Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bees and their Extinction

In November of last year I wrote a blog about Pollination and the important part bees play in it. I was concerned that I had only seen one bee throughout the whole of 1012. I happened to take a photo of that solitary bee collecting pollen from a flower in my garden.
A week ago when we had the snow, I saw a bee clutching the rendering on a wall of my house. It was an incongruous sight; the creature was immobile while trying to warm itself in the fleeting sunshine. I wondered if perchance it could be that very same bee I had photographed before. I took another, but comparing them, I think they are different.
If you are concerned about the extinction of bees, there’s still time to sign a petition for banning neonicotinoid pesticides throughout the EU. The European food safety watchdog recognizes that this pesticide is fatal to bees. A 1.2 million petition for banning it in the US has led to the opening of a formal consultation on pesticides.
If this destructive pesticide is banned from the whole of the European Union, there’s a chance that the rest of the world may join in.
The first link below takes you to the online petition.
Bayer Kills Bees
Media Briefing - Bayer’s Pesticides
Germany Bans Chemicals linked to Honeybee Devastation

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Callidus' Again

Today I had a brief re-acquaintance with the classic Norman Dallimore yacht, ‘Callidus’. Under new ownership she now resides at Bridgemarsh Marina, on the River Crouch, Essex.
The wind was blowing a hooley. ‘Callidus’s’ winter covers where ballooning out. The owner had done a pretty good job at protecting the boat from the elements. Her fenders were keeping her clear of the pontoon. A casual glance confirmed work was going on below. Her old loo had been removed and placed on the poop deck! The topsides were freshly painted.
I’ve heard she will be fitted with furling foresails and a new mainsail. So things are looking good for this 60 year old classic. She’s what you call, ‘a proper boat’, not one of those plastic things.
‘Callidus’ – A Classic Wooden Yacht
Classic Wooden Boat

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Family Photographs

Every photo tells a story. There are so many wonderful photos available to all. They can be downloaded for free, direct to your computer from the worldwide web. These visual images have much to tell. They speak of places, things and people; they capture moments from the days of early photography to the latest family snapshots proudly displayed on Mum’s and Dad’s Facebook page.
For many of us, there are special family photos.  We place them around the house, maybe on cupboards or sideboards, or we may hang them on walls of lounges, bedrooms or stairways. These images in black and white, sepia or full colour bring back cherished memories. They may record the appearances of long gone relatives, perhaps never seen or known; or they may be of loved ones at weddings, christenings, or other celebrations such as a son’s graduation day.
A favourite is often Mum’s and Dad’s wedding photo placed next to one of our own, affirming family continuum and hope for the future. Nearby there are photos of tiny Grace taking her first steps, Bob, when he was captain of the school football team and one of our eldest son Harry in naval uniform. This is a treasure trove of proud moments.
In that tradition I have recently trimmed and framed a beautiful sepia photo of my wife’s Mum and Dad that was taken at their wedding. This valued treasure now hangs in pride of place on the wall of our lounge.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Vendée Globe Finish

‘Banque Populaire’ heading towards Sables d'Olonne


‘Banque Populaire’ crossing the finish line
Well, Francois Gabart skippering ‘Macif’ made it home to Sables d'Olonne in a record time of 78 days, 16 minutes, and 14 seconds, followed by Armel Le Cléac’h, racing ‘Banque Populaire’ only 3 hours, 17 minutes and 53 seconds behind. That’s incredible after match racing over a distance of 27,000 nautical miles.
 These valiant, accomplished sailors and their yachts were shown live on the Vendée Globe website through the medium of video film as they crossed the finish line. Everything was meticulously stage-managed with typical French panache.  Credit must go to the organisers who are well-practised at running this global event for solo sailors, their sponsors, supporters and the general public, thousands of whom have been following the race.
The race is not over until the last of the remaining competitors cross the finish line. Third place will most likely go to Alex Thomson, the Englishman racing ‘Hugo Boss’, and if the other Brit, Mike Golding skippering ‘Gamesa’, continues to maintain his current position he will be sixth.  These and other participants approaching Cabo Finisterre and the Bay of Biscay are experiencing winds of 30 or more knots. They will be tested to the limit as they pass through shipping lanes and manoeuvre around fishing craft and their nets, especially in hours of darkness.
I am not into racing, but I have been fired up following this marathon that has seen many retirements through gear failures, particularly with hydro-generators, Alex Thomson having to repair support mechanisms for both of his; they in turn damaged the steering rods' connecting rudders. Jean Pierre Dick’s ‘Virbac Paprec’ lost her keel, and he is skilfully sailing her towards the Portuguese coast which is about 800 nautical miles away.  
It’s not a race for the fainthearted, and hard earned experience is not a recipe for success. Mike Golding on his fourth Vendée Globe was my hero at the beginning of the race, and he remains mine now, but I feel sure his age has been a handicap, and lack of electrical power and electronic failures aboard ‘Gamesa’ have made their mark. Alex Thomson was my second favourite, and he has done brilliantly by overcoming many obstacles and racing a boat that was known to be demonstrably slower than the Gabart’s ‘Macif’ and Armel Le Cléac’h’s ‘Banque Populaire’. I felt sorry for my third favourite, Samantha Davies, racing ‘Saveol’, when a rigging failure brought her race to an end.
Vendée Globe

