to see now but Chris Waite is positive this is the place. 

We should have brought a couple of shovels.

You can watch the whole weedy adventure in its unexpurgated form below.

Sunday 29 September 2013

What will Katie wear to the ball?

Katie Beardie is still getting more admirers than any of the other boats on this site, and for very good cause, she is an attractive girl. Her various pages have been getting consistently more hits than any others for the past few months. As well as her own Katie Beardie page and the  Katie gets full colour spread page, interest has now moved on to Katie's New Twin-Set so I do wonder whether anyone is having a go at building her. It would be great if they were. 

I've been giving more thought to potential sail plans, the last version  with its big main sail and long yard swinging aloft looked like it might be a bit cumbersome and I've been wondering about something a little different so here are the latest ideas from the Port-na-Storm Etch-a-Sketch.
  Influenced by the fully battened rigs used by the ancients and their modern equivalents, the CoE is still in roughly the same place, the sail area is a bit smaller but probably a little bit more efficient, and I'd hope to build in an easy reefing system utilising the full length battens. The version above still leaves a lot of pole up when reefed so of course the natural thing to do is to make it a Sliding Gunter. 

The idea would be to have the bottom two panels reefed bringing the mainsail down to the same size as the Mizzen. 
Just food for thought...........................................we'll see how many clicks this page gets. 

Saturday 21 September 2013

Pam Paddles On

Great news from Paradox Pete. He's been out adventuring with Adrian G in their canoes. 
Its really good to see Polythene Pam getting used, and in such super countryside. 

In Pete's own words,

"Adrian and myself managed to squeeze in another impromtu hbbr meeting on Wednesday. 
After a grey start it turned out to be a fine and pleasant day.
Once again there was Lekker Ding and PP forging our way between 2 fine pubs!
The 12 mile round trip was between The Fromebridge Inn (on R Frome) and The George Inn (on R Cam) via River Frome, Stroudwater canal, Gloucester Sharpness canal, River Cam and a sneak along Wicksters Brook. The Timothy Taylor's Landlord at The George,  and Darkstar, American Pale Ale at Fromebridge were both excellent!
The rivers Cam and Frome were absolutely beautiful with a portage of about 20 metres between the Frome and the Stroudwater canal  leading to a nose rubbing low bridge... Not for the squeamish. 

We didn't go too far up Wicksters brook because I didn't fancy back paddling for too long to get out again.
As it was I needed a 27 point turn with PP's stern and stem both stuck in the reeds on the river bank." 

Here's some video Pete took of their trip. 


Tuesday 17 September 2013

Through The Eye of a Needle.

This is the Needle's Eye Cafe. 

It has been one of our favourite haunts for almost 20 years. 

It is very down to earth and does great Egg and Chips.

" Two egg and chips please". 
"So that's double egg and chips."
"No that's double egg and chips twice, please" 
"Double egg and chips, for two people please"

Its situated on the shore at Milford on Sea, at the western end of The Solent. 
A New Build, for sale just behind it is on the market for £1.4 million.

This is the view from the lounge 

This is the view, from the cafe on a very hazy day. 

The good looking girl in front is the unsung heroine of Port-Na-Storm, aka The Tooth Fairy who is currently recovering from her second knee replacement.
She's doing brilliantly and will soon be walking the legs off me again.  

Tuesday 10 September 2013

The Audacity !

Blogging can be a bit of a mugs game. Sometimes it feels like you are shouting down a long dark tunnel and there's no way of knowing whether there is anyone there to hear you. 
The software tells you how many hits a page is getting but how many of those are from robots, trawling silently through the dark searching for e-mail addresses and how many are just accidental landings from some lonely heart in search of firm buttocks? 
I do know that if you mention the name Oughtred the world will come seeking the enigmatic master and I suspect that Katie Beardie has a secret admirer as she seems to get an inordinate number of hits.  Maybe its those buttocks again.   
Sometimes there is a faint answer in the darkness, a voice you haven't heard before, who actually knows what they are talking about and that can be very encouraging. 

