Monday, 19 September 2016


The Clipper Fleet resting after their circumnavigation this year.

Portsmouth, Cowes, Southport. all names synonymous with sailing and boating. The Isle of Wight just offshore is a major attraction for the boating populace. Around every bend and behind every breakwater there is another enormous marina bursting to the seams with boats of every description. Just like most places around the world though most of them don't appear to leave the dock. Many just provide an easy income for the Marina within which they reside. Boating seems like a grand idea to many but the hard work and dedication required to actually make it happen is mostly lacking. The result is marinas and moorings choked with forgotten dreams.
Yarmouth, a quaint little village on Isle of Wight.

We have sort of stalled ourselves since Poole, with David and I both getting flue separately. We had also postponed some repairs which we needed to catch up on. Not to mention Weather! 
After a week spent in Poole replacing domestic pumps and fixing sail slugs between heavy rain and squalls, eventually the weather cleared and we left for Portsmouth, stopping in Yarmouth on the Isl of Wight for a night. Its a cute little village and has some nice walking trails. We didn't get to see much of the island however as we need to keep moving. 

The remains of the Mary Rose and some clever graphics

In Portsmouth we went off to the Mary Rose Museum located in the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The Mary Rose was built on the orders of King Henry VIII and launched in 1511. It was refitted in 1536 after service in wars against  France, Scotland and Brittany. While leading the attack against a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent, the straits north of the Isle of Wight. The reason for her sinking remains a mystery as there is insufficient documentation available today to determine the true cause. Conjecture has it that during the battle, with sails hoisted in almost no breeze, suddenly there sprung up a wind and with all her lower gun ports open she healed and filled with water rapidly taking with her a crew of sailors, archers, gunners and an assortment of other specialists, surgeon, trumpeter and officers from the gentry.

Part of the Galley. Rebuilt using all original pieces from aboard.

The Mary Rose remains were re-discovered in 1971 and  recovered from the Solents mud in 1982. About two thirds of one side of the hull was recovered. Other finds include weapons, sailing equipment, naval supplies and a wide array of objects used by the crew  The bones of a total of 179 people were found during the excavations of the Mary Rose, including 92 fairly complete skeletons. Analysis of these has shown that crew members were all male, most of them young adults. Some were no more than 11–13 years old, and the majority (81%) under 30. Loads of cannon, a dog and several rats. Even a flea! How thorough and painstaking was the recovery!!.?? It took years to stabilize the timbers. And 2 years ago she finally went on display. It's a truly amazing effort. Lots of clever projection work showing life aboard. Forensic science has pieced together the lives and faces of the bodies found and we even got to hold a piece of anchor rode which still smelled of tar! It was all buried in an anaerobic mud so was extremely well preserved. The excavation and salvage of the Mary Rose was a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology.
More from Wikipedia on the Mary Rose.
The HMS Victory some of the 104 guns aboard.

The HMS Victory also resides in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. She is best know as Lord Nelsons battle ship and the one on which he died in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. She has  been the flagship  of the First Sea Lord since October 2012 and is the oldest naval ship in the world, still in commission. They think it might sink if they put it in the water though! The Dockyard is very big comprehensive and impossible to get round it in the day. At 38 quid each it is expensive so 2 days was out of the question.

Steering repair.
Emergency Tiller
Steering problems surfaced as we attempted to leave Haslar Marina and head to Cowes with friends. The 8mm Stainless Steel steering cable had started shredding itself and threatened to foul the whole shebang! Luckily we had some warning when the steering didn't quite feel right so we picked up a mooring and checked!  Well we then had to set up the emergency tiller. Disable the cables and remove them so as not to foul and limp back to a dock. Jeananne and Ray, English friends we met in Perth (I went to Uni. with Jeananne). We ended up going driving with them to Bosham and lunched in Chitchester, then they drove back to London and we went back to Portsmouth on the train.
On Monday morning David found a rigger and he had cable and the swageing tool so he was back with all the new gear within a couple of hours and several hours it was all rebuilt. We left Portsmouth at 5 pm and anchored of the south coast in very still conditions with a benign forecast, just a little rainy drizzle.

 The season is drawing to a close with Autumn approaching and we would like to be across the Chanel by the end of the month. The destination is loosely Amsterdam.
Well that's about it from the Solent! 

 More Photos from the UK South Coast.