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Topical Maritime Happenings

Samantha Davies's 'Saveol' at the start of the Vendee Globe race


Charlie Pitcher
Of interest to me and perhaps you, there are five topical maritime events taking place: The Vendée Globe around the world single-handed yacht race; the Shackleton Epic Adventure, which is a re-enactment of Shackleton’s remarkable 800 nautical mile voyage from Elephant Island to South Georgia; the Oceanus Rowing Atlantic Speed Crossing, a team of 6 men aiming to row across the Atlantic in less than 30 days; Transatlantic Solo, Charlie Pitcher’s attempt at rowing across the Atlantic with aim of beating the world record time of 40 days, 9 hours and 44 seconds, and Pete Goss’s Big Kayaking Adventure, his attempt at kayaking around Tasmania.
I’ve been following all of these great adventures. Coming to a climax is the Vendée Globe Race that has seen a lot of action. Francois Gabart, aboard ‘Macif’, is predicted to be the winner expecting to cross the finish line early on Sunday morning. Alec Thomson, aboard Hugo Boss, is hoping for third place. There’s been much drama in the race, not least the loss of the keel of Jean Pierre Dick’s ‘Virbac Paprec 3’, who continues to race and currently holds third position.
The Shackleton re-enactment is a bold adventure with Tim Jarvis as team leader aboard a replica of Ernest Shackleton’s improvised 22.5 foot wooden boat that he and five other men sailed and rowed between Elephant Island and South Georgia where they landed and scaled mountains to reach the whaling station at Stromness on the other side of the island.
The Oceanus Rowing Atlantic Speed Crossing is in its 11th day. They are endeavouring to break the outright record for rowing the Atlantic which currently stands at 32 days. They are aiming to do it 30 days or less.
The remarkable Charlie Pitcher is up for breaking his own record time for rowing the Atlantic. He has what he believes to be the best possible boat for achieving his goal. He has previously rowed the Atlantic in 52 days, setting the record for the fastest Brit. Charlie is hoping to set off from La Gomera on Monday, 28th January, depending on the weather.
Finally, Pete Goss, that great adventurer who has taken on many maritime challenges, including the 3,500 mile Route du Rhum race; a voyage aboard the ‘Spirit of Mystery, re-enacting a voyage from the UK to Australia in an open lugger, and now he is more than halfway around Tasmania paddling and sailing his kayak in an anti-clockwise direction.
These guys are all achievers; some would say superheroes. Here are links taking you to their respective websites, and two articles I have written about Vendée Globe and one about Charlie Pitcher.
Vendée Globe
Shackleton Epic
Oceanus Rowing Atlantic Speed Crossing
Atlantic Solo
Pete Goss Kayaking around Tasmania
Pete Goss, Route du Rhum
Vendée Globe - Around the World Race
Vendée Globe - Around the World Race – Part 2
Charlie Pitcher to Row the Atlantic Again!

