South West Coast Path – Minehead to Porlock

January 28th, 2016 Alasdair

24th January 2016

Minehead to Porlock

After the Louis Vuitton mast job in Paris and the London Boat Show I needed a bit of a breather and decided to go on a long distance walk. Being mid-January I ruled out anything that could be halted by bad weather and plumped for an old favourite – the first three days of the South West Coast Path, starting at Minehead and walking towards Ilfracombe. Even in January it is unlikely that the weather would be too severe to complete a section. I was wrong there!

We took a train to Taunton and then a bus to Minehead. I love bus rides in the countryside. We booked in at The Waverley bed and breakfast. I’m always impressed how clean B and B’s are nowadays. No beans for breakfast lost them one mark but a minor point.

Day 1 Minehead to Porlock
We set off on Sunday towards Porlock with rain in the forecast but actually it was pretty much a dry day. It is only about 10 miles so there was no hurry. Minehead gets it’s name from the Welsh “Mynedd” which means hill in Welsh. The path starts by climbing the hill that dominates Minehead. It rises in zig zags to around 250 m. It sets the scene for the whole path which eventually finishes in Poole after 630 miles, making it Britain’s longest path. The total ascent is the equivalent of climbing Everest four times – or to put it another way it is very hilly. Once on the top of the cliff we choose to take the alternative rugged path which hugs the coast and enjoyed some pleasant coastal walking before rejoining the main path and dropping down to Porlock Bay. The was no accommodation in our preferred stop at Porlock Weir so we booked in at The Castle Inn in Porlock. We diverted off the Coast Path which runs behind the marsh up into town. The Castle Inn was very smartly decorated with comfy sofas and a modern room. The evening food was pretty mediocre but it was the middle of January so I expect it improves with time. Breakfast was fine, with beans!

Number of walkers seen on the path – 0

In the summer you can arrive in Minehead by stem train

In the summer you can arrive in Minehead by stem train

The hill besides Minehead

The hill besides Minehead

The official start to the South West Coast Path

The official start to the South West Coast Path

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Watch out for the shingle bar if sailing into Minehead

Watch out for the shingle bar if sailing into Minehead

Plenty of moss and lichen

Plenty of moss and lichen

Ferral Goats Roam the Cliffs

Ferral Goats Roam the Cliffs

P1090846 P1090845 P1090844

 

 

 

Marlow Half Marathon 2015

November 1st, 2015 Alasdair

1st November 2015

I needed to enter a race before the busy season at Arthur Beale takes over my life. The last time I entered the Marlow Half if was badly flooded. This time it was dry but foggy and rather warm at about 14 degrees. The sun managed to burst through the fog on the hills and the autumn trees looked at their finest. The race started with a big firework going off bang. The start is crowded as we all squeezed through a narrow gateway with the chip timing mats but then it opens up along the high street until we all turn off onto the narrow roads and lanes which make up 90% of the course. It is gently undulating with a couple of small hills and all on tarmacked surfaces. The route is very pleasant countryside with a few small hamlets. It was awash with ambulances and their were plenty of marshals and well staffed drinks stations. I was a little upset to see some runners had dropped their gel wrappers in the road but I am sure the organisers will pick them up. It is a bad habit when out in the countryside and I hope it doesn’t catch on. A chap seems to run the course each year with a video camera and I am sure he upload his video to You Tube any minute now. At the finish line Dave the DJ did an amazing job encouraging the runners in. He gave me the feeling that he personally knew the whole fleet. Dave had some good banter about Rosie who was being waited for by some members of the crowd. He kept suggesting a search party should be sent out but in reality she ran a very fast race. Full marks to Dave the DJ.
The race was very well organised with friendly staff and everything you could possibly expect, save perhaps the slight shortage of toilets at the start – but that is a pretty common problem and runners always seem to cope. My time was 1 hour 49 minutes and 29 seconds which I was quite pleased with considering my lack of training. I’m sure I will be back.