You'll remember I posted a wee while ago about this little boat in Fairey Princess or Ugly Duckling well I've had a couple of comments and it turns out she's not a Fairey, or Ugly.......

Anonymous said...
Not Fairey,not ugly.

She is an Audacity class designed by Laurent Giles for JOG. Built from 1959 until the mid sixties. There are elements from Sopranino in the layout.
She has a deep drop keel and rudder. The side fins on this boat are non standard but practical.
Supposed to be a good performer. I think it very handsome but the side windows are a little large.

And Jim Bresson wrote to say.


I confirm, she is an Audacity 21.
The side "keels" are not on the original design.
I bought one of those in Plymouth last year and we sailed her back to Britanny, France, my brother and I.
She isn't the prettiest boat, but I must say she has her look and her sailing performances are surprising. We did the Plymouth Aber Benoit passage in a sloppy sea and it was quite windy. cast off at 6 am, we were on the other side in the middle of the night and had to slow her down to be able to land in Saint Pabu in daylight.
The interior is well design for a 21 feet boat and you can go almost everywhere we the board up.
She is mentionned in the Lee/Philpott book on Laurent Giles.
Built by Walter Lawrence , an aerocraft factory.
I don't think there is a lot of them sailing out there, and never saw any on the water.
I hope this one will get back on the water one day. She is really a fun and interesting sailboat!

If anyone wants more info, don't hesitate.
Take it easy,


So there you go an Audacity 21. designed by Lauren Giles no less, there is even one for sale on  Apolloduck it looks in quite good condition. 

There's another one here  boatshop24

I feel encouraged, so for now I'm going to keep shouting down the tunnel, don't forget to shout back now and again. 

Saturday 7 September 2013

Local Skiffs

 Here we go round the blog circuit again. 
Max of Bursledon Blog has posted about some local skiffs and suggested that we might have something similar at the Ancient & Vulnerable St Deny's Sailing and Rowing Club and indeed we do. 

This is none other than Chris Partridge of Rowing For Pleasure trying out Merlin. 

Merlin is our oldest boat and is well over 100 years old. She was indeed built by Dyers boatyard just down stream of the club. 

Below is Alan Blandford, left who is almost as old as Merlin giving her a spruce up aided by Reg. 

Wednesday 28 August 2013

High Tide and Green Grass.

By way of diversion I took one of the Ancient & Vulnerable  Kayaks with me to Cobnor. I wanted to try out a couple of routes as possible day paddles for the Club. 

I also wanted to check out Bosham as a place for putting in so I had a little trip up there on Saturday afternoon. It was a bit overcast hence the gloom. The photos were taken on my bat phone which seemed to get a film of seaweed slime over it so apologies for the quality. 

We were on Spring Tides and as the water rises much of what is grass and tarmac most of the time is slowly submerged which can make for an interesting trip. 

Bosham Hard 3 hours before HW, a good launching place. But not so good for parking.

The Church from the north,  Norman, one of the oldest in England.  

The sailing club on the Quay. Posh. 

In summer the bells ring out across the marshes calling the faithful to the Ice Cream Van. Told you not to park there. 

Ah must be Beer O'clock.  

Handy for the pub, but no parking on the double yellows.

Whazzit Say?

Oh Right.

Well, looks like the end of the road. 

Monday 26 August 2013

Cobnor 2013

I'm just back from the DCA meeting at Cobnor, a great time was had by all.

Some photos.

Cobnor Dawn.

Cobnor Dawn II,
 A weak bladder is a mighty alarm clock. 

Stupid Boy!

Chasing Wayne to the pub. 

Wayne and Marcus Gull Winging.

Tim's posh new camper, and Wayne's legs. 

A Shrimper which I easily caught and overhauled, but who's racing? and a Lateen rigged work boat which seemed to be fairly  zooming around until you noticed the whiff of exhaust. 

On the beach at Dell Quay.

In the pub Garden, a motley crew. 

Wayne gets to overtake Ralston in his Tideway. Which I think must be a first.

Bob's PDR "Dumpster"
 providing more fun per pound than any other boat.