Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Two Harbours by the Thames

This weekend I was in the Fulham / Chelsea area (talking to a picture restorer) and on the way back I biked through this, one of the poshes locations in London, namely Chelsea Harbour.

It has all mod-cons for the urban elite - shops, restaurants, contemporary apartments, river views, location (just, its slightly away from Chelsea main), and of course a harbour.

While pleasant, it is a bit too clean and well behaved. I have a soft spot for a very different offshoot of the Thames, nearby, on the south rather than north shore. The picture below is where the Wandle River meets the Thames, and you can see on the right some form of platform where in the past barges must have moored.

Now it is unused, forever empty. On either side is derelict land where bushes grow, and in the waters the swans swim nonchalantly past discarded traffic cones while coots and herons dive for fish. Everwhere oozes mud and neglect.

I prefer it - it has a romantic wild feeling, a forgotten corner of London, a secret to be discovered.

But for how long? Already the land on one bank is being prepared by developers for more glass and steel apartments.

While I don't have a problem with urban renewal and river aspect living - it would be hard, having benefited from it - it would be a shame if all the Thames's banks were built upon and managed.

It is variety that brings character and interest. And that would come from leaving the Wandle mouth to be an urban wilderness, not another design showcase.

Monday, January 28, 2008

On Westminster Bridge

I have got to the bits in Ackroyd's Thames that cover the river's relationship to the arts (yes I know, reading slow, but it is rather rich).

Hence the Monet above and this bit of Wordsworth:

Earth has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Belated Burn Night

Belated Burn's night.

It was Friday but forgot, so will have a wee dram tonight instead - Bruichladdich from the lovely isle of Islay (above) - and toast the non-existent haggis and of course the lassies.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Founding of Australia

Today is Australia Day - the 26th of January is the anniversary of the foundation by the British of the penal colony in Sydney, NSW.

But it was not the first connection between Britain and Australia. That wasn't Captain Cook either - it was the less well known William Dampier.

Pirate, Buccaneer, Explorer, Scientist, and Writer, William Dampier was the first Brit to land on Australia and describe what he saw to the world.

You'd think the date of that landing would be celebrated too - 7th August 1699. But no, and you'd have too look hard in the Maritime Museum in Sydney to find his name mentioned. For his descriptions of what he found were not complimentary and so his contribution to Australian history is often overlooked.

There is a family story of a distant connection, and one day I'd like to sail off to follow in his footsteps.

And so Ozzies everywhere remember to raise your glasses on the 7th August to one of your other founders!

The Sea - and Martians

Imagine you're an Edwardian gentleman sailor. You set sail with your best friend to see his fiance living on the coast of Norfolk. On the way there your yacht is overturned in a raging storm, and your lives further threatened by guns of an artillery test range.

Battling through the waves you struggle ashore and are met by the local coastguards. But this doesn't bring safety as they have got it into their head that Martians are invading England as doppelgangers, using the storm for cover for a landing (no doubt triggered by the recently published War of the Worlds).

Such is the premise of the play "The Sea" which I saw last night at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket which mixed comedy with tragedy and ended with the call to action "Catch the 11.45 and change the world".

While there were occasional plot weaknesses, it was very enjoyable not least for Eileen Atkins's domineering matriarch and David Haig doing another mild middle class man falling apart.

Its on till mid April and its good stuff so catch it if you can.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Magic of The North

I enjoyed reading this story at the BBC of the ship Tara that has finally freed itself of the polar ice after 500 days. It was only partly because the achievement of the voyage - half of the 1,000 days that a certain well known couple are trying to achieve at sea.

But mostly because it reminded me of the great explorers of the North - men like Nansen, and his boat, the famous Fran.

Its hard these days to remember how the great far North gripped the imagination. We have come blase - when we can do a virtual fly-by of Salvbard on Google Earth, and watch Jeremy Clarkson drive a 4x4 to the magnetic North Pole for a Top Gear special.

But at the end of the 19th Century it was all unknown. A land of cold darkness, where mysterious ribbons of fire lit up the sky. A terrifying land into which explorers like John Franklin would disappear, never to be heard of again.

Scientists in London would debate the wonders of those remote places. Was there land at the top of the world? Was there maybe an open sea? Where was the magnetic north pole and what were those lights?