Update: The chap with the video camera was John Pennifold who has sent me a link to the final video. I bet it took a long time to sort out – it always takes me about three times the time allocated to get a video uploaded – so a big thank you to John!

South Dock Marina Boat Yard Update

October 31st, 2015 Alasdair
The tree lined edge of the boatyard overlooking the Thames. A quiet and popular spot to relax. The stone is the Rotherhithe and Deptford Boundary Stone

The tree lined edge of the boatyard overlooking the Thames. A quiet and popular spot to relax. The stone is the Rotherhithe and Deptford Boundary Stone

Corner of the South Dock Boat Yard showing the typical three and four story buildings in the area and the nearest distance to the yard.

Corner of the South Dock Boat Yard showing the typical three and four story buildings in the area and the nearest distance to the yard.

The South Dock Boat Yard Gate. It is pretty much full at the moment.

The South Dock Boat Yard Gate. It is pretty much full at the moment.

Southwark Council held their “consultation” meeting on the 7th and 8th of October. In their wisdom they decided to have a maximum of twenty people in each 30 minute session. The first day sold out quickly so they introduced another day. It was all pretty pointless as by the time the officials had said their bit about housing needs and how the boat yard will be “improved” there was hardly any time for questions. Everything was very sketchy with some positively dodgy graphics distorting the development by removing tower blocks and bending the river. When I asked Bruce Glockling whether the development was going ahead as planned he said yes they would be building 213 flats wrapped round a “boatyard”. The consultation must be purely a formality. They are trying to tick the box after their disastrous first attempt when they forgot to tell anyone about it. They agreed at the meeting to call the “consultation” held on the 7th and 8th as their “First Consultation” but seemed to have forgotten what they said as their website is claiming they have held two “consultations”. In any case, they were a total waste of time. I doubt a single person was in favour of the development. The information was farcical and we are none the wiser.

The truth is they are trying to wrap two tower blocks up to twenty stories high plus a block of flats eight stories high around what is meant to be a working boat yard. I’ve never seen an industrial site surrounded by flats in this way. I do know of boatyards which have been closed down because neighbours have complained about the noise. In this case the proposed new inhabitants will have to endure toxic dust, poisonous fumes, plus noise if there is to be shot blasting, grinding, spray painting, welding, riveting and all the general carpentry and sanding noises. Everything will be amplified by the buildings so even neighbours over the road will have to endure higher noise levels. Boat yards need just a bit of space around them like any industrial process. Once the residents start to complain the Health and Safety officials will not tolerate toxic dusts, fumes and noise and the yard will be closed down. The yard works fine as it is and it could easily be developed to provide better facilities and more, much needed, proper jobs for the local residents.

Southwark Council are proposing building 213 flats probably housing 400-600 people (if the flats are actually lived in) with no thought whatsoever as to where people will work. As Southwark have gradually eradicated all the existing industrial buildings in the borough they must be presuming people travel outside the borough to work yet the roads are blocked, the tube is jammed, the busses hopeless during rush hour and even the very expensive river boats are now virtually full.

The River Thames needs South Dock Boat Yard so it is essential we act now to defeat this grossly over scaled and thoughtless development.

South Downs Way

October 12th, 2015 Alasdair

H

Eastbourne Pier

Eastbourne Pier

10th and 11th October 2015

Sumara is now ashore and work at Arthur Beale will soon be manic so this weekend was to be the last weekend break before Christmas. We choose the South Downs Way because it is within easy reach of London and seemed strange that we hadn’t walked any of it yet. My nephew Alex likes to cycle it and sung its praises too. Selma booked us into a comfy Bed and Breakfast in Eastbourne for Friday night and we set off along the prom at 9am on Saturday morning in glorious sunshine. The forecast was for a cold breeze but it was boiling hot!

