Off she goes, Iain Oughtred's slightly foreshortened Penny Fee, at 15ft. Sails by Jeckells, spars by the wonderful Jeremy Freeland at Collars. The rest by Messrs Burke and Morgan (that's Jonny by the way...)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Jolly Sailor

Went south for Christmas and found myself in Hamble for lunch, overlooking the Elephant Boatyard from the warmth of the Jolly Sailor. Ah memories, of Sally berthed on the rickety pontoon (connected by a little rope ferry) alongside a number of wooden classics, some of which are still taking up the same space.

There is no doubt that the Solent has its attractions; it is, after all, where it all started. The Western Isles have their attractions, but you can have too much isolation, natural beauty, deserted anchorages, seals and wheeling eagles. There comes a time when a yachtsman needs stimulation in the shape of other yachts to ogle, the antics of other yachtsmen to watch and critisize, and a selection of waterside pubs from whose windows you can admire your own craft lying at anchor - surely as great a joy as actually sailing her.

No, I would not have a word said about the crowded Solent, or the West Country refuges. Fowey, up the Fal, Newton Ferrers... I was once asked to describe my favourite anchorage, and chose a fore and aft mooring I had opposite Mercury on the Hamble River from where I could watch the comings and goings of a procession of fascinating craft of all kinds of a Saturday afternoon. The Solent, truly the cradle of yachting...

1 comment:

  1. Sadly the floating bridge to the pontoon is but a memory - the mid river pontoons are now connected and the boat's owners don't suffer cold wet hands pulling the bridge over.

    No doubt the 'elf and safety people approve as well!