I caught some of the magic when reading Arthur Ransome's Winter Holiday, when the Swallows and Amazon's and D's hosted their own exploration to find the North Pole, conveniently located somewhere in the Lake District. And it was there also in Lyra's journey in Northern Lights. Those children - and presumably Ransome and Pullman - were gripped by tales of Nansen's journey.

Here is the Fran locked into the ice:

And here is the route he took, stuck in the ice and drifting with it across the roof of the world. It took him 3 years - yes, thats over a thousand days! - and brought his wooden boat the furthest north of any in history.

Those great adventures were managed by men with the most basic of technology. I would like to follow where they went and get a sense of the stern beauty of the land and seas they found.

But preferably with better heating and taking a lot less than a thousand days!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Flying a kite

This week there's been a rush of articles of the use of kites by the shipping industry, such as this one at the BBC news site.

One thing that struck me was the phrase that "commercial shipping is normally the villain of the transport world" on the grounds that it produces 4% of the worlds CO2 emissions.

This seems more than a little misleading - it would imply that other forms of transport are somehow "better".

But if you take a measure such as how much CO2 is produced for every tonne of goods moved 1 km then shipping wins - and by a huge factor.

According to this site a "cargo vessel carrying over 8000 tonnes emits 15g CO2 per tonne kilometer compared to a 747's 540g" - so thats 36 times higher for aircraft than a ship!

And with the kite increasing the ships efficiency by 10 - 35% that ratio can only move even more in favour of the ship.

The reason for the 4% is that there's an awful lot of goods being moved around the world by boat. And more importantly, if more goods went by sea instead of going by air the overall CO2 emissions would go down.

Wizzy picture of kite from the SkySail site

Monday, January 21, 2008

The evolution of the trimaran

I was struck by this view of Joyon's record beating trimaran - catch up on the story here - and the beauty of the form that is also perfect for its function.

Trying to capture the shapes the word organic came to mind for the lateral struts as the elegant curves were like the bones of sea birds, strong yet light. The hulls looked as solid as rock carved by a sculpture, though of course without the weight.

Compare it to Donald Crowhurst's boat Teignmouth Electron and you can see how far the trimaran has come:

The hulls don't just look heavy - they were heavy!

Ok I'm not a boat designer, but there must be real dangers in having struts flush with top of the hulls as the shearing stresses of the waves will try to separate them off each of the hulls. Unlike IDEC where the struts curve to make a right angle at the hull so the forces are converted into safer compression pressures.

It was this poor design that meant Crowhurst couldn't risk his boat in the raging southern oceans. Financial pressure meant he couldn't drop out so he lied about progress, posting imaginary progress reports. As the end came in sight, trapped by the lies, fearing - if not knowing - they would be discovered, he went mad and took his own life by jumping overboard.

But lets remember he did get something right - he chose a trimaran, believing it would hold the key to record breaking speed. And now the last three single handed round the world record breakers have all done it in three hulled boats..

There are some interesting notes here on other ways that Joyon's designed his boat to meet his style of sailing.

And it is inspiring how he powered his boat not by a diesel generator but by a combination of solar cells and wind turbines. So he traveled nearly 30,000 miles with zero carbon emissions!

The Ice Prince and the Wreckers

Another case of wreckers vs the law this week along the south coast of England.

These piles of drift-wood come from the boat the "Ice Prince" which sank 20 miles off the Dorset coastline a week ago. Its cargo of planks is now piled high on the Sussex beaches, and again is being picked off by wreckers looking for new floor-boards.

Alas experts say they are too water-logged to be useful. Full story, pictures and video via this link.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Tale of Two Boat Shows

This is what the (official) London Boat Show (TM) looked like on Thursday evening. Comparing it to the one at Earl's Court in December there was one obvious difference - the number of people there.

I had a chat with show Product Manager Michael Enser, who was tactfully avoided any attempt to compare the two. Maybe he felt he didn't have to, with first Saturday attendance of over 16,000, compared to the Earls Court meager 900. That was actually up 700 on Excel's previous year's first Saturday, which doesn't suggest much splitting of attendance between the two.