Eastbourne Promenade

Eastbourne Promenade

The promenade was familiar territory, having entered the Eastbourne Half Marathon a while back, so I knew what was in store at the end of the prom! Yes, a big long climb up onto the top of the Downs. There is a little café just before the hill so we topped up with water and set off. The ground is fantastic soft short grass just like Tennyson Downs on the Isle of Wight. It would be a lovely run or a great walk for someone recovering from knee trouble. Once at the top the breeze was a bit cooler but not as strong as the mocked up photo shows.

It wasn't really windy

It wasn’t really windy

 

 

We took the north route rather than walking near to Beachy Head. It took us through Jevington where Banoffi Pie was invented.

The Home of Banoffi Pie

The Home of Banoffi Pie

After ten miles we arrived at Alfriston for lunch. It is a very attractive town but inevitably that attracts the tourists and the gift shops which have taken over the high street. There is an amazing book shop worth visiting.

South Downs

South Downs

After sandwiches we set of across rolling downland towards our evening stay at the Youth Hostel based on Itford Farm in Southease. We were impressed with the ingenuity of the padlock bar guarding the multi use aerials.

Very Clever Device!

Very Clever Device!

South Downs

South Downs

he Youth Hostel at Itford Form, Southease.

he Youth Hostel at Itford Form, Southease.

The hostel was an efficient modern place which was clean and friendly although close to a busy road from Newhaven.

In the evening we ate a superb meal at the Cock Inn near to Lewes. I had Banoffi Pie for pudding but I’m not sure that I liked It.

The Cock Inn

The Cock Inn

The first days walk was about 17 miles.

After breakfast we walked through Southease City Centre are were thrilled to spot a church with a round tower. I might join the Church with Round Tower Society one day.

Southease Church

Southease Church

We followed the South Downs for a few miles then diverted south towards Saltdean via a convenient running route with wardens and water stops. Watching the runners was interesting, the first runners looked a bit miserable but they got happier and happier as you moved back through the fleet until the last stragglers who were miserable again. We were only about four miles into the twenty mile run and I am pretty sure some of them wouldn’t make it. We walked along the seafront into Brighton Marina for lunch and then through about 10,000 motorbikes to the station for our train home.

Brighton Marina

Brighton Marina

The second days walk was only about 11 miles.

We will finish the South Downs Way  another day!

 

The End of the Sailing Season for Sumara

October 12th, 2015 Alasdair
Sumara ashore in Harry Kings Yard

Sumara ashore in Harry Kings Yard

I’d arranged to have Sumara hauled out at the end of September. Of course it was sod’s law that the first few weekends in October have been warm and sunny with a gentle sailing breeze. At least the sails were packed away nice and dry. She will winter in Harry Kings Yard at Pin Mill. I like it there.

South Dock Marina Boat Yard Under Threat

September 2nd, 2015 Alasdair
South Dock Boat Yard

South Dock Boat Yard

It seems that something fishy is going on. It looks like it will threaten the operation of the Boat Yard at South Dock Marina. Southwark Council held a “consultation” meeting at Canada Water Library at the end of July. The problem was that they omitted to tell us about the “consultation” meeting. They tried to disguise the project by renaming South Dock Boat Yard  as “St Georges Wharf.” I’ve lived and worked in this area for 40 years and I had never heard of St Georges Wharf. If you Google it you will find it is about 8 miles up river. So it was to my great surprise when a neighbour in a block of flats over the road sent me some photos of the display boards which he had obtained from another neighbour who had stumbled upon the secret meeting!

When I queried the Council about why I wasn’t notified (as a boat owner who had a mooring in the dock and a resident within 50 m of the proposal) I was told it was an accident, very sorry and all that. The thing was the email was identical to the one received by all the other people who complained about not being notified. As far as I am aware no attempt was made to notify all the boat owners nor any attempt to notify all the local residents or the commercial users. The meeting must have been attended by friends of the developers.