Friday, January 25, 2013


My memory is not all that great, but my recollections go back to the early 1940s, and I wasn’t yet in my teens. I lived in Somerset where there were significant snowfalls most winters. I distinctly remember the winter of 1944-45 when there were prolonged and heavy falls of snow. For the children of the village it was a magical wonderland.
Several of us made sledges from the backs of old kitchen chairs. When we weren’t at school we would take our sledges to the nearest hill and repeatedly slide them down the same tracks to compact the snow for achieving faster runs. At the bottom of the hill there was a sharp upturn before a thorny hedge within which there was a barbed wire fence! As we vied with one another to make the most spectacular run, speeds got faster and faster, and stopping before entering the hedge was crucial.
There were two ways of riding our toboggans: sitting, while facing forwards and legs astraddle for steering and stopping, or headfirst, lying on our stomach and with feet trailing behind for steering and stopping. The inevitable happened; I failed to stop and became embedded in the prickly hedge. Worse still, I gashed on my hand on the barbed wire. Blood drops on the snow left an indelible track leading to my house. There my mother dressed the wound with lint and a bandage. I thawed my hands and they regained their feeling. It was a painful experience. The next day I was back on my sledge, a little wiser. I perfected a technique off rolling off the sledge before reaching the bottom of the hill.
The most infamous winter was that of 1962-63 when I set up home in the suberbs of Exeter. My house was on the side of a hill overlooking a play park and a school. The blizzards of January and February created a scene of blinding whiteness. The view from my lounge was spectacular. Snowdrifts were up to waist level, and elsewhere the snow was 2 feet deep or more, deep enough to cover the tops of Wellington boots. I have a recollection of my brother who was lodging with me, setting off for work. He never made it. Half-an-hour later he returned, looking like the abominable snowman.
More recently in 2011, here in South East England, there were heavy falls of snow, but nowhere as bad as Exeter in 1963, and now, once again snow has brought the Country to a standstill. My part of Essex has faired better than most, by only having a light fall of snow, amounting to no more than 6 to 7 centimetres. Tonight the forecast is for more, but by early morning it should cease, and sunshine will bring a thaw.
History of British Winters

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Norfolk Gypsy 19’ 10” Gaffer

Here are photos of a very pretty shallow draught sailing yacht. I saw her at Burnham Yacht Harbour, and I’ve since discovered she is a Norfolk Gypsy. She’s quite similar to the Memory I featured in Tuesday’s blog, but her cabin top is fibreglass and she has a differently shaped rudder. I must confess I like her very much. I feel sure she will be slippery like the Memory.
Details and specifications can be found by clicking the link below.
Norfolk Gypsy

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Problems uploading Photos to my Blog

Hi Folk,

I am having problems today doing my blog, because I am unable to upload any photos. To get around the barriers that have been set up by Blogger I have been sending photos from my computer to myself by email. Then I have been using my Blogger App on the iPhone to upload them to my blog. I’ve added text in the usual way by directly uploading them from my computer.

By the means I’ve descriibed I have been able to present a normal blog, but it has been a bit of a fag! Now I have found that Yahoo Mail is preventing me from emailing photos to my inbox, which means I’ve not been able upload them from my iPhone via my Blogger App to my blog.

Bear in mind that Yahoo is owned by Google and Blogger is also owned by Google.

If this continues I shall no longer be able to illustrate my blogs with photos unless I succumb to using the options provided, i.e., from Picassa Web Albums, from my iPhone, from my webcam, or from a URL.
The only suitable option would be from my iPhone, but if I choose this method, every photo that I take on my iPhone will automatically be uploaded to Blogger. I do not want this to happen, because it will be very expensive; for as soon as I take a photo I shall be charged by my supplier for uploading it to Blogger, unless I have an active WIFI connection.

If this state of affairs continues, I shall have to look into other blog providers.

Google is not doing any favours for themselves, nor are they encouraging bloggers such as myself to continue blogging with them.

I give my apologies, Folk, but at the moment I’m snookered.
STOP PRESS !!!!! Just after I posted this Blog, my photos arrived in my email inbox. Nevetheless, you can see what a hassle it has become to write a normal illustrated blog.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Memory 19 Class Gaffers

Here are two photos of Memory 19s. The first is Roy Hart’s ‘Greensleeves’ when she was berthed in the mud at Battlesbridge in 2010. Roy’s has a cabin, but many don’t.
The second photo is of ‘Baldrick’ taken in August 2012 when she was at the Ipswich Maritime Festival. She has a cuddy under her foredeck.
Both boats are gaff rigged, and they have large open cockpits. Anyone who has raced them will know how fast they are.
LOA 24’10”,
Hull length 19’,
LWL 18’8”,
Beam 7’,
Draught 1’9” centreboard up / 3 ’9” centreboard down,
Sail Area 273sq ft (plus topsail 40sq ft),
Displacement 1100kg (ballast 500kg)
Memory – the boat to beat (Bursledon Blog)
Memory 19 – Classic Boat
Salterns Boats Ltd – Memory 19
Memory Picture Gallery (Old Memory Owners Association)
2006 Memory 19 (Lifting Keel) for sale £23,000 Tax Paid
Memory Cabin Version for Sale £19,750
For Sale: Memory 19 – 1980 for Sale £9,250