I had a chat with On Deck Sailing (who deserve the plug as they've got some really interesting sailing options up this year and they gave me a glass of bubbly) who were at both. They felt Earls Court may have had low "footfalls" but they were good contacts, and it can get hard to manage the greater number of leads from Excel.

One benefit of the docklands site is the ability to house the huge motor boats like this Princess. Glamorously shining black it hung high above those walking by, reflecting most of the other boats in Excel's huge shed like halls.

One commonality between the two is the emphasis on a stage with events and bands, which is generally a good development. At least here they had an audience, unlike the rather embarrassing empty space in Earls Court.

They didn't have the James Caird, the Top Gear car, or Gypsy Moth, but there were alternate attractions. Like this Volvo Ocean Race ride - where you get bounced around more or less in sync with shots of VOR boats racing across the southern ocean with fans blowing air in your face - great fun.

Also met these two authors, Sally Kettle and Hector Macdonald, who were so nice I ended up buying both their books.

Sally's book "Odd at Sea" is the true story of how she rowed across the Atlantic with her mum despite no rowing experience and suffering from sea-sickness.

Hector's book "The Storm Prophet" is a novel set around the Sydney Hobart yacht race. I'm still reading Ackroyd's Thames but will give reviews of both when get round to reading them.

I also had a chat with Jo Rogers, one of the Sisterhood who raced a Dragon Boat across the channel who I'd seen practicing along the Thames last year. While I'd struggled to fit in sailing with work and doing an Open University module she had been up at 6am training, working in a her film company Scion Films, and flying off to LA as part of an MBA focused on the film industry. Bit of a wow! really.

So how which was better - and what would that mean? Will have a ponder and post some thoughts another day.

British Sea Power

I am currently listening to British Sea Power's latest album. As well as being a great band they sing about topics with nautical and geographical themes as diverse as the Larsen B ice shelf and the floods at Canvey Island being a herald of climate change's destruction.

The sleeve notes starts as follows: "There's hardly anything more impressive than a great sheet of water which is motionless and soundless. At such rare moments at sea it is almost frightening - and then when the moon comes up, then it is truly a shining level".

Just fab.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

London and the Thames

I was up in central London delivering a Very Important Document Indeed and took a few minutes after dropping it off to walk by the Thames by London Bridge.

Reading Peter Ackroyd's Thames has really added to my appreciation of the river - even if the language is sometimes over the top and logic is often a stranger to his flights of fancy.

But it is packed full of stories, anecdotes, facts, and curiosities. One such was how the Norwegian Olaf Haraldson sailed to the aid of Ethelred against Danish invaders of London in 1014 but faced the Danes amassed upon the bridge. Olaf achieved victory by fastening ropes around the supporting piles and with the help of the tide tumbled the bridge and its warriors into the water.

Something for the city workers of 2008 to think about as they stroll across checking their Blackberries.

Ratty and friends travel the world

Where people go, so do animals. Some, like horses, cats and dogs, by plan. Some, like mice and rats come along uninvited for their own reasons. And through their DNA they can tell stories that are forgotten by us humans.

So by looking at the DNA of rats scientists have mapped the migration of humans across the Pacific, showing not one but two waves of explorers.

Voles meanwhile were travelling in neolithic times between France and Spain and the Orkney Islands, just north of Scotland.

Meanwhile Viking mouse DNA shows the Madeira archipelago off Africa was discovered by the Scandinavians hundreds of years before the official discovery by the Portuguese in 1419.

There's an interesting article in the New Scientist this week about it (which you can find here though unfortunately subscription only).

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Top Photos

Following Adam's project to blog your favourite sailing photos here are some that have posted earlier:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Slow down at the boat show?

Ok, it hasn't got a sail, but it's relevant for this story from the FT about the London Boat Shows thats currently on at Excel.

The credit-crunch, exchange rate yo-yos, and general slow down are affecting so many corners of the economy will the boating industry be immune?

Maybe they are in the wrong place. There was also this story in today's FT about the art market, and how its worth many tens of billions a year. But interestingly though increasingly unsurprisingly the main growth is in China where there has been a 100-fold increase!

I'm guessing the top-end art and top-end boat markets have some similarities. In which case thats the sort of market expansion that must make boat builders drool into their vintage champagne.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Offshore Racing Update

I'm not sure if you've been following the amazing progress of Francis Joyon but it looks like he is about to shatter Ellen MacArthur's round the world single handed record.