I was assured by the council that everything will be on their website by 31st August but of course there is nothing there. So as you can see they have got my heckles up by trying to railroad a development through in contradiction to Southwark’s website which says it is committed to consultation before planning developments. Their timeline shows work starting in a few months.

From what we can gleam from the photos taken at the meeting, the council are proposing to build 230 flats with 20 parking places in the area currently used as a boat yard. The flats will be in the tallest towers ever built along the southbank of the river between here and central London at 15 and 20 stories high. They are also proposing a three floor office block. The area remaining for Boat Yard usage will be very small and shady with flats looming over it. As everyone with a boat knows, boat work is noisy and dusty. I simply can’t imagine flat owners putting up with a needle de-scaler operating just below their balcony. Nor will they appreciate the antifouling dust settling on their baby’s pram. No access seems to have been allowed for so once the new residents have closed down the yard on health and safety issues they can use it as a car park which will be handy because the developers have omitted to provide any space for parking in their keenness to squeeze as many flats into the area as possible. Nor have they provided any access to one of the blocks – unless the token Boat Yard is also an access route.

South Dock Boat Yard is the last working yard on the Thames and is important to both commercial and leisure boat users. Without it there will be nowhere to maintain boats and carry out emergency repairs. It affects all the users of the Thames not just those with boats in South Dock. It seems that Southwark Council do not appreciate their fantastic maritime heritage. Nearby Greenland Dock was London’s first dock. Why not develop South Dock Boat Yard as a working boat yard? It would provide decent interesting jobs for the local residents and would be an oasis on the river front which is already dominated by residential developments. This proposed development needs very careful watching – the Council are being devious.

There is a Facebook site set up to help you keep in touch with developments

www.facebook.com/SouthDockandSurrounding

or you can write directly to Paul Glockling, Head of Regeneration at paul.glockling@southwark.gov.uk

We left Wrabness to join up with Torsten on Folia in Titchmarsh Marina. It is a while since I’ve sailed in the Walton Backwaters and I’ve always had fond memories of anchoring at Stone Point. Torsten was due to arrive with a couple of friends late on the Friday evening so while we waited we walked into Walton on the Naze to do some shopping and have a mooch around. I hadn’t realised that the beach disappears at high tide. We went down to the pier and stopped at an appalling pub for a lightly iffy beer while the most incredibly noisy game of pool was being played. Glad to escape. We picked up some food and returned to Sumara for an evening meal. I’m tending to avoid marinas when there is another option so while we are in one we take full advantage and fill up with food, water, fuel and have showers and hose the boat down. We set off in the morning joined by Folia and decided to have lunch back in Wrabness. Folia arrived first and anchored. We joined soon after and tied up alongside.

Sumara alongside Folia

Sumara alongside Folia

I know Sumara is small but when tied alongside Folia she looks tiny. We had a wonderful lunch and set off to Pin Mill to find my new mooring for the first time. We had booked an evening meal at the famous Butt and Oyster pub and arranged to meet more friends Martin and Katie and their children Dylan and Tess. All the buoys all looked occupied so I was surprised to find number 32 was still vacant and waiting for us. This is to be Sumara’s new home. Torsten picked up a larger buoy on the other bank. We rowed the 20 minute row ashore, found a nice table outside and we all had great pub meal. Torsten sailed off on the early tide. Next week he is sailing to Norway. The following day we walked to Wolverstone along the river.

View of Sumara from Pin Mill Field

View of Sumara from Pin Mill Field

 

Pin Mill Field

Pin Mill Field

We decided our next stop would be Woodbridge. It is necessary to arrive at the bar couple of hours before high water to allow enough time to take the tide up the River Deben to Woodbridge Tide Mill Basin.

Woodbridge Tide Mill Basin

Woodbridge Tide Mill Basin

We had no problems on the bar and arrived at high water to be allocated a berth which was later reclaimed by a rather angry owner. Peter Willis popped down to see us and we had a beer on board. We were lucky enough to visit the Tide Mill while it was working, well worth the trip. The following day we strolled up the river to visit the Sutton Hoo site. We spent most of the day there and joined a conducted walk.

