Tuesday 23 September 2014

Ciao Baby!

The Tooth Fairy, aka Mrs-Na-Storm and I had a little holiday in Sardinia last week. Very nice it was too, a beautiful country with rugged mountains and turquoise blue seas. 

The north west coast is quite developed in places with the type of beaches where you have to rent sun-loungers or take yourself off elsewhere.
 Actually elsewhere isn't hard to find, there are lots of little secluded beaches and coves tucked away if you follow the locals. They have little car parks with real live ticket collectors who are polite, give change, tell you not to worry if you are late back then knock off mid afternoon just as things are getting busy. It'll never catch on.
You then wander down a sandy path to some idyllic spot where the water is warm and crystal clear, perfect for a bit of snorkelling.

 Then you can sit on the Hotel towels and munch the picnic lunch you filched from the breakfast buffet.  No sun-loungers, no noisy bars, no worries.

We toured around a bit in our little hired Fiat Panda and wandered into Porto Cervo, which is apparently a playground of the Rich and Famous. It was hard not to notice this little plaything tied up to the Yacht Club Jetty, In fact it was difficult to see much else. 

I was amazed that you could just wander up and have a look, there were no security gates on the jetties, in Britain even the snottiest little pontoon has a security code but I suppose no one was going to nick the outboard off the back of this one. All very relaxed and Italian although I'm certain we wouldn't have got far up the gangway. 

The Yacht  is Dilbar which is owned needless to say by some Russian Bloke who very sweetly named it after his Mum. 
I feel I should hate it, it certainly doesn't "do it" for me, but I mostly found myself chuckling away to myself at the staggering opulence of the thing.  If you've got it why not flaunt it?  
Of course the danger with owning such a status symbol is that someone will come and park an  even bigger one  right next door. 
If you look closely  at the exhaust stacks you can just make out the crew going about their duties. Get them polished nice and bright boys.

We took a boat trip out around the Arcipelago della Maddalena on a lovely old wooden cruiser,  those fairleads are solid bronze,  stopping for lunch and a bit more swimming and snorkelling in the crystal clear waters.

Its a popular spot but thanks to the shallow water the big Gin Palaces can't get close.

Tough Eh?

Ciao Baby!

Friday 19 September 2014

United States of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

Aye  45%
Naw 55% 

The Naws have it. 

So the majority of Scottish Voters have elected to stay in the Union. 
As the election got closer and they began to panic a bit the major parties at Westminster all promised additional devolved powers to Scotland in the event of a No vote. 
This in turn raises the  West Lothian Question. and could eventually lead to a form of federal government including a separate English parliament. 

Interesting Times. 

Enough of politics, we'll be back to boats shortly. 

Thursday 18 September 2014

A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation.

I was born in Scotland.
I lived there for the first thirty years of my life, and for the last twenty nine I have lived in England. Today Scotland votes on whether it should become a separate nation.
I don't get to vote because I'm not resident in Scotland therefore not registered to vote there.
Fair enough, maybe.
I've been wondering which way I'd go if I did have a vote and to be honest its not an easy choice.
I can fully understand why many people want to break away. The Scottish Parliament has already undone much of what the Scots see as the social injustices brought in by the Westminster Government, many want to see this go much farther and they need independence to achieve that. 
Many others are worried about the uncertainties the changes will bring. Too many unanswered questions.
What I am most concerned about is the fall-out after the election whatever way it goes. I truly hope that the good people of Scotland, wherever they were born, can work together to make the country a better stronger place.
The referendum has excited the population, got them talking and arguing about issues which really matter, I only wish the same would happen in England.
Meanwhile we can only sit back and wait to see which way the decision goes, either way it will be close, which means there are going to be an awful lot of disappointed folk in Scotland tomorrow morning.


Saturday 6 September 2014

Everhopeful Sails Westwards

Cobnor week isn't complete without a sail on the good ship Everhopeful.
This year was no exception and I was happy to sign-on as second mate. 
The command structure can be a bit vague on Everhopeful, Wayne we know is the owner, and Marcus is generally but not always on the helm, but who the skipper is I'm not quite sure. 
This can make decision making problematic but is great when it comes to laying the blame. 

Now converted to a Schooner rig Everhopeful can now sail much better to windward, she sails best in a bit of a blow where she can heel and get her chine down to grip the water,  but it is generally agreed that she would sail much better still if she had a decent rudder. Wayne has promised her one, but until then..................

So it was that as we passed East Head things started to go a little wrong. The wind which was slackening was from the west, and the tide might just have turned against us, so there we were doing classic figures of eight. A motor cruiser had dried out on the sandbanks and as we tacked back and forwards we seemed to go and visit them every time we were on port tack. 
I'm afraid I might just have assumed command at that point, bit of a Fletcher Christian moment I'm afraid, couldn't help myself. Sorry Guys.

We did eventually manage to stem the wind and tide and make it into Emsworth Channel. That's the point in the video where we are met by Patrick in his Welsford Houdini. 
We made it to Emsworth on a broad reach and rewarded ourselves with a slap up feast at the Courtyard Cafe. Welsh Rarebit with Double Poached eggs on top. Yum. 

When we got back to the pontoon we'd been joined by Al in his Paradox and Patrick in the Houdini. 
There was also this bloke in one of those RS speed machine things who managed to capsize on the pontoon. I know we could all have done it but honestly! Unfortunately I didn't get it on film. 

So we sailed in company back up the Channel. The guy in the RS who had recovered his composure by now, was shadowing us but couldn't quite believe he couldn't catch us. 
Downwind sailing in Luggers my friend, hard to beat. We left him astern. 

The wind died to a whisper as we crept across the shallows, then we saw the unmistakable high peaked Lugsail of Polly Wee, making speed towards us. The wind filled in behind us and there was a fantastic run home. 

Sublime, Enjoy. 

Thursday 4 September 2014

One in, One Oot.


Just when you thought I'd sold the boat and taken up golf, we're back.

This is a wee video I took during the DCA rally at Cobnor a couple of weeks ago.

No I haven't sold the Coot yet, there has been some interest but the time just hasn't been right. Its not a problem, events have meant I'm not ready for another build and its still a pleasure to own her, as you'll see.

There's rather too much film of me me me me, I haven't got the hang of my new MUVI camera yet so tracking boom shots from the end of an oar while holding the main sheet between my teeth will have to wait, but if you look over my shoulders you'll see what Chichester Harbour is all about.
We set sail from Cobnor Hard then head up the main channel towards the dunes of East Head where Marcus entertains his lady friend and Wayne adopts a dog. In between shots of me nervously looking for pirates you'll also see Everhopeful going like a train, no, you can't turn trains either,  and CW making it all look so easy in Polly Wee. On the way back we detour up Thorney Channel and take a turn around that superb old Scottish Fishing Boat Ocean Pearl.
We had a brilliant week, the weather was variable, i.e. exciting at times, the rain stayed away most of the time and the tides allowed for some variation in destination.
Just what Cobnor is supposed to be about. 

Hope you enjoy it.

Its been an eventful year. New granddaughter Dulcie came into this world kicking and screaming at the beginning of May and gave her mum a really hard time in the process.
Things have settled down there and the new extended family are getting to know each other. This brings the total number of granddaughters to three, and I think everyone is in agreement that three is quite enough.  Three Sisters, good name for a trimaran!

We lost Dad at the beginning of June. He finally succumbed to his long illness and cast off his lines for that last voyage. The family and friends saw him off with tears of sadness and plenty of laughter as we reminisced about the good times we'd had. He was a real character, we'll miss him.
As they say in Scotland, and probably everywhere else, One in, one oot.