Now on the final stretch after crossing the equator and passing the Cape Verde Islands he remains about 10 days or two and half thousand miles ahead of Ellen.

It's a shame his web site is in French, though that of course should be good practice. However can't fault the web based "cartographie" (above)

Unlike the web site for the Barcelona World Race: its been an interesting race but as too often in the past I've found the race tracking less than helpful. I really don't think that Flash or Shockwave plug-in technologies are up to doing the sort of 3D visualisation that the organisers are trying to achieve. All too often it either freezes or crashes my laptop.

Two approaches work ok:

1) HTML page based - such as Joyon's above. As can be seen this can be show all the information you need including most importantly the wind now and in the immediate future without requiring plug-ins

2) Stand-alone application - nothing I've seen has come even close to the wonderful race viewer supplied free with the last Volvo Ocean race. You can still download it from the Volvo site but alas they have taken away the telemetry (why?). I hope it will be used for future Volvos and licensed for other races - preferably all other major offshore races.

Another problem with the Barcelona site is its overcomplicated and makes finding multimedia hard. I remember see a video where leaders Paprec-Virbac2 passed an iceberg and did a wonderfully ironic gosh aren't we so French and naughty commentry of "oh la la its so big"!

Or at least I think they did - despite contacting the race organisers still can't find that clip again. It's a shame as I think its double-handed Open 60s is a good format for offshore racing and it has attracted a good list of top names.

Real Wreckers?

While the Timewatch program last night on the BBC was about the history of wrecking, there was an article in the today's paper about a more recent example.

About a year ago the container ship Napoli (below) was beached to avoid worse damage in heavy seas, several containers were disloged and washed up on Branscombe Beach in Devon. This resulted in the feeding frenzy of scavengers (above).

The law in this situation is given in this post at the MCA. The owner of boat and containers has appointed contractors to clear up the area and recover that which has value. Any voluntary salvage should be reported to the receiver of wrecks, as described here.

However in the minds of many - in particular those that recovered goods - if they find it it's theirs.

This might work for small scale things - the odd trainer where the cost of recovering exceeds the value of the item. But does that approach, that the value is so small there is no harm in just taking it, apply when the goods in question are brand new working BMW motor bikes?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wreckers and Vikings

Couple of good programs on the BBC covering maritime history recently.

On the 5th January there was a 90 minute program covering the voyage of a reconstructed Viking ship, Sea Stallion, from Denmark across the North Sea, around the top of Scotland, then down the Inner Hebrides to Ireland. The destination was Dublin, a city founded by Vikings many centuries ago.

It was a very cold and wet crossing with very cramped conditions: about a square metre of deck space per crew. The boat wasn't great into the wind - nearest it could get was about 60 degrees - and in trials they found they could get 2 knots rowing into the wind against just 1 knot sailing. You can read about the Sea Stallion here and there's lots of clips from the BBC Timewatch documentary here.

Today there's just been another such program, this time about the history of wreckers around the coast of Britain. From the Scillies, to the Cornwall coast, to the Goodwins Sands, to far north of Scotland, wrecked boats have been plundered in their hundreds if not thousands over the centuries.

The law was often counterproductive: the boat was only considered wrecked if all were dead. Hence it was in the interest of the scavengers to kill - or at least not give much aide - to the survivors.

It was a rather grizzly story of poverty driving crime, completely lacking the gentle humour of Whisky Galore, but still fascinating. More here.

Boat watching by Google Earth

One of my jobs at work at the moment is to test the latest version of one our software products. And one of its (many) cool new features is the ability to output results for display in Google Earth. All to often, and especially on a Friday afternoon, its too easy to get distracted and go exploring.

So I got to see this - an eight training on the Thames. The shadow may look like one of Oxford's dreaming spires but is actually London's western waste centre. From the angle of the shadow it was morning, clearly a nice one without clouds, and by the length of the shadows it must have been taken in winter. Indeed probably a day a bit like today!

Struck by the boat watching potential I then checked out this view of the Red Funnel ferry just of Cowes harbour, and imagined what happened next to the two yachts jostling at it entrance.

