Sunday, December 24, 2017

Buff LOLs Yachting!!!

G'day all! Buff Staysail here! Buff by name and Buff by nature!

Well here's one for the books. I gave me ol' ma an iPhone and she'd has been getting into texting me at all times of night and day. But she says she doesn't understand Buff's replies - all this OMG and LOL nonsense.

So as its Christmas, Buff offers this easy to remember translation of the most common terms:

LOL: Luff Or Leach? Jeez, who can remember which side of the sail is which? Does it matter anyway?

OMG: Or Maybe Goose-winged? That's sailing downwind, not the Christmas day roast, obv.

IMHO: I Might Hike Out. Or not. Probably not.

TLC: Total Lines Cock-up. Typically happens during a spinnaker hoist - the skipper should never have asked for a gybe set

WTF: Wingsail Takes Flight. As in the America's Cup, until that nose dive of course!!

FFS: F*** Foiling Sailing. What traditionalists say about the America's Cup.

BTW: Boat Taking-on Water. Now where's that safety boat?

ISO: I'm Sozzled, Ok? While not technically a sailing thing, it is a good excuse for navigators that "forget" one of the marks

YOLO: Yachting Optional, Lunch Obligatory. 'Nuff said, you know ol' Buff!!

NSFW: Not Sailed For Weeks. JP, I'm looking at you!!!

IRL: I-forget-what-about-the Reaching Line. Seriously, mind's a blank on this one

Well there are probably more but its xmas and ol' Buff needs to lie down for a bit for some mysterious reason. But maybe you can fill in some of the missing ones for me.


This is Buff Staysail, over - hic - and out!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Its a boring machine!

Work on the Super Sewer (aka the Thames Tideway Tunnel) progresses fast up in Fulham.

As previously posted, a giant "acoustic shed" has been constructed down which a shaft is being dug to get down to tunnelling level.

Down this great shaft will be lowered the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) which was came up the river at the end of November in bits on a barge from Kehl, Germany:
These bits are currently being assembled into the TBM (top pic) before it is moved inside the shed and down the shaft to start its job drilling the main tunnel itself.

Before that it was, of course, important to get that all important photo of the crew with the cutting head:

It certainly gives a sense of the scale of the tunnel to see the engineers in their orange jackets dwarfed by the tunnelling machine they are constructing and will guide through those kilometres of London clay.

This TBM is called Rachel after Rachel Parsons who sounds like an amazing women. Her Wikipedia article describes how she was director on the board of the family's Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company and had a Master Mariner's Certificate. In 1920 she was one of a group of eight women who founded the engineering company Atalanta Ltd, which for a time had offices on the Fulham Road.

Sounds like she'd have got on really well with Victoria Drummond, who's book about her life as a marine engineer with the Blue Funnel Line (amongst others) blogger earlier.

I wonder if there's any record of them meeting?

Monday, December 11, 2017

The London Stones: on the charts

Earlier this year I visited the London Stones and there was a comment on one of the posts about whether they have any navaids so they can be identified to shipping.

The answer is no, which could partly be related to how they are historic objects and partly to the fact that they are typically close to shore in drying parts of the Thames estuary, well away from the shipping channels.

However they are marked on charts, which you can see for yourself above (the one off Chalkwell / Leigh / Southend-on-sea) and below (Yantlet Creek), in both cases taken from the Navionics Webapp.
The one on the north is described as "City or Crow Stone" while that on the south as "London Stone", and nearby the latter can be seen the buoy marking the creek's entrance.

There was no sign of the lost Yantlet or Lobster Island, washed away over the centuries, though I did notice an anchorage at the inlet to Yantlet Creek.

This remote location had no yachts bobbing at anchor the day I visited, though some yougsters did zoom up and down the creek in a jetski:

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Wingardium Leviosa vs. Expecto Patronum

It might be a long time until the Oxford vs Cambridge University Boat Race but the crews and busy preparing out on the Thames.

Today the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club crews have their Trial Eights match-up and they have name the two crews Wingardium Leviosa and Expecto Patronum.

Given that Cambridge University does indeed look like something out of Harry Potter this is very appropriate.

As to which is which (above & below photos) I must admit I have no clue.

However it is possible that I have been hit by a confundus charm.

Updated: victory for Expecto Patronum!

TBH, I'm not surprised as the Patronus charm was clearly more useful to Harry Potter than the levitation one

Monday, December 04, 2017

Book Review: Sailing in Grandfather's Wake by Ian Tew

I initially had the wrong idea about this book. For some reason my expectation was that given the author was someone's grandson he must be young, but it turned out if anything he was older than the grandfather in question.

The author sailed round the world in the years 1998 - 2000 while the grandfather did his half-circumnavigation just before the start of the Second World War in 1938-39. Indeed, it was the start of the war that cut the voyage short in New Zealand.

It was an enjoyable read though not without flaws. The book is part written by Ian Tew and part the diary of his aunt who was crew of the first voyage. It must be said that the earlier writing is a lot better and the later rather full of exclamation marks.

Indeed the first voyage seemed to have numerous advantages, including:
- a more beautiful yacht, 30 foot gaff yawl called Caplin
- more sympathetic crew and master in Commander Graham and his daughter Marguerite plus Dopey the ship's cat (the author admits he's quick tempered and not the easiest person to get along with)
- more unspoilt locations, before the times of ubiquitous development and no doubt plastic in the oceans

If you read blogs or vlogs of those doing circumnavigations you'll know the sort of thing they encounter. Things break and they have to wait for replacement parts, there's confusions and tensions about paper work not being right, locations are idyllic apart from those that are over-developed, crews get sea-sick and argue....

An addition to the circumnavigator's bookcase rather than a classic like Hiscock's Around the World in Wanderer III or Liza Copeland's Just Cruising.