messing about in boats

Studland Bay Seahorses

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on March 12, 2010

I guess anybody remotely involved with Studland Bay or the YBW forums will have noticed the fierce debate currently raging between the Seahorse Trust, boaters and local residents. I can’t say I’m involved, but I am keeping a close eye on it. There have even been speculations of corruption and misappropriation of grant money – all very exciting, like a bizarre marine soap opera. There’s a fairly good roundup of arguments on the Studland Bay Preservation Association blog if you care to read it, but the jist is that the Seahorse Trust are adamant that boats mooring in the bay are putting the seahorses at risk and many local residents and boaters are disputing the claims and opposing any kind of ban on anchoring in the bay. Crown Estates are currently undertaking a survey to find out what’s-what and the results will be available in 2012.

Studland was infact responsible for my love of cruising in larger boats. I remember being on holiday with my family at a fairly young age, carrying my little inflatable dinghy down the dirt track to the beach, which in itself was amazing – a beach without a horrid esplanade and amusement park behind it! The water was always dead calm and safe to play in provided you kept an eye out for the wash from the ferries which would surface as if from nowhere as it approached the beach and one time capsized a kayaker as it rose up right beside him. So I rowed my little boat around looking at the moored yachts for hours on end.

Then one day for a bit of a treat (as I’d recently taken up dinghy sailing) a friend of the family said he would take us kids for a trip on his yacht. She was only a little bilge keeler, but a boat was a boat and I remember jumping at the chance. We were dropped off at the boatyard in Poole and set sail for Studland in glorious sunshine with a gentle breeze with just the genoa up pulling us along nicely. Soon we were in the bay, set her up on the beach and let the tide go out. I still get that strange feeling when arriving somewhere on a boat. It’s different than the feeling after a long car journey; somehow a lot more special.

As I said above, I’m keeping out of the debate at the moment. I guess my support tends to lie with the local residents views that the moorings prevent much more damaging trawling by fishing boats. I visit Studland (as a land lubber) once a year if I’m lucky. South beach is a beautiful spot and I hope it remains so for everyone involved; including the land animals, birds and marine life.

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Another Buccaneer 24 Video

Posted in Sailing by Joseph Moore on October 17, 2009

This is a really good video for anyone interested in the Buccaneer 24 Trimaran designed by Lock Crowther (What a cool name! Sounds like a pirate… actually I believe he’s an aircraft engineer). I’ve become a little obsessed with these simple little cruising trimarans lately, but haven’t got a hope in hell of seeing one in the flesh as I don’t know of any here in the UK.

Study plans and photos can only tell you so much and this video really fills in the gaps about how everything goes together, how big it is, how it sails, where useful places to keep stuff are etc.

I’m warning you now though, if you’re not curious about any of that, you’ll be bored to tears.

Got a real itch to build one now – I guess I have since I saw a couple of small trimarans anchored in the shallows off the south beach at Studland Bay earlier this summer. It just seemed a much more preferable way of arriving than the big yachts and motor cruisers way out in the bay, all struggling to get their tenders out to come ashore. The guy simply took his shoes and socks off, hopped off the back and paddled onto the beach to get an ice cream from the hut.

Arguably I could spend probably a lot less money and buy something that needs a refit, but nothing I can afford will have much space or speed. The Westerly 22 for sale not far from me is a prime example – it’s in reasonable nick, decent sized cabin, fairly seaworthy and strong little yacht – the sensible choice, but it just doesn’t excite me. Ok, speed isn’t everything, but it is useful to extend your cruising grounds and scare your friends.