Finally before stopping to do some real work checked out this picture from Valencia, Spain. In an otherwise empty harbour was this - looks very much like an ACC boat moored up there.

What is absolutely mind blowing to me is that not just we can see all this, but we can see all of this on a 3G mobile phone using the mobile version of Google maps. So almost anywhere in the world as long as there is mobile coverage you can get maps and images to pretty much everywhere. Amazing!

What's your favourite Google Earth / Maps boating view?

Useful links:

Friday, January 11, 2008

Sackroyd's Piddle - A Gentle Stream

Following the inspiration of Peter Ackroyd's "Thames - A Sacred River", I have received a proof copy of Beter Sackroyd's "Piddle - A Gentle Stream". Due for publication 01/04/08, similarities in floral style an be seen from this excerpt:

The river Piddle is born deep in the rolling chalk hills of Dorset and flows and matures till its death in the world's largest natural harbour at Poole. Thus it symbolises the travel that we must all do along the road of life, a journey repeated across the centuries and millennium that this river has seen. Is it fanciful to hear echoes of re-incarnation in this repeating cycle? Together with the parish churches its passes, this river has deep religious significance, ecumenically connecting the Christian and Buddhist faiths.

Dorset is of course the home of that great writer Thomas Hardy (*). His melancholy can be heard on a frosty winter day as ice forms around the river banks. He would have known the river well, visiting Puddletown as a child, which is commemorated as Weatherby in "Far from the Madding Crowd". It is literally a literary river.

It's name speaks of the mundane nature of life in the great scheme of the universe, the daily acts of the living. Just as the great pubs along his length revel in the joys of hearty meals and strong drink. There has been beer drunk by its side for hundreds of years, the satyranic pipes of pan joining in with the solemn ringing of Church bells. Sunday picnics and romantic trysts are one to its ever twinkling eyes, both serenaded by its gentle trickling.

It is a historic river, for its passes through Tolpuddle (*), home of the eponymous martyrs. Here was born th Trade Union movement that changed the balance between capital and labour for ever. In the blood, bones and bodies of the martyrs ran the waters of the Piddle. And they connect the river to the Anglo Saxon communities of the world, through their punishment of transportation to Australia and travels to Canada. The waters of the Piddle have truly changed the world.

(*) to quote Nigel Molesworth "all the fakts are corect for a change" see:

Russian invasion of the Thames

Yes thats right these are the Russians which are invading and occupying the Thames - zebra mussels. According to the BBC there is an explosion in their growth triggered by warmer water. Its not a minor issue - they are classified as an invasive species in parts of North America.

These zebra mussels were first found in the Thames as far back as 1824 no doubt having fallen off one of the thousands of vessels using the great docks of London. The docks were so busy then that in 1800 when 1,775 vessels tried to dock where there spaces for only 545 ships there were delays of one or two weeks (*).

Yet another reason to try to combat climate change to stop the warming of our planet!

(*) history lesson from Peter Ackroyd's Thames.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Peter Ackroyd's Thames

I'm currently reading Peter Ackroyd's Thames.

It is an amazing book, packed full with the history and stories of this great river. Like a magpie he has gone through entire libraries of books looking for every possible link or quote that refers to the Thames over the past centuries and millenniums.

His style is very rich and very colourful - prose as purple and rich as a bucket of port. And sometimes his love of the mystical and theatrical overflows, threatening to overwhelm the more practical and mundane.

For example he says that the great palaces were built by the river to be "near the ultimate source of power .... the river that blessed the monarch". But surely the motivation for their location is more likely the benefits of river transport, access to water, a place to dump waste, and proximity to the industry that springs up along it banks (and of course those river views)?

And I'm not sure he's always right - for example his claim the increase in tidal range around London Bridge from 3 m during Roman times to the current 6 m is "simple" - its the sinking of the south-east of England. But that would only effect the relative level not range - which I always understood was due to the constriction of the river as the embankments were built on either side.

But I'm certainly enjoying it and would unhesitatingly recommend it to anyone interested in the story of this sacred river.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Celebrity Sailing

What's this? Super celeb ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney "Macca" in a dinghy?

Of course its good to see the world's "the most successful musician and composer" afloat. But after selling 100 million singles couldn't he afford something a bit bigger?