Mrs Pretty's House

Mrs Pretty’s House

Old Wrecks up the Deben

Old Wrecks up the Deben

Another Old Wreck up the Deben

Another Old Wreck up the Deben

A Well Snugged Up Boat up the Deben

A Well Snugged Up Boat up the Deben

Peter Duck up the Deben

Peter Duck up the Deben

Sutton Hoo Burial Mound

Sutton Hoo Burial Mound

Replica Treasure from Sutton Hoo

Replica Treasure from Sutton Hoo

Inside Mrs Pretty's House

Inside Mrs Pretty’s House

A Vicious Warrier

A Vicious Warrior

Ramsholt Church

Ramsholt Church

The house belonging to Mrs Pretty who owned the land was an interesting addition the day. The following morning Peter took us to visit John Criech (sp) who has spent eight years restoring a canoe yawl (Albert Strange?). It is a joy to behold. John is hoping to launch very soon. Currently engineless, John will decide whether to install one later but it will need to have an offset prop. After lunch we motored down to Ramsholt and picked up a buoy. George the Ramsholt Harbourmaster is great character who is very helpful and he seems to be on permanent duty. My friend Philip has his Vertue moored there and always sings George’s praises. The next day was very windy with a force 7 forecast so we went for a walk to Ramsholt Church and had fish and chips in the Ramsholt Arms. The village seems to be a pub and a church with a few houses. We had to set off on Saturday as our holiday was drawing to a close. It was still quite windy 4-5 but at the time we left it was from the west. We left two hours before high water and motor sailed into a strong spring tide barely making progress. The wind sadly then veered so it would be on the nose going over the bar. With no pull from the sails and a lumpy sea it was a long struggle to reach Woodbridge Haven buoy. We did make it of course and bore away out to sea before making a couple of long boards towards Harwich. With the wind behind us we flew up the River Orwell and picked up our buoy at Pin Mill to end our East Coast Holiday.

A Very Fine Set of New Gates at Ramsholt Church

A Very Fine Set of New Gates at Ramsholt Church

Inside of Ramsholt Church with its Unusual Pews

Inside of Ramsholt Church with its Unusual Pews

The Round Tower Church Society

The Round Tower Church Society

A Beautiful Boat Sails by on the Deben

A Beautiful Boat Sails by on the Deben

View from Ramsholt

View from Ramsholt

John Criech's Lovely Yacht

John Criech’s (sp) Lovely Yacht

John Criech's (sp) Lovely Yawl

John Criech’s (sp) Lovely Yawl

Deck on John Criech's (sp) Lovely Yawl

Deck on John Criech’s (sp) Lovely Yawl

Vertue Corina in the foreground and Vertue Sumara behind at Ramsholt

Vertue Corina in the foreground and Vertue Sumara behind at Ramsholt

Which Vertue is this 1507

Which Vertue is this? I think it is on the Deben but could be the Orwell

Which Vertue is this? I think it is on the Deben but could be the Orwell

Vertue Chinita

Vertue Chinita

After a hectic year it was with some relief that we were able to slip out of South Dock on a late Sunday afternoon tide with two weeks of sailing ahead. There were no exciting voyages planned just a bit of gentle sailing around the muddy waters of the Thames Estuary. The tide kicked in as we waved goodbye to London’s Canary Wharf.

