Weather – It blows an ill wind.

Wind wreaks havoc over any type of boating. This November has been a very windy month. For us MOBO’s it means staying safely on our moorings sipping mulled wine. For the yotties it is their utopia.

To gauge the level of sea going heroism there has to be a form of measurement. The Met Office has provided a series of guide lines by which to judge the level of bravery of the yacht club navy blue Terry Thomas lookalike blazer wearing heroes. The most  popular is the Beaufort Scale.

Force 1 – Light Air

1-2 knts

MOBO’s are stretched out  on  sun pads sipping champagne.
The marina is full of bored yotties going nowhere fast.

Force 2 – Light Breeze

3-6 knts

Champagne glasses remain unruffled on the cockpit table.
The marina is still full of yotties going nowhere

Force 3 – Gentle Breeze


A slight rustling of the pages of the Telegraph.
In the marina there is a rumour that the yotties may get their sails out.

Force 4 – Moderate Breeze

11-15 knts

Empty champagne bottles are rattling in the galley. Instructs someone to take them to the bottle bank
Yotties are joyfully clambering into full foulies  with huge smiles on their faces.

Force 5. – Fresh Breeze

16-20 knts

Concern is being expressed that the champagne stored in the bilge might be having its sediment disturbed.
Yotties are excitingly preparing to slip their lines.

Force 6 – Strong Breeze

21-26 knts

The Champagne is being shaken… but not stirred.
The marina is half empty. The yotties have gone

Force 7 – High Wind

27-33 knts

MOBO’s are back on their moorings because ‘well old chap….frightfully difficult retrieving the champers out of the bilge….nearly spilt some!
Yotties are hauling up their spinnakers with whoops of joy.

Force 8 – Gale

34-40 knts

Champagne glasses can no longer stand unaided on the cockpit table…or anywhere else.
Yotties have decided to pull in the washing and  tea towels off the stanchion wire in case they fly away.

Force 9 – Severe Gale

41-47 knts

Champagne glasses must now be grasped with both hands to prevent spilling
Yotties clamber into harnesses, clip themselves on and hang over the side to balance the boat.

Force 10 – Storm

44- 54 knts

Two people required to open champers bottles. Very difficult to find mouth.
Yotties have dug out the book on reefing and have added more canvas

Force 11 – Violent Storm

56-63 knts

Champers bottles in the bilge will be smashing. Everyone retires to the club bar.
The Yotties who are at  the mercy of the ocean and a wildly bucking boat  can be heard swearing because the wind keeps blowing the gas out and they can’t get a hot brew.

Force 12 – Hurricane

64+ knts

Best spent in a fallout shelter far away from the sea watching it on the weather channel
Yotties are standing on the top side yelling in unison “Thaaar she blows!!”

The 12 Nautical Days of Christmas

12 Nautical days of Christmas: I just love Google, I have no idea what I was originally looking for but I found this by accident and it was too good not to share.
My thanks to the Portland Yacht Club
This will be my last post of 2016. so I wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
In the words of Arnie – “I will be back”

Published on Dec 13, 2012

The Poop Decks (Portland Yacht Club Mens Chorus) sing ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ with a nautical theme at the 2012 Ladies Holiday Dinner

If you want to sing along, they also kindly published the words….

A seagull on a piling;
two sets of foulies;
three shiny shackles;
four new red flares;
six new life jackets;
seven white boat fenders;
eight cans of boat wax;
nine quarts of bottom paint;
ten charts of the San Juans;
eleven feet of dock line;
twelve gallons of diesel.

Ensigns – Red, White or Blue?

Ensigns but which one?

Last week I noticed our Ensign was looking decidedly tatty. I am going to have to replace it as a tatty ensign is considered a disrespect to  the country.

We fly the Ensign to indicate nationality. The most senior position for a flag on a vessel is reserved for the Ensign and this is as close to the stern of the vessel as possible.  Almost all countries fly their national flag but not Britain though, we never fly the Union Jack off the back of a boat. It’s a serious faux pas and will get you talked about in very unsavoury tones.

Britain flies either a red, blue or white ensign and woe betide you if you get that wrong too. It’s enough to get the yacht club commodore steaming at the ears and spluttering into his gin.
British ensigns currently in use can be classified into five categories, in descending order of exclusivity:

  • the White
  • the Blue
  • the Blue  defaced
  • the Red defaced
  • the Red

White Ensign

white ensigns
white ensign


Since 1864 the use of the White Ensign  has been restricted to ships, boats, submarines and on-shore establishments of the Royal Navy. The Royal Yacht Squadron also fly the white ensign by special dispensation.

If you see one of these in the Marina you are in the company of very posh people or you are moored along side a war ship. In which case get the hell out of there as you are only allowed to get 100o yards close before they have the right to shoot at you!

Blue Ensign

blue ensigns
blue ensign

Most of us aspire to fly the  blue flag commonly found on the backs of ‘Smug” yacht owners. This is because members of Royal Yacht Clubs are allowed the privilege to fly a blue ensign via a  warrant issued by Her Maj. Several yacht clubs are also entitled to fly blue ensigns defaced by their club badge.  They are even more smug!
red ensign
red ensign


As you have probably guessed everyone else  and his wife gets to fly the red ensign. The red ensign  is for the use of all other British merchant navy ships and private craft. The Red Ensign must also be worn  as a courtesy flag by  Johnny Foreigner private vessels entering United Kingdom waters.

Word of warning though, irrespective of which colour you have , it’s never left to fly all night. If you are alongside or at anchor the ensign should be raised and lowered at 0800 hrs and sunset except in summer when the sunset is  after 2100 hrs then ceremony should take place at 2100. And if you don’t, that yacht club commodore will be more than spluttering in his gin, he will be apoplectic.

Southampton Boat Show

Its Southampton Boat Show week!! After years in the pharmaceutical industry I am a bit blasé about attending trade shows or exhibitions. The Motor Show held no interest to me at all because there were no freebies.. I have been to the Ideal Home Exhibition, great for free fruit tea bags  but how many fancy vegetable spirializers does one girl need. The Ski show  is fun even if it is just for a free vin chaud and a crepe but the SBS is so much more.

Gizmo and Gadgets

Obviously I love nosing around fabulous boats I can’t even dream of owning but what holds my fascination is all the gizmo and gadgets on display. Do sailors really need them all? Here are a few of my favourites.

  • The little man who spends all week transferring liquid from one bucket to another with a plastic tube that has a ball bearing at each end. Roger has a name for this tube but its not printable here, but it sounds like a “hank” tube! Actually they do work and we do own one
  • The little headsets that allows the person at the helm to talk to the crew. No longer does everyone have to listen to the abuse being hurled at you because yet again you have missed lassoing the cleat. Its just screamed into your ear. The off button would be very regularly used in my case.
  • Those little bits of sticky silicone designed to stop your coffee cup from spilling all over the dashboard. never works but seems to accumulate every stray bit of fluff and dog hair  instead.
  • Folding dish racks. Whats that all about? Use a tea towel.
  •  The worlds most lethal weapon. Those key rings designed to explode a balloon and float your keys to the surface should they get dropped in. NEVER EVER put one of these in your pocket if its raining. I narrowly missed getting a nasty leg wound when the bloody thing went off driving a door key into my leg.
  • Freaky real life looking stuffed ships cats – please get a life.

And finally my favourite of all time. Loo seats for the heads that light up in the dark so you can aim straight in a force 7.
I jest not…..

  • toilet seat lights

Toilet Seat Light