One theory is that he just wants to get close to the water, to feel the kick of the rudder and spray in his face. The other of course is that he has started economise, knowing the mega divorce payout he is facing from his ex, Heather Mills.

So what is he sailing - anyone recognise it?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The river at night

This turned out to be rather an expensive picture.

I had this theory that when the wind is light the majority of the waves you see during the day are echos of the wakes of boats that might have gone by long ago (plus the effect spurious wildlife). This explains how the river looks so calm and soothing in the early hours of the morning.

So after getting back at 1am after seeing the film "Into the wild" (recommend) followed by a discussing with my brother about the meaning of life over a glass or two of red wine, got out the digital SLR and headed back out into the cold.

I had even bought a mini-tripod: alas it was too short to get a clear view, even when perched on a table. So in the end the Canon 350D + Sigma 70 - 300mm lens were balanced on a mini-tripod on a chair on a table, in the dark, late at night. At some point there was an almighty bang and the camera was found on the floor with the lens now not zooming :(

However the good news was this unlikely combination of props had been just about stable enough to take the long exposure above, that shows what I hope you will agree is a pretty flat river with only the minimum of waves on it.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Sailing to New Zealand aged 102

Amazing story of 102 year old Eric King-Turner who is about to emigrate to a new life in his wife Doris's home country, New Zealand. They are travelling there by ship - maybe to remind him of the old days in WW2 when he served on HMS Invincible.

There's no holding back this old sailor - they got married 12 years ago, when he must have been about 90!

Good luck to them in their new life.

Watching the river

There is a hypnotic fascination about watching moving water.

A couple of nights ago I couldn't help but wonder at the stillness of the river in the early hours of the morning during a 3am raid on the kitchen.

So much of the waves during the day are not the result of wind or river flow but traffic. The abstract above is the wave from the first boat of the day spoiling the calm and creating this perfect wake behind. This wake will echo and scatter off the banks, bridges and moorings for at least an hour, added to by later boats and even the ripples produced by river birds as they land, wash, fish and take off. The Thames remains slightly disturbed all day long.

But at night, especially on calm days, the river is as flat as the proverbial mill-pond, flowing slowly yet still. One day I must take a picture to reassure myself this theory has evidence behind it and isn't the result of a half-asleep half-awake dream.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Running Aground

Not a good New Year for the Master and crew of the 90,000 tonne container ship Cortesia which is currently hard aground on the Varne sandbank (more here).

The Varne bank is unfortunately slap bang in the middle of the south (or east) bound lane of the Dover Strait's Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). So every day there is a steady stream of vessels passing to its left and right - but most of them seem to be able to miss it. It is marked with a southerly cardinal at one end and a buoy the other, and is clearly shown on the charts.

At its centre the depth is merely 3.3 metres - despite being well offshore. We are currently in a spring tide situation so low water will have been especially dangerous - but that also means the high tide will get weaker in the days to come.

There was also a running aground in the program "Three men in another boat" on the Beeb last night. Griff Rees-Jones was sailing his classic 49 footer from London round to Cowes with two fellow comedian semi-celebs (for real - note no fiction label to this post). While teaching them to raise the main they ended up momentarily aground.

However I'm a bit suspicious. I can see that commissioning editors might worry about the lack of drama and Griff (who I once saw in a techy shop on London's Tottenham Court Road) saying don't worry, he'll fix a few "incidents".

Hence he finds a very sheltered place (The Swale), with gentle bottom (mud), at a good time (rising tide), at low speed (last recorded comment was to slow down), and, knowing the boat has a centre board that can be raised, heads slowly into the mud.

If you are in the UK you can make your own mind up by watching it here.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great New Year's Eve and will have a good 2008!

I'm rather chuffed at making Tillerman's top 10 blogs for 2007 and good to see those hard working sailing celebrities getting the recognition they deserved (and I have a funny feeling they might be off again soon).

Also good to see Messing About in Sailboats getting on the list - one of my favourites and I'm going to borrow Adam's two resolutions, which were to join a sailing club and do more for the environment.

Another fav blog on Tillerman's top 10 was Frogma with stories of kayaking or canoeing in NY - which might be another thing to try in 2008 (but in London obviously).

So a big hello to all readers of this blog and thanks to all those blogs I've read and enjoyed during 2007!