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

 

 

 

 

One tide will get a small yacht down to Southend so long as you don’t hang around. The flood will then help you into the Medway where Queenborough

awaits as a handy overnight stop. I hadn’t realised that the all tide landing had been revamped so we picked up a buoy. The Sheppy launch came over to collect £12.00 from us (£18.00 alongside). We intended to stay the next day but a poor weather forecast prompted us to whizz across the estuary to Pyefleet to avoid getting “holed up” for a few days. The Thames was empty, not a yacht in sight, which is amazing considering it is so close to London. Once again the late tide meant a night time arrival and inevitably it involves scraping over the swatchways with little water under the keel. We entered the River Colne and dropped the sails off Brightlingsea. I prepared the anchor as we crept up the creek under power, there being too little water to attempt entering Brightlingsea. Stupidly checking the little illuminated chartplotter rather than the dark chart led us promptly into a very sticky mud bank while in theory being surrounded by 2.2 m of water. Nothing would shake Sumara out so we pumped up the dinghy, threw in the aluminium Fortress anchor and a long warp and I tossed it over in deeper water to avoid the brisk breeze blowing us further onto the bank. With a bit of time and a bit of winching we eventually swung around and began to float. I hauled up the kedge, found a bit of deeper water and laid the Rocna out for the night.

A Twister in Pyefleet Creek?

A Twister in Pyefleet Creek?

 

Pyefleet is a very peaceful spot, well it was once we had stopped frigging about. Even with many yachts it seem very remote. We spotted what looked like a Twister hauled out on the south bank. After breakfast we waited for a bit of flood before mooching into Brightlingsea. We were here last year and it was a bustling little town with children lining the jetties crabbing and people swimming in the outdoor pool and the sea. There were queues at the ice cream shops and the chippies but this time there wasn’t a soul around. Apparently the schools haven’t broken for the holiday and until they do the town remains on standby. I preferred it busy. The weather wasn’t great so we went for a drizzly walk along the river bank. it occurred that it might be nice to walk to Wivenhoe. We asked directions from a lady being walked by her dog who told us it was not possible to walk to Wivenhoe. Armed with her inspirational answer we marched onwards determined to prove her wrong. Sadly she was right but that wasn’t going to stop us. We diverted up along a creek until we hit a main road and then walked along the pavementless road for what seemed like 8-10 miles. Why is it so many country roads don’t have pavements? We almost caught a train at one point but pushed on to eventually arrive at a splendid pub by the river at about 7pm.

Wivenhoe Pub

Wivenhoe Pub

 

 

 

East coast boats certainly have more “character” than those on the South Coast. We admired some of them over our beer before catching the bus back to Brightlingsea.

 

Outside the Wivenhoe Pub

Outside the Wivenhoe Pub

 

 

 

Some "characterful" East Coast Boats

Some “characterful” East Coast Boats

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we set off for Wrabness. The wind died en route so we started the engine. By some weird fluke I decided I would have a look at the engine, something I often do when motoring through calm patches on ocean crossings but not normally on little trips like this as I always check the engine before setting off. I lifted the cover only to find the diesel fuel pipe had come adrift and was squirting diesel onto the hot exhaust. It only took a few minutes to repair but I wonder why I decided to look at the engine just then? Our friend Peter has a caravan and his yacht at Wrabness. The caravans come with a mooring and a very fine mooring it is too. We picked up a vacant one having been assured it has been empty for ages. For years Wrabness has been a quiet sleepy place loved only by those who live there or happen to be lucky enough to have a beach hut or caravan there. That changed slightly last year when Grayson Perry built his special house in a nearby field with beautiful views across the Stour.

Wrabness Caravan Site with Grayson Perry's House

Wrabness Caravan Site with Grayson Perry’s House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grayson Perry's House

Grayson Perry’s House

 

 

Despite its new fame Wrabness remains a wonderful place with gorgeous walks along the river and through the woods. We visited the community shop which has a café and on some evenings a bar too. Inside the café are works by the local art group on the wall. They look like paintings that people have really enjoyed doing as part of the community. Next to the shop we were admiring a little railway garden when we met the artist who created a “Four Seasons” painting to brighten up a corner. It would be nice to think that the new famous artist has maybe inspired the locals to enjoy their painting. If you moor at Wrabness be sure to visit the garden and shop. I picked up a book called “No need for a Boat” by Peter Caton about tidal islands. I instantly bought the book because I enjoyed his Essex Walks book so much. A great shop.

