Monday, 10 October 2016

The Ferryman at Bablock Hythe

My good friend and fellow HBBR member Chris Partridge was so impressed with our gentle glide into Autumn that he called a last minute rally for this weekend. Normally we would all be getting the central heating turned on and settling in for a season of Strictly Come Dancing on the telly but a few of us did come out to play. We gathered at the Ferryman Inn at Bablock Hythe on the Thames which is quite near the wonderfully named Kingston Bagpuize, you couldn't make these names up, and you can see where Tolkein got his inspiration. I think we should just re-name the river The Brandywine and be done with it.

As Chris pointed out The Ferryman meets all of our requirements; it has camping, a slipway, and beer. It also had a little of the Royston Vasey about it, i.e. A Local Pub for Local People, one of our party left his coat on someone else's chair and I thought there was going to be an international incident, however we survived unscathed and plan to return again next year.
Here as ever are some photos.

Monday, 3 October 2016

A Misty Moisty Morning in Manor Valley.

A visit to Scotland to see the crumblies gave me the chance to nip out for a bike ride round my some of my home territory on Sunday Morning. Autumn had arrived with thick mist which gradually burned off to become a beautiful morning.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Its all down hill from here.

This is a "What we did on our holidays" post although there is a boat in it somewhere.

We went cycling in Northern Italy with a company called Bspoke. They provide the bikes, book your accommodation, shift your luggage, mend your bike and generally make sure you have a good time. We did almost 200 miles in eight days of cycling. We started at the Austrian Border and travelled south through stunning scenery towards Lake Garda then onwards to Verona. The Tooth Fairy said it was the best holiday ever! And she's been to Saltcoats !  And here are the inevitable holiday snaps.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Awinya Sails

Great news from Australia. I mentioned a while ago that Rob Blackburn was building his version of Katie Beardie in Australia see Katie as Done Down Under.  Well he has now launched her and reported back as promised.  

I'll let Rob tell it his way; 

Awinya was launched today and I must admit to mixed emotions. I was fearful she would not sail, would be by the bow and have lee helm. No problem. Perfect balance and you can steer her by rolling her one way or the other with the rudder neutral. So that was a relief. 

Light winds, sheltered bay and my sailor daughter Cate, to help me launch. So conditions were perfect. 

Light winds but the overarching feeling is it should have been bigger. We will see how it goes with 15 knots 
Roller reefing worked perfectly. 
Helm is perfectly balanced 
Interesting that the narrow hull does not respond like a catamaran… (he jokes) Gust hits and the boat heels, without much increase in speed, shift your weight, boat powers up etc… One needs to have served a Laser Dinghy apprenticeship to handle this in bigger winds I think. 
Put some tell tales on and made it easier. 
Seems as if the rudder cheeks etc I built is too big/low in the water and as soon as you get a bit of pace on the noise/turbulence starts behind you. First world problem I know. Not sure if it is worth the effort to alter. 
Pedals are noisy. Very noisy. Will try silicon spray. 
Needs a rudder stick thing to steer by hand too. 
Seemed much easier to use half the kayak paddle ie one blade on one side. 
I have a longer Hobie paddle which does not split in the middle to try next. 
Seat needs to be higher to enable full paddle I think. Will modify maybe to allow the seat to be lifted up against a stop, ¼ inch rod with plastic tube over?
Felt heavy to start with but as day went on it became a sail:paddle ratio in my mind of 80:20. Less paddling the better really, it is really a canoe to sail and then paddle only as you must. 
Works really well 
Could be a bit big but... 
Seems to give good stability by reducing rolling, 
Points really well when you get it going, ie start off about 15deg off the close hauled position and then as you get some lift on the board, steer up and away it goes. 
Up and down mechanism all good. 
Slow to tack if wind is v light 
Long and narrow would suggest that this is to be expected. Also fairly big skeg installed by the builder would be part of this issue. 

Canting Seat 
Really good as you do get sick of sitting on a lean. 
Think I should trim the edges a bit and glue some white melamine on inside of canoe to make it move easier up and down. 
Downside is that it looks as if a demented spider has been at work with all the ropes in the cockpit. 
It does exactly what I thought/hoped. I had a great few hours sailing around in skinny water totally absorbed by the boat and the day. Simple to launch, simple to rig and just fun to sail. 

See you all later with some photos from Fraser Island. 

Well Rob's not the only one who was mighty relieved. 

CW and I wish Rob many happy adventures in Awinya. 

Rob's success has given me a sharp dig in the ribs, well actually it was CW who gave me a sharp dig and pointed out that Katie has never actually sailed with a main, so watch this space for my version of the Paradox stylee roller reefing.  
Well don't watch too closely as the Tooth Fairy and I are off for a while to enjoy La Dolce Vita.     Caio Baby! 

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Cobnor 2016

Just back from the annual DCA camp at Cobnor, Chichester Harbour. 
The weather was wild and windy for the first couple of days but it quietened down to a stiff breeze by the Monday and we went sailing.

Excellent fun, superb weather, and great company.

And now, some photographs;

Monday, 1 August 2016

The Only Way is Wessex.

The (nearly) Famous Five have just done the Wessex Ridgeway.

Two days of epic cross country cycling in rural Dorset.

66 miles of Bridleway
7000 ft of ascent.

Nettles, Brambles, Horseflies, Ticks, Blood, Sweat, nearly tears,
and lashings and lashings of ginger beer.

Well Beer and Cider at any rate.  

We all had a wonderful time,
And nobody died,

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Katie As Done Down Under

Regular Viewers will be acquainted with Katie Beardie my sixteen foot sailing paddling expedition canoe, you might even have read about her in Watercraft Magazine or seen her at Beale Park Boat Show.  Its all here in her very own Katie Beardie.  page .  

I have been asked a few times whether there are any plans available so that people could build their very own Katie.  The answer has always been, well not really. As you can read over on Katie's page there never were any proper plans, I've just pointed people towards the two pieces of A4 Chris Waite provided and said, go ahead if you are brave enough.

Over on the other side of the world serial boat builder Rob Blackburn was looking for his next build and after a shortish conversation decided to take up the challenge.

Rob is going his own way with his version of Katie, the hull is the same but the deck, hatches and cockpit are of his own devising. 

Now while I did my initial testing under the full media glare of the HBBR paparazzi,  

Rob has had his own special test tank built in his back yard. 
They don't mess around in the antipodes you know. 
Here he sensibly gets his attractive helper to test the stability while he manfully stands ready to prevent a capsize. 

Rob has devised a roller furling lug sail, which seems eminently sensible and he is also fitting electric bilge pumps for when he gets the inevitable dunking. 

There has been a lot of progress recently with paint being applied and all the little fiddly jobs being done so a Southern Hemisphere Spring Splash should be happening quite soon. 

I'll keep you posted.