Thursday 28 April 2016

A Blustery Day

The eminent Helena Smalman-Smith of that great blog Expedition Rowing came to Langstone today to experience the wonders of the Solent galley. The 10 knot sou'westerly was already breezier than I'd expected when we set out at 15.00, but what followed came as something of a surprise. As shown on Cambermet, the wind built to over 20 knots gusting to 30.
When I looked back at the Met Office forecast on my return it was showing this retrospective:
Now I'm fairly sure it was a lot less than that when I checked first thing in the morning. How often does the forecast get updated? Was that squall predicted more than an hour or so ahead? I'm not criticising - forecasts are better than they ever have been - but it would have been nice to know.
Anyway, Helena got a fairly punishing row downwind to Emsworth in Solent galley Bembridge. After tea in the Deck we swapped over to the Tiefi skiff Lottie. The instant we left the shelter of the marina at about 17.00 it was apparent it had blown up something considerable. It was a hard, wet slog upwind to Langstone.
But fun. I think.
Back in the boat park, Helena and I took pictures of each other taking pictures of each other.
And so to beer.
And in the pub she gave me a wonderful rowing gift, a mug celebrating her trans-Atlantic row back in 2011 with her husband (to whom she is still married despite spending weeks cooped up with him in a floating wheelybin hundreds of miles from the nearest pub.)
The liquorice and those darling little clogs were presents from a departing Dutch student lodger.

Monday 18 April 2016

The Conundrum of Jubilee

Jubilee hit the water for the first time yesterday and floated nicely, only taking in modest amounts of water considering how long she has been dry. Geoff and I took her out under sweep oars with Marilyn coxing, and she goes jolly fast, as you might expect from a boat 20ft long but only 3ft 6in beam. 
However...the rowing positions are so far aft she trims bow up and the water is up to the top two strakes in the stern.
It is a mystery why the crew are placed so far astern, especially as the arrangement leaves a huge empty space in the bow and crams the cox'n into a space so small they have no room for their feet.
The sculling rig was a total failure as we don't have any blades short enough.
This morning I took a closer look at her and discovered some interesting evidence of the way she has been modified over the years.
Something was fitted on the open area behind the foredeck, shown by filled holes along the top of the gunwale. And both thwarts have been moved forward by a few inches:
The cox's seat looks suspiciously like an afterthought:
Was she originally a coxless pair? If so, why the huge empty space up forward? And why does she have alternative rigging as a double scull?
Anybody know what Jubilee might have been originally built as?

Sunday 17 April 2016

Jubilee's First Outing

Langstone Cutters has a new boat, a mini-galley called Jubilee, owned by the Pat Sherwin Trust.
She is 18ft long, very slim and can be rigged for sweep or sculls. Very pretty.
We carried her to the water today (she has a handle at each corner and is light enough for four people to lift her with ease) and then launched our Solent galley Langstone Lady. We turned our backs for two minutes and, inevitably, Lady took advantage of the incoming tide and offshore wind to make a break for it.
Our fast-thinking bosun Geoff leapt into Jubilee and pushed off, telling us to hold on to the painter as he went. In a matter of moments Lady was back on the beach. Jubilee is already a Really Useful Galley.

Thursday 14 April 2016


Little Snarleyow went to Bosham today for her first real outing since her refurb. The weather was still, the clouds of an incoming depression moving up from the southwest. 
The improved rowing position and the longer oars worked a treat - she is considerably faster and will be a pleasure to take down the Thames with the HBBR later this year.