Wrabness Railway Garden

Wrabness Railway Garden

 

Wrabness Garden Picture

Wrabness Garden Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued – Wrabness to Woodbridge

Stroud Trail Marathon

May 14th, 2015 Alasdair

10th May 2015

Stroud, Gloucestershire

Tim and I enjoy a moment at the end of the Marathon

Tim and I enjoy a moment at the end of the Marathon

That’s Stroud pronounced a bit like a shroud rather than Strood which sounds a bit like rude. I mention this because a lot of people thought I was running in a flat area of Kent rather than the hilly Cotswolds. I’m sure Strood is very nice but it can’t be as nice as Stroud. This trail run is a corker. It has 800 m of ascent with running alongside shady canals, through woods covered with wild garlic and bluebells and up onto open heath with long views. There is a choice between a “Half” Marathon and a “Full” Marathon but both are slightly over length. There were a few of us running equally split between the full and half distances. The route is the same for 14 miles but the start times are an hour apart so we couldn’t run together. We had perfect conditions with pretty dry surface but nice and soft underfoot. I ran in “barefoot” trainers, well Nike call them barefoot. Trail shoes would be needed if it was wet. We had to carry a 500 ml water bottle although it need not have any water in it. I wore a belt, some had rucksacks and some ran with an old water bottle in their hands. I ran out of steam at around 20 miles and slowed down a bit but still finished at 4 hr 54 minutes which was mid fleet. Fastest time was about 3 hr 30 min and slowest was near to 8 hr. This is not a route for PB’s but can’t be beaten for organisation and gorgeous scenery. Highly recommended,

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Sumara gets some TLC

April 26th, 2015 Alasdair
Sumara Varnished up to the Rubbing Stake

Sumara Varnished up to the Rubbing Stake

I seem to be more pushed for time than ever, not helped by the fact that we have entered the very hilly Stroud Marathon on 10th May. Nevertheless, Sumara needs looking after and anything to save time is going to be a big help this year. I can actually varnish the hull up to the strake in just two hours. Sanding takes about the same time using a Festool Rotex connected to a Festool extractor. So I can easily get these tasks out of the way before going into work. The thing that takes the time is

where the varnish has failed and that is always on the margin boards and the odd bit on the top of the coach roof. To get a build up on the damaged patches of six coats of Epifanes varnish, waiting a day and sanding between each coat was going to zap up too much time so I have opted for Epifanes Rapidclear which dries fast enough to get two coats on a day and, most usefully, doesn’t need sanding between coats. Now I have achieved the build up I will sand all the upper brightwork and slap on a coat of Epifanes gloss varnish. (Rapidclear is not a full gloss varnish). Ideally I would give it two coats of gloss but that won’t happen so I have promised myself to give the margin board an extra coat one day at anchor – that probably won’t happen either!

While I was working on Sumara yesterday Marcus de Mowbray called through the fence. Marcus is the grandson of Jack Laurent Giles. He came into the yard the take some pictures. On Sunday while I was working in Arthur Beale’s Arthur de Mowbray called in buy some bronze rudder pintles. Arthur is the other grandson of Jack Laurent Giles! Arthur makes amazing dug out boats amongst other creations.

Sailing plans for Sumara this year are very modest. I feel like some very gentle East Coast pottering, catching up with some friends who have boats at Wrabness and Walton on the Naze. Last year we really enjoyed our fleeting visit to Brightlingsea and will be happy enough just mooching around. I am hoping to base Sumara at Woolverston on a swinging mooring so I can make use of those rare weekends. Having Sumara in London right outside the house is handy in some ways but hopeless for weekend sailing as the combination of tides, weather and lock opening restrictions conspire against a simple weekend sail. Hopefully the new location will ensure I get sailing whenever a spare day is available.