As September drew to a close, Steve and I seized the opportunity to escape with friends to Kavos Villas on the island of Naxos, Greece. This is a perennial favourite for a super relaxing holiday, with Kavos Boutique Hotelbeing superbly managed by an old school friend of mine. What I love about Naxos is the appealing mix of walking trails through verdant valleys and quiet coves for lazy afternoons swimming in limpid waters.
We returned suitably bronzed and refreshed, with renewed enthusiasm for our various boating businesses. It appears that the sales pipeline continued to flow in my absence, and of course, we are already well into winter storage mode at this time of the year.
I spotted this advert for a boating business in the port of Naxos, and it made me laugh, as I realised that we also offer most of these services, although I do draw the line at laundry!
We have recently added consultancy to our portfolio though, and next month I will be writing up a case study to better illustrate this novel activity.
Clearly my clients don’t like to see me getting bored as I tentatively approach the third age!
For years now, we have witnessed the erosion of waterside businesses in favour of high-end housing developments. It was a joy to find the Cherwell Boathouse still renting out punts in north Oxford alongside a rather good restaurant.
When I spoke to the boatman there who 20 years ago built me a punt, which I called Ruth in memory of my aunt, I told him how nice it was to see him again and that after all these years we are still both active in the boating business. His rather wry response was, “I’m too old to learn to do anything else,” and I thought, “Well, why would you, as there are many less attractive ways of earning a living.”
He appeared not to have built a new punt for some years judging by the condition of the varnish on their fleet. But then I guess it has been a busy season, and what else are you going to do on the long dark winter nights.
You may remember me talking about Hobbs Boatyard on Wargrave Road, Henley, being sold as the base for the Rose Toop Collection of boats and ephemera.
The owners of this collection deserve our support in dealing with the planners who can be very spiky.
Penny and Adam are planning a magnificent and historically appropriate riverside development that will anchor various boating businesses and will include dramatically improved facilities. I think that the well considered upgrades to the look of the site befit this historic location while providing a home for the Rose Toop collection at the same time.
If you can spare a couple of minutes to write a few words, please follow this link to the Wokingham District Council planning application portal, where you can register your support.
As we have discovered recently planning is a veritable can of worms with little consistency between the various authorities. We applied to our local authority to simply replace an existing summerhouse which we had demolished as it was rotten having been in situ for about 70 years. Imagine our surprise and indeed profound disappointment when this was refused outright.
However, the obvious alternative is to purchase or build a houseboat. To this end, we have been exploring a number of options including the one in the photos above and below, which we viewed in Birdham, near Chichester, and comes with a dedicated mooring and garden.
While we are not intending to relocate, she is a great option for someone who would like to be based out of Chichester harbour.
It offers a very attractive alternative to a pokey flat or a twin-screw motor yacht on which you never leave the harbour. Increasingly I have noticed that marinas are full of white plastic weekend cottages with barely a tree in sight and little if any real privacy. So a combination of a leafy houseboat, possibly coupled with a dayboat for short outings, seems like an ideal proposition.
Simon from Blackrock Yachting would, I’m sure, be delighted to do a viewing if you are interested: 07917 696592.
The great thing about classic boats versus their newly built counterparts is their often fascinating 'life stories.' Every boat is as unique as each and every one of us. Sometimes they even change their names which makes detection more difficult.
In the case of 'Little Ann II,' recently sold at Southampton Boat Show and featured on our website, a reader got in touch with a lovely picture of her and a caption, which reads as follows:
"This is a photo of 'Little Ann II' in Poole Harbour during the Beating of the Bounds festival celebration. It was probably taken in 1964/65. My grandfather Philip Myers was the first owner of 'Little Ann' and is at the helm. My eldest brother is standing on the loo looking out from the hatch. My mother, although obscured, is standing by my grandfather (her father), and my father, middle brother, and I are looking out over the starboard side. Such happy memories."
This is exactly the sort of heartwarming photo and backstory that makes this newsletter so worthwhile.
As we stow and store in squirrel-like fashion for the winter ahead our thoughts inevitably turn to spring. For some of you who operate hire-fleets or are thinking of doing so, there is no time to lose.
The new 5m elongated Scoop Mark IIhas been really well received as it offers increased waterline length and excellent general onboard comfort.
If you are interested in finding out more about this exciting new model, don't hesitate to give me a call at 01491 578870.
It is always a bit nerve-wracking the moment when a crane launches a boat under the watchful eye of a new owner.
On a bright October morning, Harm and Jaap (owners of Statement Marine), Richard (owner of ‘Curlew,’ his long-awaited PTS 26), and I were close to the Holland river or the Gunfleet Estuary as it was known in medieval times. This is the most easterly point in the whole of the UK, and while looking out at sea feels a little daunting with the Hook of Holland 100 miles or so away, this area offers extensive cruising.
We took our host, eager to put 'Curlew' through her paces, shut straight out of the marina into the briny, with me, your trusty crew, wedged behind the helm seat, trying to keep dry while he learned to trim his vessel.
We had enormous fun, and I would have loved to be able to stay for a few more days to explore the Deben, the Orwell, and the Stour in slightly calmer conditions.
chard has written in about a recent adventure where he and a mate shot across to Harwich for a convivial evening in the pub only to find themselves at some sort of pirate re-enactment. Unfortunately there are no photos, but I believe him when he says that his new boat was the envy of all the pirates and assorted landlubbers on the quayside.
While out on the East Coast I came to realise how beautiful the area is. I've not really taken the time before to visit this part of the country, but while out there I came across some real hidden gems (such as Frinton-on-Sea), which I have decided deserve further exploration at another time.
Until next month I will leave you all with this poetic photo that I took at Frinton-on-Sea.