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cornish Crabber 22

If you are looking for a yacht with a bit of character you may well consider a Cornish Crabber 22.
I saw this one at Clarke and Carters at their Burnham-on-Crouch site located at the Yacht Harbour. They were asking £14,500 for a 1981 Crabber. If she is still for sale the price is very  attractive, since a new 22’ Crabber will set you back £67,500! 
Cornish Crabber 22
Cornish Crabber 22
Cornish Crabber 24 (This is the bigger version with a counter transom.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the Coldest Journey on Earth

It's cold outside
When I first heard of Sir Ranulph Fiennes’s intention of leading an expedition across Antarctica in the south polar winter I was angry. Why? Because it seemed such a stupid and pointless thing to do. Why should men put themselves at so much risk of death? Of all people, Fiennes has subjected himself to extreme conditions, perhaps more than any other man, and yet he has survived with only the loss of fingertips to his left hand. He has suffered frostbite, not death as his hero, Laurence Oats, a selfless member of the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott.
Scott’s objective was to be the first with his team to reach the geographic South Pole to secure the honour for the British Empire, but the Norwegian, Roald Amundsen and his team beat them to it, arriving there on 14th December, 1911, five weeks before Scott. The Englishman and his four companions never made it back to base camp; all succumbed to the severe conditions, insufficient nutrition and arduous labour.
My anger has subsided somewhat after researching the reasons for the Fiennes-led attempt at the worst possible time of year when the South Pole will be in darkness for most of the time. Temperatures could be as low as -90 degrees Celsius. That’s enough to freeze one’s eyeballs and other vital parts too!
The Fiennes expedition will be no ordinary feat of endurance, but the most extraordinary. Perhaps not since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first stepped on the moon in 1969, will men put so much faith in technology for their survival. They will totally depend upon the functioning of their equipment, particularly their mobile support vehicles, i.e., two DN6 type tractors and two sled cabooses in which they will live and conduct scientific experiments. There will be no opportunity for rescue if their vehicles fail, and their only hope will be survival in the cabooses until winter has passed.
I pray that no one will die, and that findings from their research will justify the risks taken.
May God bless and keep them.
Ranulph Fiennes
The Coldest Journey on Earth
Sir Ranulph Fiennes
Laurence Oates
Terra Nova Expedition
Robert Falcon Scott
Amundsen’s South Pole Expidition
1969: Man takes first steps on the Moon
Finning - Providers of the modified DN6 Tractors
Finning DN6 Tractors

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Saga 36

“Have you come up on the lottery?”
 “No I haven’t, because I don’t do it.”
“Why don’t you do it?”
“I don’t do it because I’ve got enough money. Even if I did it, the chances of winning are 14 million to 1. That’s just throwing my money away, isn’t it?”
“But you’re not throwing it away; the majority of the proceeds go to charity and a lot people benefit as a result.”
“Well, that’s great. If I wanted to give to a specific charity I would. In fact; you don’t know if I give or if I don’t. I’m not telling you anyway. For those who do, the left hand shouldn’t know what the right hand does.”*
“I’ll let you into a little secret. Have you been to Burnham-on-Crouch lately? There’s a super dreamboat there at Clarke and Carters. She’s a Saga 36, designed by Alan Pape. You know he loves double-enders with long, deep keels on the lines of Colin Archer sailing lifeboats.
“You see, I love them too. And you know what? I do the lottery, and as a result my bank balance is bulging. I’ve got so much money I could buy a whole fleet of Saga 36s! Do you want to crew for me?”
“No thanks,” I said, “I’ve got a phobia of big boats. They are more trouble than they are worth. There’s so much to go wrong with them, and if you fall overboard there’s a long way to climb back. You’ll always need a crew, and you can’t get into the places a small one can. You are welcome to your dreamboat; I hope she doesn’t become a nightmare. Money buys a whole load of problems - the more you’ve got, the more you have to worry about.”
*Matthew 6:3 ‘But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’
Saga 36 for Sale
Saltram – Saga 36
Saltram 36 / Saga 36
Colin Archer
Colin Archer Double-enders