Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Southampton Boat Show 2011

...or SIBS as it is known to us cognoscenti, has just finished and I had the best of luck to go on the last Sunday of the show on the back of some complimentary tickets my sister had managed to source through her work .....

..a truly brilliant day had by all (my eldest and her boyfriend joined us - my wife is at best antipathetic to sailing, and my youngest finds the boat show the most boring experience anyone has ever inflicted on her...
)

Eldest and beau split off for the day with plans to meet at lunchtime, but we had an unofficial competition between the groups to see who could get on to the most expensive boat on the day * so it promised to be fun...!

My sister and I had a mooch around the tents and land-side displays - I looked around the biggest of the Beneteau (SenSe 50) and Jeaneau (Sun Odyssey 509) boats but wasn't really excited - they really are pretty uninspiring inside, the best thing about them is the outside - some lovely hull shapes... as a comparison I also went round the two smallest Beneteau's ( First 30, Oceanis 31) and was similarly uninspired...  I noted large square portholes on almost all the new boats this year (yuck), and teak toe rails (very classy) seem to have replaced the slotted aluminium you always used to see...

Following the almost obligatory pint of Guiness at the Guiness stand, we headed out on to the pontoons to check the boats there. My prizes for the best boats were the one's we went on on the pontoon - the side facing Southampton Water is where they put the big expensive one's...

My best boat prizes go to Oyster and Discovery - we went on two boats - the Oyster 575 (that's her to the left) was a truly awesome boat - just beautiful from head to toe - the fittings were exquisite, the layout lovely, every electronic gadget known to man (almost TV sized colour plotters!). My prize for best boat this year however, was the Discovery 55 - picture says it all really...  what swung it for me were the two seats they had moulded on to the sides of the pulpit - stainless steel with teak benches so you can sit comfortably as your boat sails through the water - genius!



HMS Bulwark was also there doing their bit for the Royal Navy - not as pretty but very interesting manoeuvring in the afternoon to allow one of her Landing Craft Utility Mk 10's to take off a tracked vehicle - a Bv 206 armoured all-terrain tracked carrier - presumably to make room for herself to dock at a later point... I have an interest in things military so apologies for the following geekery...

It looks like she has room for four of each with a speed of 8.5 knots, and a capacity of either 1 main battle tank, 4 large vehicles, or 120 troops..

Bulwark sinks so as to make that deck awash for launching and recovering the Landing Craft but in this case all she did was drop the back gate and the Landing Craft moved up, dropped it's ramp, and the vehicle drove over without even making the Landing craft secure - swift & skilled work..



...and that was it for a truly exhausting but brilliant day - sore feet all round...

* My eldest won - she and her boyfriend managed to blag their way on to one of the big Sunseeker's I think - either way they came back and told us it was worth 13 or 14 million (sterling 'natch) - I think my sis and I heard the salesman say that the Oyster was worth £1.75M - it's a different world my friends....!

Post edit - she may have been right the, Sunseeker Predator 130 was officially the most expensive boat at the show at £13,200,000 (ex VAT!)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

East Stoke stroll....

So despite the extra large binoculars unfortunately Thursday never happened, a shame really as the weather was perfect.. work is busy but more importantly I'm running out of holiday, and I'm damned if I'm going to miss out on my Christmas trip to Bath with the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer.. footballer pictures


...and so it was that with Sunday pencilled in for the Southampton Boat Show, and half of one other day pencilled in to hand over vast wads of my salary to Mr Tes and Co (can't think why I don't just have it paid direct into their bulging coffers.... ) I started looking with more than usual eager anticipation at today's weather and tides...

...as it turned out both were good, but tides were early so I ended up hauling my sorry ass out of bed at 0630, and by 0730 was on the boat motoring down the channel towards Northney...

...and what a fantastic day - wind was bang on the nose as I headed down the channel - nice force 1, occasionally 2, but absolutely perfect weather - as one motorboat went past the skipper looked at me with a huge smile on his face and opened his arms to the sky - said it all really!


So with a nice easterly it was perfect for a nice long reach down to HISC (that's it above as I went past); as it turned out the wind was going more southerly the further I got down the harbour, and just after high tide was south easterly....  so with traffic picking up (lot of boats out - looked like some offshore racing - I think it may have been the St Wilfrid’s Hospice Coastal Yacht Challenge - a race to the Nab and back) I gybed round the East Stoke Point buoy and headed back up the harbour - lazing in the back of the boat with a coffee, the radio and the sunshine - just a perfect day, no reefs, gentle sailing...

Spotted that beautiful gaffer above on my way back - I offered to swap but they didn't seem keen... footballer pictures


Distance: 10.36 miles (cumulative total in the tab at the top of the page)
Wind: E to SE - Force 1, gusting 2...
Speed: Max speed was 4.4 knots which would have been under engine as despite some gusts I didn't see any speeds over about 3 knots, average speed was 2.7 knots....  gentle meandering....

Only blight on the horizon - and it wasn't much - was the battery, which was flat - it's in the garage on charge as we speak... I'd left the damn power on when I went out to check the boat a couple of weeks ago... ah well - I had my hand-held VHF, and everything else runs off AA and AAA anyway!



Tuesday, 20 September 2011

At last...

The weather is easing and we currently have our eyes focussed on Thursday for an all-day'er....


Wish us luck....

Thursday, 8 September 2011

This weather is driving me potty...

...two weeks now since I've set foot on Papillon, never mind gone for a sail... day after day of strong winds and rain...force 5's daily, and don't even talk about the gusts...

Looking at the forecasts this weekend appears to be the same... smiley emoticons