Thursday, December 22, 2016

My boat is bigger than yours

There were a lot of very big boats on display in the marinas of Barcelona.

It might indeed give some inferiority complexes, sailing in front of such a line-up of mega plastic- fantastics; gin-palaces rising like a layer cake.

But worry not, for the owners of these up-market caravans were dwarfed by this:
This was Abramovich's super-duper, mega-hyper floating HQ, Eclipse, all of 163m long, making all the others look like toys.

But even he has to accept its no longer the longest in the world, a prize taken by the 180m long Azzam.

According to Wikipedia, both yachts are official available for charter (though maybe not), noting that this is because they aim "avoid European taxation (charter yachts are exempt from property tax)".

Extremely rich people avoiding tax.... to misquote Casablanca:

"I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling tax avoidance is going on here"

Monday, December 19, 2016

Tall Ships, Barcelona

While waiting at Gatwick for the flight to Barcelona I spent a long time reading up in the Lonely Planet guide as to what to look out for.

My eye was caught by the description of the chance to sail on the three-masted schooner Santa Eulaliarestored by the Maritime Museum. So I pinged off an email and was a bit surprised to get it returned with address not found.

A bit of searching and translating later found the following message: "for maintenance and repair work, the schooner Santa Eulalia suspended all sailings and tours to the public until the end of the year".


It was not to be the first time that I was to find that the Lonely Planet had got things wrong, such as:

  • Park Guell: free, just turn up - wrong! Timed tickets required
  • La Sagrada Familia: "once inside € 4.50 will get you into lifts that rise up to the towers" - wrong! Timed tickets also required, pre-booked online.

But at least the harbour had lots of other nice boats to look at, such as the one above.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Maritime Museum Barcelona

Barcelona quickly became one of my favourite places for a weekend away from London.

There's lots to see and eat, and I just loved walking around the old quarter listening the buskers and soaking up the atmosphere before finding a good place for some tapas.

One afternoon was spent in the Maritime Museum and I'd certainly recommend it to any boaties visiting that city. For one thing, the city was crazy packed but the museum was an oasis of calm.

They have a number of interesting boats on display including this full sized replica of Don Juan of Austria's 16th century galley (above).

There were lots of other boats, both working and leisure, on display, plus exhibitions on specific topics (photography and toy boats when I was there).
The recently restored building itself is lovely, the Barcelona Royal Shipyards, where boats were built for hundreds of years.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Boats! Boats! Boats! .... in Barcelona

Recently I was in Barcelona and had a chance to head down to the beach and go for a swim and of course take some boaty pictures....

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Videos from Land Rover BAR and Alex Thomson

Its a a good time of year to be an armchair sailor, when its cold and grey outside, to keep in the warm making shopping lists doing their sailing via the interweb thing.

First up there's the video above from Land Rover BAR showing lots of lovely clips of their America's Cup foiling cats zooming across the Solent. What fun!

Santa - how about a ride on one of those for Christmas?

Then there was a cool video of Alex Thomson waving the flag while neck and neck with Armel Le Cléac'h somewhere way down south in the Vendee Globe:

Oh la la!! C'est superb!!