1860 Warrior (at Portsmouth)
We're now moving into the "what's our next boat" phase, beginning with "where would we keep it" and "how much is this going to cost?"
Toward this end, we spent two nights in Portsmouth, and explored three marinas in Gosport and the Portsmouth area. Haslar Marina in Gosport is our favorite, since it is close to the train and ferry stations, making it a quicker, direct trip from London (about 2.5 hours) by train.
We also visited the historic boat yards, and saw the Warrior, the Mary Rose, and the HMS Victory. For the record, the British put us to shame with how they maintain and display their historic ships. I've seen the USS Constellation in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, but it was nothing like the experience of seeing the Warrior.
During our walks in the Marinas, we also checked about boats. We were surprised by the number of Contessa
sailboats (both 26 and 32s), but even the 32 might be tight for a family of four and my 6 ft height. It was great to see so many of them, however.
Next up the scale is the Westerly Fulmar
32 footer, which my wife sailed for a weekend and really enjoyed. More volume, good reputation, and probably about right for cruising up to two weeks for four (round Britain, across the channel).
After that is the Vancouver 32 and 34
-- much more of a long-range cruiser. Maybe overkill for the channel, but has the option of crossing the Atlantic in the future. Maybe not the best for daysailing, but tempting to go a bit more (50k pounds) for a 32.
We also saw Rustler 36s, lots of HRs, and a Hunter Mystery 35 (British-make, not the US Hunter). Here's a photo gallery of the trip, with a lot of pictures of the boats (both in the Marina and the historic boatyards):
Here's a quiz-- we saw one very nice boat in our size that we couldn't ID. Could someone identify this boat by it's hull stripe for us?
Finally, we still have today off, so we joined the London-based Cruising Association and are going down to use their library this afternoon. I was there last week for a great lecture about sailing around England with kids, and my wife go to this week's lecture by a couple that circumnavigated twice during the last 17 years (part motorbike, mostly sailboat). The CA website is here:
The association also has a crew-exchange service, so we might be able to crew for some cruisers if we don't have our own boat for awhile. I liked the members I met last week, so this could be pretty exiting.